In a year of continued economic impacts from COVID-19, eBay Canada celebrates small business success and announces a new partnership with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business
The first half of this year saw a 50 per cent increase in the number of Canadian SMBs selling on eBay’s platform than same period in 2019, pre-pandemic
TORONTO, Oct. 13, 2021 - Despite persistent headwinds against small businesses brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, eBay Canada is celebrating the strong entrepreneurial spirit of its marketplace by announcing the winners of its 17th annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards -- honouring Canadian small retailers who are achieving great success on eBay’s global marketplace.
"eBay enables Canadian small businesses to instantly connect to more than 150 million active buyers around the world, giving them opportunities to build thriving global businesses within local communities. Our marketplace was built to create economic opportunity for businesses of all shapes and sizes, and our Canadian team’s mission is to help our sellers succeed,” said Rob Bigler, General Manager of eBay Canada. "eBay’s long-standing small business recognition awards shine a spotlight on the unwavering Canadian entrepreneurial spirit that lives on our global marketplace, with this year’s winners -- despite persistent pandemic challenges -- being no exception.”
The 2021 eBay Canada Entrepreneur of the Year Award winners include:
- Entrepreneur of the Year – Dave Turgreon of Dragon Spinz, Levis, QC. Pivoting from Legal & Finance to online entrepreneurship was the right career move for Dave, as he continues to see double and triple-digit growth in his bike parts business, selling to cyclists across the world all year round.
- Micro-Multinational of the Year – Jehan Zeb of Mahin 888, Vancouver, BC. After immigrating from Pakistan to Canada, Jehan found a passion for Canadian coins and banknotes, and now runs a successful online business that helps buyers around the world bolster their collections.
- Emerging Ecommerce Entrepreneur of the Year – Karina Bogle of K Bogle 05, Stratford, ON. Purchasing the mainstreet shoe store she worked at as a teenager was a major career moment for Karina, but pivoting to ecommerce to keep her business alive and thriving through the pandemic has become an even greater career accomplishment.
Full information on winners below.
"This year’s eBay Entrepreneur of the Year Awards showcases the commitment, creativity and resilience of small and midsize businesses across Canada. The realities of COVID-19 have expedited our transition to the economy of the future, and this year’s winners prove that going digital is a reliable and prosperous direction for Canadian entrepreneurs,” said the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion, and International Trade. "Congratulations to each of the winners and all finalists for your innovative approaches to the unprecedented challenges of this pandemic.”
With Canadian small businesses facing relentless challenges from the global pandemic, eBay Canada has continued "Up & Running" -- an accelerator program launched at the beginning of the pandemic and designed to transition offline businesses online to eBay. Since its initial launch, hundreds of thousands of businesses across North America have gone through the program to get online quickly and effectively with eBay.
In addition, today eBay Canada announced a new partnership with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) to provide Canadian small businesses with eBay store subscriptions an annual CFIB membership at no extra charge, as further support to help grow their business. eBay store subscribers will receive access to exclusive CFIB savings programs, benefits and educational support, including hotlines designed to support business owners with HR, compliance, operational questions and more.
“Over the last year, CFIB has been working closely with eBay Canada on initiatives like #SmallBusinessEveryDay and Small Business Saturday, rallying Canadians to support small businesses. We’ve also been working together to get more information to CFIB members on how they can expand their businesses internationally,” said Laura Jones, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategic Officer of CFIB. “As we continue our mission to help all independent businesses in Canada succeed, we are excited to launch this partnership where eBay sellers with store subscriptions will be able to get the full CFIB member services and support we offer, particularly as they continue to navigate through the pandemic.”
It's anticipated that by the end of this year, Canadian retail ecommerce sales will reach CA$86.52 billion, almost doubling 2019’s total and accounting for more than 13 per cent of all retail sales in 2021.¹ A similar growth trend is reflected for Canadian SMB sales on eBay, seeing double-digit growth compared to pre-pandemic days. And more SMBs are using eBay’s marketplace: the first half of this year saw a 50 per cent increase in the number of Canadian SMBs selling on eBay than the same period in 2019.
"The Canadian retail landscape has shifted online as a result of the global pandemic, with small businesses, in particular, realizing the power of ecommerce and seeing new growth opportunities,” added Bigler. “The winners of this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year Awards illustrate how effective eBay’s global marketplace can be for small businesses, helping them succeed despite yet another challenging year from the COVID-19 pandemic.”
This year's award winners will receive cash prizes ranging from $10,000 to $15,000 CAD to reinvest into their business, in addition to a free one-year eBay Store subscription upgrade and quarterly consultation sessions with an eBay Canada business development expert. See full information on winners below.
Entrepreneur of the Year:
While working as a paralegal in the finance industry, Dave Turgeon of Levis, QC, began collecting and selling rare CDs on eBay as a hobby. During the 2008 financial crisis, Dave decided to make a big change by becoming a full-time entrepreneur on eBay.
When Dave wanted to grow his business by breaking into a new product category, he approached one of North America’s largest bike component distributors and offered to help them sell online with his eBay business. The distributor agreed, and Dragon Spinz was born. Impressed with Dave’s online sales performance (the first few items were sold within one hour of being listed on eBay) the supplier quickly increased the list of authorized products for Dragon Spinz.
Dave continued to grow his reputation in the industry and now works with 7 different global suppliers. His eBay sales are on track to more than double this year, after already hitting 120 per cent growth in 2020. Exporting has been a key contributor to Dave’s exponential growth in terms of reaching new customers as well as keeping sales steady throughout the winter season in Canada -- a critical advantage for a seasonal industry like cycling.
Micro-Multinational of the Year
In 1994, Jehan Zeb moved to Vancouver from Pakistan to continue his studies. Shortly after, he began working as a sales associate at a corner store in Vancouver where a new and unexpected passion for coins developed - sparked by the commemorative Canadian coins that he crossed paths with every day at the till.
Jehan cultivated this hobby beyond commemorative coins and started attending trade shows and joining local collectors’ group, until one day he took his passion to a new level by starting to sell commemorative Canadian coins on eBay under the name Mahin 888.
Accessing a global market of buyers was integral in Jehan’s growth, with nearly half of his total sales from outside of Canada, including Israel, Russia, and the U.S. (which, alone, accounts for 20 per cent of his sales). In 2018, he retired from his store manager position to operate his eBay coin business full time, selling over 10,000 items annually and amassing over 28,000 positive reviews. Keeping an international customer base in mind when sourcing his inventory keeps his business competitive globally, and this year he is trending at 150 per cent year-over-year growth in gross sales.
Emerging Ecommerce Entrepreneur of the Year:
Karina began working at White-Balmer Shoes while she was in high school. Working at the local storefront in Stratford, Ontario, fueled her passion for footwear, which led her to Toronto where she managed a North American shoe distributor.
A decade later, she returned to her hometown and purchased White-Balmer. Not long after, the COVID-19 pandemic forced Karina to temporarily shut her doors. This major challenge was the impetus that expedited her plan to take a traditional local brick-and-mortar storefront online. Designing a website and linking her inventory to eBay’s global marketplace was her first step into ecommerce.
eBay quickly became the majority source of online sales for White-Balmer, as well as roughly a third of total sales, at times. Karina credits the sales from her eBay store as allowing her to not only keep her current sales staff employed, but also expand by adding additional staff to help with the online demand. eBay is now White-Balmer’s primary online global marketplace as Karina looks to expand her product offerings and access new international markets.
More information on the eBay Canada Entrepreneur of the Year Awards can be found here: ebay.ca/eoy
More information on eBay’s Up and Running program can be found here: eBay.ca/upandrunning
eBay Inc. (Nasdaq: EBAY) is a global commerce leader that connects millions of buyers and sellers in entrepreneurs, businesses and organizations of all sizes. Founded in 1995 in San Jose, California, eBay is one of the world’s largest and most vibrant marketplaces for discovering great value and unique selection. In 2020, eBay enabled over $85 billion of gross merchandise volume. For more information about the company and its global portfolio of online brands, visit www.ebayinc.com
For further information:
Kelly Scragg, Communications Manager, eBay Canada, email@example.com, 780.218.2176
Cheyenne Freitas, Pomp & Circumstance PR, firstname.lastname@example.org, 647.985.4806