A total of $60,000 was awarded to three companies on March 2nd, as the BCIC hosted their first annual BCIC-New Ventures Competition: Regional Awards Ceremony.
The awards, a joint effort with the non-profit New Ventures BC Society, recognized the fine, innovative work being done by B.C. technology startups outside of the Lower Mainland. Although this is the first year for the Regional Competition, the BCIC-New Ventures Competition, which is open to startups throughout B.C., has been honouring startups since 2001.
17 finalists were considered, and after much deliberation, the three cash prizes went to the following companies:
Third Place, $10,000 Prize: MemoryLeaf Media Inc. (Kamloops)
MemoryLeaf is an online memorial service that allows users to honour their deceased loved ones through webpages hosting photos, videos and stories. Founder Jonathan Bowers and his family run a funeral home, and help users access professional resources to help them through the difficult grieving process.
Second Place, $20,000 Prize: SideStix Ventures Inc. (Roberts Creek)
SideStix produces an ergonomic, shock-absorbing forearm crutch that increases comfort and greatly reduces the number of injuries caused by crutch use, particularly joint compression. SideStix was founded by athlete and amputee Sarah Doherty [pictured], who, in her capacity as an occupational therapist, found that crutches were either substandard or too uncomfortable for extended use. SideStix can be used over great distances, and even over ice, snow and sand.
First Place, $30,000 Prize: Reef Safe Fish (Victoria)
Reef Safe Fish is an unusual recycling system that addresses a real ecological challenge. Their closed-loop recycling program takes fish waste from saltwater aquariums, mixes it with fertilizer, and allows aquarium owners to make fish food in-house. Since the saltwater aquarium industry is moving away from capturing wild specimens for display and moving towards captive breeding, there is real room for growth for a product like this. In the near future, brother and sister co-founders Robert and Ashley Roulston hope to take the technology and adapt it for use by the aquaculture industry.
“BCIC is very proud to support this regional competition which provides B.C. entrepreneurs with the tools and training to take their companies from concept to commercialization,” said Danny Robinson, CEO of BCIC, in a press release. “These companies are contributing to our knowledge economy and helping to make BC the best place to start and grow companies.”