Energy Conservation Wins Big at New Ventures BC Awards

New Ventures BC Competition logoWe’ve covered the New Ventures BC Competition for many months now, and tonight it came to an end at the Awards Ceremony. A large crowd of companies, volunteers, judges, VCs, and supporters filled the room at the SFU Segal School of Business. The field of nearly 200 competitors came down to 10 finalists on stage awaiting the final announcement.

The three top winners were all from the Lower Mainland, and all involved concepts of energy conservation. Vancouver’s Saltworks Technologies took not only the BC Hydro first prize of $60,000, but also the BC Hydro sustainbility prize of $25,000. Small Energy Group of West Vancouver won the Enbridge second prize of $38,000 and Echoflex Solutions of Squamish taking the third prize. All three recieved an additional $50,000 BC Innovation Council Proof-of-concept Award.

“It’s always interesting to see which companies our panel awards the top prizes. I think the fact that all three winners work within the energy conservation field really speaks to BC’s place on the international map as a leader in sustainability and our entrepreneurs are clearly making a large contribution to that reputation.”  – Ernie Love, Chair of BC Ventures Society.

Over the months of the New Ventures BC competition, I’ve personally learned much about nurturing an early stage company from covering their seminars and watching the competitors progress. I remember the first seminar, seeing a diverse room full of competitors from all backgrounds, all able to relate to each other through their shared entreprenuerial spirit. For anyone with a good idea and the will to bring it to life, New Ventures BC provides an environment to learn, refine, get the idea into the public eye, and even win the means to get the idea off the ground. No doubt even the finalists that went home without prize money will benefit greatly from the exposure and experience of the competition.

Have a business plan you’ve let sit on the backburner? New Ventures BC 2009 will start next spring.

About the Winners:

Saltworks Technologies Inc., Vancouver, BC

BC Hydro First Prize – $60,000 cash & services; $100,000 BC Innovation Council Proof-of-concept Award
BC Hydro Sustainability Prize – $20,000 cash
Saltworks Technologies Inc. has developed a patent-pending solar process for desalination that offers significant electrical energy savings. The desalination market is estimated to grow by $56 billion over the next seven years and energy efficiency remains its greatest challenge.

Small Energy Group – West Vancouver, BC
Enbridge Second Prize – $38,000 cash & services; $50,000 BC Innovation Council Proof-of-concept Award

Small Energy Group’s Energy Management Software communicates with a large number of building automation and metering systems to collect, archive, analyze and communicate energy information. The system helps building owners and operators to quickly identify and resolve inefficient energy use, helps occupants learn how their buildings perform and ultimately helps to save money and reduce emissions.

Echoflex Solutions – Squamish, BC
Third Prize – $17,000 cash & services; $50,000 BC Innovation Council Proof-of-concept Award

Echoflex Solutions has introduced a new technology aimed at providing easy and automated energy conservation options for businesses.The company has developed a line of wireless, self-powered switches and sensors for retrofitting rooms into smart spaces for intelligent building control and energy conservation.