We’re thrilled to announce the winners of eBay Canada’s annual Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Now in its 13th year, this program recognizes Canadian eBay sellers who demonstrate exceptional entrepreneurial skills as they run successful online businesses and contribute to the continued growth of e-commerce in our country.
The winners of the 2017 Entrepreneur of the Year award winners are:
Entrepreneur of the Year
Vasilios Sakellaropoulos (eBay username: UniversalDataSupplies) began selling computer printer ink and toner cartridges out of his friend and business partner’s parent’s basement. He and his partner began by sourcing their inventory through traditional avenues and acquired customers through cold calls and telemarketing, but their low margins and small customer base couldn’t support a profitable business. Getting online for both sourcing and selling inventory was pivotal for them. It allowed the pair to refine their inventory strategy and leverage the secondary market while also facilitating their expansion into the U.S. – a strategy that turned their business around, quickly. Today, they run a multi-million-dollar Business & Industrial retail operation that includes multiple sales channels, a 2,800-square-foot retail and warehouse space, and six full-time employees.
Micro-Multinational of the Year
Kalina Koleva (eBay username: RunwayCatalog) and her mother turned their passion for fashion into a full-time online business that now employs all of the women in their family. Leveraging their relationships with Canadian brands and wholesalers, they began selling moderately priced shoes and accessories to customers across Canada. However, their business took off when they tapped into international trade opportunities facilitated by online marketplaces. Today, 95 per cent of their sales are from outside of the country; Kalina and her team regularly sell to markets including the U.S., the Middle East, and Europe, and their inventory includes everything from Canadian products to high-end global brands. The success of their multi-million-dollar online business is just the beginning; they are now using some of the profits to start their own Canadian fashion label!
Integrated Entrepreneur of the Year
Three years into working for a consumer electronics refurbisher and retailer, Charles Chiu (eBay username: Refurbio) realized that the company’s stagnant online consumer business offered a tremendous opportunity for growth. By reviving this channel, Charles figured he would be able to generate a steady incremental sales stream to compliment the company’s existing B2B-focused, omni-channel business. Leveraging online marketplaces, he tapped into key retail moments like back to school and holiday, offering highly competitive pricing on refurbished, “good-as-new” big-ticket tech items that came with full factory warranties. He also participated in online deal programs, like eBay Deals, for additional promotion and exposure of his price-competitive inventory. With continued triple-digit online sales growth in the domestic market, the online consumer channel has now become one of the primary sources of growth for the overall business, and Charles is starting to direct his efforts to increasing export sales for further growth.
In addition to their winning titles, Vasilios, Kalina and Charles will also receive a cash prize. Congratulations to all three!
This awards program highlights just some of the incredible entrepreneurial spirit and success that happens on the eBay platform every year. We hope to hear all about your success story in 2018!
Managing Director, eBay Canada