The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is offering a $100,000 grand prize for the winner of its Young Entrepreneur Award.
The contest is aimed at helping the next generation of young business owners (ages 18-35) grow their business and remain competitive.
According to Stats Canada, the Thompson-Okanagan has led the way in small business growth, which is reflected in a net increase of 3,500 businesses over the course of four years (between 2007 and 2011), with self-employment growing the fastest in the region. Vernon, Kelowna, Kamloops and Penticton ranked in the top 40 in 2011 according to Stats Canada.
A second prize, consisting of $25,000 in consulting services, will be awarded to runner-up. The deadline for submitting applications is 9 a.m. PT, April 2.
“Showcasing and supporting Canada’s best business talent is an important aspect of our mandate,” said Michel Bergeron, senior vice-president, marketing and public Affairs at BDC.
“The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award is the premier venue to shine a spotlight on some of the challenges young business owners face today.”
Entrants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents responsible for the daily management of a Canada-based business for at least two years (as of Dec. 31, 2012), and must hold at least 20 per cent of the company’s capital stock.
Applicants are asked to create a short video describing a turning point their business has reached and the solution that will help them achieve future growth. This video – which need not be professionally produced – should clearly explain the turning point solution, have good image and sound quality and be memorable. All entries have to describe a project that has yet to be implemented.
“All companies reach a turning point,” said Bergeron. “Some may choose to tap into new markets by implementing an internet strategy. Others may decide to acquire new equipment that will increase their overall profitability.
“Recognizing challenges early on and having a plan to tackle individual turning points is important for business and should rank high on an entrepreneur’s agenda.
Bergeron added the value of participation goes beyond the prize money.
“The entire experience brings finalists tremendous exposure, public support and access to people and resources that will ultimately help their companies grow. As impressive as the monetary awards may be, a better reason to compete is to get noticed by potential customers and investors.”
Applications must be filled out and submitted online at www.bdcyoungentrepreneuraward.ca
More information about award eligibility criteria, application process, rules and regulations and the format of the video submissions is available on the contest’s microsite.