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Telus challenges Canadian SMBs to compete for $100,000 prize

Telus challenges Canadian SMBs to compete for $100,000 prize 

So for the fourth year in a row, Telus and the Globe and Mail have stepped forward as allies to businesses that could use a helping hand. With “The Challenge”, they are asking Canadian small businesses to submit their business problem for the chance to win $100,000.

“Last year we had over 1,000 Canadian businesses enter the contest,” said Jim Senko, VP, Small Business Solutions, Telus. “It came into existence as part of our commitment to help support the small business community, and it’s been a great campaign for us.”

SMBs with fewer than 100 employees are asked to write to Telus describing one of their business challenges, and what the win will help them achieve. A large part of the judging process is based on the solutions the businesses put forward, but Telus is also looking for businesses that show a commitment to sustainability and social responsibility.

Ross Thurston, president of Livestock Water Recycling and the winner of last year’s “Challenge”, says his company has been able to do things it could only have dreamed of prior to its win.

His company works with hog and dairy farms to treat manure entrained wastewater so that farmers can safely reuse it for crop fertilization. The roadblock it faced was a market growth challenge resulting from strict regulations around the importation of livestock manure, as well as the limited capacity of its research lab.

To expand, it needed to upgrade its lab, but it lacked the capital required to do so. That’s where Telus came in.  

“Our win generated worldwide interest in the company. As soon as it hit the Globe and Mail, it got picked up in other media outlets, and then in industry outlets in all those countries,” said Thurston. “They saw what we’re doing and started to get in touch with us. I couldn’t put a dollar value around that, but it’s been huge. When you’re treating manure, people don’t always get it, so it added a lot of credibility into our business.”

With the prize money, Livestock Water Recycling was able to upgrade its lab. It has since expanded into not only the U.S. market, but into international markets as well.

“The Challenge” has many benefits for Canadian SMBs, but Senko acknowledges that Telus has also gained a lot from the process.

“We think it’s really important for us to participate in the community that we serve,” said Senko. “We’re learning a ton about the struggles our clients are going through and it helps us to meet their needs and be a better partner. It creates that opportunity for us to be directly involved with them, and we can take that and improve the way we go to market.”

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