TELUS and The Globe and Mail today announced the winner of the fifth installment of the Small Business Challenge – the annual contest that celebrates Canadian entrepreneurs and helps one deserving small business overcome its biggest challenge with a $100,000 award.
After reviewing more than 3,300 entries and listening to passionate pitches from the five semi-finalists, the judges have selected AquaMobile Swim School as this year’s grand prize winner.
Based in Toronto, AquaMobile connects local accredited swim instructors with clients through an innovative web platform; instructors then travel directly to clients’ home pools for private swimming and lifeguarding lessons.
AquaMobile was founded in 2003 by entrepreneur Diana Goodwin, who was frustrated by the lack of attention she was able to give students in the large, community-centre swim classes that she taught.
Today, with more than 750 instructors and operations in Ontario and 15 U.S. states, AquaMobile has the largest footprint of any at-home swim lesson provider in North America and continues to experience rapid growth.
AquaMobile intends to use the $100,000 to fuel its expansion into new markets and meet the demand in areas where it does not yet offer services. The organization plans to increase its marketing activities and to hire a recruiter to grow its roster of swim instructors in new cities.
“The entries we received this year were once again exceptional and reflected the tremendous passion and commitment of Canada’s small-business community,” said Suzanne Trusdale, vice-president of TELUS Small Business Solutions.
“While all of this year’s semi-finalists impressed the judges, AquaMobile stood out with its clear and compelling vision for profitable expansion. The company is poised for growth and has an incredible opportunity to quickly become the clear market leader for at-home swim lessons.”