Support Halifax's Mobility Masters

Vote for Nova Scotia's finalist for the $100,000 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award

HALIFAX, June 3, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced today that the turning-point project "Bionic Boost," submitted by local businessman Chris Cowper-Smith and co-founder, Bob Garrish, will represent Nova Scotia for the finals of the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award.

Chris's project will help his company, Spring Loaded Technology, bring to market the world's first bionic knee-brace technology that can enhance strength, mobility and performance. To claim the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award $100,000 grand prize and fund this project, Chris needs votes from Canadians from coast-to-coast.

Spring Loaded Technology is living proof that great technology begins with market need. A few years ago, Chris and his co-founders took to the Internet to gauge consumer interest in a new kind of knee-brace technology. The response from orthopedic surgeons, physiotherapists, athletes and other people with injuries or mobility challenges was overwhelming. Two years of research and development and 15 design iterations later, Spring Loaded is ready to bring its unique bionic technology to market.

"The feedback from thousands of people around the world tells us there is a huge need for this kind of technology," Chris says. "Our knee brace was developed using a combination of mechanical engineering, biomechanics and kinesiology. We looked for inspiration in areas one might not expect, such as the landing gear of an aircraft."

Other products only provide joint stability, or end up being too bulky or too expensive for most people. Spring Loaded's compact design can improve performance and raise quality of life for people with mobility issues. Chris and his team want to scale production in a way that will cut costs and make the bionic knee-brace accessible to as many people as possible.

Chris plans to invest in new manufacturing equipment for rapid carbon-fibre and composites manufacturing so that Spring Loaded can retain full control of the production process and operate independently from third-party manufacturing partners. This would boost daily production from one unit to six, and drive economies of scale that would slash production costs per unit by 80%. These savings could then be passed on to the consumer.

"Each of this year's finalists has provided a compelling story about how their business stands at that crucial crossroads where the right mix of vision and action can secure future growth and success," says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. "With his innovative knee-brace technology, Chris can take advantage of a vast market opportunity. Spring Loaded is yet another example of how Canadian entrepreneurs can create world-class technology products for global markets."

"This is such a relatable and easy-to-understand technology," Chris says. "We can make an amazing difference in the lives of so many people. But we need to act quickly to scale the business and get to market. Vote for us so we can help people from all walks of life keep moving."

Voting for the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest runs from June 3 to June 17. To support your favourite project, log onto the contest microsite and vote once a day. Follow the contest through updates on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Visit bdc.ca/awards to learn about other ways in which BDC recognizes Canadian entrepreneurs. The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winner and runner-up will be announced on June 22. The runner-up will receive $25,000 in consulting services.

About the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest

Created by the Business Development Bank of Canada in 1988, the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest pays tribute to remarkable Canadian entrepreneurs between 18 and 35 years of age. Ten finalists were selected to compete for a $100,000 grand prize. A second prize of $25,000 in consulting services will be awarded to the contest runner-up. A national committee evaluates the quality of the finalist projects and gives each finalist a ranking that will be combined with the public vote. In 2015, the national committee evaluation is weighted to account for 50% of each project's final ranking, and the public vote will account for the remaining 50% of the ranking. www.bdc.ca/yea

About BDC

Canada's business development bank, BDC, puts entrepreneurs first. With almost 2,000 employees and more than 100 business centres across the country, BDC offers loansconsulting services, growth and business transition capital, securitization, as well as venture capital to more than 30,000 small and medium‑sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada's economic prosperity. To learn more, please visit www.bdc.ca

 

SOURCE Business Development Bank of Canada

For further information: Maria Constantinescu, Senior Advisor, Public Relations, BDC, maria.constantinescu@bdc.ca, (514) 496-7146

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