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Best of Sudbury businesses share success stories at annual awards


The upper hall of the Caruso Club in Sudbury was packed Thursday night as the Greater Sudbury Chamber of Commerce celebrated its 26th annual Bell Business Excellence Awards honouring local entrepreneurs.

2023 Bell Business Excellence Award winners (Back Row (left to right): Northern Ontario Film Studio’s Dave Anselmo, Raven Rising Enterprises Ltd’s Chef Tammy Maki, BESTECH’s Patrick Fantin, City Welding & Y International Recruiting + Immigration Services Inc.’s Robert Brouilette, Yes Buddy Cleaning Services’ Tiffany Yahaya, HSN Foundations’s Ian Lane and Michael Macnamara Front Row (L to R): NSS Canada’s Bruno Lalonde, DeafBlind Ontario Services’ Crystal Pigeon-Way, Goshenite Senior Services Incorporated’s Nicole Blais, Yes Buddy Cleaning Services’ Faruk Lahaya…FROSKR’s Kati McCartney) Westmount Photography

More than 140 nominations were received for 10 award categories and organizers said it speaks to the resiliency of the business community. Three judges, consisting of two of the 2022 award winners, narrowed each category down to three finalists and one winner.

"Coming out of the pandemic and having an awards gala, being able to gather as a group and celebrate businesses and celebrate the struggles of being able to make it through the pandemic is huge," Anthony Davis, the chamber chair, told CTV News in an interview.

"And being able to be here with other businesses that went through the exact same thing you did, maybe different industries, but similar struggles... it's great. It's great to get it off your chest but to celebrate it as well."


The three finalists for the Best Place to Work Award were the Adult Enrichment Centre, Bestech and Sudbury Credit Union.

President of engineering firm Bestech Patrick Fantine accepted the award.

"I'm humbled," Fantine said to the crowd.

"This award is all about our team, nothing more, nothing less. Winning the Best Place to Work Award is a testament to the incredible efforts of all our employees. They put into creating a culture that's all about collaboration, motivation, compassion, inclusivity and just having a good time."


The small enterprise award honours one to two-person operations that have shown significant business achievement, sustainable financial performance and a high level of customer service.

The three finalists were L. May Manufacturing – maker of the miner's lunchbox --, Raven Rising and Sound.wav Rentals.

Chef Tammy Maki, the owner of Raven Rising Global Indigenous Chocolates, was emotional as she spoke to the crowd after being announced the winner.

"My daughter was supposed to be here with us this evening, but she passed away three weeks ago, so she's not able to. But she was an integral part of my business and my voice and my ears at events out of town and was larger than life, so I know that she's 'here' somewhere," Maki said.

"I am very, very honoured to be recognized by the chamber and by Bell and the city that I have grown up in."

At the end of her speech the audience gave her a standing ovation.


The Best Young Entrepreneur award honours local business owners age 35 and under.

The three finalists were Lauren Barbara Williamson of Cerealously Creamy, Ashlee Lachapelle of Respite Nurses Agency and Tiffany Yahaya of Yes Buddy Cleaning Services.

Yahaya accepted the award she said she and her husband started the business out of survival mode.

"I just had a C-section, my husband had his work permit refused, our (immigration) sponsorship got lost in the mail, we didn't have enough to buy diapers for our son," she said to the crowd.

"So two years ago we started this and it's just crazy how much we could accomplish. I am so excited to see what else we can accomplish in less time."

The married couple runs the business together.

"We were trying to support a new family of three with $600 biweekly, which is obviously not do-able. We didn’t know how we were going to buy diapers or formula for our son. If we didn’t have our family here, we would have been homeless with a newborn. We were running out of options to survive and decided to start this business and take a risk and it was the best and most important leap we could have taken," the couple said on social media.

"We’ve pulled more all-nighters at the shop detailing than anyone will ever know and being afraid that we will not be able to feed our son has given us the fuel to the Yes Buddy fire. He is our biggest motivation and what keeps us going."

Yes Buddy Cleaning Services’ owners Faruk and Tiffany Yahaya at 2023 Bell Business Excellence Awards. May 26/23 (Supplied)


The three finalists for Best Business Start-Up were Details Event Planning & Décor, FROSKR and Noojimo Health.

FROSKR, an environmental consulting services company that started in 2021, took home the award.

"Entrepreneurship is hard work, so congratulations to our team, who hustles every day," company president Kati McCartney said to the crowd as she accepted the award.


The three finalists were Capella Innovation, Northern Wildflowers and NSS Canada.

Bruno Lalonde, president of NSS Canada accepted the Best Innovation award.

"I am beyond humbled by the opportunity to stand here and accept this award of the NSS team. They are truly the smartest group I have had the pleasure of working with in my entire life," Lalonde said.

In his speech, he credited product development engineer Bernie Smith with the company's success.

"Bernie Smith is the true innovation hero at NSS. He's had this passion for 20+ years and we toss ideas at him, he turns it around and makes it a reality, so much so, that he decided to not show up here tonight because he's working on something for one of our clients," Lalonde said.

"It's amazing what humans can accomplish when you have the right attitude and culture."


The award for Best Company of the Year honours a private sector organization that has had a significant impact on the community's economy.

The three finalists were Build North Construction, Dr. Clean and Northern Ontario Film Studios.

David Anselmo of Northern Ontario Film Studios was the winner.

"It really is an honour to be here amongst everybody, given the four or five years of, you know, economy and heartache and COVID and to see how people are coming back from that. I think, you know, our cold winters in northern Ontario, maybe it's the nickel in our blood, that really makes us have the grit that we need to persevere," Anselmo said.

"You know watching all the things tonight and all the videos -- the guys over there did a great job at making these videos -- just watching all the companies and seeing all the young entrepreneurs, it's very inspirational to see how we're coming out of this and I think that's an attestation to how we are as a community in northern Ontario."

The chamber said the film studio has created 2,000 full-time equivalent jobs and contributed more than $200 million to the economy.


Rob Brouillette of City Welding Sudbury and Y International Recruiting + Immigration Services won the award.

He started his speech with the four rules that he lives by:

  • Do more not less
  • Do your responsibilities in a fashion to make the next person's responsibilities easier
  • Learn to stop and breathe
  • And if you make a mess, clean it up

"To be nominated is one thing, to know that I have been selected, as the executive of the year is truly a


The three finalists were Nicole Blais of Goshenite Seniors Services, Robin Vienneau of Old Soul Soap Company and Sahil Bhardwaj of Top Rops Steel.

In Blais' winner's speech, she thanked RBC for always having her back, her team, her husband and family.

humbling experience and an honour," Brouillette said.


The three finalists for the Service Excellence Award were DeafBlind Ontario Services, Northstar Recreation and Temagami Outpost.

DeafBlind Ontario Services won.

The organization expanded to Sudbury in 2017 but has been providing services for 34 years across the province.

It currently has two supportive living homes in the Greater Sudbury area of Hanmer and is opening a third one next month in the city.


The three finalists for the Non-Profit/Charity Excellence Award were Health Sciences North Foundation, Sudbury Women's Centre and United Way North East Ontario.

Ian Lane and Michael Macnamara accepted the award on behalf of HSN Foundation. Top Stories

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