Opportunities NB (ONB) was proud to be a Funding Partner for the 20th KIRA Awards. It was a special evening as six KIRA Awards were handed out. Many fond memories of the past 20 years were shared and some 150+ organizations and people who have received the coveted KIRA Award recalled the emotion that they felt when their name was called.

The KIRA Awards started in 1998 by a group of volunteers in the IT industry. Originally hosted by Enterprise Fredericton, it was at first a Fredericton-based event, but within a few years, the level of interest in these awards and the sheer talent in the province drove the Awards to expand and cover the entire province. With this enhanced role, Knowledge Park later became the host. As the importance of the KIRAs continued to grow, so too did the mandate. For the last number of years, the Awards changed from the Knowledge Industry Recognition Awards to the Knowledge & Innovation Recognition Awards.

A special part of the KIRA Awards is that it has been organized and run by a volunteer committee for its entire 20 years. While people have come and gone and come back again, the KIRA Awards has been a stalwart of the community. As one of the volunteers who have been involved for more than 14 years, I have been honoured to be a part of these prestigious Awards and a part of a Committee that is both dedicated and professional. These people are second to none.

With another record-breaking year for nominations, it was difficult for the Judging Committee to select just one KIRA recipient in each category, but they did. In addition to the four categories, there were two additional awards handed out last night.

And the winners are:

Innovation Champion: BioNB

Most Innovative Startup: SomaDetect Inc.

Most Innovative Product or Service: Blue Roof Distillers

Premier’s Awards for Innovation: Treasury Board, Province of New Brunswick

In addition to these four awards, the KIRA Awards’ attendees also got to vote for their People’s Choice based on the four previous KIRA recipients. And the People’s Choice Award went to Family Medicine New Brunswick

Finally, a special award was given to the Organizing Committee, representing ‘all’ the various organizers over the 20 years. This award is a special recognition and very poignant as it was also announced that the KIRA Awards were evolving into the next chapter and that the NBIF would be incorporating the KIRA into their own awards.

For more information on the KIRAs, visit www.kiraawards.com.

Written by Heather MacLean