Ramp up your small business with the 2017 1Awards Niagara

Niagara College has joined forces once again with FirstOntario Credit Union, along with several other Niagara community partners, to offer an amazing opportunity for Niagara’s small businesses.

Applications are invited between now and May 5 for the second annual 1Awards competition, created to  help small businesses get to the next level of their operations, whether that be in business practices, market research or similar needs.

Winners will share more than $115,000 in cash and in-kind services to help them execute their award-winning plans. Prizes are allocated based on each businesses’ needs.

This exciting opportunity has been a tremendous success in Hamilton — with investments of more than half a million in the small business landscape in its first five years — so FirstOntario decided to expand into Niagara in 2016. That competition resulted in nearly 30 applications from Niagara small businesses, with the top three winners sharing in the prize haul.

Niagara partners also include Postmedia, Form & Affect, KPMG, Lancaster, Brooks and Welch LLP, The Business Link Niagara and Niagara Region.

To be eligible for the 1Awards, small businesses must have 50 or less employees and have been in business for at least 24 months in the Niagara Region. These businesses must also demonstrate “measureable growth,” such as workforce expansion, innovation and economic impact in their local communities. Eligible candidates must apply by Friday, May 5, 2017.

Finalists will be announced in mid-May; they will be invited to present their business plan to a panel later that month. Winners will be announced at an awards gala on June 15.

Candidates can enter by filling out an application online at www.1Awardsniagara.ca or by visiting FirstOntario locations in Niagara.