Barrie’s top innovators celebrated at annual Mayor’s Innovation Awards ceremony

Posted on April 30, 2022
by Michael
AGEMA Work Innovations Award 2021
The Innovation Awards is an annual initiative recognizing Barrie businesses, individuals and community groups.

The City of Barrie is home to an impressive list of companies and organizations changing the way things are done.

At the Mayor’s Innovation Awards on April 14, some of the most innovative groups in the city were celebrated at the Sandbox Centre.

The Innovation Awards is an annual initiative recognizing and honouring the year’s most innovative solutions from Barrie businesses, individuals and community groups.

“Navigating the changing landscape of COVID-19 has presented extraordinary challenges over the past two years, and we want to acknowledge the businesses, individuals, and organizations whose innovative approaches and sheer determination have contributed to a resilient foundation for Barrie,” said Deputy Mayor Barry Ward.

The city received more than 40 nominations for award winners, and submissions were evaluated by 15 judges from various industries and business backgrounds on criteria like creativity, innovation and the nominee’s wider contributions to Barrie’s development. The Innovation Awards were sponsored in part by consulting firm Adams Hamilton, Grant Thornton, and Meridian Business Banking.

Micheal Agema, of AGEMA WORK, accepted an award in the community impact category for his team at the ceremony.

His platform helps connect workers with hospitality and tourism employers looking to fill shifts. Beyond Simcoe County, the platform has expanded to HamiltonNiagara, and Southwestern Ontario, and is being used by retirement and assisted living employers.

“Outside of the services industry we could do anything,” Agema said. “We can connect people with any type of work.”

Agema said he created the platform after seeing barriers some employees face to get in the workplace. The platform is popular with international post-secondary students.

“In some cases when it comes to human resource is or people resources, I still think there’s a lot of barriers to entry,” he said. “We provide opportunity to anybody who goes onto the app and creates a profile and looks for shifts.”

Agema said receiving the innovation award was a proud moment, and applauded the other nominees and winners.

“When I looked at who the other nominees were, any of these people could have won or should have won, because they’ve done something that has helped the community,” he said. “We’re in great company.”

The winners and runners-up of the 2021 Mayor’s Innovation Awards, by category are: 


• Theatre by the Bay and Tourism Barrie (co- winners)

• UPlift Black and the Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (first runners-up)

• Talk is Free Theatre (second runner-up)


• Michael Agema of AGEMA Work (winner)

• Ryan’s Hope (first runner-up)

• YMCA of Simcoe-Muskoka (second runner- up)


•.Black Controls Company Inc. (winner)

• Ask for Directions Training (first runner-up)

• Baker Studios (second runner)


•.Marcia Woods of FreshSpoke (winner)

• Nikki Glahn of Barrie Families Unite (first runner-up)

• Brotech Precision CNC (second runner-up)

For more information, visit

Written By: Reporter Shane MacDonald, Barrie Advance


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