Keith McIntosh, CEO of PLATO, was among the regional winners of EY’s 2023 Entrepreneur of the Year awards. McIntosh claimed the accolade for the Atlantic Canada region through his work in advancing inclusiveness in tech.
According to a statement from EY, the Fredericton-based software testing and technology services startup is made up of more than 30 percent Indigenous employees, while its board of directors boasts 58 percent Indigenous representation. EY said the company is making a significant contribution to societal change and fostering a more inclusive technology workforce.
All regional winners will compete to eventually be named the World Entrepreneur of the Year.
“[The company’s] success isn’t solely measured by bottom-line growth; it’s determined by the difference they make in people’s lives and the reinvestment they make back into their communities,” said Gina Kinsman, EY’s Entrepreneur Of The Year Atlantic Program co-director, in a statement. “PLATO’s commitment to First Nations, Inuit and Métis people opens career pathways and provides initial entry into the tech industry.”
McIntosh initially founded PQA Testing in 1997, where he served as co-CEO. He then founded PLATO as a PQA subsidiary in 2015, with both companies providing software companies with testing and consulting services. In October 2022, PQA officially merged with PLATO and took on its name.
PLATO launched a train-and-employ model in 2015, offering compensation to Indigenous students during a five-month technical training period. EY said the initiative has successfully trained over 300 Indigenous students across Canada and operates in 12 offices stretching from Victoria to Halifax.
The EY Entrepreneur Of The Year program is meant to shine a spotlight on entrepreneurs across Canada who create businesses that address complex challenges and work towards building a better working world.
EY also announced program winners from other Canadian regions, including the Pacific, Prairies, Ontario, and Québec were also named.
Aisha Yang and Musharaf Syed, co-founders and CEOs of health and wellness brand Herbaland Naturals, represented the Pacific region’s winners for sustainable and responsible manufacturing.
Mark McNeill, president and CEO of oil wellhead manufacturing company Stream-Flo, was recognized as the Entrepreneur of the Year for the Prairies for providing wellhead and choke valve technology to support energy production in developing nations.
Dentalcorp CEO and founder Graham Rosenberg, representing Ontario, was recognized for leading the fast-growing networks of dental practices, while Fred Jalbout, CEO of LED lightshow company SACO Technologies, representing Québec, was recognized for growing the custom technology R&D firm into a “prominent digital media company.”
All the regional winners now vie for the title of Canada’s Entrepreneur of the Year. The winner of the national title will go on to compete against the recipients of 50 other countries to be named the EY World Entrepreneur Of The Year.
Feature image source Keith McIntosh via LinkedIn.