TORONTO, October 16, 2019 – Today, eBay Canada announced the winners of its 15th annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, recognizing exceptional Canadian small businesses who are harnessing the opportunities of eBay’s marketplace to reach new customers across the country and around the world.
“As an enabler of and champion for small businesses, we’re proud to be celebrating and supporting the very best in Canadian entrepreneurialism on eBay,” said Andrea Stairs, General Manager of eBay Canada & Latin America. “Every day we see businesses using eBay to diversify and expand into new markets, grow sales, and contribute to their local economies – the award selection process is always difficult and this year was no exception!”
The 2019 eBay Entrepreneur of the Year Awardwinners include:
- Entrepreneur of the Year: Nan Xu of IHL Canada, based in Woodbridge, Ontario;
- Micro-Multinational of the Year: Jessica Oman of Storage Warriors, based in Vancouver, B.C.;
- Integrated Entrepreneur of the Year: Simon Duguay of Newxon, based in Saguenay, Quebec.
A recent BDC study found that only 4 out of 10 Canadian SMEs with an online presence sell, receive and take orders online, demonstrating huge opportunity remaining for Canadian entrepreneurs to engage online platforms to expand customer bases beyond their physical reach.
“Selling online can be a critical growth driver for Canadian small retailers; and leveraging online platforms -- particularly global marketplaces like eBay -- can be transformative for local businesses,” adds Stairs.” The power of ecommerce to help grow and scale local businesses is perfectly exemplified by the winners of this year’s eBay Canada Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.”
Two of the winning businesses, Storage Warriors and Newxon, have seen such staggering increases in sales, they’ve grown from small home-based operations into full-fledged, brick-and-mortar enterprises, creating new local jobs along the way. Meanwhile the third winner, IHL Canada, attributes the growth of their online business in supporting their local brick and mortar store as well as enabling them to expand product offerings and develop their own private-label brands.
This year’s award winners will receive a cash prize to reinvest into their business, a one-year eBay Store subscription upgrade and quarterly consultation sessions with an eBay Canada business development expert.
More Information on the 2019 Winners
Entrepreneur of the Year
In 2014, Nan Xu (toolioking) joined Investments Hardware Limited (IHL Canada), a family-owned and -operated business established in 1985 in Woodbridge, Ontario, and specializing in power tools and building materials. Overseeing the business’ e-commerce department, Nan immediately saw an untapped opportunity for IHL Canada to stimulate global export growth using eBay. He redesigned the company’s eBay store, which today includes more than 500 listings. To handle the growth in demand on eBay, Nan began using machine learning technology to transform order management, fulfillment, and customer services. IHL Canada also established a partnership with UPS Canada to more efficiently ship products. This partnership was especially important in 2017, when IHL Canada offered free-expedited shipping to aid the efforts of workers helping to rebuild Puerto Rico after Hurricane Irma. Over the last five years, eBay has enabled IHL to exponentially grow their exports to over 50 countries across the globe. This growth has created opportunities for them to introduce new product offerings and even develop their own private-labelled brands including DuraDrive and BOSSA which they offer both online and in their Woodbridge store. Today, IHL operates in a 120,000 sq ft. warehouse complemented by a 40,000 sq ft. showroom for local clientele. The eBay business is on track to triple in size this year and now offers the largest selection of tools and workshop equipment in Canada.
Micro-Multinational of the Year
Jessica Oman (storage_warriors) was working in consulting in Vancouver, British Columbia when she and her husband Johann decided to pursue a new hobby, buying and selling the contents of storage units. The couple’s entrepreneurial roots led them to open an eBay store to sell their storage unit treasures, and Jessica and Johann quickly found they were making as much money through eBay as they were through their day jobs. Over a span of three years, the couple took the leap to pursue their side-hustle full-time. Jessica and Johann used eBay as a way to sell to global buyers from countries including United States, UK, France, Australia and Malaysia and they adapted their inventory sourcing strategy to feed into global trends and demands based on learnings from their eBay international sales. Today, 90 per cent of Storage Warrior’s sales come from exports. Their business started in their home, but quickly moved to a local garage rental, and is now housed in a 2,000 square foot warehouse. They will likely need to expand their operation again as they have already doubled their 2018 sales. With three employees currently, and plans to hire additional staff to keep up with business growth, the pair’s business is growing on all fronts!
Integrated Entrepreneur of the Year
Simon Duguay (newxon) began his e-commerce journey after graduating university when he set up shop in his basement and began selling clothing to make some extra money. In 2015, Simon decided to list some of his collectible figurines on eBay and quickly found that they were high in demand, and offered an even higher profit margin. A new business was born! Simon’s collectibles business is on track to hit $1 million in sales this year, with the majority coming from eBay. His consistently strong year-over-year online sales growth over the past four years has generated enough revenue for him to open a brick-and-mortar location in his community of Saguenay, Quebec. The 3,000 square foot facility includes a warehouse and retail store and is staffed by six employees ranging from tech and operations experts to sales managers, all focused on supporting and integrating his physical and online sales channels. Simon credits online sales has having played a pivotal role in his business expansion and having invested $250,000 into his company in the past year, Simon is laser-focused on accelerating his business’ growth.
eBay Inc. (NASDAQ: EBAY) is a global commerce leader including the Marketplace, StubHub and Classifieds platforms. Collectively, we connect millions of buyers and sellers around the world, empowering people and creating opportunity through Connected Commerce. Founded in 1995 in San Jose, Calif., eBay is one of the world's largest and most vibrant marketplaces for discovering great value and unique selection. In 2018, eBay enabled $95 billion of gross merchandise volume. eBay is visited by more than 8 million unique Canadians per month (comScore Media Metrix: August, 2019). For more information about the company and its global portfolio of online brands, visit www.ebayinc.com.
Consultant, Proof Inc.