Online voting begins today to determine which of the eight projects competing in the finals of the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest will take home the $100,000 BDC Grand Prize for Innovation. The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award runner up will receive a customized Internet strategy developed by BDC Consulting and valued at $25,000.
“We invite Canadians to start voting today at bdc.ca and show their support for the entrepreneurs competing for our $100,000 innovation award,” says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. “All the finalist projects are solid contenders, and their fate is now in the hands of the public. By casting a vote every day, between now and June 19, the public can help a young entrepreneur get one step closer to building a stronger, more competitive business.”
The general public can now view the finalist profiles and the project videos, and vote for their favourite innovation project on the contest’s microsite or on Facebook at BDC Entrepreneur. Voting for the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest runs from May 30 to June 19 and the public can vote once a day. Frequent contest updates will be posted on Facebook, Twitter at @BDC_News and LinkedIn. The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winner and runner-up will be announced on June 25.
Selection committees around the country —one for each province and one for the combined territories—met to review the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award applications. The judges looked at the quality, feasibility and relevance of the innovation project. They also took into account the financial health of the company, its growth potential and the extent to which the project met genuine client needs.
Following are brief descriptions of the eight finalist innovation proposals:
Nova Scotia: Anchored Coffee, Zane Kelsall, 27, Two If By Sea Cafe, Dartmouth
Zane Kelsall and Two If By Sea Cafe are looking to make a difference at home and globally by opening the first roastery in Atlantic Canada to buy all of its coffee direct from farmers. This project will benefit coffee farmers, while ensuring a sustainable supply of high quality beans for the company’s existing cafes and its partner network across Canada. A front-of-house coffee lab will serve as a community hub, offering tasting sessions and direct-trade seminars and courses. Vote to help Two If By Sea make a real impact!
Quebec: Sole Solution, Philippe Durocher, 34, Laboratoire Bergeron, Montreal
Laboratoire Bergeron’s new approach to creating orthotics could completely change the field as we know it. Conceived by Philippe Durocher, the patent-pending system uses a liquid resin injected into a prefabricated insole that moulds to the patient’s foot and creates a less-costly, more precise, ready-made product. The company is perfecting the system and has plans to take it to international markets. Vote to help Laboratoire Bergeron improve the orthotics experience for patients and specialists around the world!
Ontario: A Robot with Smarts, Miguel Clement, 30, Inovatech Engineering Corp., Vankleek Hill
Miguel Clement and his team aim to expand Inovatech’s line of robotic cell machines. They plan to produce a robot that can be programmed to understand customized drawings and recognize how to make the appropriate cuts in steel beams and plates with minimal room for error. With the unique ability to read 3-D, 2-D and bevel drawings, the Steel Pro 900 will help structural steel manufacturers increase their operational efficiency, speed and accuracy. The machine will also eliminate some of the industry’s laborious and hazardous tasks and allow steel manufacturers to take on more work. Vote to give Inovatech Engineering the tools to succeed!
Manitoba: Grants with a Difference, Michael Legary, 32, Seccuris Inc., Winnipeg
Michael Legary and Seccuris Inc. plan to reinvigorate grassroots entrepreneurship across Canada by providing grants to non-profit groups known as community innovation spaces. These entities enable innovation at the local level by providing physical space and equipment that would otherwise not be available to budding entrepreneurs. The grants will help kick-start projects and create new jobs and entrepreneurial opportunities. Vote to help Seccuris reinvigorate entrepreneurship!
Saskatchewan: The Drop-in Office, Curtis Olson, 34, Shift Development Inc., Saskatoon
Curtis Olson’s Shift Development team wants to provide Saskatoon’s growing mobile workforce with a service that the city lacks: flexible office space equipped with world-class technology, offices and resources. Designed for creative entrepreneurs and start-ups that don’t need permanent offices, Shift’s project will provide access to access to high-tech amenities and professional development programs. Users will also benefit from proximity to an existing community of creative entrepreneurs. Vote to give Shift the power to empower Saskatoon’s mobile workforce!
Alberta: A Greener Footprint, Patrick Bergevin, 35, Chinook Foot Orthotic Laboratory Inc., Calgary
Patrick Bergevin and his team at Chinook Foot Orthotic Laboratory want to redefine foot orthotics manufacturing. Their project will reduce the company’s environmental footprint, and, through sales to other labs, help reduce waste across the industry. By improving the efficiency of Chinook’s manufacturing systems, the project will significantly reduce waste and improve productivity. It will also replace costly composites that are prone to defects and create more resilient, lightweight orthotics. Vote to give Chinook Lab and the industry a greener footprint!
British Columbia: Star Guitars, Mike Miltimore, 35, Lee’s Music, Kamloops
Mike Miltimore and his team at Lee’s Music are ready to scale up their manufacturing facility and launch Riversong guitars on the market. Their patent-pending new guitar design featuring an adjustable neck joint fixes a lot of issues related to tension and tuning that have plagued guitar players for years. The company has also streamlined the guitar manufacturing process to reduce building time from 100 to 24 hours. Mike and his team want to continue to use local materials and further develop the business to create more jobs in their community. Vote to give Lee’s Music the fullest sound!
Northwest Territories: Arctic Fitness, Tara Newbigging, 27, Fit 2 the T, Yellowknife
By developing a strong Web presence, Tara and Fit 2 the T want to build on the fitness wave they sparked in Yellowknife and extend the same life-changing wellness benefits to other remote communities. To get people started, Tara would travel to remote areas, host workshops and use technology to provide a sustainable remote connection as well as access to online fitness tools and programs. Vote to give Fit 2 the T the tools to build wellness!