Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce honours its Business Excellence champions

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Published December 9, 2021 at 5:23 pm

2021 Business Person of the Year - Mathilda Irawan

A senior’s centre, a mall, a medical marijuana producer, a Portuguese restaurant, a plant-based restaurant and retail store owner and a smart home specialist all walked into …  the Deer Creek Golf & Banquet Facility last week and left with Business Excellence Awards from the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce.

To be precise, all but one of the above took centre stage December 2 at the 26th Annual Awards Gala, which honours individuals and businesses within the Greater Oshawa area who strive to achieve excellence in all that they do.

Mathilda Irawan, who owns Mathilda’s, a plant-based restaurant and retail store in downtown Oshawa, couldn’t attend the fancy duds event and the Oshawa Chamber made a special trip the next day to present her with the Business Person of the Year Award.

Mathilda’s has been open for three years and has become the central hub for plant-based and non-dairy products in the area. Most of her clients, Irawan notes on her website, are not vegan or vegetarian.

Other winners were chosen in four categories: Sustainability, Innovation, Not for Profit and Next Generation, as well as the Business Excellence Award, which went to Divino Churrasco.

Business Excellence Award – Divino Churrasco

The award recognizes businesses who have had exceptional business achievements relating to a variety of areas, including customer service, new markets, marketing and involvement within the community.

Divino Churrasco, a small takeout Portuguese restaurant on Ritson Road North, has been cooking with love and passion and bringing Portuguese culture to Oshawa for three years and has survived and even thrived during the pandemic, thanks to positive thinking and a lot of help from friends.

The 2021 Sustainability Award, which recognizes businesses who show a dedicated approach to operating in an environmentally sustainable way, was given to the Oshawa Centre.

The mall, which opened in 1956, has been an environmental leader in green practices, such as LED lighting and energy-savings HVAC, and especially in recycling, where they recycle construction hoardings plus practically everything else, thanks to two employees dedicated to separating recyclables. They also keep three beehives on the roof with 800 bees, with all the proceeds from the sale of the honey given to the community.

The Innovation Award recognizes a business that has utilized an innovative and creative approach to integrate leading edge technology within their business and this year’s winner is Aleafia Health, Canada’s leading patient-focused healthcare enterprise offering medical cannabis care.

Aleafia has 25 clinics across country including one at 111 King Street West in Oshawa, as well as an innovation centre in Paris, Ontario, a distribution centre in Vaughan, a greenhouse in Grimsby and an outdoor cultivation centre in in Port Perry.

The Next Generation Award recognizes recipients that are young business leaders, entrepreneurs, students or volunteers between the ages of 18 and 40, and who are doing exceptional things in business and in the community.

Innovation Award – Uplynk

The 2021 winner is Uplynk, which specializes in creating award-winning smart homes. Uplynk aims to de-mystify the process for clients, which results in homes with features such as lighting controls, voice-activated music and security and energy-saving options as well.

The Not-For Profit Award was given to OSCC 55+, which has served the seniors’ community in Oshawa with its holistic approach for more than half a century.

The Oshawa Seniors Community Centre has been a home-away-from-home for thousands of older residents in the city, providing services from foot care to recreation and becoming both a social and information hub for local seniors.

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