The COVID-19 pandemic threw every annual marketing plan out the window. Every aspect of a business, from HR to R&D needed to adapt to the unprecedented situation we were (and still are) going through.
We wanted to give a shout-out to some Canadian companies that impressed us this year. They either made a tangible difference in the lives of Canadians, showed resilience, thought outside the box, or changed their services to maintain customer safety and convenience.
Without further ado, here are 12 companies that stood out to us this year and, in our opinion, deserved a little recognition for their amazing work during difficult times.
Moneris, a Canadian company offering payment processing solutions for businesses of all sizes, celebrated their 20th anniversary in 2020. Their technology made a difference for businesses that needed to quickly move online to keep their head out of the water.
Their CEO, Angela Brown, shared Moneris’ latest tools put in place to help merchants navigate the COVID-19 crisis. In short:
- They launched Moneris Online, an “ecomm-in-a-box” solution where small businesses can get a website, a shopping cart and a payment gateway at low cost.
- They started a COVID-19 resources hub for small businesses
- Their employee built a revenue analysis tool to help businesses applying for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
- They adapted their solution to meet the needs of Canadian businesses for on-the-go and contactless payment solutions.
Filo is revolutionizing the cleaning product industry with vegan, eco-friendly tablets made in Canada. The brand just launched in April and their innovative product has already got people talking.
No doubt, launching a new brand in the middle of a global epidemic probably wasn’t part of Filo’s initial business plan, but they are off to a great start. We can’t wait to see what 2021 has in store for them!
2020 wasn’t easy for gyms and yoga studios. They had to deal with important public safety measures and locations temporarily closing, and opening.
YYoga had to completely adapt the consumers’ experience to keep yogis safe. In no time, they let their clientele maintain their practices at home with live and on-demand classes.
And, despite all the challenges they faced in 2020, YYoga continued to give back to their community and raised funds for local charities, how inspiring!
Borrowell, one of Canada’s most successful FinTech companies, is determined to help Canadians make great decisions about credit. The economic downturn and financial instability brought by the pandemic created a lot of stress for Canadians.
Borrowell’s tools, support and information helped Canadians understand their credit options and manage their finances through this difficult period. For example, Borrowell introduced a new feature that allowed users to check whether their financial institution has reported their payment deferral correctly and make sure it doesn’t affect their credit score down the line.
The tech company was featured in Deloitte’s list of 2020 Technology Fast 500 Award Winners and on the Globe and Mail’s list of Canada’s Top Growing Companies.
The Toronto-based company, Willful is completely disrupting the traditional estate planning industry by allowing Canadians to make end-of-life arrangements quickly and easily.
Willful adapted their services to help their clients create legal documents during unprecedented times. They offered to print and ship legal documents considering not everyone has access to a printer while social distancing. They also partnered with Notary Pro to help Canadians get their documents virtually witnessed.
Also, Willful gave away +2500 plans to Canadian healthcare workers who are risking their health and safety by treating COVID-19 patients. This small gesture gave frontline workers some peace of mind during these difficult times. 👏👏
The shift to virtual care massively accelerated in 2020 because telemedicine is so convenient and reduces safety issues for patients and healthcare workers. Felix is a Canadian company that prescribes medication online for common health issues such as hair loss, birth control, acne and more. Plus, they ship the meds right to their clients’ door, in a discreet package, for free. With Felix, Canadians can avoid in-person doctor’s appointments and long waits at the pharmacy.
As their way to give back, Felix offered 50% on their online consultation to encourage Canadians to stay home.
Teachers faced adversity in 2020 when schools closed or classes were entirely given online. Virtual classrooms are highly convenient, but they are also way less engaging than traditional, in-person, classes.
Top Hat, a SAAS company based in Toronto, changed the game when it comes to virtual learning and remote classes. The software offers a one-stop-shop for teachers looking to increase interaction, collaboration, engagement, and eventually, success rate.
In 2020, Top Hat accelerated the rollout of key features to meet the increased interest in their offering. They released a free version of their platform, alongside a pro version, to help a larger audience.
Timely delivery has been an ongoing challenge for merchants for years now, and that problem was only accentuated by the pandemic.
GoFor Delivers offers secure same-day, express or scheduled delivery to merchants in various industries from retail to manufacturing. Their smart delivery service helped companies deal with the logistical challenges that come with online shopping. In December 2020, they closed a $20 million (CAD) Series A growth investment to continue their ongoing expansion into the U.S. Plus, the Ontario-founded company was featured in Canadian Business’ Startup List 2020. What a year for them!
Live shopping got everyone talking this year. Some of the biggest retail brands in Canada bet on live shopping to recreate the in-store shopping experience online and build a stronger bond with their customers.
The Montréal-based SAAS company, Livescale, offers a unique way for brands to add live shopping to their marketing mix. In June 2020, Livescale launched with Shopify to help even more e-commerce clients jump on the live shopping bandwagon.
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Livescale offered its live video streaming technology for free to help businesses impacted by COVID-19. If you’re in the retail space, we highly suggest taking a look at their innovative solution: livescale.tv
The workplace has changed a lot during the pandemic, some businesses traded their office space for WFH and others had to rethink their working environment. As businesses start thinking about returning to the office, Lane’s all-in-one platform for tenants and landlords comes in handy.
Their innovative solution can “orchestrate a safe and secure return to work, effectively manage building communications and operations, and make the workplace a seamless and engaging place to be”. The future is bright for this Toronto startup as they recently raised $10 million in fundings to accelerate their international growth.
Check out their blog for interesting content on what the future of the workplace will look like.
For 20+ years, Bravado Designs has been offering simple and comfortable nursing bras. The pandemic didn’t stop them from launching a whole new product, the Everyday Bra after realizing that moms were no longer nursing but still secretly wore nursing bras because of how comfortable they are.
Moms and moms-to-be had to overcome a lot of challenges this year. To show their support, Bravado organized Q&As on Instagram with front-line ER workers to address their questions and fears regarding the pandemic. What a nice gesture for their community!
Gosselin is known as a leader in Canada among specialized photo retailers. The Québec-based company is currently celebrating its 85th (!!!) anniversary. They even launched an interactive web page to mark the occasion.
Gosselin sets themselves apart with their in-store customer experience. Before the pandemic, they would organize in-person classes and workshops to educate their community about photography and video-making. To give their customers more flexibility and encourage social distancing, the Gosselin team created a series of online courses available on their Facebook page.
The company also gave tablets to long-term care facilities in Québec so residents could video call their family during the lockdown.
Hats off to Canadian Businesses For Going Above and Beyond This Year, and Best of Luck for 2021!
This list could go on and on. One thing we’ve learned from 2020 is that there is no shortage of creative, generous and resilient businesses in Canada.
Although we love to see companies innovate and think out of the box, we hope that 2021 will be less challenging for entrepreneurs and businesses.
We would love to know which companies impressed you this year, let us know in the comments below!
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marie-Joelle works at Bloom, a digital marketing agency, as the Marketing Manager. She's passionate about digital marketing tactics (from social media to web design) for B2B businesses looking to grow online.