From the start

In 1994, a small group of people from the community – people involved in various business, educational and service organizations – got together because they had an idea. They wanted to profile and recognize outstanding achievers in Niagara, and provide inspiration and encouragement for other businesses and other innovators.

They wanted to know one thing: Who are the business stars in Niagara and what makes them tick? How can we honour them, help them, give them the recognition they deserve, and foster an environment in which creative business ideas can thrive, grow and prosper?

The Niagara Entrepreneur of the Year Awards program was born. The goal of the program was to draw special attention to those people who, through hard work, determination, creativity and resourcefulness, had established new ventures or reinvented existing ones.

And over the past 25 years, that’s exactly what we’ve accomplished. We’ve honoured many outstanding innovators and achievers who have made their mark, and continue to excel in their chosen field.

We’ve shone a spotlight on the people who exemplify the true spirit of entrepreneurship, and who have also given something back to the community. We’ve gone as far back as the late 1700s by honouring Robert Hamilton – an influential community leader, businessman, politician and lawmaker – by inducting him into our Historical Hall of Fame.

Whether a historical figure or a new business person, they all share a common trait – that entrepreneurial drive and a commitment to social, educational or environmental improvement. All our business visionaries have become community leaders in their own right and role models for future entrepreneurs. With support from area chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, educational institutions, sponsors and other organizations with an interest in fostering business growth, the program has grown tremendously over the past 25 years.