Recognizing and rewarding some of Canada’s most successful small businesses, eBay Canada  has crowned Myriam Barreiro of Toronto as eBay Canada’s 2011 Entrepreneur of the Year . With projected revenue of nearly $1-million this year, Myriam is dedicated to selling brand name camera and video equipment at discounted prices online. In late 2008 Myriam left her career in banking to focus on her eBay business full-time and hasn’t looked back. This year’s awards program also recognizes an entrepreneur who provides unique and personalized customer service and one who is new to the eBay marketplace.
Understanding the importance of their relationship with every customer who clicks through their virtual store, Joshua Roter and his business partner Chantal Varela go the extra mile for their customers and have been named Service-preneur of the Year. Joshua and Chantal know the value of a good first impression and leverages eBay’s platform to easily interact with users, sending buyers a personal message after each transaction and providing them with additional product information and images. Based in Toronto, Joshua and Chantal sell vintage, collectable clothing to buyers around the world.
Brand new to the platform, the Newcomer of the Year award goes to a 70-year-old Quebec-based automotive parts retailer, Lecavalier Auto Parts. In less than a year, and with the help of e-commerce salesperson Mathieu Gagne, Lecavalier now offers more than 50 per cent of their inventory online (approximately 70,000 auto parts) and generates approximately $80,000 in sales per month from buyers in the U.S. and Canada.
The seventh annual eBay Canada Entrepreneur of the Year awards program recognizes Canadian entrepreneurs who are running successful online businesses and contributing to the overall growth of e-commerce in Canada. Close to 240 eBay sellers entered the annual competition to receive one of three awards: Entrepreneur of the Year, Service-preneur of the Year, or Newcomer of the Year.
“Entrepreneurs are essential to Canada’s economy and this year’s Entrepreneur of the Year awards recognize some of the most innovative examples of Canadian small- and medium-sized companies doing business online,” said Kevin Wolfley, community relations manager for eBay Canada.
In addition to the recognition as Canada’s top entrepreneurs and promotion of their eBay business to more than two-million online buyers, the Entrepreneur of the Year award winner receives a cash prize of $3,000. The Service-preneur of the Year and Newcomer of the Year each receive $2,000.
Myriam started buying and selling on eBay in 2004 and was immediately impressed by the opportunities offered by eBay – instant exposure to a huge, international market. She now sells brand name camera and video equipment at discount prices and because she works from home, Myriam is able to eliminate overhead costs and pass on the savings to her buyers. At the end of 2008, she left her full time career to focus on her eBay business and it paid off. In the first 12 months of her eBay business she sold $300,000 worth of camera and video equipment and accessories, and this year her revenue will likely triple.
eBay Canada’s 2011 Servicepreneur of the Year: Joshua Roter and Chantal Varela, Toronto (eBay ID: invtgwetrust)
With a personal interest in the history and evolution of manufactured goods, pop culture, and sports, Joshua started selling and buying vintage clothing in 1997 but found it difficult to find local buyers for high-end, niche items. Along with his business partner Chantal Varela, he turned to eBay to reach a global market and saw an immediate increase in sales; approximately 90 per cent of his merchandise is now sold on eBay and he regularly sells to buyers in Europe and Asia, as well as Canada and the U.S. Buyers purchasing items from In Vintage We Trust are treated to a personalized shopping experience; Joshua and Chantal follow up with buyers throughout the transaction process and each item is shipped with a personal touch – a hand-written thank you card. They know their repeat buyers and their preferences so well that they can often guess who bid on a specific item.
Lecavalier Auto Parts has been helping Canadians with their cars since 1942, providing a low-cost and environmentally-friendly option for repairs. Less than a year ago, with the help of e-commerce salesperson Mathieu Gagne, they turned to eBay, expecting to increase their sales of auto parts. What they didn’t expect was the overwhelming interest in larger items like engines and transmissions, which make up the majority of their sales. Lecavalier now lists more than 70,000 items on eBay available to customers across North America – in fact, approximately 80 per cent of their buyers are U.S.-based.