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Canadian Business

Friday, August 20, 2010

eBay Canada recognizes top Canadian online entrepreneurs

Toronto business owner selling premium pre-owned golf balls named 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year; Surrey purveyor of butcher equipment wins Comeback of the Year prize >> TORONTO (CNW) - Shaun Shienfield of Toronto has been crowned eBay Canada's 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year. Offering exclusively premium pre-owned golf balls on eBay, Shaun is one of the largest Internet golf retailers in the world, selling 20 million golf balls to more than 250,000 golfers every year.
Also recognized is Mike Winkelmann of Surrey, British Columbia, who eBay Canada named Comeback of the Year. After being forced to close his retail butcher shop and deli and file for bankruptcy, Mike turned to eBay to liquidate his store's equipment. He was so successful that he created an entirely new career selling used restaurant equipment on eBay, achieving prestigious PowerSeller status in only 10 months.

The fifth annual eBay Canada Entrepreneur of the Year awards program recognizes Canadians coast-to-coast who run successful online businesses.

Understanding that 2009 has been a challenging year for Canadians, this year eBay Canada added the Comeback of Year category, awarded to an entrepreneur who has overcome a recent personal or professional challenge.

"eBay Canada loves to recognize the success of our users, especially in challenging economic times," said Andrea Stairs, Country Manager for eBay Canada. "We're excited to reward the hard work and ambition of our two winning entrepreneurs with capital, training and tools to help their business grow even more."

Along with the bragging rights, the top two Canadian entrepreneurs receive a boost for their business. This year's Entrepreneur of the Year Shaun Shienfield is awarded $2,000 cash, $500 towards a business-related course and $500 eBay AdCommerce advertising credits. Mike Winkelmann, the Comeback of the Year winner receives $1,000 cash, $500 towards a business-related course and $500 eBay AdCommerce advertising credits.

Almost 300 eBay business owners across Canada entered the annual competition - more than double the number of entries of 2008.

"As economic conditions worsened, we saw an influx of new businesses being set up on eBay," Stairs continued. "Starting a business on eBay allows Canadians to reduce overhead and other costs, while engaging a global marketplace. eBay is the go-to online destination for Canadians who want to make and save money in 2009 and beyond."

The Winners - eBay Canada's 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year - Shaun Shienfield, Toronto (eBay ID: Knetgolfcanada) >> For more than a decade, eBay Canada's 2009 Entrepreneur of the Year Shaun Shienfield has run a successful online business selling premium pre-owned golf balls and related equipment. To increase his sales, in 2001 Shaun turned to eBay. Since then, his business has grown significantly; he fills hundreds of orders a day and has even set up a call centre to meet demand. He partners with over 2,200 resorts, private facilities and top daily fee courses to retrieve golf balls from the lakes and water hazards using a team of scuba divers. Today, Knetgolf.com has helped save golfers $20 million on their golf balls and is the largest seller of premium pre-owned golf balls online. His eBay business accounts for 30 per cent of his overall revenue.

- eBay Canada's 2009 Comeback of the Year - Mike Winkelmann, Surrey, BC (eBay ID: west_coast_food_machines) >> The economic downturn forced eBay Canada's 2009 Comeback of the Year winner Mike Winkelmann to close his family-run butcher shop and deli. After filing for bankruptcy, Mike listed his store's equipment on eBay, which sold within days. He quickly recognized that he could create a niche market for used restaurant equipment online. During his first 10 months on eBay, Mike generated over $150,000. Today Mike's eBay business is his sole source of income and his family appreciates the extra time he can spend with them.

The Finalists Other finalists from the 284 sellers who entered this year's competition: - Tiffany Lemay - Victoria, British Columbia (eBay User ID: hopeinvictoria) As a stay-at-home mom, Tiffany saw eBay as the perfect gateway to a small business without compromising family time. Deciding what to sell was easy, as a passionate collector of fairy memorabilia since her teen years, Tiffany sourced reputable suppliers and today offers unique and whimsical pieces to Canadian and international fairy aficionados.

- Betty Crompton - Penetanguishene, Ontario (eBay ID: sellit!onlinedepot) >> Soon after finding herself out of work, Betty launched her business with eBay selling previously owned items online on behalf of other Canadians.

Clients bring their items to Betty's depot in Ontario and she takes care of the rest, researching prices, photographing, listing and shipping. Her clients keep coming back with additional items making everyone - the buyer, the client and Betty - a winner.

About eBay Canada Founded in 1995, eBay Inc. connects hundreds of millions of people around the world every day, empowering them to explore new opportunities and innovate together. eBay Inc. does this by providing the Internet platforms of choice for global commerce, payments and communications. Since its inception, eBay Inc. has expanded to include some of the strongest brands in the world, including eBay, PayPal, Skype, StubHub, Shopping.com, and others. In Canada, eBay was visited by nearly 7.7 million Canadians in August 2009. (comScore Media Metrix, September 2009).

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