THUNDER BAY, ONT. — Nominations are open for the 2022 Innovation Awards with winners being announced on Nov. 3.
Bridget Postuma, business development advisor with the Northwestern Ontario Innovation Centre, says anyone is eligible to make a nomination for the 13th annual event.
“You can make a nomination if you work with the company or if it’s just someone in the community,” she said. “The nominees just have to be in Northwestern Ontario.”
Postuma says being recognized for these awards is important for innovators and entrepreneurs, especially given the last few years of the COVID-19 pandemic. The award ceremony itself had to switch away from in-person formalities in the last two years because of the pandemic.
This year it will return to a live, in-person event.
“It’s been hard for a lot of innovators in Northwestern Ontario, and around the world and it’s exciting that we can gather again to celebrate these entrepreneurs and they can celebrate their wins and their victories,” Postuma said. “We have quite a few people that attend our awards, usually about 100-150, and our social media reach is quite large. Sometimes people don’t know about these companies, so just by being nominated, they’re being made aware to other companies about who they are in their business.”
The Innovation Centre receives almost 50 nominations from Kenora, Dryden and Thunder Bay eastward for each of the four categories before judging takes place. Three judges are chosen each year for the panel with one from RBC, the event’s main sponsor, another an entrepreneur, and someone from the community to provide some different dynamics and opinions on the businesses.
The deadline for nominations is Sept. 19. There are four categories.
Innovative Company of the Year: This award acknowledges a company’s leadership through the innovation of its products or services, the sustained growth of its assets, and its dedication to community involvement. Innovation should be the energy fuelling this emerging or expanding company.
Innovative Project of the Year: This award acknowledges an organization that demonstrates leadership with the creative use of innovation. An ideal project would include benefits such as the advancement of the organization, improvement of client/customer services, and positive impact on the community or the region at large.
Innovation Hero of the Year: This award recognizes an individual in Northwestern Ontario who takes an innovative approach to improve his or her organization, business, or community. This candidate may be a youth, student, business leader, community leader, teacher, professor, or professional.
Young Innovator of the Year: This award encourages and recognizes young innovators in Northwestern Ontario who demonstrate an innovative approach to schooling, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, or has an innovative project or business. This candidate must be under 29 years of age.
Sandi Krasowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Chronicle-Journal