Vancouver Island takes the prize for BC’s top small businesses

Campbell River and Ucluelet entrepreneurs honoured at the Small Business BC Awards

Vancouver Island -  The best of British Columbia’s small businesses were announced Friday night, June 2, at the Small Business BC Awards Gala, and Vancouver Island businesses Discovery Fabrics (Campbell River) and Mint Cleaning (Uclulet) each took home a prize, recognized for their business savvy and community contributions. 

The annual Small Business BC Awards is a celebration of entrepreneurship, where small businesses are recognized for their exceptional achievements. This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Small Business BC Awards.

“Small businesses are the heart of our communities and the engine of our economy. The resilience and strength these businesses have shown over the past few years is nothing short of inspiring. PacifiCan supports small businesses across the province and celebrates their growth and success,” said the Honourable Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of International Development and Minister responsible for the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada (PacifiCan).
“Small businesses are the backbone of our community. They provide jobs, drive innovation, and create opportunities for people living in British Columbia. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees of the Small Business BC Awards! You should all be proud of your accomplishments and everything you have done to help build a strong economy,” said the Honourable Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation.

To select the winners, 613 nominees across 84 BC communities were narrowed down to the Top 5 Finalists based on more than 74,000 public votes and written responses judged by business experts. Finalists proceeded to pitch their businesses to a panel of BC business leaders, who then selected the winner of each award category.

“For twenty years, the Small Business BC Awards has offered a platform for entrepreneurs to showcase their drive and determination while receiving the recognition they so greatly deserve,” said Tom Conway, CEO of Small Business BC. “These are some of the most creative, passionate and resilient people and it’s truly our honour to share their stories through the Small Business BC Awards.”

2023 Small Business BC Award Winners

Premier’s People’s Choice Award Winner: Leslie Hanes, ​ Discovery Fabrics, Campbell River

This unique award category, sponsored by the Province of British Columbia, is presented to a BC-based small business that can demonstrate the unwavering and loyal support of their community.

Discovery Fabrics is a family-owned and operated business that makes high-performance fabrics, usually only available to top active and outwear brands, available to home sewists and makers. Alongside this, they educate customers on technologies that can enhance their garments. From their location in Campbell River, they send their products across North America.

“This award means a lot to us because we worked so hard to create a business that sustains our employees, satisfies our own needs and wants, and is just a great place to work,” said Leslie Hanes, owner of Discovery Fabrics.

E-Commerce Experience Award Winner: Robyn Mair and Monika Scott, ​ Mint Cleaning, Uclulet 

The E-Commerce Experience Award, sponsored by the Canada Digital Adoption Program, goes to a small business that presents a frictionless experience for their customers online. 

Located in the remote community of Ucluelet, Mint Cleaning offers small-batch cleaning products that optimize results while being eco-friendly, all-natural and non-toxic.

“It means so much to be recognized as a small business, we work so hard, and we’re just so grateful and honoured that our community and customers supported us through this,” said ​ Robyn Mair, co-founder of Mint Cleaning. 

“One of the biggest successes of Mint Cleaning is they make cleaning look fun,” comments a ​ Small Business BC Awards judge.

Business Impact Award Winner: Brittany and Matt Giesbrecht, The Speckled Sow Butchery & Market, ​ Vanderhoof

Sponsored by BCAA, this award recognizes a business that has taken positive action to invest in the community and views social responsibility as an integral part of their success.

The Speckled Sow is a butcher shop and market located that provides a much-needed cut and wrap service to their region for domestic and wild game. 

Best Youth Entrepreneur Winner: Jackie Rhind and Christina Witzel, Ovry, Revelstoke 

Young entrepreneurs are creating new jobs and shaping our provincial economy with their energy and ingenuity. Sponsored by Kwantlen Polytechnic University, this award recognizes a business leader aged 35 and under who is succeeding.

Ovry exists to offer a better alternative to store-bought pregnancy and ovulation tests. Compared to traditional tests, Ovry strip tests are tiny, discreet, accurate, much more affordable and each test uses 90% less single-use plastic.

Each winner will be awarded with $10,000 in prize money, professional videography from Small Business BC Awards partner, True Calling, ​ and 1 year of free advisory support from SBBC.

The Small Business BC Awards is the largest and most recognized awards program in Western Canada dedicated to entrepreneurs, with over 6000 businesses having competed in the last 20 years to be named a top small business. ​ 

More information on this year’s Small Business BC Award winners ​ can be found at

Website preview
2023 Small Business BC Awards
The SBBC Awards are British Columbia’s largest small business awards. 2023 has been an incredible year for our annual awards competition, with 613 nomination...


Darren Dunne

Digital Content & Website Manager, Small Business BC

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About Small Business BC

Small Business BC provides entrepreneurs with the information and guidance necessary to build a solid foundation for their business. Through a wide range of products, services, education and resources there’s a piece that fits with every business. No matter what stage or what skill level, when an entrepreneur finds themselves asking “How do I…?” Small Business BC is the one to call.