Discover the amazing stories of past winners of the Tales of Triumph Contest.

2023 contest winners

Grand prize winners

Customer Connection

Zuri & Dre
Zuri & Dre launched to increase the representation of people of colour through plush dolls, cushions, stationary, ...home décor and other accessories and over time has grown exponentially with input from the brand’s community of followers.

Doing Good

Between the Bumpers
Between the Bumpers helps people live healthy, happy lives through fitness, physiotherapy and education. ...Their coaching and mentorship program empowers entrepreneurs and fitness coaches by providing development opportunities and resources.

Rising Stars

Marlow is a period care brand that created the first-ever lubricated tampon for greater comfort. ... Marlow aims to inspire the next generation of menstruators to live actively and comfortably while on their period.

Canada’s Choice

Newbornlander is a social enterprise that creates unique, ethical and safe products for babies. ...Employing women who are new to Canada, Newbornlander helps them develop sewing, language and business skills, while also providing guidance on navigating their new lives in Canada.

Employees’ Choice

BRACAShirts makes high-quality, fashionable shirts and hospital gowns that make it easy for surgical patients to manage post-surgical drains. ...BRACAShirts also aims to bridge the cancer and surgery patient knowledge gap.

2022 contest winners

Grand prize winners

Doing good

I AM LOVE Project
Born out of a desire to help and give back, I AM LOVE Project was founded in 2018 by Amy in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Spreading love has always been at the heart of the project. ...Beginning by making bracelets out of consciously sourced materials that would remind the wearer to live with intention and leverage the natural energies from the stones used in the designs, partial proceeds from the sales were donated to local charities, schools, not-for-profits and similar organizations. As the business began to grow, the goal was to remain true to their original mission in their next steps.

Throughout the pandemic, they shifted from their fundraising-first model to provide support for their community members from the ground up, pivoting to a social business model oriented around providing employment and the opportunity to learn new skillsets in the post-Covid job market for women facing barriers. With this renewed approach, they are able to support women through training and community support, allowing them to gain knowledge needed for personal and professional development. To accomplish this, 60% of their earrings, bracelets and necklaces are handmade by those in Manitoba facing employment barriers, struggling with mental health or addiction, or are disabled. Focusing on women who experience(d) mental, physical or emotional challenges and need additional income (among other characteristics), the business is giving back directly to their community. In fact, they integrate their purpose and desire to give back into everything they do. They are also focused on encouraging and challenging other organizations employing those facing adversity to compensate their employees with fair wages to further propel them on their path forward.

As each piece of jewelry is created, a story is told, with each artisan given a level of artistic freedom. As each piece is purchased, an individual's story is heard. As each piece is worn, a story is shared. This is the chain of love at the heart of I AM LOVE Project.

Marketing magic

Eco Securica Inc.
Established in Mont-Saint-Grégoire, Quebec, Eco Securica Inc. creates branding concepts and distributes products in hardware stores and RV centres across Canada. ...With no formal education in marketing, founder Benoit has built a successful business through branding and marketing, learning the ropes and building creative assets and strategies to drive sales and raise awareness for various home protection products.

For example, as the Canadian distributor for household and commercial repellent of what is now known as Rod the Repellent, the Eco Securica Inc. team rebranded the manufacturer’s name, making it shorter, easier to pronounce and more accessible for their French-Canadian audience. In addition to branding the product, the team revamped the original marketing by creating a slogan, a mascot and various visual marketing tactics, including a 2D animated TV ad, all in house. With the goal of selling 5,000 bags of the repellent, they quickly exceeded expectations and customer demands.

Realizing they’d found a working formula, they began distributing the product through their online sales channels. Their TV ad was presented across Quebec channels such as Salut Bonjour, and a radio ad was featured across the Quebec market. As they spread the word, they continued to spread their product, landing on the shelves of thousands of stores across Canada.

Rising stars

PRIZM Foods was a company born with a mission – to offer more halal products in the mainstream market and bridge the gap between culturally inspired ethnic snacks and mainstream grab-and-go options. ... The founders noticed that most snacks that met halal dietary restrictions were imported and less appealing than other available options and set out to make a change with PRIZM Foods.

Starting the company in early 2021, Mississauga’s PRIZM Foods began by selling their first product line, PRIZM Beef Jerky. Since launching, the product is now sold in over 300 physical retail locations, such as Sobeys and the Vancouver Airport, and has reached over 5,000 unique customers across North America through direct-to-consumer online sales.

Looking to the future, the team is about to launch an additional product line and hopes to continue acquiring retail partnerships while simultaneously growing their online customer base. Hiring more employees, launching commercial ads and raising brand awareness and knowledge are also top of mind. At the heart of it all, PRIZM Foods seeks to continue disrupting the snack industry at large with their halal products, never losing focus on offering an inclusive, flavourful product that is 100% owned and operated by Canadians.

Canada’s choice

Raven Rising Global Indigenous Chocolates
Raven Rising Global Indigenous Chocolates, based in Sudbury, Ontario, offers artisan chocolates, truffles, hand-painted and hand-crafted bars and other chocolate treats. Their focus is to introduce Indigenous ingredients ethically sourced from Indigenous businesses globally through unique chocolate creations. ...Opening mid-pandemic, Chef Tammy began selling online, renting a kitchen to bring her creations to life. Over the last couple of years, business has grown steadily. She now focuses on the business full time, recently opening a storefront and production space in downtown Sudbury in the fall of 2022.

Owner and CEO Chef Tammy is a Red Seal pastry chef and baker. Through a desire to learn more about her Indigenous Identity, she began learning about Indigenous ingredients and interacting with First Nations peoples. Raven Rising Global Indigenous Chocolates seeks to share the lessons she herself has learned and bring others on the journey alongside her.

In addition to standard by-the-bar or box purchases, Chef Tammy also offers chocolate memberships that tell Indigenous stories and offers corporate tasting events. A portion of profits are contributed to various Indigenous societies, and the Raven Rising Pastry Arts Scholarship was recently launched to support an Indigenous student in the pastry or culinary arts through George Brown College. Looking to the future, Chef Tammy hopes to expand her team, while also looking to support students through in-house learning opportunities. The business ships across Canada to customers from coast to coast, and they’ve begun to expand their physical footprint as well through pop-up events and partnerships.

Employees’ choice

MPC Foundation
MPC Foundation is a grassroots, volunteer-based organization based in Calgary, Alberta. Its founders set out to empower seniors to age well in their community by reducing social isolation, providing opportunities for meaningful engagement and by creating social hubs to foster connection. ...Working alongside other community organizations, the foundation leverages resources and expertise to improve senior wellness through organizing social, physical, mental and educational activities.

Their services fall under four main pillars – wellness, creativity, learning and technology. The MPC Foundation runs classes several times a day, 6 days a week. Classes and activities vary, from Tai Chi and Zumba to seminars on legal topics and English classes for immigrant seniors, with sessions being taught in the senior’s own language whenever possible. Having to pivot to online formats over the course of the pandemic, the MPC Foundation continued to maintain and amplify their community through Zoom as seniors became even more isolated due to safety restrictions.

In 2020, the foundation was serving 25 seniors. They now have a weekly attendance of 250. By creating their own community, the foundation enables seniors to give back to the community themselves. They create care bags filled with essentials for seniors in need, filling and distributing roughly 400 bags a year.

2021 contest winners

Offline to online

Mobile Escape
Mobile Escape brings the escape room to you. Starting in 2016, brothers-in-law Paul Harvey and Eric Reynolds towed large cargo trailers, ...containing escape rooms, to events across Alberta. More than 100,000 students went through their escape rooms before the pandemic. COVID-19 shut down their main business model in minutes – but they didn’t fold up. After three weeks of brainstorming and hiring staff with new competencies, they pivoted to an entirely new business model. They’re now a global business that has people all over the world playing #EscapeMail – an escape room in an envelope. Their 12-episode series features mind-boggling puzzles, paper crafting, video narratives and interactive materials. They’ve sold to dozens of countries, won industry awards and earned more revenue in 2020 than in any previous year.

Doing good

Bliss Skateboard Shop
Bliss Skateboard Shop sells skateboards and accessories in the border city of Windsor, Ontario. The City of Roses was without such ...a specialty store when owner Sasha Senior, a mother of two boys, opened its doors. Senior describes herself as one of the first Black women to open a skateboard shop in North America. When she first launched Bliss she thought the property would be a small hobby, but it really took off when she was forced to move more business online during the COVID-19 pandemic. It helped that Bliss garnered a lot of positive press on websites like The Berrics and magazines like Thrasher and Stoops. Boardz n The Hood, the company’s non-profit initiative, started as a grassroots movement to supply free boards to local kids. It also supplied two skateboard parks internationally, one in Uganda and one in Jamaica. Today, Bliss is looking to expand to other North American cities, continue its history of giving and to expand its inventory to scooters, roller skates and BMX products.

Breakthrough marketing

Watergirl Quilt Co.
Watergirl Quilt Co. sells high-quality quilting products and other services: virtual classes, events, chat groups and even group retreat ...packages that can be purchased online or in-store. They opened online during the COVID-19 pandemic; a brick-and-mortar store opened a few months later. Owner Michelle Peters, a retired teacher, also created virtual shop tours, video shopping appointments and a landing page where customers could request free swatches of fabric. Online sales grew quickly – from $10,000 in its first month to more than $40,000 in July 2021 – despite a lockdown for six of their 13 months in business. The “small but mighty quilt shop” today has a following of close to 2,800 people across North America, and a strong social presence, with some of their Facebook videos reaching close to 15,000 views.

2020 contest winners

Offline to online

Ocean Sports
Ocean Sports is a family-run watersports and scuba business in Edmonton. When COVID-19 hit, they had just set up a large booth at the Edmonton Boat Show. The provincial government cracked down ...and the event closed 4 hours in. They lost money and had to lay off staff and close. Since the pandemic hit, they cut expenses and focused on their online store, customer service, advertising and offer free shipping on orders over $99.

Doing good

Caribbean Flavas Restaurant & Catering
Caribbean Flavas Restaurant & Catering began as a thesis project, "Can an ethnic restaurant survive in a predominantly white market,” that was poorly received. The owner lost his scholarship and was nearly deported. ...He asked his parents to move from Trinidad to open the restaurant which is thriving. When COVID-19 hit, the business laid off staff, catering jobs decreased and indoor dining was restricted. They created stickers for takeout that captured the name of the employee who prepared the meal and his/her temperature, sealing it. They created a Buy One, Give One program and have fed 1,000s of Fredericton's vulnerable citizens.

Weathered the storm

North Shore Sports Medicine
North Shore Sports Medicine is a physiotherapy clinic. Social responsibility is a key part of their business strategy. They provide free service to dozens of teams, schools, healthcare initiatives and charities, and pro-bono and subsidized ...treatments for low-income patients. Their revenue fell 95% during the pandemic which forced them to reinvent themselves. They raised funds and added virtual telehealth services. They created videos for patients on telehealth and trained practitioners, ensuring their team and patients were comfortable. They reopened at 85% capacity and got back to 100% of pre-COVID revenues within 2 months.