Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Monetary seed for a firm in need

Cash prize awarded to business at juncture

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Young entrepreneurs at a crossroad in their business should circle April 2 on the calendar.

That's the deadline for applications for BDC's Young Entrepreneur Award.

Last year, the annual award program jacked up the incentives by setting the first-place prize at $100,000. Second prize is $25,000 worth of consulting services.

"When we can have a grand prize winner of $100,000, that's a fantastic way to spur growth and to take a company to new heights," said Michael Selci, the regional vice-president of BDC in Manitoba.

The program selects 11 finalists -- one from every province and one from the three territories -- who are between the ages of 18 and 35.

The application process includes the production of a one- to two-minute video explaining a crossroad the business is at and a proposed solution to deal with it.

Those videos are then posted on a special BDC website and the winner is determined by public voting. (Details can be found at www.bdc.ca/yea).

The idea is the winner will be able to use the prize to invest in the solution outlined in the video.

Selci said past winners have achieved substantial boosts in profile and many have achieved significant growth in their businesses.

"We think it is a phenomenal opportunity for them," Selci said. "Our bank deals only with small- and medium-sized business. About 95 per cent of businesses in Canada have less than 49 employees. That's the type of entrepreneur we have to help grow."

Last year's Manitoba finalist was Michael Legary, the founder and CEO of Securis Inc.

Securis is a company that provides high-end information technology security for companies, organizations and governments. It has close to 100 employees and five offices in Canada and the U.S.

Legary is also one of the founders of AssentWorks, a community innovation space. In his video presentation last year, he pitched the idea of setting up similar spaces across the country.

martin.cash@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition March 15, 2013 B6

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