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Nov 20, 1993

Entrepreneur of the year award 1993 Spyros Peter Goudas


 

The Greater Toronto New Canadian Entrepreneur Award

Speech by  Mr. John Voorpostel, Chairman of the National Council of Ethnic Canadian Business and Professional Associations, about the Award

The greater Toronto New Canadian Entrepreneur Award was conceived as  recognition of that entrepreneur, who

created their own business,

demonstrated a degree of innovation,

made an impact in their industry

and gave something back to the community.

Nominations were solicited from all members of the Toronto Chapter of the NCEBPA and a committee comprising representatives from the Toronto Chapter and the Federal Business Development Bank judged the entries.

The committee went through three rounds of judging:

 In the first round obviously ineligible persons were eliminated. These included persons such as franchise owners, and heads of corporations and divisions.

 The second round of elimination focused on the criteria I outlined. This left us with about eight nominees, which were then reduced to four by focusing on their relative accomplishments.

Finally the winner was selected. Our winner was chosen mainly because of his entrepreneurial presentation, which included several favorable articles and publications, such as Globe & Mail, and Toronto Business Magazine as well as a video, which truly differentiated his submission from all the other submissions we received.

Introduction and Presentation of the Winner Mr. Peter Goudas

Our winner of the greater Toronto New Canadian Entrepreneur of the year is Mr. Peter Goudas, owner of Goudas Foods.

The story of Mr. Goudas is classic. Arriving penniless from Greece in 1967, Canada’s Centennial Year, he first slept on park benches and in the parking lot under Nathan Philip Square. But he was young and thought positively. He got a job worked hard and saved as much as he could for two years. With additional borrowed money he made a down payment on a small canning and packaging plant. He entered the ethnic food business, because at that time there was no competition, heading where they aren’t.

Starting with rice, beans and spices he added more foods, not only to satisfy various communities longing for familiar foods, but to those mainstream Canadians prepared to experiment with exotic foods such as ackee, black-eyed peas, cassava and pepper sauce. Mr. Goudas’ innovation from a small market grew into the industry that it is today.

Goudas foods currently imports, prepares and packages some 350 products from around the world and distributes them to every chain store in Canada, and operates three plants in Toronto, the Dominican Republic, Sri Lanka, Greece, and Trinidad.

Goudas contributes much to many ethnic communities, supports community events, school graduations and senior citizens and sponsors numerous ethnic radio and television programs.

Please join me now in a salute to the Greater Toronto New Canadian entrepreneur for 1993 Mr. Peter Goudas!

 Mr. Goudas speech:

(Joking) Can I have five minutes?

I was a little bit slow coming from the table up to here, because I think I heard the Greek National Anthem in the back of my mind.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

It took me twenty seven years, ...sorry, it took me half a minute from this table to come to this podium, but it took me 27 years to walk up from Front Street to here. (Meaning it was a 27-year effort to walk two blocks from Union Station since his arrival in 1967)

I would like to thank the Federal Development Bank and the organizers of the whole event tonight, the judges and especially Mrs. Fiona Burns. She sent me a letter last week, that says: “we are celebrating an ethno-cultural business contribution to our economy and from many great applications your company succeeded, not only in the area of business achievement, but in the areas of personal leadership and community involvement”.  I thought that I am doing things “secretly”, but now I have to say that my success is not all mine.

I like to thank my wife who is with me for 25 years, all the employees of Goudas Foods including the sales personnel, the shipping-receiving, packaging, canning,andbottling personnel, the distributors and the people who work with me and in particular two people from my office: Niki Stamatakos and Maria Sammut.  I also like to thank the bank, that I am dealing presently with, the bank of Nova Scotia and all the personnel of the bank, who cooperated with me to achieve whatever I have achieved up to date.

I like to express my thanks to the eight hundred suppliers around the world that Goudas Foods is dealing with, from 120 countries including China, India, Mexico, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, also countries from the Caribbean like Jamaica, which I started with, also the Jamaican Councilor and the Jamaican Ambassador who are here tonight, and other countries like Trinidad, Barbados and South American countries such as Chile, Argentina, Peru Uruguay and the over 12000 employees of my suppliers who finally will have to translate these video tapes into 120 different languages.

Also, many thanks to the ethnic buyers, whom I had to educate, as far as the ethnic products and the ethnic stores and I am not going to overlook anyone’s services. I think quite a few are here tonight from Food City stores, Miracle Food Mart, Oshawa Foods, A&P, Dominion, Fortinos, Franklee’s etc.

I would like to express my special thanks to the leader on the ethnic food business in Canada, Mr. Lou Pecchia from the Loblaws, No Frills and Super Centre empire Mr. Gale Weston would be very happy for you tonight, and Mr. Ken Marshall who has been working for 35 years at the Miracle Mart head office, promoting ethnic food products within Ontario supermarkets.

I also thank all the little retail stores, as well as the owners who carry almost 400 products, and all our friends and associates and the consumers who buy our label.

Believe me I have tried all the best to produce the finest possible products, not only in Toronto’s factories but all around the world.

An expression of Appreciation

Peter Goudas wishes to share his award with George Hall

Finally, Ladies and Gentlemen, I have one more person that I would like to thank.

Back in 1979 I had a tremendous accident, which almost cost my business after all these years that I have tried to reach the position I was, I slipped on ice and I crushed the bone of my leg. I wasn’t able to walk and I stayed three months in the hospital. Before the accident I was a very strong man, as far as the muscular concern and I was competing with the European body-builder Contest. After the accident I lost eighty pounds in a short period of time.

Also, the bank - I don’ t want to mention the name of the bank - had recalled my loan and I lost several customers.

One day I was sitting at the office and I realized that a man came over to seize my plant. I felt that was the end of the world.

This gentleman sat down for a few minutes with me, I talked to him, he talked to me and finally he gave me encouragement to fight the situation and stay in business.

A year or two later he retired from his business. He had to, because his father died at 59, his two brothers died at 59, his sister died at 59… and since he was 58 at that time he thought he had only one year left to live, so he retired.

Almost fourteen years later this gentleman is with us. He is a great friend of mine. He helped me to be what I am today and I would like to call him to share this award with me. His name is George Hall. George, please, comes here. Let me share this with you.

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