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1Awards Supporting Local Business for 10 Years

The FirstOntario 1Awards

Celebrating a decade of small business support for local entrepreneurs


The FirstOntario1Awards continues to put a spotlight on the small business landscape in the Hamilton, Halton, Brant and Niagara regions by offering cash and in-kind services as a means to help businesses thrive – not just survive.


Eligible businesses must have 50 employees or less and have been in business for at least 24 months. The business must demonstrate "measureable growth", such as workforce expansion, innovation and community impact.

The FirstOntario 1Awards is backed by an impressive team of community partners who act as judges in the competition and who provide the services and expertise to the winners. A shortlist of applicants is selected to move to the next round where business owners pitch their ideas about future success in a fun and informal setting. Winners share thousands of dollars in cash and/or in-kind services that specialize in marketing, advertising, accounting, legal practices and finance.

Together with our partners, we’ve invested more than $1.8 million into our small business communities.


Applications are closed for 2022

Find out who this year's winners are!

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Celebrating a decade of small business support for local entrepreneurs

We’ve met so many wonderful people over the last 10 years, take a look at the past winners of The FirstOntario 1Awards.