A W A R D N O M I N A T I O N C O V E R P A G E
Please refer to the Nomination Guide when completing this form. The nominee must be informed of your
intention to put their business name forward. Please ensure the nominee reviews this form and its contents.
PLEASE PRINT IN INK OR TYPE. This form is confidential once submitted.
Please check appropriate award:
Young Entrepreneur of the Year Company of the Year (under 15 Employees)
Entrepreneur of the Year Company of the Year (over 15 Employees)
Corporate Citizen of the Year Customer Service Excellence Award
Name of Business: # Employees:
Contact Name: Position:
Address: Town: Postal Code:
Telephone #: Fax #: Email:
Date Business Established: Age of Nominee (for Young Entrepreneur only):
Nomination Submitted By
Address: Town: Postal Code:
Home Telephone #: Work Telephone #: Email:
We confirm the information contained in this nomination is correct and accurate. The nominee is aware of and supports this
submission. Also due to the new Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act that took effect January
2005, this release is needed for the use of some/all information and photography in the event that this nomination may win
or be the runner up of one of the 206 STARS in business Awards. I hereby agree to the release of all information and
photography used in the making of the 2006 STARS in business Awards and any other materials utilized by the Saugeen
Economic Development Corporation / STARS in business Awards.
Nominee Signature: ___________________________________________________ Date: ______________________
Nominator Signature: ___________________________________________________ Date: ______________________
Please submit your completed nomination package by September 6th, 2006 to:
Saugeen Economic Development Corporation, 554-7th Avenue, Hanover ON N4N 2J7
Phone (519) 364-3694 Toll Free 1-866-761-SBDC Email email@example.com
ENTREPRENEUR OF THE YEAR
Nominee Business Name:
This award will be presented to a entrepreneur who has been self-employed for over two years, has shown initiative and
innovation in a business venture, has introduced a new product or new idea and need not have been involved in a year-round
business. Please describe the nominee’s qualifications in the following categories. Be specific and provide examples. All categories
must be completed to qualify. The criteria below describe key factors that will be used to measure the accomplishments of the
nominees for the Entrepreneur of the Year award.
1. Initiative 3. Business Development 5. Quality Assurance 7. Community Involvement
2. Creativity 4. Marketing 6. Customer Relations 8. Environmental Consciousness
NOMINATION DUE SEPTEMBER 6TH, 2006
D e s c r i p t i o n o f B u s i n e s s (what does this business do; description of products and/or services)
I n i t i a t i v e (be specific and provide examples, amount of space to type is unlimited)
The journey to ABC Company started in 1987. After graduating from University, and becoming married, the next chapter
of life was to begin for Jane and her husband John. It was Jane and John’s dream to live and create a living on a farm.
From the very beginning, Jane and John decided that Jane would stay home with any children and keep the business end of
the farming under control. John thankfully found a good off-farm job and has been working off the farm since. (It should
be mentioned that Jane grew up far from any farm in the City)
The first step was to take the plunge and purchase a farm. With very little income, a run down 95-acre farm just outside
Anytown was chosen and purchased in 1987. Although it needed a lot of work, Jane and John fell in love with the 1800’s
brick home and the land. It took a lot of courage to purchase a farm with a house that the real estate agent called “unlivable”
since Jane was pregnant at the time with their first child and due in two months!
The farm was purchased while the land was under a blanket of snow. As the snow started to melt, the garbage and junk
emerged. There were several acres surrounding the river and grassed waterways that needed to be cleaned up. Jane noticed
an ad in the paper for the Environmental Farm Plan workshops, which offered grant money to help fix on-farm
environmental concerns. Jane grabbed the opportunity. The grant money from the program helped pay to clean up the mess
on the farm. Jane also took advantage of working with the Conservation Authority to rehabilitate and manage the fragile
areas on the farm.
After the farm was back in usable shape it was time for the farm to start producing income. The decision was made to milk
and the herd was purchased in the summer of 1987. By that September milk was being shipped out the door. A pretty good
start for not having any experience with animals until that summer!
In the summer 1987, when milking became routine, and the problems of the industry as a whole became apparent, Jane
thought it was time to do something to protect the family business and create a more interesting job for herself. Jane had
put second year chemistry to work and taught herself how to make milk soaps and creams. ABC Company. was formed.
Marketing and selling the product was a problem. Jane had a science background, so she signed up for and was accepted to
the Self Employment Benefit program, which taught her all about the business side of her endeavour.
The ideal way to increase income from the farm was to process the milk on farm and sell it directly to the customer. It was
time to carry out the plan and construct a plant. The Smith’s were told numerous times by others in the industry that “it
couldn’t be done”, that it was “impossible to meet the government regulations.” That didn’t stop them. By July 1st, 1987,
the farm had acquired a license to process milk.
Up to now, Jane spent a lot of time at trade and craft shows selling milk products. The shows brought in a lot of income,
but were a big expense as well. Attending shows took a lot of energy and time away from developing and producing
products. Time spent with the children was also difficult to come by. With the farm plant under operation, Jane was able to
make the difficult decision to give up the income made at the shows and sell from the farm gate instead. Her plan worked,
in fact better than expected, which has made everyone much happier and the business more viable.
Entrepreneur of the Year Page 2 of 2
Throughout the development of the business Jane felt it was very important to stay in touch with the community and
industry members around her. Jane has been involved in the Ontario Producers Association both as a member and as a
director. She even voluntarily published the bi-monthly publication for the association. Jane also became the chair of a
Tourism Partnership Committee that works under the Economic Development Committee. Agricultural awareness and
education is very important to Jane as well. Growing up in the city, she understands the disassociation of kids from the
farm, so as well as giving tours at the farm, she volunteers at local fairs to teach kids and adults about farming.
Jane loves the changes and challenges that come with owning a small business. You can bet that whatever problems or
challenges arise, Jane will have the initiative to look past the problem and find a solution.
C r e a t i v i t y (be specific and provide examples, amount of space to type is unlimited)
ABC Company' creative process begins with an intensive brainstorming session in which new ideas for the project are
explored. Every website is custom designed by John and Jane. They do not use pre-designed templates and every site has a
unique look and feel representative of the individual client/business. Extensive planning and research is conducted prior to
designing the site so that it is not only functional, but built for the target audience.
Not only are their designs innovative but John and Jane must think creatively in order to solve problems in programming,
design and business situations.
For example, one of their clients wanted them to create a flash website, however the client did not consider their audience
and internet connection speeds. In order to incorporate this technology, ABC Company came up with a creative solution
that would accommodate all users regardless of their connection speed. They created a small flash banner that represented
each page which added the animation and excitement that the client was looking for without restricting access to those with
a dial up internet connection.
Working with their clients to develop alternate solutions is a common occurrence with each project. Another example of
this is the online employment application they created for ABC Services. ABCS had only a hardcopy of this document and
it needed to be converted into an electronic document that would allow applicants to attach their resume/cover letter as a
file. ABC Company created a suitable online version of the form for use on the website. The completed form can be
viewed at www.abcs.on.ca/ The client was very pleased with this solution as the online application is automatically
submitted to the careers department for processing. This portion of the ABCS website is one of the most frequently
B u s i n e s s D e v e l o p m e n t (be specific and provide examples, amount of space to type is unlimited)
ABC Company is the result of Jane taking a newly started family farm to the next level. The original business was called
The Farm, a farm that Jane and her husband, John started in 1987. Having Jane stay at home while the children were small
was important to Jane and her husband; however Jane was restless. Simply milking and shipping milk in the commercial
market was not enough for Jane. The University degree on the wall said she should be doing more. An unstable milk
market and lack of income got her thinking of other possibilities.
The obvious choice to increase income from the milk production was to sell the milk from the farm gate. Equipment costs
to meet the strict regulations were too high and Jane and John were not comfortable with the consistency of milk they were
getting from the animals at the time, so Jane sat down at her computer and started looking on the Internet for products that
could be made from milk without strict regulations.
Milk soaps were the answer. Second year chemistry was finally going to pay off. “We always had to calculate
saponification reactions in school, wondering why, who is ever going to make soap? Well here I am using that knowledge
It took Jane about six months to develop a good soap that she was confident about selling. The first trial was the 1987
Christmas Craft sale to see if there was interest in the milk soaps. It was a success, so on to the next step.
Jane has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University; beyond basic accounting running a business was
Back to the Internet again, Jane found the Self Employment Benefit program run by the federal government. It was stiff
competition to get in, but she made it. The year long program was the answer. A proper business plan was made;
marketing and selling techniques were addressed as well as accounting and legal information. The best tool however was
Entrepreneur of the Year Page 2 of 2
the support and ideas that came out of the class of 57 small business owners. Three years later most of the class still meet
and share successes, downfalls and ideas.
During 1987 and 1988 Jane and her Mom attended about 25 trade and craft shows under the new name, ABC Company
Soap Co., selling her milk soaps and moisturizing creams, which were developed shortly after the soaps.
Attending these shows was a great place to do some market research. Surveys were used as well as simply talking to
customers to find out what they wanted. The number of people stating they could not drink cow milk and needed to drink
special milk was quite surprising. Requests for cheese were also numerous. The issue of selling processed milk was
At this point the herd was well established. Milk quality and quantity were good enough to supply an on farm processing
plant. Jane and John felt confident in being able to create and sell products that would be produced in the plant. Much of
the knowledge gained from selling the milk soaps and moisturizing creams could be applied to the milk products. The
packaging and labeling regulations followed for the soap could be applied to the cheese and milk products.
By October of 1987, just three and a half months after acquiring the ability to sell milk food products, ABC Company was
successfully selling milk and cheese at trade and craft shows and at the Farmers’ Market. These products are the same ones
being sold today, with proper packaging and attractive labeling. Yogurt was added to the product line in two months later.
Jane inquired about 6 different local Farmers’ Markets before choosing Anytown. The Anytown market was close to home,
had a low vendor’s fee, and the biggest determining factor, there was space available; however it was seasonal, only running
from the end of May to the middle of October. It did not make sense to continue selling at a seasonal market when ABC
Company had product available year round. She continued her research, and decided that time would be best spent at the
Market in Othertown. There was a long wait period to get a space at the Othertown Market, but patience paid off. The
Othertown Market has been very successful.
Sales from the farm gate and at the Othertown Framers’ Market have allowed ABC Company to double their sales goals for
the first year. It took 11 months to process the first 100 batches of milk and only 3 months to process the next 100 batches.
The milk processing plant is very close to capacity on the production side. Jane is selling soap and cream almost faster than
she can make it. It was time to take this business to the next level. The milking parlour was renovated this summer to allow
for larger volumes of milk to go to the processing plant. What’s next? A larger processing plant? A bigger focus on agri-
tourism and education? Employees hired to allow business expansion? Jane hopes all of the above. This business will be
sure to develop much further in the years to come.
M a r k e t i n g (be specific and provide examples, amount of space to type is unlimited)
When Jane gets together with other small business owners, marketing is usually a topic of discussion. Products and services
can be developed and made, but if there is no marketing, no money can be made. Before Jane started her business, the word
“marketing” seemed like a big void, a black hole that she knew was really important, but had no idea how to understand it.
Now, she feels she has a good grasp of the term “marketing”. In discussions with fellow business owners, Jane often hears
a comment like, “I really need to work on my marketing, I think next Tuesday, I will concentrate on that.” Jane has learned
that marketing is more than that, and yet simpler too. She feels that marketing is something that is done everyday. It is
everything from how the farm looks, how the barn looks, how the table at the market looks, to the look and feel of products
and the feeling customers get from talking to ABC Company people. It’s the whole package.
Jane wants customers (and even those who are not customers) to feel that ABC Company offers good quality safe products
that are made by a hard working farm family. It is acceptable when customers come in and Jane walks over in her barn
clothes. Customers want to know that she is in the barn and that she knows the animals that produce their milk. If she were
in the house neat and clean all the time, customers would soon become wary and not believe her knowledge about the
animals and farm.
To Jane, marketing is simply letting people now who ABC Company is and what ABC Company does, sending the same
message all the time. Every time someone visits the website, phones with a question, looks at an ad, comes to the farm,
visits the Farmers’ Market, it is Jane’s goal to have them understand:
• The products that ABC Company has to offer.
• ABC Company products are made right on the farm, with milk from “our own” animals
• ABC Company is a family business. Jane and John do the milking of the animals, the processing of the milk, the
making of the soap, and the selling of the products.
• ABC Company is a professional business. Jane and John are well educated and are experts when it comes to milk
• ABC Company is a business that cares about their customers. Customers are extremely important to Jane and she
lets them know that.
Entrepreneur of the Year Page 2 of 2
An example of the above took place in August, 1987. Jane and John decided it was time to have an open house. Many of
the customers from the Othertown Farmer’s Market and the local customers wanted to see the farm up close, especially the
animals. Many of the neighbours wanted to see the new construction in the barn. What better way to accomplish this, than
to invite everyone to the farm and have a celebration!
Jane, John and many of their friends and family worked very long days getting the construction in the barn finished (which
is always done by themselves) and getting the farm cleaned up.
The open house was a success. (See article in supporting documents) Everyone that worked so hard on the set up was
ecstatic. The weather was not great that day and they had no idea how many people would make the drive up from
Othertown. In the end over 200 people came to enjoy the farm and animals. It was such a success, and everyone had so
much fun (both customers and organizers) that it will be an annual event.
Jane planned the events for the open house and the following is what she offered to customers:
• A self-guided tour took customers around the farm and barn educating them along the way. They learned about
the Conestogo River, horses, fields and crops, the animals, milking parlour, milk house, and processing plant.
• A milking competition. This was a lot of fun. It was great to see children (and even adults) get milk from a
animal when 5 minutes before they didn’t even know where milk came from. The smiles and looks of pride and
amazement were wonderful to see.
• Activities for the kids. Jane had set up a large tent where the children could colour an activity page, make a face
hat, or paint rocks! (Painting rocks is three year old Clara’s favorite activity)
• Free samples were offered. ABC Company cheeses, milk and yogurt as well as the soaps and creams were
available for sampling. Dairy cheeses were also offered. Bubba’s milk ice cream was available for $1.00 a
scoop. Over 175 scoops of ice cream were sold that day!
• The store was open for customers to buy products. Jane’s Mom never stopped pressing buttons on the cash
register. She was busy all afternoon!
• Farm fresh eggs and homemade pepper relish were also available.
• The Butter Tart TrailTM was advertised and brochures were handed out.
Jane’s marketing plan is simple in her mind. It must be working because the processing plant is to capacity most weeks.
Jane is always thinking, always planning and changing to help ABC Company evolve.
There is never much money left over when starting a new business. Advertising was a huge expense at the beginning with
not great results. Jane learned through market research that there were specific types of businesses that attracted a certain
type of customer. People that come to the farm to buy milk and cheese also like to visit artists studios, small unique shops
and other farm gates. Jane leaves some brochures at certain businesses that she has come to know and respect, and in
return, she passes out their brochures at her store. This works wonderfully. For a customer to get the information about
ABC Company from a business they like and trust speaks volumes. This certainly makes more of an impression than an ad
in the paper. In return, Jane places the other stores brochures in her store and returns the favour.
ABC Company can also be found on the Internet at www.MilkProducts.ca, in the County Buy Local! Buy Fresh! Map, on
the Eat Local Stuff Trail, in the Journey the Grand brochure, the County tourist guide, the Othertown and tourism website,
the Municipal website, Strategis Canada, and often in the Advertiser classifieds. (Jane gets up to 20 phone calls per week
from a classified ad versus zero from an expensive print ad)
ABC Company is a member of the District Chamber of Commerce and a partner in the Othertown Tourism partnership.
Jane also donates prizes and silent auction items to charitable causes.
Entrepreneur of the Year Page 2 of 2
Q u a l i t y A s s u r a n c e (be specific and provide examples, amount of space to type is unlimited)
John and Jane follow an extensive and unique design process. Their post-graduate training emphasized the importance of
the planning phase and they feel that it is imperative for a successful site design. They both worked in Quality Assurance
prior to entering the web design field and recognize the importance of thoroughly planning and testing every site that they
The process is as follows:
The development process begins by creating a competitive analysis. The target audience is the main focus. This research
helps to determine the site goals, audience, and target message. The sitemap and storyboard is then developed to outline the
structure of the site. Depending on the size of the project, a wire-frame click through version of the site may also be
created. At this stage changes can easily be made to the navigation of the site and the general layout.
A consistent navigation structure is built to ensure the site is effective for the target audience. Content is gathered, graphic
images are created and the interface design is developed. Clients are given a username and password so that they can login
and view the project design. Clients are then invited to make suggestions and any revisions are completed before the
programming is implemented into the site.
At this point the programming needs of the site are assessed and implemented. All sites are tested to maximize functionality
across a wide variety of platforms and browsers. Required databases are planned, created, and implemented and content
management sections are built.
Online marketing strategies are then considered to promote the website and business. Once the site is launched it is
submitted to the search engines and applicable local directories.
This approach to the web design process ensures a successful end product that is built specifically for the client and target
audience and through testing ensures that the site is functional in different browsers (Internet Explorer, Netscape, etc.),
platforms (PC, Mac) and operating systems (Win98, Win XP, etc.)
C u s t o m e r R e l a t i o n s (be specific and provide examples, amount of space to type is unlimited)
Being new to the area, John has quickly familiarized himself with a large number of residents and business people. He has
done this by attending many local events, but also by creating a strong work of mouth business that keeps him meeting new
customers on a continual basis.
John is always quick to offer free advice to anyone or any question. He provides his services late night, early morning and
on weekends, according to the schedule and needs of his customers. He also offers free pick up and delivery for those who
are not able to do so themselves for a variety of reasons. For example, he has several customers with physical disabilities
who are unable to disconnect and deliver their systems.
John is also known to provide "loaner parts" for people and businesses "in a pinch". For example, when a monitor
malfunctioned at the sole cash in a local business, John loaned his personal monitor to the business until a suitable
replacement could be put in place. Another example of this is when John has supplied a business with an entire system for
use while they wait for a new system which is on backorder.
John offers an open door environment where the customer's satisfaction is a priority. Customer satisfaction often depends
solely on cost. John strives to offer quality products at affordable, competitive prices. This includes taking the initiative to
investigate manufacturer’s rebates that apply to products he sells or has sold. On several occasions, John has mailed
qualifying customers' rebate forms as well as duplicate receipts so that they apply for these additional savings if they so
John is also a consumer and strives to always treat his customers the way he hopes to be treated by other businesses; with
fairness, quality and efficiency.
Entrepreneur of the Year Page 2 of 2
Community Involvement (be specific and provide examples, amount of space to type is unlimited)
Jane is amazed at the support she has received from the local community. It seems everyone wants her to succeed. Jane is
grateful for this support and wants to give back where she can. Working from six in the morning until midnight many days
does not leave much time to volunteer, but she helps out where she can. She is able to donate prizes and silent auction items
for fundraising and she volunteers at the school and with her son’s Beaver pack when she can. The Beaver pack came to the
farm for a tour in the spring of 2006.
Jane feels very strongly about the need to educate children about farming and where food comes from. Jane volunteered her
time at the 2005 Orangeville Fall Fair. She took a display, two mature animals in milk and three newbies. Jane made up
information handouts and activity pages. She had milking demonstrations five times during the day. After the milking, she
had children bottle feed the newbies. It was too much fun. Jane really saw the need for this education when she heard
remarks like “Is that really milk?” and “I guess animals need lots of artificial hormones to keep them milking” and “Baby
animals are called newnies, right?”
Jane also spoke to grade two students in the first Agricultural Education day at the Fall Fair and she spoke to 550 grade
three students during the Orangeville Agricultural Awareness day in April of this year. She is going to participate in the
program again this year. A 4-H tour has recently been set up for September as well.
Jane is so good at speaking to children about her animals that she has been asked by five other fall fairs to speak. When her
own children are older and the business is more established, Jane hopes to be able to say yes to these opportunities.
In the spring of 2006 Jane heard about a tourism meeting that the Economic Development Officer was putting on. She was
very interested so she went. As a result of that meeting a Tourism Partnership was formed, which is a sub committee of the
EDC. Jane has become chair of this committee which works on projects like the Butter Tart TrailTM and Christmas
Promotions. The committee’s goal is to increase the number of visitors to the Community. A further development from the
meetings is a Tastes of the Community Committee, which Jane will be a part of. This committee will work to promote farm
E n v i r o n m e n t a l C o n s c i o u s n e s s (be specific and provide examples, amount of space to type is unlimited)
Jane often remarks how fascinating she finds the ABC Company business. The end product sold comes straight from the
land her children are being raised on. Everything affects ABC Company. The weather, soil, the barn and house, the look of
the property when customers and acquaintances arrive, all interconnect to form a unique system that must be working
properly for the business to survive and grow.
The weather dictates how well the animals will milk. The feed grown on the farm is dependent on the weather. Milk
production is crucial to ABC Company, but corners are never cut. Animals are never given hormones or antibiotics to drive
milk production. If an animal is ill and requires medication, she is identified and removed from the milking herd.
Animals are sensitive to the weather as well. If they are too hot or too cold, milk production can suffer. Jane and John
work hard to be sure their animals are comfortable.
Since ABC Company is a family owned business that is run from home, it is important that all members of the family are
enjoying the business. Jane works hard to be sure that the family sits down together for meals and even three year old Clara
has ways she can contribute to the business. If the family isn’t enjoying the business, the business won’t survive.
Jane loves the land the farm is on. Still, after living on the farm for years, when she has time to stop and slow down to
enjoy the scenery it takes her breath away. The deer, hawks, muskrats, mice, rabbits, owls, herons, turtles, frogs, snakes,
foxes, fish, and the numerous other small birds, animals and insects that share the Smith farm will disappear if the farm land
is not looked after. The Smith’s are quite proud of the way the Conestogo River has returned to a more natural state. In
2000, after completing an Environmental Farm plan, Jane started working with the Grand River Conservation Authority
(GRCA). A bigger concern than the river was the grassed waterways that drain the land from several neighbouring farms
into the Conestogo River. Grasses work as a natural filter, removing many harmful substances from the water such as
fertilizer run off. To protect these fragile environments, about nine acres of land was retired and fenced off from livestock
and equipment. A tractor crossing was also installed to prevent soil erosion in the river. More than 2000 trees were planted
in the retired land.
The Smith’s feel so strongly about protecting the River that Jane would not allow the neighbouring farm to clean out a
Entrepreneur of the Year Page 2 of 2
protected drainage ditch unless they had the proper permits and approval from GRCA. For the 20 or more previous years
the land had been abused. Not anymore. The Smith’s are still in contact with the GRCA. Summer students and GRCA
employees often come out to study the river and in inhabitants.
ABC Company customers are also concerned about the environment and where their food comes from. They also enjoy the
farm scenery and idea of farm life. The Smith’s like to keep the farm looking nice for customers that come in. Jane invites
customers to take a self-guided tour that shows the steps ABC Company has taken to protect the surrounding environment
while offering good quality products from the milk produced on the farm.
Entrepreneur of the Year Page 2 of 2