Today, eBay Canada announced the winners of its 16th annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, honouring Canadian entrepreneurs using eBay’s global marketplace to build and scale their thriving businesses.
“eBay’s purpose is to empower people and create economic opportunity. Small businesses are at the heart of everything we do. My team is constantly inspired by how Canadian entrepreneurs leverage eBay’s global marketplace to reach consumers near and far,” said Rob Bigler, General Manager of eBay Canada. “And in this year of unprecedented challenges brought on by the pandemic, it is more important than ever to celebrate the achievements of resourceful and resilient Canadian entrepreneurs.”
The 2020 eBay Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners include:
Entrepreneur of the Year – Ajay Mirchandani of Bleacher Bum, Richmond Hill, ON.Ajay channeled his life-long passion for sports memorabilia into a thriving family business, complementing his storefront with rapidly growing online sales, half from outside of Canada.
Micro-Multinational of the Year – Luc Dion &Claire Teasdale of Boutique LUC.S, Montreal, QC. The traditional consignment shop went online by tapping into eBay’s global marketplace for vintage luxury fashion. Online exports now represent the majority of their overall sales.
Integrated Entrepreneur of the Year – William Chong of Dolly’s Toys & Games, Toronto, ON. Building off exponential sales growth from eBay, the sibling-owned and operated toys and games business continues to expand their complementary brick and mortar storefronts.
Full information on winners below.
“Every year, eBay’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards showcases the spirit of resilience, innovation and drive of Canadian small businesses – which is more true than ever right now amid COVID-19,” said the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion. “I’d like to extend my heartfelt congratulations to each of the winners on their success during this very challenging year. We’ll continue to have your back every step of the way.”
Ecommerce has seen rapid growth as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. A recent report from Statistics Canada¹ found that retail ecommerce sales increased by a record breaking 99.3 per cent during the first few months of the pandemic compared to the same period last year. More recently, Canadian small businesses on eBay saw a more than 40 per cent increase in both sales and sold items in the last quarter alone.
In response to the challenges the pandemic brought to local retail, eBay Canada launched "Up & Running," an accelerator program specifically designed to support offline businesses transition to selling online. In addition to ecommerce tools and supplies, eBay offers a hands-on onboarding service for small businesses to help them navigate the online global marketplace. This initiative – which continues to be leveraged by Canadian SMBs throughout ongoing pandemic lockdown measures – also helps existing online businesses build their export sales. Canadian small businesses are also a focus for eBay Canada’s upcoming Cyber Week sales and marketing efforts, which is in addition to the ongoing promotion of a dedicated microsite established earlier this year to make it easier for Canadians to shop from local businesses – eBay.ca/together.
“This pandemic underscores the power of ecommerce particularly for small retailers. Consumers around the world have shifted online. More Canadian businesses than ever are using eBay’s global platform and seeing their domestic and international sales take off as eBay gives them access to 183 million active buyers around the world,” added Bigler.” “The winners of eBay Canada’s 2020 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards exemplify how impactful an online presence can be for small businesses to grow and thrive – regardless and in spite of COVID-19.”
This year’s award winners will receive a cash prize to reinvest into their business, a free one-year eBay Store subscription upgrade and quarterly consultation sessions with an eBay Canada business development expert.
More Information on the 2020 Winners
Entrepreneur of the Year:
Shortly after moving to Canada as a child, Ajay Mirchandani was invited to his first Blue Jays game. This sparked a lifelong passion for sports, and the memory inspired the name of what would later become his business: Bleacher Bum.
In 2002, Ajay owned a video game store and began selling on eBay to test out ecommerce. Quickly he realized the potential of an online business and began building his physical and digital storefronts concurrently. Over time, he was in a position to shift his focus to his lifelong passion: sports memorabilia. Today, he and his wife Mansi, oversee a 2,800 square foot storefront in Richmond Hill, ON, selling exclusive and high-valued jerseys and sports collectibles both online and through an appointment-based brick and mortar shop.
Since joining eBay, the family business has enjoyed consistent year-over-year growth in online sales, and in 2020 alone – in the middle of a pandemic – Bleacher Bum’s sales on eBay have almost doubled, with roughly half of those being from exports.
Micro-Multinational of the Year:
Luc Dion’s passion for the fashion industry guided him to his first job at 18, working for Prada, and for over a decade he managed luxury fashion storefronts while building relationships within the Montreal fashion scene. In 2016, a client described her troubles reselling a number of luxury bags, and Dion offered to help. From there, Boutique LUC.S was born – selling and consigning luxury outerwear, shoes, sunglasses and more. From vintage, to hype items. From pre-loved, to new with tags. He quickly realized the importance of expanding beyond his storefront in Old Montreal and invited his best friend Claire Teasdale to join the business and take it online.
Teasdale began spearheading the boutique’s online operations in 2017, focused on tapping into eBay’s global marketplace for international expansion. In three short years they were selling to fashion enthusiasts in over 25 markets on six continents. Today, online exports represent more than half of their overall sales. Even as COVID-19 shuttered many Old Montreal storefronts, this young business has continued growing – doubling the square footage of their physical storefront this year to keep up with the needs of their growing online operations and sales.
Integrated Entrepreneur of the Year:
Dolly’s Toys & Games was born out of a childhood passion for trading card games shared by William Chong and his two brothers. Growing up, the Chong brothers became frequent visitors of a local toys and games shop in Toronto, specifically for its collection of Magic: The Gathering cards. When the shop’s owners retired, they approached the brothers to take over.
The brothers complimented their storefront sales by tapping into eBay’s global marketplace, which quickly grew into a significant sales channel for them. Leveraging the revenue generated from ecommerce, they have been able to continue to reinvest and grow the overall business to support three separate storefronts in the Greater Toronto Area.
While their brick-and-mortar operations expanded, they also enjoyed consistent annual growth on eBay. Despite COVID-19 forcing their physical storefronts to temporarily close, so far this year they have grown their online sales by over 500 per cent.
More information can be found here: ebay.ca/eoy
eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) is a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers in 190 markets around the world. We exist to enable economic opportunity for individuals, entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations of all sizes. The ebay.com marketplace and its localized counterparts, as well as the eBay mobile apps, are among the world’s largest and most vibrant marketplaces for discovering great value and unique selection.
Communications Manager, eBay Canada
Consultant, Proof Strategies
² New sellers who sign-up for the promotion, will pay no final value fees for the first 500 sold items that were listed during the promotion listing period. PayPal fees and other fees/charges may be applicable. See terms & conditions at www.ebay.ca/upandrunning.