West coast startups are being invited to take their shot at a nice-sized prize pool to help get their ideas off the ground.
New Ventures BC is partnering with the BC Innovation Council (BCIC) to reopen its annual startup competition. It boasts a total prize pool worth $275,000 in cash and prizes, with the overall winner taking home $110,000, second picking up $60,000, and third taking home $35,000.
Any kind of business from any sector in tech can enter the BCIC-New Ventures Competition for a shot at the prizes. They will also receive feedback on their startup, hone their pitch, and network with the B.C. tech community.
“Whether you come in first place or 33rd place in the competition, you still benefit,” said Angie Schick, program director of New Ventures BC. “Over the past 18 years we’ve seen companies compete, get valuable feedback from our judges, and then come back to win a couple years later after refining their businesses. Best of all, many of our top-placing competitors have gone on to build successful, scalable companies.”
There are more prizes other than the top three as well. $10,000 will go to the best-placing venture outside of Metro Vancouver, along with industry-specific cash prizes for startups focused on resources, social ventures and health sciences that range from $20,000 to $15,000 a piece.
Education and mentorship is a big part of the competition as well. There will be seminars open to everyone, and those in the top 40 will receive mentorship, with the top 25 having their own dedicated mentor teams.
“New Ventures BC stands out from other competitions because, like BCIC’s intensive Venture Acceleration Program, participants are provided with mentorship, coaching and seminars nearly every step of the way,” said Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology Bruce Ralston. “This competition is just one of the ways we’re helping to develop tech talent, accelerating growth in B.C. startups and creating good jobs throughout the province.”
The BCIC first prize winner last year was Ecoation Innovative Solutions, who took home $110,000 then managed to seal a seed round of $2 million soon after.
“We used the funds to hire three new people, expand activities, and grow our operations within North America,” said Saber Miresmailli, CEO of Ecoation. “Without the prize we couldn’t have expanded, or launch a trial in California—we wouldn’t have seen the massive successes we have now. The competition is great exposure and experience. If I could, I would come back to enter again.”
Startups must register by April 16 to be included.