DataGardens wins the 2008 TEC VenturePrize

The annual VenturePrize Awards Luncheon held earlier today was a mix of old and new. Returning to Hall D at the Shaw Conference Centre in downtown Edmonton, the ceremony recognized a number of Alberta’s best entrepreneurs and also served as an informal launch event for a new name and branding for the competition.

tec ventureprize Now called TEC VenturePrize, the business plan competition was formed in 2002 by Edmonton Economic Development Corporation (EEDC) and is run by TEC Edmonton, itself a partnership between EEDC and the University of Alberta. The new name features TEC Edmonton more prominently, and the updated logo is fresh and modern looking. Today’s event was the first time the new branding has been prominently displayed, and I expect the website and other materials will be updated in the weeks to come.

“Providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed is the driving force behind TEC VenturePrize,” said David Cox, CEO of TEC Edmonton. “Awarding entrepreneurs that pursue their passion, developing fast growth business opportunities, is what it’s all about.”

TEC VenturePrize consists of two parts: the Fast Growth Award, and the Student Business Plan Competition. The finalists in this year’s student competition included IdleTime, MountainFlix, and BlackFire Technologies. James Matsuba’s IdleTime, an electronic marketplace to connect employers and temporary workers, took home the prize of $6000 in cash, while each of the runners up received $2000.

tec ventureprize winners

The finalists in the Fast Growth category included DataGardens, Simple Solar, and Tagle. The judges decided to award first place to DataGardens, giving Geoff Hayward and his team $90,000 in cash and prizes. The runners up each take home $38,000 in prizes.

DataGardens has created technology that essentially creates a virtual data centre. Their solution is described as an evolution in how companies manage their IT infrastructure. Usually, companies have two choices: they can either centralize everything in a main office, or they can spread their IT throughout branch offices. DataGardens hopes to provide their customers the best of both worlds.

For more information on the competition and the participants (including contact information), see this TEC Edmonton news release. I took a few photos too, which you can see here. Curious about what was on the menu? Feel free to read this post on my blog.