Centretown businesses strike gold with Chamber of Commerce awards

By KRYSTLE CHOW
Published in the Business section of Centretown News.
Dec. 9, 2005

Michael Koudsi is the president of Sugar Mountain and bronze medallist for the Businessperson of the Year award
Michael Koudsi is the president of Sugar Mountain and the bronze medallist for the Businessperson of the Year award.
Photo by ANDRÉ FECTEAU for Centretown News.

Centretown’s businesses are getting recognition for their contribution to the Ottawa business community in this year’s Ottawa Business Achievement Awards, winning the gold in four of the six categories.

The community was honoured with two silver and two bronze wins at the Dec. 1 ceremony.

Local companies credit their success to Centretown’s busy location in the heart of the city.

“The exposure we get in Centretown is greater than if we were in the outskirts of the city,” says Michael Koudsi, president of Sugar Mountain and bronze medallist for Businessperson of the Year. “We’re right in the middle of the action.”

Businesses of different sizes and sectors from across Ottawa were nominated for the awards, which were organized by the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce.

Nominees were evaluated on business growth, job creation, customer service, research and development and community involvement.

“It does represent a wide cross-section,” says Gail Logan, president of the Ottawa Chamber of Commerce. “It’s a celebration of businesses across the community.”

Logan calls the awards ceremony the “Academy Awards of business,” and says businesses often use the honour of being a finalist to promote themselves.

She adds the awards bring attention to local industries which can be ignored in Ottawa, and focuses on the government and the technology sector.

Koudsi’s candy franchise is one example of how many Ottawa businesses are experiencing great growth and success in the national market. Continue reading →

Women use blogs to fight street harassment

By KRYSTLE CHOW
Published in the News section of Centretown News.
Dec. 9, 2005

Coco was walking around the intersection of Somerset and Preston streets when two men said “hello” to her in what she considered to be a creepy manner.

She ignored them, but they stopped her again later that day and tried to convince her to have a drink with them.

A few days after the first incident, they approached her again. She yelled back and called the police, but she was still left feeling powerless.

Coco’s story, as told on her blog, is not a unique one. Continue reading →

New Canadians get entrepreneurial help

By KRYSTLE CHOW
Published in the Business section of Centretown News.
Nov. 25, 2005

Mohamed Rahman is an inspiring example of how immigrant entrepreneurs can make it in Ottawa.

The engineering graduate from Bangladesh arrived here in 1993, and got a diploma in systems engineering at Algonquin College. He was all set to start a computer systems support company, when his work in a bathroom and kitchen design store gave him instead an innovative idea for a lighting business.

Nearly two years after opening Exclusive Lighting and Electrical Home in Orleans, Rahman has seen the sales of his store jump from $73,000 in 2003 to $450,000 in 2005. Continue reading →

Image overhaul needed to attract immigrants

By KRYSTLE CHOW
Published in the News section of Centretown News.
Nov. 11, 2005

The city of Ottawa could become a major hub for new immigrants as a result of the federal government’s plans to foster economic growth through immigration, but only if it markets itself more intensively as a centre of opportunity.

The federal government is said to be hoping for an influx of immigrants to compensate for an aging workforce, improve the economy and help shoulder the tax burden of building the country’s infrastructure.

However, one of the big challenges is to draw immigrants away from the so-called “MTV” —Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver — says Paul Dewar, the NDP candidate for Ottawa Centre. Continue reading →

Young filmmakers focus on success through the lens

By KRYSTLE CHOW
Published as an Arts Editorial in Centretown News.
Oct. 14, 2005

It’s film festival season in Ottawa, and there has never been a better time to be a filmmaker.

Amateur filmmakers are getting involved in what was once considered an elite art form.

And it looks like the lure of movie-making magic has captivated the younger generation as well.

Youth filmmakers – those who are younger than 30 years of age – are getting a chance to get their hands dirty as film production equipment becomes cheaper and more readily available. Continue reading →

Are Canadian jazz artists being left out of the spotlight?

By KRYSTLE CHOW
Published as an Arts Editorial in Centretown News.
Sept. 30, 2005

The Ottawa International Jazz Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year and is just beginning its winter lineup.

On its website, organizers tout the festival as having the “biggest loyal audience of any event in eastern Ontario” and boast about the big-name acts the festival has brought to the Ottawa stage.

But have we forgotten our homegrown talents in the quest for bright lights and big box office hits? Continue reading →

Race-walkers trumpet sport’s health benefits

By KRYSTLE CHOW
Published in the Sports section of Centretown News.
Feb. 25, 2005.

Roger Burrows wears a maroon windbreaker and track pants with sturdy sneakers as he strolls at a leisurely pace, breath steaming against the brisk air as he talks. Picking up his arms to chest level, he shortens his stride into quick, little steps while driving his foot along the ground, increasing his speed until it almost matches that of a runner.

This is race-walking.

It’s a sport that’s become increasingly popular in the past five years, says Burrows. Continue reading →