Fear not, the east coast is not the only part of the country with a startup competition. Small Business BC is hosting their own business plan competition.
There are separate categories for startups and for more mature growth businesses. Each category is up for a $40,000 prize (we think, it’s not clear).
This contest seems pretty well run, and is much more open in terms of the types of businesses that can apply, but it also seems to have a much less attractive prize package. There may be ancillary prizes we just aren’t aware of yet however.
They are also very prescriptive of how your business plan should look which doesn’t nessecarily mean that they will find the best startups, or the best entrepreneurs, instead they may just find the best darn bunch of business plan writers in BC.
Business Plans aren’t always where you should be spending your time, instead I think that a competition like this should leave the criteria much more open and should simply judge each entrepreneur and business based on how well the idea is presented.
Only a few tech startups have won in the past.
ThoughtFarmer, based in Vancouver, BC, is a startup in the hot enterprise 2.0 space. Why is the sector so exciting? Because it is changing enterprise work flow, knowledge sharing, and collaboration. Try imagining university before Facebook.
ThoughtFarmer’s journey began with a consulting project in 2004; a client wanted an engaging intranet and knowledge repository, all without staff dedicated to the project. The solution… a wiki. The product developed from there, inspired by JotSpot and the growing importance of social networks.
ThoughtFarmer sold its first license in 2006. Yep, this is behind-the-firewall software. With companies large and small racing toward the era of software as a service, this is an almost contrarian bet. It will be interesting to follow this company and see how it all plays out. One last thing… ThoughtFarmer is profitable and not seeking funding.
Contact: Chris McGrath
The New Brunswick Innovation Foundation, another quasi-governmental agency in Atlantic Canada, is running it’s own startup competition for New Brunswick startups.
There aren’t quite as many prizes as in the Innovacorp competition mentioned earlier, but it is still a pretty serious prize package, including a 100,000$ equity investment by NBIF in the winning company along with a mishmash of services that are provided to the various winners.
Submissions are due September 28th, 2007. You can get the submission form here and there is a Participant Handbook you need to read.
These competitions are worth your time whether you are established, just getting started, or even just thinking about getting a startup off the ground. The pressure of developing your business, pitching it and then, hopefully, being rewarded handsomely for your work, is all worthwhile.
Hey, I won one a few years ago and really enjoyed it. That startup, Blogtrack.com, probably wouldn’t have been launched in the end if I hadn’t received the funding that came in due to that competition. It also meant that angel investors came knocking anew. The rest, they say, is history.
Hat tip to Harold Jarche for pointing us towards this.