It may have been the prize money that attracted more than 1,400 new ventures to participate in the New Ventures BC Competition, presented by Innovate BC since its inception in 2001, but according to a newly released economic impact study undertaken by a team of researchers at SFU’s Beedie School of Business, it’s the business tools, perfecting their business pitch, mentorship and the relationships imparted throughout the process that make this competition so valuable for BC entrepreneurs.

“I’m excited to see the scope of talent among participants, and hope they are able to make the most of their time in the New Ventures BC Competition, presented by Innovate BC,” said John Yap, Minister of Advanced Education, Innovation and Technology. “The experience and confidence they gain will help them build the crucial skills they’ll need to be competitive in their chosen area of the technology sector.”

“Many participants enter the competition with a technology background and little or no experience in business, management or working as part of a startup,” said Angie Schick, the competition’s Executive Director. “They benefit most from understanding the process of turning their technology into a product and creating a valuable business model. Those also accepting of training from their mentors and who are willing to reach out to their business community for support are more likely to succeed.”

With 12 years of experience benefiting technology startup companies in British Columbia, the New Ventures BC Competition, presented by Innovate BC has a reputation second to none when it comes to moving the needle on innovation in BC. Phase I of the study identified 295 unique companies that advanced to the 3rd round of competition from 2001 to 2011. An investigation of these companies found that:

  • 56% are still active in some form and collectively have created 3,170 jobs and generated an estimated $194 million in revenue.
  • These ventures are also estimated to have filed 854 patents and generated 1,294 unique product offerings.

Phase II of the same study involved sending a survey to the competitions’ 295 Round 3 companies. With response from founders or senior leaders at 84 or 29% of these companies, the following findings emerged:

  • 85% of participants said they had significantly benefitted from the New Ventures BC Competition, presented by Innovate BC and would highly recommend it to other entrepreneurs.
  • About 80% of respondents found the mentorship highly valuable to their ventures.
  • Approximately one-third of all participants maintained a relationship with their mentors post- competition. And many found collaborators and board members through competition events.
  • Surveyed firms have filed 227 patents and generated 344 unique product offerings.
  • Surveyed firms have created 843 jobs in BC and generated estimated annual revenues of $51.5 million.