The Judges

Our Top 5 Finalists have been announced, and it’s time to move on to the next phase of the Small Business BC Awards – The Judging.

Finalists in our three Business Pitch categories have been invited to pitch to a panel of business experts. How they perform will decide the winners of our 20th Annual Awards. Get to know this year’s judges, a diverse group of local business professionals.

Business Impact Award


Yat Li

Senior Accessibility Consultant - Presidents Group

Yat Li is a Senior Accessibility Consultant at the Presidents Group. Each day, Yat works to improve accessibility, inclusion and diversity in the workplace. Thousands of people have found purpose, direction, and aspiration to change through Yat’s speeches and coaching.


Nerissa Allen

President - Black Business Association of BC

Nerissa Allen is a community leader and entrepreneur with a dedication to building economic prosperity within the African Diaspora. She is the Co-Founder and President of the Black Business Association of BC.


Yvonne Bayer-Cheung

Client Services Manager - SBBC

Yvonne is the Client Services Manager at Small Business BC.  A passionate entrepreneur, business strategist and advisor, Yvonne has a diverse range of experience in management and leadership, marketing, operations and financial lending.


Cathy Kuzel

Founder, The Connected Woman Association

A dynamic speaker, author and business strategist with a deep knowledge of the art of human connections, Cathy Kuzel is the founder of The Connected Woman Association, an organization supporting entrepreneurial women.


Alex Stonkus

Senior Manager, Underwriting, BCAA

Alex Stonkus is the Senior Manager, Underwriting within the Small Business Insurance team at BCAA. He works closely with a team of Commercial Advisors and Underwriters to meet the unique needs of BC Businesses.

E-commerce Experience


Ashley Doan

Founder, WriterGal Marketing

Ashley Doan is the “WriterGal” who helps entrepreneurs and businesses elevate their content marketing. Through WriterGal Marketing, Ashley specializes in planning, writing, and publishing your blogs, website content, social media snippets, and marketing emails to attract and nurture your ideal clients and customers.


Ted Lau

CEO and Owner, Ballistic Arts

Ted Lau is the CEO and owner of Ballistic Arts, an award-winning digital marketing agency that specializes in lead generation and brand awareness for B2B professional services providers, distributors, and manufacturers all over North America.


Simon Rai

Founder and Principle, Raize Digital Marketing

Simon is a Founder and Principal at Raize Digital Marketing and an Educator at Small Business BC. Simon has designed, developed and consulted on projects in a variety of different sectors including E-Commerce, Real Estate, Health Care and Agriculture.


Reid Hemsing

Founder, Two Wheel Gear

Reid Hemsing is the founder of Two Wheel Gear, a bicycle bag and gear company. Reid won ‘Best Marketer’ at the 2018 Small Business BC Awards, and he’s thrilled to return to the competition as a judge.

Jordyn Strong

Program Manager, Canada Digital Adoption Program

Jordyn Strong is the Program Manager for the Canada Digital Adoption Program. She joined the Small Business BC Strategic Projects team over two years ago and has a diverse range of experience in leadership and management.

Best Youth Entrepreneur


Ruairi Spillane

Founder and CEO, Moving2Canada

Ruairi is the founder and CEO of Moving2Canada, a free resource for newcomers to Canada. He was named a winner of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Awards in 2022. He also won a Small Business BC Award in 2019.


Roop Johal

Director of Partnerships, SBBC

Roop is the Director of Partnerships at SBBC. With several years of experience in community engagement, sponsorship, and stakeholder relationship management, Roop looks to actively improve and provide business excellence in business development and partner relations.


Ami Sanyal

Founder, The Uncommoners Club

Ami is the Founder of The Uncommoners Club. As a marketing consultant and coach, Ami specializes in helping business owners attract ideal clients – predictably. He is a seminar speaker for SBBC.


Tom Conway

CEO, Small Business BC

Tom Conway is the Chief Executive Officer for Small Business BC (SBBC). As an experienced business owner, he understands how access to education, support, and resources can make all the difference when starting and growing a company. This is Tom’s fourth year as an Awards judge,


Travis Higo

Director, Strategy & Business Development, KPU

Travis currently occupies an interim role as Director, Strategy and Business Development in the Melville School of Business where he oversees their new internship program, executive education programming, and student engagement initiatives.

Our 20th Annual Small Business BC Awards Gala takes place Friday, June 2nd at Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Join us for this evening of celebration as we crown our four award winners.

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