Have a technology-based idea? The Kootenay Pitch Competition is your chance to turn it into reality

Hosted by KAST, the Kootenay Pitch Competition provides valuable exposure, mentorship and networking to competitors

by Julie Matchett
Kootenay Pitch Competition graphic.

Entrepreneurs and start-ups with a technology-based product or service idea are invited to compete in the inaugural Kootenay Pitch Competition, hosted by KAST in Nelson. — Photo courtesy KAST

Are you a Kootenay resident with an exciting and innovative technology-based idea? Here’s your chance to compete in the first-ever Kootenay Pitch Competition, hosted by KAST (Kootenay Association for Science & Technology) and sponsored by the Nelson & District Credit Union.

Held at the Nelson Innovation Centre, the event will feature three pitch events in November, January and March that will also be live-streamed so people can tune in from across the province and beyond. Each pitch event will see four entrepreneurs battle head-to-head in front of a panel of judges that includes technology experts, investors, funding agencies and experienced entrepreneurs who have global connections to both markets and investment capital.

The first pitch event will take place on November 5, 2020 with applications due on September 24, 2020. The winners of each competition event—the top three—will face off in the Grand Finale pitch competition in April 2021 where the Grand Final winner will be crowned.

“The Kootenays are experiencing a tech-sector boom, but critical missing ingredients are the availability of capital and investor readiness,” said Kailyn Skuban, KAST’s interim executive director. “This competition will provide investment readiness training for local entrepreneurs, with a broader goal to develop future programming that will strengthen the investment ecosystem locally, diversify our economy, and create inclusive, modern, high paying sustainable jobs across our region.”

What’s in it for you? All 12 accepted contestants will receive:

  • Two hours of preparatory pitch coaching from an expert, broken down into four 30-minute Zoom meetings prior to the pitch competition
  • 30-minute consultation with Bruce Hardy, the local National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) advisor. NRC IRAP provides advice, connections, and funding to help Canadian small and medium-sized businesses increase their innovation capacity and take ideas to market.

In addition, the winners of EACH pitch event will take home:

  • $500 in cold hard cash
  • A free annual KAST membership (value: $200-$400)
  • Three months of free entry into the Venture Acceleration Program ($600 value), which includes 1:1 mentorship from an experienced mentor 
  • Free entrance into the New Ventures BC Competition in 2021 ($200 value), courtesy of New Venture BC.  Note:  All winners will be required to apply to the New Ventures BC Competition to be eligible for the Grand Finale prizing. 
  • Two hours of expert assistance, from a KAST Entrepreneur in Residence, for the application process for the New Ventures BC Competition.

And for the Grand Prize winner? Bragging rights, of course, but also:

  • $1,000 in cold hard cash
  • A free annual KAST membership (value: $200-$400)
  • Three months of free entry into the Venture Acceleration Program ($600 value) which includes 1:1 mentorship from an experienced mentor 
  • Travel expenses paid for Pitch Day (up to $750) at the New Ventures BC Competition in 2021 if applicant accepted

"I’m so excited for this kind of event to happen here in the Kootenays," said Steve Fisher, a KAST Executive-in-Residence and co-organizer of the Kootenay Pitch Competition. "Pitching a business idea is so important; you cannot raise capital or sell your products without delivering a great pitch. The only way to get good at it is to do it in front of a live audience, and that's what the Kootenay Pitch Competition is all about. Although the pressure is on and you have to perform, you'll be doing so in a supportive and stunning environment. To have the newly opened Nelson Innovation Centre as our state-of-the-art venue, the timing is perfect."

Interested entrepreneurs and startups are invited to apply by visiting www.kast.com/kootenaypitchcompetition. Applications are due September 24, 2020.

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