History of the BC Export Awards

In 1982 when Canada was in the midst of a major recession, the British Columbia Export Awards Program was initiated by the Ministry of Economic Development to raise the awareness and recognize the contribution that the manufacturing and service sectors were making to the economy of British Columbia. The first awards were presented by the Lieutenant Governor, the Honourable Henry Bell-Irving, and then Minister of Economic Development, the Honourable Don Phillips at Government House in Victoria, to five companies representing excellence in the following sectors, Manufactured Products, Consumer Products, Service Sector, Resource Sector and Value Added Sector.

Over the years the number and categories of the awards varied in order to better reflect the changes that were taking place in the economy of the province, with the awards being presented annually at a business luncheon in the fall in Vancouver. The program was directly controlled and managed by the Ministry for the next decade and later, by the Crown Corporation, The BC Trade Development Corporation.

In 1999 the Ministry formed a partnership with the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME) in order to have them manage and deliver the program, in an attempt to revitalize and broaden it, by bringing in partners and sponsors from the private sector. Since then, the CME has greatly expanded and broadened the program bringing in over 15 corporate and government sponsors, while reaching out to all business sectors in every region of the province. Nominations now reach up to 400 annually, culminating in over 200 applications, producing BC's Top 25 Exporters each year.

The success of this program which has recognized over 300 companies since its inception, has reflected the growth and diversity of BC's economy over the past 30 years. With substantial markets now in every region of the world, BC's exporting companies have become truly international in their scope as well as their vision.