Ottawa's Shopify today announced winners for its latest Build-A-Business competition.
Canadian tech startup CanadianIcons.ca won an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City to meet with four mentors and a $20,000 Google Adwords credit. Mentors include Daymond John of Fubu and Shark Tank and Timothy Ferriss, author of the bestseller The 4-Hour Workweek.
Shopify has been running the Build-A-Business competition for three years. Each time, entrants are asked to build an ecommerce store using Shopify’s platform and compete to sell the most goods over a two-month period.
"CanadianIcons.ca is more than just an online store, they're curators of incredible Canadiana products," explains Shopify's Harley Finkelstein. "Their store is as much of a museum and an art gallery as it is a retailer."
"They have demonstrated that retailers can in fact provide people with an amazing educational experience and make money," he continued. "And using incredible marketing techniques, like offering free shipping on all their products, and even 90-minute delivery within 50km within Parliament Hill, they have quickly become one of Canada's hottest up-and-coming retailers."
Founded in August 2012 by Aron Slipacoff, CanadianIcons.ca is an interactive ecommerce site that provides consumers from around the world with the opportunity to own a historic piece of Canada, from an Emily Carr painting to a Canada Goose parka. It's designed to be both a national exhibit and a marketplace.
“We are thrilled to win Shopify’s Build-A-Business competition," says Slipacoff. "I started CanadianIcons.ca as a way for consumers from around the world to learn more about Canada, and to be able to demonstrate their passion for our country by purchasing authentic pieces that have a story behind them. Sharing the history and story is as important as selling product for us."
Partnering with non-profit organizations including Canadian Museum of Civilization, Bata Shoe Museum and Polar Bears International, the virtual exhibit encourages the export of traditional and historically Canadian items. It also invites guests to support organizations that do work to promote, preserve and protect Canada.
Other winners were GameKlip, which builds an accessory that connects Android smartphones to PlayStation3 game controllers; GoldieBlox, a construction toy kit that encourages young girls to enjoy engineering; SkinnyMe Tea, which produces health-conscious teas; and Fresh-Tops, a seller of limited runs of user-suggested apparel for women.
The winners have the option to accept a $50,000 seed investment in exchange for a 5% equity stake, which values each company at $1 million.