Small businesses change the world.

They’re the engines of growth for Niagara, moving our economy forward and driving it to greater success.

There are more than 13,000 businesses across the Niagara region. More than 93% of those businesses have fewer than 50 employees. Small businesses help forge the vitality, strength and energy of Niagara’s business community, and contribute immensely to the community at large. The majority of new jobs, in Niagara, across the country, and around the world, are created by small and medium-sized businesses.

Niagara’s entrepreneurs, however, are found in all businesses, regardless of size. While Niagara boasts a plethora of small and medium-sized businesses, innovation can also occur in large organizations. An entrepreneur can, with intelligence, skill and determination, make a smaller business grow into a larger company. So it’s important to recognize that innovation is not restricted to size, but instead, is a characteristic of the entrepreneurial mind. And it’s important to nurture that mind and spirit. Especially in Niagara, where more than 80% of new businesses are still in business three years after their launch. Compare that to the national average of 50%.

That’s why the NEYA program is so important, playing a key role to encouraging, supporting and nurturing entrepreneurs. More entrepreneurs mean more jobs. They boost economic growth, create more economic opportunities, strengthen our community and improve the quality of our lives. They’re a source of business inspiration, and a source of community pride. These achievers are also role models and leaders. And we need them.

Their spin-off dreams become vital new businesses, creating jobs, generating income, and spawning new ideas. It’s important to recognize the innovators, provide an environment for their success, and challenge them to even greater heights.

Niagara’s entrepreneurs change our world.

The people who have become Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Award recipients come from diverse backgrounds, have a variety of interests and occupations and have managed to make breakthroughs in a whole range of businesses.

Niagara itself is diverse, with major occupational categories that make this area different from any other area in the province. Niagara’s entrepreneurs have given new life to and created new business opportunities in these economic sectors:

Tourism — It’s the key to Niagara’s economic renaissance. We’re the number one tourist destination in Ontario.

Manufacturing — This sector has traditionally been the backbone of Niagara’s economy, and remains an important economic contributor as it evolves to meet the needs of tomorrow.

Advanced Technology Manufacturing — Small and medium-sized businesses with their niche market products have made this emerging sector a vital part of Niagara’s new economy.

Agriculture — Niagara’s thriving grape and wine industry, tender fruit sector and vital greenhouse industry all play a key role in Niagara’s economic prosperity.

Customer Services — This sector is the largest employer in Niagara and covers all industries, large and small.

Niagara’s Entrepreneurs — In a class by themselves.

The nominees and award recipients in the NEYA program represent an elite group of high achievers. They are entrepreneurial leaders who have nurtured their passion, embraced their mission, and believed in their vision.

They have made outstanding contributions in many areas. Our talented award recipients have achieved success in these fields of endeavor:

  • Biotechnology
  • Food service
  • Real estate development
  • Culinary education and tourism
  • Retail sales
  • Wine-making and wineries
  • Steel fabricating
  • Consumer products
  • Specialty fabrics
  • Machine works
  • Construction, quarry operations & waste management
  • Banking
  • Technological imaging systems
  • Hospitality
  • Specialized manufacturing
  • Greenhouse & floral operations
  • Agricultural operations
  • Packaging and warehousing
  • Publishing
  • Entertainment
  • Biomedical technology
  • Communications, design and multimedia
  • Computer services
  • Fashion design
  • Transportation
  • Home design and décor
  • And more….

We encourage you to be involved with our ongoing program by nominating someone you know who has made a difference. They will join an illustrious group of NEYA alumni. See our complete list of award recipients.

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