What is the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award?
Is your company at a crossroads? The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest rewards Canadian entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35 whose company has reached a turning point and who propose innovative solutions to ensure their company's growth.
When your business is at a crossroads, you have two choices: to continue at your current pace or take it to the next level. If you're choosing to grow your business, the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest is for you.
$100,000 to implement the winning project
$25,000 in consulting services with BDC specialists
+ national visibility
After the contest, the Grand Prize winner will track the project's progress through a video journal on the contest website or another communication tool. The project's progress will be reflected in a section featuring the winners and the public will have the chance to follow the various stages of the project's implementation.
How to apply
1) First, think about your hopes for the future of your business. Are you at a turning point or a decisive moment in its history? Do you want to implement a solution that will grow your business and take it to the next level? If so, this is your chance!
2) Get your application ready by thinking about the turning point your company is facing, as well as the solution you want to implement to ensure its growth. Warning: your application must present a solution that has NOT yet been implemented. The prizes are intended to help the winners through the change process.
3) Fill out the application form online and submit your application.
For more information, check out the Application Requirements (PDF).
Selection of finalists
Selection committees—one for every province and one for the three territories (Yukon, Northwest Territories and Nunavut)—will choose the finalist for their region, for a total of up to 11 finalists across Canada.
Please note that there may be fewer than 11 finalists if the applications received do not fully meet the contest's eligibility and selection criteria.
- The solution has not yet been implemented (the prizes are meant to help the winners during the change process)
- You describe the turning point or decisive moment your company is facing (and include an overview of market conditions)
- You introduce your proposed solution
- You describe the expected outcome
- Your solution will help grow your business
- Your project is feasible
Once the finalists are selected, they will have two weeks to submit their video—a sort of elevator pitch that allows the public to get to know them better, understand their situation and the solution they are proposing. The goal of the elevator pitch is to convince the public to vote for them.
Five tips for a better video
According to Joel Pinel, 2013 Grand Prize winner:
- Strive to build a gripping story around your turning point project—one that people will want to watch from beginning to end. Ask for feedback from family and friends to make sure they understand your story.
- Be prepared to spend the time needed to ensure your video is easy to understand. Did you clearly present your turning point project and solution? Did you explain how it will benefit your company and the impact it will have on your future growth?
- A script can help focus on the message, but it may not work for everyone. Regardless of your approach, act naturally and avoid reading things off a teleprompter or off a script while you're filming your video pitch.
- Don't focus exclusively on yourself. Try to present your business as a whole and aim to showcase your company culture. People love to see this side of entrepreneurship. Show your operations and your employees in action.
- Think about your video as an investment and give it your best shot. Not only will it help your campaign, but you can also reuse some of the footage on your website and social media after the contest.
There's no need to go to extraordinary lengths when making your video. You don't need to be an award-winning filmmaker—simply be yourself, and be concise and persuasive. The most important thing is to make us understand the decisive moment your company is facing, clearly describe your solution, and explain how it will take your business to the next level.
You can submit your video in either English or French. The information about your project will be posted in both English and French, and the original video will be posted online with subtitles.
Please note: the Entrepreneurs at a Crossroads webisodes were made by professionals—we are not expecting videos of this quality!
Make sure your video meets the following criteria
- Is between 1 and 2 minutes in length
- Does not exceed a maximum file size of 100 MB
- Is provided in one of the following formats: .mpg, .mov, .wmv, .3gp, .mp4 or .avi
- Clearly communicates my company's turning point or decisive moment (including an overview of market conditions), as well as my proposed solution to take it to the next level
- Has good image and sound quality
- Does not display logos of companies other than mine (be careful with tee-shirts, cars, electronic devices, etc.)
- Does not include any third-party images, videos or music for which I do not have written permission (this may include songs, photos or videos purchased for personal use)
Joel Pinel, 2013 winner
WOW Factor Media
Toni Desrosiers, 2014 2nd prize winner
Abeego Designs, Inc.
Selection of winners
Before the voting period, the national committee evaluates the finalists' applications and attributes a rank to each. During the voting period, each finalist receives, in real time, additional votes representing a percentage of the total number of public votes based on their rank as established by the national committee.
Here are the members of the 2015 national committee:
- Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing & Public Affairs, BDC (Chair)
- Katrina Beach, Partner, Assurance Services, Grant Thornton LLP (Nova Scotia)
- Patrice Bernard, Senior Vice President, Products & Shared Services, BDC (Quebec)
- Irwin Li, Managing Director, Mennie Canada Ltd. and President of the Association of Chinese Canadian Entrepreneurs (Ontario)
- Rory Carr, President, RC Products Ltd. (British Columbia)
During the voting period, the public will be able to vote for the candidate of their choice on this website.
For each finalist, votes from the public will account for 50% of total votes and votes that correspond to the national committee rank will account for 50% of total votes.
The winners of the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest are the candidates with the highest number of votes. The $100,000 Grand Prize goes to the finalist with the highest number of votes. The prize of $25,000 in consulting services goes to the second place finalist.
More information can be found in the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award FAQ.
For all the details, read the Contest Rules.