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2010 BCIC Awards and BCIC-New Ventures Competition award $391,000 to Tech entrepreneurs

The brightest among BC’s emerging technology entrepreneurs and businesses were honoured last night as two distinct awards competitions were celebrated together: the 2010 BCIC Awards and the BCIC-New Ventures Competition Awards (BCIC-NVC).

The BCIC Awards recognize the incredible achievements of BC’s technology entrepreneurs – highlighting their valuable contribution to BC’s technology community. They focus on the entrepreneurial talent of individuals as well as the commercialization potential of companies in the early stages of technology commercialization.

2010 BCIC Award Winners:

2010 BCIC Ripples of Hope Award for Biotechnology & Entrepreneurship – $35,000

  • Dr. Rhonda Wideman, UBC’s Prevention of Organ Failure Centre of Excellence (PROOF)

2010 BCIC Emerging Technology Award – $25,000

  • DuVax, Mr. Barry Duplantis and Mr. Neil Duplantis

2010 BCIC Entrepreneurship Fellow Award – $25,000

  • Dr. Bozena Kaminska, SFU Professor, Canada Research Chair (Tier 1) in Wireless Sensor Networks

The BCIC-NVC is one of North America’s largest technology business-idea competitions. The annual five-month, four-round B.C. competition is like a boot camp for business startups, addressing the special interests of BC’s early-stage technology companies and supporting BC’s emerging technology industry.

This year New Ventures BC is celebrating its 10th anniversary and a renewed commitment from BCIC as Lead Partner of the program. Last night, it was formally announced that the annual technology business idea competition will now be called the BCIC-New Ventures Competition (formerly the New Ventures BC Competition) in recognition of BCIC’s continued support in delivering the program each year.

BCIC-New Ventures Competition Winners:

$123,000 BCIC first-prize package:

2010 New Ventures BC Competition Winners -

$65,000 BCIC second-prize package:

$38,000 BCIC third-prize package:

The following additional prizes acknowledging sustainability, economic impact and bioenergy solutions:

$40,000 BC Hydro Sustainability prize

  • SOLEGEAR Bioplastics Inc.

$20,000 BC Bioenergy Network prize

  • Quadrogen Power Systems

$20,000 BCIC Economic Impact prize

  • SOLEGEAR Bioplastics Inc.

The 2010 BCIC-NVC attracted more than 140 applicants. In the first time in the history of the competition, a bioenergy company took home the BC Bionenergy Network prize PLUS another prize. This is also the first time the jury has awarded three prizes to one company.

The BCIC Awards and BCIC-NVC Awards were handed out last night at the SFU Segal Graduate School of Business.

13 Responses to “2010 BCIC Awards and BCIC-New Ventures Competition award $391,000 to Tech entrepreneurs”

  1. Jim Hudson says:

    I’m very surprised the BC Innovation Council would award $100 000+ to for a business idea that has the real potential to negatively impact the design, advertising and marketing industry of British Columbia. This decision undermines the value of design, and it puts the provincial government in a position of supporting cheap global outsourcing as opposed to incubating and fostering growth of British Columbia based creative firms. It also undermines the provinces tax revenue from the creative industry. I would hardly call a web company promoting cheap labour “innovative”.

    By the way, there are already many web sites in existence exploiting hungry designers, ( is one) so is simply another knockoff, hardly what I would call innovative.

    Jim Hudson BDes CGD
    Society of Graphic Designers of Canada

  2. Jim Hudson says:

    Dear BCIC,
    Further to my earlier post, when we read with amazement that Hiretheworld, a Burnaby startup, had won $100K, we were deeply chagrined. While the world of crowdsourcing and social media continues to grow and inspire hundreds of companies of this type, the focus on other aspects of economic growth and development (especially design and creative disciplines that are crucial in the 21st century) seem all but ignored.

    That there are many companies doing what Hiretheworld does already (99Designs, The Logo Factory, Crowdspring, Springwise, Guerra Creative, Designcrowd, and more) seems not to have played a significant role in your decision and award. Nor the fact that by their own admission, the government has lost about $6500 in taxes on a single contract through this service. Based on their example they proudly hold up for the $300 x 187 options = $56,100 value of work drained from creative industries and the potential tax base.

    Design Week 2010, an international conference of professional designers, occurred in Vancouver in April and the BC government could only provide one tenth of the amount that was awarded to this company. This, in spite of the opportunity that raising British Columbian designers’ profile on an international scale and opening new markets for our services represents a far greater long-term economic expansion for the province.

    It seems to us that endorsing some manner of fashionable crowdsourcing project, which in the long run will create neither jobs or design skills for BC’s economy, is a poor and dangerous choice for economic growth.

    Jim Hudson BDes CGD
    Society of Graphic Designers of Canada

  3. David Coates says:

    I was appalled to read the lead article in the Sun business section yesterday “Burnaby tech firm attains global reach”. Being a small business owner myself, I love to hear about local success stories, but this one simply rubs me the wrong way. Basically this company is crowdsourcing – not a new practice and definitely not innovative. As a practicing certified graphic designer, I am prohibited by my professional association the Society of Graphic Designers of Canada ( to participate in speculative work. I’m not going to get into the whole argument against spec work here as that’s a whole other topic – let’s just say it’s simply bad business practice. Crowdsourcing is in effect spec work as it is work done for free in anticipation of winning a “contest”. At it’s best, crowdsourcing is a community working together to find solutions to problems. At it’s worst, it’s websites like, and a myriad of others taking advantage of a crowd of (mostly amateur) designers by dangling a few dollars of prize money in front of them in a beauty contest for companies trying to get something for little investment.

    I find it unbelievable that the provincial government would, contrary to their own rhetoric about the value of design, recognize a company like this that undermines a whole sector of small business and taxpayers in the province. To add insult to injury, they’ve awarded them $123,000.00 through the BCIC New Ventures Program – it’s tantamount to throwing the entire design sector under the bus – ironically, a whole sector of innovators.

    Global crowdsourcing – where’s the benefit to British Columbians? All I see is potential revenue and taxes being shipped offshore.

    David Coates, CGD, FGDC | Partner | Ion Branding + Design

  4. Re: “Burnaby Tech Firm Attains Global Reach’, Vancouver Sun, October 7th

    Consider a world where, before you get surgery, you put out your x-ray on the Web and ask for opinions from doctors around the world, choosing the low bidder or the one that seems to plot out a ‘winning’ surgical protocol. Would you feel confident with the result? Or say you want to build a house, so you put out a bit of a description and then pick the house plan that has been done without fee, before you decide to go ahead. How long would architects stay in business? Or the legal case where you wait for all the lawyers to give their opinion on the case; in fact, solve the argument, and then pick the one you like best. How many people would become lawyers?

    Would we ever expect or accept our lawyers, doctors, and architects to operate in this way? And yet we expect that of the professionals who design our products and services. Toss out a proposal, cast the net across the continents and get 600 little designers all working for free, pick the one you like and wow — $300 buys you 187 different designs. Meaning 186 designers didn’t feed their kids that day.

    That’s essentially the business model of Not only does it completely minimize and exploit the professionalism and skills of the graphic designer (asking them to work on spec doing finished artwork for fees absurdly low), but it isn’t even an original idea. There are many companies doing what Hiretheworld does already (99Designs, The Logo Factory, Crowdspring, Springwise, Guerra Creative, Designcrowd, and more). Innovation? I think not.

    And this is the reason for my letter. I have no problem with a company going out and offering a service the market will bear. Which is clearly in demand given the success of Hire the World. Hey, what small businessperson wouldn’t want a logo for $100 given the huge prices us professionals charge? Galls me for sure, but they have the right to build a business and find a market.

    But I won’t accept my government under the BC Innovation Council giving top prize and $123,000 worth of cash and awards to a company that isn’t innovative (they have copied the model from other companies as listed), that exploits those in this ‘Creative Economy that the government purports to be interested in nurturing, and that will lose taxes on each and every transaction that flows through the company globally. This award effectively undermines a whole sector of SMEs in this province — those companies like ours that do pay taxes, do stay on top of our professional development, and DO innovate.

    Shame on the government… and shame on the jurists for the BC Innovation Council. I look at their names and businesses and wonder if they would like a model of business where they offer their legal services, technology innovations, academic papers, and products out to the market for free, hoping someone will pick them up and pay them. How long would they stay in business?

  5. eh iknow says:

    Kids could think of a business, sell lemonade online, words like crowdsourcing and dangling the carrot is english for have wine and wine some more. make a prize and see what a 7 year old could do from anywhere in canada. I get impression economic depression is wanted badly every few years so people with vocabulary cant stand but to shun something new. Ive seen stay at home dads, just us hardworking as the moms. Suck it up Canada, brain drain isnt wanted anymore. You get slow growth after the old cant stack it anymore. Create incentive and the economy will look a lot brighter, start with small businesses, but what do i kno eh?

  6. Angie Schick says:

    Hi All,
    Thanks for all your comments. I’d like to provide some additional clarification:

    – BCIC is the title sponsor for The New Ventures Competition, but BCIC is not involved in the decision-making process. New Ventures is an independent organization and not part of BCIC.

    – The winner of the New Ventures Awards is chosen from B.C. companies that apply for the competition each year in April and meet eligibility criteria ( This criteria includes that the company must have raised less than $500,000 in financing from outside sources and is less than 5 year old.

    – The New Ventures Competition has a thorough judging process based on an experienced jury. The award winners are determined by an independent jury of 12 entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and angel investors with expertise in the start-up technology space. This jury is tasked each year to choose the winning idea/company that is most likely to be commercially viable with the greatest value in the future. Based on 2 written submissions and 1 in-person presentation, was chosen as the winner this year.

    Angie Schick
    Program Manager, BCIC-New Ventures Competition

  7. Pete Fry says:

    Angie Shick,

    I’m afraid your clarification has left me even more confused
    the first point of the NewVentures eligibility criteria states:

    “A B.C.-based business with the majority of its activity in B.C.”

    – a look at the site and business model seems to indicate that the majority of hiretheworld’s activity isn’t happening in this province or even this continent!

    Crown Agency BCIC through it’s sponsorship of New Ventures has really failed it’s mandate and duty to the people of British Columbia. This entire debacle gives me real pause to consider the worth (if any) this organization brings to BC taxpayers.

  8. Dave Mason says:

    Dear Ms. Schick,
    There are a few aspects of this issue that reflect quite poorly on BCIC and New Ventures, not least of which is what seems to be the recognizing and rewarding a business for ‘creating’ something that by all available descriptions already exists in more than one form elsewhere.

    I personally don’t care what business the ‘winner’ is in, I’m simply trying to understand how qualified for any kind of award.

    Perhaps the Vancouver Sun article that brought this all to my attention incorrectly referred to the $123,000 as an “Innovation Award” – a natural but possibly mistaken assumption given the involvement of the BC Innovation Council.

    If the award is simply for forming what appears to be a viable business regardless of whether or not that business brings any new value to the world, you can expect a massive inflow of applicants for subsequent competitions.

    If the independent jury members could simply reveal the criteria and scoring by which they determined that what appears to be a me-too company should be honored in this way, I’m sure this could all be put to rest.

    Open communication and transparency help – unless the truth doesn’t look too good in the daylight.

    Dave Mason

  9. Jim Hudson, David Coates, Catherine Winckler, Pete Fry and Dave Mason have all very eloquently stated my thoughts and feelings about what seems to be a terrible choice for this “Innovation” award. Therefore I’m only here to lend my support to this opinion.

    I also thought those reading this might get a kick out of the fact that Hiretheworld is trying to advertise on Craigslist for a designer…presumably to assist them in devaluing the very industry this designer is a part of. I say “trying to advertise” because, rightfully so, the ad has raised the ire of the designers who follow that particular board and it’s being flagging and removed pretty much immediately.

    This last line of the ad, which I managed to grab before the last iteration was flagged and removed, gives me a chuckle…

    “You must be able commute to work therefore no offshore employees need to apply as you will be wasting your time and mine :)

    The irony is so rich I can hardly stand it.

  10. John says:

    Way the go Angie, that’s one way doing it. Just blame someone else. Its not us, its the process. If a company is NOT providing an ethical service or product like say pornography and was chosen the winner does the counsel just accept this fact. Is there no clause in your contest that contends that the company needs to moral or is the old mighty dollar the only requirement. Face it this organization Messed Up.

  11. Bob de Wit says:


    How about we get together and clear the air on this? As Executive Director of NVBC, I can answer all your questions except — other than those that violate privacy commitments (e.g. why this judge liked company A over company B, and so on)

    I’ll meet with whoever wants to talk about this, at the Blenz at W. Hastings x Richards St., at 2:30pm on Monday, October 25th.

    Coffee’s on me.



  12. Brian says:

    Absolutely shameful waste of money – who is responsible for exercising responsible due diligence prior to making these awards? I can’t help but wonder if somebody knows somebody in the money chain? Are there any BCIC or New Ventures people who might be benefiting from getting this award?

    Alternatively, the BCIC and New Ventures selection team are just grossly incompetent and wouldn’t know a real innovation that is good for BC’ers if it bit it on the backside…or maybe it’s just good old fashioned pork barrel politics?

  13. […] again to the winners of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place BCIC prize packages in our 2010 provincial competition: […]