TORONTO, October 1, 2015 – Today eBay Canada announced the winners of its annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, which recognize Canadian entrepreneurs who harness online commerce opportunities to build thriving businesses. Christine Deslauriers, Kimberley Wotherspoon and Vanessa Szabo are this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year, Exporter of the Year and Made in Canada Entrepreneur winners, respectively.
“We’re thrilled to see the entrepreneurial spirit continue to shine through on eBay,” says Andrea Stairs, managing director of eBay Canada. “This year’s winners are great examples of how small businesses are succeeding by leveraging eBay’s marketplace to reach consumers across the country and around the world.”
Now in its 11th year, this is the first time female entrepreneurs have won across all categories.
According to a recent study by Dell, Canada is one of the top three countries for female entrepreneurship, but still has opportunity for improvement. eBay’s platform works to level the playing field and break down barriers to trade by offering a low cost of entry, easy set up, and instant access to a trusted global marketplace of more than 150 million buyers.
“eBay enables e-commerce for enterprises of every size and at every stage in development. We’re pleased to see that women are taking advantage of possibilities offered by eBay’s marketplace to achieve and exceed their business goals,” says Stairs.
Nearly 150 eBay sellers entered this year’s competition. Along with bragging rights and promotion of their eBay business to more than two million online buyers, the Entrepreneur of the Year Award winner will receive $3,000, and the Exporter of the Year and Made in Canada Entrepreneur will each receive $2,000.
The Entrepreneur of the Year Awards was announced earlier this year and was open to full and parttime eBay sellers aged 18 years and older. All entrants were considered for the Exporter of the Year and the Made in Canada Entrepreneur categories, if applicable.
About the 2015 Winners!
Entrepreneur of the Year
Christine Deslauriers, founder of Boutique Step Up, combined her passion for figure skating with her entrepreneurial drive to build a successful business, making her eBay’s 2015 Entrepreneur of the Year. She started selling skating gear and apparel on eBay eight years ago, and due to her quick success, she was able to open a bricks-and-mortar store two years later. Based in Blezard Valley, a small town near Sudbury, Ontario, Christine now operates a thriving multi-channel business, with online sales increasing by 470% since her first year of operation. As a result of her strong online sales, Christine has expanded her offerings to include gymnastics, dance and swimwear products, giving her physical store a reputation for having an impressive inventory selection. She is also a 2 global seller with items regularly shipping to locations including the U.S., Europe, Russia, Australia and New Zealand.
Exporter of the Year
eBay’s platform provides small businesses instant access to a global marketplace. This year, eBay is recognizing Kimberley Wotherspoon of LumberMart, a hardware and building supply store in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, for her success in selling beyond Canada’s borders. Kimberley’s “intrapreneurial” spirit (behaving like an entrepreneur while working within a business) highlights a growing sector of SME’s utilizing eBay’s ecommerce platform to reach a global audience. Kimberley was hired to build LumberMart’s online business, and within her first year on the job, she increased daily sales by more than 900 per cent. Today, LumberMart is shipping items around the world, with more than 60 per cent of shipments being exported to countries such as Australia, United Kingdom, Ireland, Sweden, Norway, Italy, France and the United States. By bringing a ‘traditional’ bricks-andmortar store online, Kimberly has helped LumberMart stay competitive even as big box retailers have started to move in to the local market.
Made in Canada Entrepreneur
Vanessa Szabo, founder of Canadian Silver Coin Exchange, is the recipient of the Made in Canada Entrepreneur award, which honours a seller that has built a prosperous business with products that are made or produced in Canada. A resident of Kamloops, British Columbia, Vanessa has always had a passion for the historical significance of Canadian coins. Ten years ago she started casually selling a variety of items on eBay as a way to make an income while staying at home with her young children. Once her children were older, she took her business to the next level by increasing her online sales efforts while also opening a bricks-and-mortar store offering precious metals. Almost 30 percent of Vanessa’s buyers are repeat customers and she hosts an average of 150 auctions per month, a figure that has increased 47% over the past 6 months. One of her most interesting sales to date was a rare bronze 1898 Governor General's academic medal, as these types of medals only appear on the market every 50-70 years.
About eBay eBay (NASDAQ: EBAY) is the world's most vibrant marketplace for discovering great value and unique selection. eBay connects millions of buyers and sellers around the globe, empowering people and creating opportunity through Connected Commerce™. Our vision for commerce is one that is enabled by people, powered by technology and open to everyone. We partner but never compete with our sellers and create stronger connections between buyers and sellers with product experiences that are fast, mobile and secure. eBay is visited by more than 8 million unique Canadians per month (comScore Media Metrix: July, 2015). For more information, visit ebay.ca.
For more information:
Edelman (on behalf of eBay Canada)