Published On: June 22, 2023By

Winnipeg Agency Owners Only Manitobans Named

Winnipeg, June 19, 2023 – Alex Varricchio and Kiirsten May have been selected as EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2023 finalists in the Prairies region for the success of their highly accredited marketing and public relations agency, UpHouse Inc. The award recognizes Canadian entrepreneurs who embody passion, determination, character and skill in their business ventures. Varricchio and May were named finalists alongside over 100 nominees, with 39 of those in the Prairies region.

“This process has allowed us to reflect on everything we’ve achieved over the years and it’s surreal to see how far UpHouse has come in just six years,” said Varricchio. “We feel incredibly excited yet humbled to be named finalists for EY Entrepreneur Of The Year 2023 in the Prairies region alongside so many other inspiring entrepreneurs. It’s amazing to see how much impact our agency has had on organizations across Canada.”

Varricchio and May started UpHouse in 2017 after leaving positions in another marketing agency. Their goal was for UpHouse to be the halfway point between an agency and a member of an in-house marketing team by filling any skill gaps in-house marketing teams have and offering outside perspective. With a focus on social consciousness, they started their agency working with non-profits and organizations that wanted to make a difference with their brand.

“When we began talking about starting our own agency, we knew we didn’t want to replace in-house marketing teams. We wanted to work with them to see how far our combined skills could push the boundaries of marketing,” said May. “It’s been so fulfilling to see our clients grow with us, and the team we’ve gathered around us really contributes to our success.”

Varricchio and May’s commitment to continuous growth has enabled UpHouse to nearly double in size and revenue every year. Sticking to its roots, UpHouse successfully walks the line between an external advertising agency and a member of the in-house marketing team while keeping diversity and inclusion top priority. This approach has landed the company clients like Travel Manitoba, BDC and Tourism HR Canada and produced award-winning campaigns such as Consent at Work, Locked out of Life and Huddle.

Now in 2023, UpHouse employs over 35 people working in Winnipeg, Toronto and Vancouver, and are currently expanding into Los Angeles. This year, the company also acquired Dooley PR, Manitoba’s premier public relations agency, which made UpHouse one of the largest marketing-communications agencies in Manitoba. Varricchio and May’s consistent purpose-driven approach has earned Varricchio the honour of being named LGBT+ Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019 both federally and provincially and has allowed for UpHouse to become both a certified diverse supplier through Canada’s LGBT+ Chamber of Commerce and a certified B Corp.

“We have a responsibility as communicators to portray a more equitable world through our work. People consume media whether they want to or not, so we’re doing our part in not only making sure everyone is represented and accommodated for, but also ensuring that we’re collaborating with diverse talent and uplifting diverse voices,” said May. “It’s a pillar in everything we do, and we’re proud to be entrepreneurs who set that tone and contribute to the conversation in an impactful way.”

The winners of EY Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2023 will be announced in October.