There are no statistical tools to gauge the relative performance of budding entrepreneurs, but this year's crop of participants in the annual Manitoba Venture Challenge promises to be a strong one.
Seven Manitoba startups will make their pitches at Innovate Manitoba's Venture Challenge on June 19, with $25,000 in cash prizes up for grabs along with three expense-paid trips to either the Banff Venture Forum or the Canadian Financing Forum in Vancouver, for a total value of about $40,000.
The participants were chosen from the 14 companies who registered for the three-day entrepreneur's boot camp this month, where they were put through the paces by some of Western Canada's leading business coaches and angel investors.
"There might have been more participants in the past but the quality is up this year," said Jan Lederman, president of Innovate Manitoba.
Its mandate is to help businesses through the development stage to get to the point where they can make a serious pitch to potential investors.
The June 19 event at the Fort Garry Hotel is open to the public.
Vying for top honours are:
- Advolve Media -- Bryce North & Kris Luinenburg: Advolve Media has proprietary hardware/software with an interactive mirror technology that plays advertising through glass when users approach a mirror;
- Epicenter AV -- Chris Johnson: Epicenter AV allows businesses to increase use and control of AV systems through the installation of a control system;
- Eyewear Evolution -- Sean Sylvestre: Eyewear Evolution is a 3-D relationship management platform and virtual try-on technology;
- Joist -- Justin Kathan & Brendan Sedo: Joist is a new tool for contractors that allows them to create estimates, email or print invoices, manage projects, accept credit cards and eChecks, order materials and supplies and export information to accounting systems in real time using mobile or web devices;
- Prairie Food Innovation -- Michael Reimer: Prairie Food Innovation is a specialty food-distribution business featuring high-nutrition gluten-free baked products with a major distributor already in place;
- ScheduleAide -- Dustin Refvik: ScheduleAide is a proprietary software platform designed to provide professional and trade service providers with web and mobile scheduling tools with unique ability to automate the process of marketing last-minute openings;
- VastCon -- Anuraag Shrivastav: Vastcon is a biomedical company developing cancer therapeutics and diagnostics, with a lead technology of a novel blood test for early detection and population based screening for colorectal cancer.