Calgary’s Small Business Awards are back to showcase city’s diverse local businesses

Calgary Chamber of Commerce celebrates the economic and community impact small businesses make every day

By Ashley Pfeifer | October 7, 2022 |5:00 am

Megan Huchkowsky and Corey White are co-owners of Doodle Dogs.

Photo: Submitted

Small businesses are essential to Calgary’s economy as they make up 95 per cent of businesses throughout the city. 

That’s why the Calgary Chamber of Commerce celebrates local businesses during Small Business Week from Oct. 17 to 21. 

During the week, the Small Business Awards will celebrate the achievements of small businesses and their contributions to Calgary’s economic growth, says Deborah Yedlin, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce.  

“[The awards] are a highlight reel of the exciting things happening in every corner of our city. It’s a window into all the exciting innovation and the new businesses coming to life,” Yedlin says, adding Calgary has about 55,000 small businesses. 

Innovative and resilient 

This year’s finalists include some of the most prosperous, innovative, resilient, and creative small businesses around the city.

Ranging from a pet store that focuses on providing fresh food for your pets to a paper shredding company committed to helping our environment, there’s no shortage of dynamic small businesses making their communities better.  

The awards are back in person this year, kicking off with the Elevate: Small Business Summit on Oct. 20 where Yedlin will be among a panel of individuals discussing current topics within the business community. 

“I will be addressing issues [regarding] the talent gap, how to accelerate your business through social media, how to build equity, diversity, and inclusion, mental health practices, and more,” Yedlin says. 

Celebrating the city’s best

Following the summit, the Small Business Awards Gala takes over the Big Four building on Oct. 21 to celebrate the finalists and announce the winners. 

With around 500 attendees, participants are excited to be fully back in person after the pandemic downsized last year’s event.

“Last year, there were four or five people per table, it was so scaled back. It is exciting to be able to do this in person as a big event,” Yedlin says. 

The Small Business Awards include eight categories that showcase the excellence of leading small businesses, ranging from the Resilient Business Award to the Small Business of the Year award. 

“Every award is important because they talk about different aspects of how these companies are present in the community,” Yedlin adds. 

This one’s for the dogs 

One of the finalists for the Small Business of the Year award is Doodle Dogs, a brother and sister duo committed to being the city’s number one provider of fresh pet food. 

On finding out their company was one of the finalists, co-owner Meghan Huchkowsky was proud of Doodle Dogs’ success.

“We were finalists in 2018 [as well], so to see how far we’ve come and to be able to reapply and just reflect on how well we feel we’ve done has been incredible,” Huchkowsky says. 

Not only was Doodle Dogs named a finalist because of the services it provides, but also because of its impressive growth. 

“When it comes to stores that service dogs, they stand out in terms of their customer service. Their growth has been really amazing,”  Yedlin says. “They’re involved in the community and they do things that are important to Calgarians, beyond taking care of and helping keep their dogs healthy.”

Calgary Chamber of Commerce CEO and president Deborah Yedlin.


A tight-knit community 

Calgary’s small business owners encourage and support each other.  

By coming together at the Small Business Awards, companies are able to reflect on the past year together.

“I love meeting other business owners. You’re all facing sort of the same challenges and the same wins. [The awards] is a place to meet people where you can all bond over your successes, your failures, and learn from each other,” Huchkowsky says. 

The awards will have beneficial impacts on both the winners and the finalists in all of the categories. 

“Businesses that have won the awards have seen an increase in their revenue. It increases their visibility. And sometimes that’s all they need to make sure that they can take their business to the next level,” Yedlin says. 

Supporting local businesses 

It is important, however, to remember that small businesses still need support in order to give back to their community. 

“Small businesses are the businesses that are going to support your personal initiative… small businesses are the ones that support the community,” Huchkowsky adds. 

Large businesses and corporations are more visible, but small businesses need the spotlight in order to support the city’s economy, Yedlin adds. 

“It’s not just the big companies, but that’s what tends to be the most visible. There are so many other businesses that support Calgarians every day,” Yedlin says. 

Here is a full list of finalists. 

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Ashley Pfeifer

Ashley Pfeifer is an intern at Calgary Citizen.

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