Annual 1Awards looking for this year’s local business contenders

Applications are now open for a chance to share in $100,000 in cash and in-kind services. FirstOntario Credit Union and its community partners are back for the fourth annual 1Awards competition. The event, which includes Niagara area businesses, was designed to support local entrepreneurs.

A group of finalists will be chosen from the list of applicants to present a 15-minute pitch to judges in June. Winners will share $20,000 in cash and $80,000 worth of in-kind, professional services to help them execute future plans. Prizes are based on needs and while everyone can use cash, the judges determine how the prizes will be allocated following the presentations.

In four years, FirstOntario and 1Awards partners have invested close to $500,000 into its business communities. Partners include Niagara College; Form & Affect; KPMG; Lancaster, Brooks and Welch LLP,; Niagara Dailies;Brock University, and Giant Shoe Creative. Last year’s winners include Hometown Ice Cream, Thorpe Concepts, Stathletes, and Hamill Machine Company.

To be eligible for the 1Awards, businesses must have 50 employees or less and have been in business for at least 24 months. The business must demonstrate “measurable growth”, such as workforce expansion, innovation, and community impact. Submissions are now open. Eligible candidates must apply before Friday, May 3, 2019.

For more details and to fill out an application online, visit or stop by any FirstOntario location in the Niagara Region.