2013 FALL VO INVESTOR FORUM
Six companies battled it out before a sell-out crowd of nearly 100 people at Venture Okanagan’s Fall Investor Forum on Nov. 13 at the Kelowna campus. This Dragons’ Den-style event offers startups the opportunity to pitch local business leaders and angel investors for a $5,000 cash prize, sponsored by Grant Thornton and Prospera Credit Union, and potential equity investment in their businesses.
Edmonton-based Login Radius was victorious, wowing the judges with a well-honed presentation about the company’s social platform application programming interface (API). Second place went to My Tea (pictured), a Kelowna-based online tea blending company, which won a 12-month Shaw Business package. The other companies that pitched at the event were Hoopla.com, Timely Calendar and Event Platform, Jupiter Avionics Corporation, and Greys Paper Recycling Industries.
“The Investor Forum is really about exposure,” says Steve Watson, Okanagan College business professor and chair of Venture Okanagan. “While deals do not occur right away, at least one of our six presenters should receive an equity investment through the forum.”
Venture Okanagan is a partnership between a community of angel investors and Enactus Okanagan College, a non-profit student organization that focuses on a mix of entrepreneurial- and education-based projects in the community.
The next Investor Forum takes place in April 2014.
2013 SPRING VO INVESTOR FORUM
2 Hat Security was one of six businesses that made presentations at the sold-out forum. Coming in second place was Janice Taylor, founder of Just Be Friends – a web-based platform that connects families and builds community. Taylor received one year of free-business service from Shaw Business.
“The six businesses all had very good concepts and the level of presentations was excellent,” said Marek Buryska, Mission branch manager of Prospera Credit Union, who along with Grant Thornton LLP co-sponsored the forum.
“This event reinforces Kelowna’s growing reputation for fostering and driving new growth businesses that will be the future of our economy,” said Grant Thornton partner Kevin Santos.
Also presenting were Trajectory Design Automation, Bananatag, Keycafe, and Factors 9 Sports.
“The entrepreneurs all had phenomenal presentations and business ideas,” said Delainie Shaw from Shaw Business. “It must have been a tough decision for the judges to pick the first and second place winners.”
The spring 2013 event marked the sixth forum, which is now in its third year of operation under the umbrella of Enactus Okanagan College. The judges included representatives from Grant Thornton, Prospera Credit Union, and select angel investors.
“In three years we’ve had great success with this program,” Watson said. “We’ve had five or six entrepreneurs receive equity investment, and an even greater number of budding entrepreneurs in the community have acquired a mentor, which is equally valuable.”
Enactus Okanagan College is a non-profit student organization that operates on all four Okanagan College campuses: Penticton, Kelowna, Vernon, and Salmon Arm. Enactus Okanagan College students put in over 6,500 volunteer hours during the 2011-12 school year, impacting more than 10,000 individuals in the Okanagan. Through a mix of entrepreneurial and education-based projects Enactus Okanagan College continues to empower individuals throughout the Okanagan.