Applications for the KAST’s (Kootenay Association for Science & Technology) inaugural 2020/21 Kootenay Pitch Competition are now open. Each winner of the three pitch events that make up Pitch Competition, will gain complimentary access to our 2021 New Ventures BC Competition. We met up with Karen Kornelsen, the Nelson Innovation Centre Community and Events Manager, to learn more about the Kootenay Pitch Competition and what excites her about tech in the Kootenays. 

Tell us a bit more about the Kootenay Pitch Competition. Who is supporting it? What will companies gain by participating?

This year tech entrepreneurs and startups from across the Kootenays will have the opportunity to compete in KAST’s first ever Kootenay Pitch Competition hosted at the Nelson Innovation Centre, sponsored by Nelson & District Credit Union and Traction on Demand

The competition is composed of three pitch events in November, January and March with the grande finale happening in April 2021. At each pitch event, four entrepreneurs will pitch their startup idea to a panel of judges composed of tech experts, investors, funding experts and seasoned entrepreneurs. The three winners will then go head to head  at the Grand Finale pitch event in April. 

Not only will the twelve competing entrepreneurs be in the running for cash and other awesome prizes, all competitors will receive virtual mentorship, networking opportunities, support and exposure to the BC tech community and beyond. 

Who can compete?

Any Kootenay-based tech entrepreneur or team developing an innovation technology product or service. Entrepreneurs in the ideation stage, no revenue, no incorporation, no prior entrepreneurial experience are welcome to apply. Not only is the competition a great opportunity to win cash and receive exposure, the mentorship and support the participating entrepreneurs will receive in preparation for the pitch events will help set them up for success in the present and future. 

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Any type of technology product or service is accepted. 
  • Must be less than 5 years old 
  • Raised less than $1,000,000 of non-grant funding from any source. 
  • Incorporation is not required. 
  • Be able to pay $75 entrance fee if accepted

Where is it being held?

The event will be hosted at Nelson Innovation Centre and live streamed so people across the province and beyond can tune it to catch all the action.

Why did KAST include entrance to the 2021 New Ventures BC Competition as a prize for each winner?

We matched our competition eligibility criteria with the NVBC Competition criteria so that the winners of the pitch event can compete on a provincial level. We felt the NVBC Competition would be the next step for these local entrepreneurs to pitch to a much larger audience and receive feedback, mentorship and insights on their business to take their startup to the next level.

What is the best way to access support as a tech entrepreneur in the Kootenays?

KAST is the best resource for any entrepreneur in the Kootenay region, with an idea, product or startup looking to accelerate their technology. KAST offers a range of programs including: Venture Accelerator Program and Startup Basic Program, RevUp Program. We also host a number of events and workshops, and a concierge service at the Nelson Innovation Centre. Finally, we have our GLOWS program, which helps youth find inspiration for their post-secondary career in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math).

What excites you about the entrepreneurship and tech innovation in the Kootenays?

The Kootenays have a diverse tech ecosystem that spans across all tech sectors. Everyone who live in the Kootenays came here for a reason, whether it’s an amazing work/life balance, the incredible outdoor opportunities or to live a creative life, a little outside the norm. There is a real entrepreneurial, go-getter spirit that defines the region. There are a lot of people with great ideas and it is so great to see that so many members of the community help one other. For us at KAST, supporting these entrepreneurs and startups is not only inspiration but a pleasure. 

Applications now open

Applications for the first November 5 Competition Pitch event close September 24.

Apply