First Ever Kootenay Pitch Competition to be Held at Nelson Innovation Centre

The competition is made up of three pitch events and a grand finale pitch event. The first pitch event will take place on November 5, 2020 with applications due on September 24, 2020. Each pitch event will see four entrepreneurs pitching their businesses in front of a panel of judges that includes investors, technology experts, funding agencies and experienced entrepreneurs who have global connections to both markets and investment capital. 

Not only will they compete for cold hard cash and amazing prizes - mentorship, networking, support and incredible exposure are all up for grabs. The pitch events (November, January and March) will take place in-person with a limited capacity due to COVID-19 at Nelson Innovation Centre and also live-streamed so people can tune in from across the province and beyond. The winners of each event, the top three, will face off in the grand finale pitch event in April 2021.

“Holding the Kootenay region’s premiere pitch competition is the first step in providing important support and investor readiness training  to our local entrepreneurs and startups,” said Kailyn Skuban, KAST’s interim executive director. “The Kootenays are experiencing a tech-sector boom, but critical missing ingredients are the availability of capital and investor readiness. 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.” 

KAST is working diligently to build and develop a healthy and thriving technology ecosystem that supports the broader business network in the region. Winners of this competition will be fast-tracked into the Venture Acceleration Program which provides further customized 1:1 business coaching with an experienced mentor to help tech start-ups scale and grow. As the global economic landscape continues to change and businesses continue to adapt to this new global pandemic, adopting new technology and supporting the local tech sector is more important than ever to ensure a healthy economic future for Kootenay residents.

"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."

If entrepreneurs and startups are interested in applying, they can visit Applications are due September 24, 2020.

Additional information (sidebar):

What are the entrepreneurs competing for?!

Besides bragging rights, the winner 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.

The Grand Finale Winner takes home bragging rights, ALL the glory and…

  • $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 

What all 12 accepted contestants 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.