Surrey Board of Trade Announces 2019 Surrey Business Excellence Award Winners

© A Master Media
© A Master Media

Surrey, B.C. – On Wednesday, November 13, 2019, the Surrey Board of Trade recognized eight winners at the 21st Annual Surrey Business Excellence Awards, with Presenting Sponsors BDC – Business Development Bank of Canada and TD Bank, and media sponsors BCBusiness, CTV, News1130 and the Surrey NOW-Leader. Over 450 people were in attendance with Master of Ceremonies Keri Adams of CTV. Acting Surrey Mayor, Linda Annis represented the City of Surrey.

“The Surrey Board of Trade focused on the strength and innovation within every entrepreneur to take an idea and use it as the foundation for building a business. They are inspirational – from the very small business to the large business to the not for profit service organization to the very innovative student entrepreneurs,” said Anita Huberman, CEO, Surrey Board of Trade.

The judging team’s evaluation assessed the following competencies: Organizational profile, Leadership, Strategy Development and Planning, Customer focus and market knowledge, Employee Learning and People Focus, Process Management, Supplier/Partner Focus, Community Involvement, Overall business performance.

2019 Surrey Board of Trade, Surrey Business Excellence Award Winners:

Business Person of the Year: Charan Sethi, Tien Sher Group of Companies  
Sponsored by Hamilton Duncan
Charan Sethi is the President and Chief Visionary Officer of the Tien Sher Group of Companies. He became a ‘one-stop shop’ for real estate developer clients, streamlining services such as assembling, rezoning, designing, selling and servicing new home projects. In 2001, Charan took the first step into the development industry creating housing affordability solutions through innovative mid­sized, vertically integrated developments. Charan purchased 12 acres in Whalley. Through his efforts, Whalley has been recognized as the Historic Whalley District, promoting Surrey as a centre for arts and culture, and working hard to preserve Whalley’s history. He supported the Flamingo Square Arts initiative by donating business space and money to drive the agency forward in their pursuit of arts revitalization. He gave birth to the micro-suite in Surrey which allowed for a down payment as low as $6,000. The BALANCE building was BC’s first-ever for-sale micro-suite building. Charan is now building the 46-, 37- and 35-storey iconic Flamingo Block towers in Surrey along with a 6-storey building that will add 1,119 homes to Whalley, transforming the intersection of 108 Avenue and King George Boulevard.

Business Excellence Winner with 1-10 Employees: Beta Collective Inc.
Sponsored by Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Beta Collective is Surrey’s first and only coworking space, a collaborative workspace in the heart of Downtown Surrey. They are a hub for community impact, providing a flexible and affordable work environment for small businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs who are passionate about making a difference in the world around them. In less than 5 years, Beta’s footprint quadrupled from 2,000 square feet to 8,000 square feet. The newly renovated unit added 17 additional private offices, additional washrooms, an additional boardroom, an additional kitchen/lounge, and even a phone booth. New rental revenue streams were also identified beyond office and desks, including events, boardrooms, and mail service. The conventional path of leasing or buying office space is often risky and cost prohibitive for businesses in the startup phase who may not have steady or consistent cashflow. Beta has been a launchpad for over 150 small businesses.

Business Excellence Winner with 11 – 40 Employees: Zenterra Developments Ltd.
Sponsored by the Abbotsford International Airport
Zenterra Developments is a multi-family developer and builder serving mainly Surrey and Langley, focused on housing affordability for families. They have won numerous industry awards for the design, construction and marketing of their homes. Their in-house construction team uses local materials and works with local companies. With over 12 projects completed and 500 homes sold, Zenterra continues to employ local workers. Their community amenity contributions from these projects have resulted in several new parks in Surrey. Their two key community initiatives include a collaboration with the Surrey School Meal program that helps 20 different schools and the ‘Zenterra Green’ program that focuses on growing Surrey’s tree canopy.

Business Excellence Winner with 41+ Employees: Cloverdale Paint Inc.
Sponsored by MNP
Cloverdale Paint was founded in 1933 in Surrey. They employ over 1,000 people, operates over 73 branches, 7 manufacturing plants and 150 dealers across Canada. Their sister company, Rodda Paint, has over 400 employees, operates over 66 branches and 29 dealers in the United States. They recently purchased a factory in Oakville, Ontario and are using that as an extended sales base, plus as a supplement to corporate manufacturing balancing and Eastern distribution. Cloverdale Paint differentiates itself from the competition by building consumer awareness and levering the company’s position as the largest “Canadian-owned” manufacturer of coatings in the country. Cloverdale Paint recently launched a new and innovative exterior house paint called Guardian, which is less sensitive to humid and wet weather conditions. Cloverdale Paint donates to the Surrey Memorial Hospital which helped create the Cloverdale Paint Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Stabilization Unit.

Not-for-Profit of the Year: Kids Play Youth Foundation
Sponsored by Copytek Print Centres
Founded in 2015, Kids Play Foundation keeps kids away from the lifestyle of drugs, gangs, and violence, by reinforcing a sense of belonging and self-worth in vulnerable youth. Run entirely by 700 volunteer members who spearhead over 120 projects and 200 events, Kids Play has impacted over 65,000 youth through their free programs and have provided over $60,000 in scholarships and bursaries to students in the Lower Mainland. The bedrock and fundamental principle of these programs is to establish a rapport with the youth through the medium of sports to engage youth. Kids Play bridges the gap between youth and adults in a constructive manner. They provide young people with positive identity and empowerment, while developing sportsmanship, leadership, teamwork and self-governance skills. They run programs across the Lower Mainland and run 5 after school weekly mentorship programs in Surrey, Langley, and Abbotsford schools.

New Business of the Year: Arcade Party Truck Ltd.
Sponsored by Civic Hotel
Arcade Party Truck, founded in August 2017, operational by January 2018, is a mobile video game arcade, complete with strobe lights, surround sound, large LED TVs with the latest and most popular video games. Arcade Party Truck will pull right up to your party and host the most unique video game experience. Their trailer is fully climate controlled. From birthday parties, team wrap up parties, fundraisers and corporate events, Arcade Party Truck plans to expand to  Victoria and Kelowna. Owner Hari Gill, raised in Whalley, has always wanted to give back. He is committed to employing youth from all over Surrey and keep them out of trouble with a fun paying job. Arcade Party Truck has been part of the Surrey Fusion Festival, Surrey Canada Day, Tree Lighting Festivals and many other community events in Surrey. Arcade Party Truck is proof that all it takes is an idea, passion, a lot of commitment and some support from your community.

Young Entrepreneur of the Year: Hassib Sarwari, Afghan Kitchen
Sponsored by SFU Beedie School of Business
Hassib and his family moved to Canada from a war-torn Afghanistan when he was 16 years old. In Spring 2017, he began plans to open his own restaurant by travelling alone to China and Afghanistan, hand-picking the furniture, cutlery, plates, glassware, chandeliers. He even returned with authentic embroidered vests to use as staff uniforms. By May, he signed a lease on a space at Grandview Central, and construction commenced. He gathered his 25 family members to finish the restaurant by painting the walls. Afghan Kitchen opened in October 2017 with his mother showcasing her authentic Afghan recipes in the kitchen. Initially, his goal was to have 10 staff, but in just two years, he has 30 staff and expects that to grow to 50. He has provided sponsorships for City of Surrey events, Surrey Hospital Foundation, Healing Hands Book, Maple Green Elementary School, NISA Helpline, and the CIBC Run for the Cure. They also hosted the 2019 BC Hospital Foundation’s annual charity gala and partnered with Sources BC on their volunteer appreciation event.

The event also saw the 6th Annual Corporate Social Responsibility Recognition Award, sponsored by Manco HR, presented to Safer Schools Together. This award was created to recognize a business working to improve the lives of their employees and to enhance the civic environment in which they operate, through participation in community programs, partnerships with community organizations, volunteering, educational and/or environmental initiatives, and/or for creating a positive environment for employees.

Safer Schools Together
Founded in 2012, Safer Schools Together (SST) promotes safe and caring schools through developing effective practices, policies, protocols and programs for
schools throughout North America in violence and bullying behaviour prevention and intervention strategies. They implemented the “Erase Strategy” with the support of the Ministry of Education, as well as the “Gang Reduction Through Informed Practice” in BC. SST are also subject matter experts for “Violence Threat Assessment” and “Trauma Response” in BC. They are the only business offering digital threat assessment training, real-time threat analysis and worrisome online behaviour reports, along with other training that promotes a safer school environment. SST recently expanded their headquarters in Surrey and opened an additional office in Bellingham, Washington, with plans for ongoing growth. Additionally, they support a variety of foundations and community groups, including the Odd Squad Productions Society and the Amanda Todd Legacy Society to impact the safety and wellness of local youth. Further, they demonstrate a concerted effort to reducing their carbon footprint and bettering the environment.

For further information, please contact Anita Huberman, CEO of the Surrey Board of Trade, at 604-634-0342 or