Polar Pen the Canadian Winner in Shopify's Fourth-Annual Build-A-Business Competition

by Knowlton Thomas

Ottawa-based Shopify has announced the winners of its fourth annual “Build-A-Business Competition."

Over eight months, 21,000 entrepreneurs created new online businesses that sold $120 million in products.

The competition ran from October 2013 to May 2014, with grand prizes awarded to shops with the highest sales over a two-month period. Each of the 10 winners will receive $50,000 and a trip to New York City to meet with industry experts who will serve as their mentors, according to Shopify. In addition to the money and trip, winners will also receive a complete Shopify Point-Of-Sale package.

Polar Pen was the Canadian winner, whose mentor will be Amber Mac. Andrew Gardner, an industrial designer, had an idea for a fully magnetized pen. With the hopes of raising $14,000 to create 2,000 pens on Kickstarter, he ended up raising $800,000 for 20,000 pens, which are now sold in 90 countries around the world.

"Since its inception four years ago, Shopify's Build-A-Business competition has kickstarted businesses that now sell millions of dollars' worth of products every year,” said Harley Finkelstein, Shopify's Chief Platform Officer. "We're extremely excited about this year’s winners. They prove that the product doesn’t matter—whether it’s headbands, juice, or drones—all you need is one great idea to start selling.”

Other winners include Tatsup, MVMT Watches, and Drones.



Infographic: Shopify


Ottawa, Ontario, Canada

Shopify is an Ottawa based commerce platform that allows anyone to easily sell online, at their retail location, and everywhere in between. Shopify offers a professional online storefront, a payment solution to accept credit cards, a point of sale system to power retail sales and a card reader to accept payments through a mobile phone. Shopify currently powers over 165,000 active online stores... more

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Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton Thomas

Knowlton is the managing editor of Techvibes. Based in Vancouver, Knowlton has been published in national publications and has also appeared on television and radio. Previously he was an editor for New Westminster weekly The Other Press and served on its board of directors. When not working, Knowlton enjoys hiking, tennis, and martial arts. more

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