The 22nd Annual Biz X Awards Tribute
“H2O — When Your Ship Comes In”
Owning a business these days is never an easy job. Most entrepreneurs work night and day to make a decent living, pay their employees and every so often, perhaps manage a few days vacation. Technically, we all seem to “be in the same boat” with a heavy workload . . . yet, each of us dreams of that one day when our “ship comes in” and we are successful. (For some, winning a Biz X Award just might make that happen!)
With plenty of catch phrases associated with ships and nautical elements related to owning a business — and throw in the fact that Biz X magazine is celebrating 22 years of publishing with Hallmark listing the perfect anniversary gift as “water” — the theme for our 2019 awards issue and gala was crystal clear.
“Year 22: H2O — When Your Ship Comes In” works well for not only the reasons listed, but also because our region is surrounded by water and home to Ontario’s third largest port.
Each year the Windsor Port Authority receives more than 600 ships, delivering more than 5 million tonnes of aggregate, salt, steel and grain to Windsor Essex, and ports across the Great Lakes, and into Europe. And that’s good business!
Water has also helped lots of restoration and waterproofing companies have a profitable year due to increased business from flooded properties. As the saying goes, “Every cloud has a silver lining!” And our local tourism industry benefits from the lake and river nearby with water activities and overnight stays/dining etc. Plus, who doesn’t like to take a car ride on Riverside Drive along the waterfront on a gorgeous day!
Finally water, of course, means life for our bodies. Need we prove our point more!
Throughout the Biz X Awards edition you will see elements of this water and ship/boat theme. Editorial graphics feature the “wave of success,” with references to music/movies and nautical colours (like navy, white and brown) on the story pages here and for those attending our gala, the nautical décor of the room.
The mission of our annual awards edition is to honour the best in the biz that Windsor Essex has to offer and that starts with the business owners and people who must “batten down the hatches” to overcome challenges such as severe weather (flooding); high gas/utility costs, employee turnover, increased online competition and more, to ensure their businesses reach a “safe harbour” and “stay afloat” in the future.
The loyal readers of Biz X magazine believe our nominees are the leaders in the local business community for exceptional customer service, selection, pricing and dedication to their companies/organizations.
The Awards recognize and honour the business men and women in the region who are constantly working hard to be #1 in their industries. Which businesses, people and event will receive the golden Biz X Award — the “pillars of success” — this year?
In 2019, our 22nd annual awards, a whopping 272 nominees competed in 24 categories. And this year, the online voting poll conducted from September 12 until September 26 (see bullet #2 for further information) saw a record number of votes!
According to Jack Eisenberg, Database Analyst for Biz X magazine, “For the past three years, the Biz X Awards polling was completely automated. Community interest in our awards continues to grow, as evidenced by more than 50,000 votes for this year’s nominees, a 29% increase over last year’s results and a whopping 120% increase over two years ago.”
We thank you all so much for your support!
Our award history goes back to 1998, and to date, over 700 Biz X Awards have been handed out. Like every year before, the new batch of nominees are simply the best our region has to offer and we congratulate every company, organization and individual listed throughout this entire cover story. In our view, all are exceptional business owners or top managers, but there can be only one winner of each category in the end.
These lucky recipients attend an exclusive awards gala on November 15, 2019 at St. Clair College Centre for the Arts in an elegant setting with décor by Designs by Diane and an Awards Ceremony featuring expert technical services and lighting by Bigtime Presentations, entertainment with Joshua & Kristina and fun photos with Wunderbooth. For this formal event, our Biz X men, Judges and celebrity presenters are outfitted by Collins Clothiers (check out the front cover).
Winners also receive a plaque from The Trophy Boys, to display in their place of business. As well, their acceptance speeches are shown on YourTV (Channel HD 700) in January 2020 on the “Plugged In” show. Video footage, along with live social media updates, is also recorded by the Film Camp for Kids & Youth in partnership with MANAN Media.Five main Award sponsors include: Motor City Community Credit Union; WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation’s Small Business Centre; St. Clair College Alumni Association; Tecumseh Mall, and Community Gaming & Entertainment Group. For a complete list of our gala suppliers and sponsors, please visit the 2019 awards page on the Biz X magazine website.
So let’s “take the helm” and fill you in on how a business, event or individual became a nominee or an overall winner of their category by recapping the rules for the Biz X Awards.
Each year a list of award categories are published in the summer and September editions of Biz X magazine and online. Businesses and people can be nominated by customers, suppliers, and Biz X readers, from mid-July until early September, using an online form with a section for supporting evidence included. Only a single nomination is required to be in the voting poll, so everyone has a fair chance, especially if a small company.
After the nomination period ended, nominees were made public on the Biz X website, when a voting poll in each category commenced for a two week period from mid-September until the end of the month. People could vote once per category per IP address only (reinforcing the fact this is not a popularity contest). Individuals could vote in all categories, if they wanted — or just one! Everything was totally confidential and no one could see who voted for who or how many votes a particular nominee had. The number of votes did not constitute an automatic win, and the voting results may or may not have had an impact on the judging process. Vote tallies are only a part of the overall selection process.
The qualifications for nominees are simple. Businesses must be located in Windsor Essex, which includes the City of Windsor, LaSalle, Lakeshore, Tecumseh, Amherstburg, Pelee Island and all of Essex County. For categories in the PEOPLE section, nominees must be 19 years of age or over and reside in Windsor Essex.
Companies can be nominated for more than one category; however, businesses/people are only allowed to win one award per year.
National chains/franchises and non-profits are not eligible in most categories. Our mandate is to reward start-up businesses in our region and not national companies. However, exceptions are made in the PEOPLE categories as we do believe those individuals (working for national chains or working for a charity/non-profit) living in our area deserve to be recognized. Since this entire section (categories #8 to #13) is being judged on the individual and not the company itself, they are allowed to participate. *An exception has also been made for non-profit organizations and charities to participate in category #22.
No media outlets can participate in any of the categories.
Nominees are given an opportunity to submit information on themselves and/or their company to Biz X magazine upon notification that they were nominated. The information from the nomination forms, a summary of the voting poll results and the company supplied information is then submitted to our panel of Judges for review and discussion. All nominees are required to return this information as it is a way to check the information a nominator has submitted on the website form. The information provided is also used to compile the write-up on the company or person in the annual awards edition. Judges also research each nominee at their own discretion and visit as many nominees as possible. The Judges meet after the online voting poll closes and review the results and the backup information and select the final winners during “Judgment Night” in October.
To avoid any conflict of interest, Biz X full time staff members are not permitted to participate in the judging process. This is to ensure impartiality to all advertisers, suppliers, and friends. As well, Judges cannot participate on “Judgment Night” conversations or final voting in any categories that friends, relatives, or their own business are being considered for. They also are not permitted to be involved in any part of the judging process if their own business or workplace is a supplier to a nominee or pays a nominated company for any services they or their business may need. Please note that any biases declared by judges, are mentioned at the end of the write-up, if necessary.
Businesses do not have to be an advertiser with the magazine to be nominated or win. Every company, whether a Biz X advertiser or not, has an equal chance of winning. Once all nominations are in and the voting poll is closed (the end of September), companies may be contacted to purchase ads by Biz X Sales Associates to thank those who nominated/voted for them in the November/December awards issue. The Judges are unaware which companies advertise in this edition (or do not) when they make their final decisions and only see the completed awards issue at the same time the readers do. This ensures there are NO biases or conflicts of interest. Judges do not know who the final winners are on “Judgment Night” as they voted by secret ballot and are not told the results. All those nominees who chose to advertise in the November/December issue had nominee badges in their ads and, just before the magazine went to print, for those who won, the nominee badge was switched to a winner badge (without the knowledge of the advertiser). The entire process is kept top secret with only a select few knowing the final outcome ahead of time and no one seeing the winner badge in their ad until the magazine is released to the public.