Every one of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies deserves to be celebrated, but a few of this year’s winners warrant special kudos. At the PROFIT 500 CEO Summit in Toronto on June 16th, we presented five special awards to companies whose individual achievements really stood out.
And the winners are…(Photo: Vito Amati/Arthur Mola Photography)
Export Excellence Award: Orckestra Inc.
Exports are big business for Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies. The PROFIT 500 exported just shy of $7 billion worth of goods and services last year. And the average PROFIT 500 exporter generated more than 41% of its sales abroad last year. Of these export-minded businesses, one warrants special commendation. Montreal-based Orckestra Inc. is an e-commerce company that provides clients with real-time information into all aspects of their businesses.
In 2008, foreign business was just 10% of Orckestra’s sales. That number grew to 70% in 2013, with foreign clients primarily in the U.S. and Mexico. When you tally up all the numbers, Orckestra’s export business grew at an incredible 3,056% over the past five years. And there’s every reason to believe that number will grow in the years ahead. According to CEO Louis Fournier, “Mexico is emerging. We’re just starting there.”
Here, Louis Fournier accepts the 2014 PROFIT 500 Export Excellence award from Peter Lawler of BDC.
Top Young Entrepreneur: Ryan Marien, Buytopia
There’s a lot of youthful energy on the PROFIT 500. An impressive share of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Companies were founded by CEOs at a young age. Indeed, 34% of PROFIT 500 founders launched their award-winning businesses before reaching the age of 30.
One of them is Ryan Marien, the founder and CEO of Buytopia, a Toronto-based business that sells discounted consumer goods and services through an online store and through very popular daily-deal emails. Buytopia ranks No. 11 overall on this year’s PROFIT 500, with five-year revenue growth of 3,951%.
Marien was in his early 20s when he started the business with two university friends in 2008. Since then, he’s grown it to more than $5 million in sales in 2013. And he’s just 29 years old. Below, Marien accepts this year’s PROFIT 500 Young Entrepreneur Award from James Chalmers of Symantec.
BDO Business Value Award: White House Design Co. Inc.
Every year, one PROFIT 500 company receives a special nod for its efforts to increase business value. This year, the winner is White House Design, a Burnaby, B.C.-based designer, manufacturer, marketer and wholesaler of women’s clothing. White House Design increased its sales 353% from 2008 through 2013, enough to earn it the No. 171 spot on the 2014 PROFIT 500. And along the way, the company’s leaders put in many practices and processes to maximize the value of the firm. At the same time, the company built and maintained an indelible family atmosphere at its headquarters; chief executive Jan Stimpson not only knows all 100-plus employees by name, she knows what is going on in their lives.
Here, Louis Beltjens of White House Design accepts the 2014 BDO Business Value Award from Peter Matutat of BDO.
Job Creation Award: Kognitive Marketing Partnership
Jobs might be the most important contribution a company can make to its community. As it happens, the 2014 PROFIT 500 are creating jobs at an impressive rate. Over the past five years, these companies added the equivalent of 34,170 brand new full-time jobs to their payrolls.
One massive job-creator is Kognitive Marketing Partnership, an experiential marketing agency headquartered in Toronto. In the past five years, Kognitive’s sales have increased by 4,903%, enough to earn the firm the No. 6 spot on the 2014 PROFIT 500. It would be almost impossible to achieve growth like that without staffing up, and Kognitive has done just that. In 2008, the company had 13 full-time equivalent employees on its payroll. In 2013, it had 330. That means its workforce has expanded by 26 times in just five years.
Here, Josh Singer of Kognitive Marketing accepts the 2014 Job Creation Award from Marc Avaria of Manulife.
Canada’s Fastest-Growing Company: FourQuest Energy Inc.
As a group, the PROFIT 500 achieved average sales growth of 536% over the past five years—59 times faster than the rate of inflation over the same period. In this key area, one firm stands out. Edmonton-headquartered FourQuest Energy grew its revenue from less than $800,000 in 2007 to more than $50 million in 2013. Its five-year growth was an incredible 7,308%.
FourQuest started like so many other businesses—when its two founders, Nik Grgic and Karl Gannon, took a look at the way things were done at the multinational energy company they worked for and said “we can do this better.” From Day One, they’ve aspired to build a big, booming business, and they’ve done just that by structuring their company to accommodate very fast growth. (You can read the full story of FourQuest’s growth here.)
For its incredible growth so far, FourQuest earns the top prize of the 2014 PROFIT 500: the title of Canada’s Fastest-Growing Company. Here, Sean Conroy of FourQuest accepts the honour from Jérôme Nycz of BDC.