UBC Okanagan to host BDC's 2009 E-Spirit National Gathering



    KELOWNA, BC, April 22 /CNW Telbec/ - More than 150 Aboriginal youths from
across Canada will visit UBC Okanagan next month for the Business Development
Bank of Canada's (BDC) ninth annual national E-Spirit Aboriginal Youth
Business Plan Competition gathering and awards gala.
    Aimed at Aboriginal youth in Grades 10 to 12, E-Spirit is a 16 week
Internet-based competition that provides interactive business planning
resources, online access to mentoring and extensive student networking
opportunities, via the web and in person. This business plan competition is
designed to increase students' awareness of entrepreneurial and business
opportunities, management and business skills, e-commerce and technological
capacities.
    The gathering from May 12 to 14 will include a tradeshow presentation on
May 12 at the UBC Okanagan Kelowna Gymnasium and an awards gala at the Kelowna
Community Theatre on May 14. Cash prizes will be awarded to the three winning
schools in the amount of $2,500 for Gold, $1,500 for Silver and $750 for
Bronze. Twelve Special Achievement awards will also be presented.
    "The UBC Okanagan community values our growing links with the Aboriginal
community; we are very proud to be hosting students of the E-Spirit
competition," said Doug Owram, Deputy Vice Chancellor at UBC Okanagan. "It is
exciting to have so many future leaders and entrepreneurs visit us. It's a
great opportunity for them to get to know UBC Okanagan and our region."
    "BDC is proud to associate with UBC Okanagan for the ninth edition of
E-Spirit", said Wilson Neapew, National Director, Aboriginal Banking, Business
Development Bank of Canada. "This business plan competition offers Aboriginal
students a chance to develop their entrepreneurial spirit by putting
technology at work, forging relationships and strengthening community bonds."
    The E-Spirit program was developed by BDC and is supported by Atlantic
Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

    The following schools qualified for the E-Spirit Business Plan
Competition 2009:

    Alberta
    Canmore Collegiate

    British Columbia
    Chase Secondary School
    Clearwater Secondary School
    Grand Forks Secondary School
    J.V. Humphries (Kaslo)
    North Peace Secondary School (Fort St. John)
    Salmon Arm Secondary - Sullivan Campus and Jackson Campus
    Stein Valley Nlakapamux School (Lytton)

    Manitoba
    Children of the Earth High School
    Gordon Bell High School
    St. John's High School (Winnipeg)
    Margaret Barbour Collegiate Institute (The Pas)

    New Brunswick
    Bonar Law Memorial School (Rexton)
    Southern Victoria High School (Perth-Andover)

    Newfoundland and Labrador
    Lake Melville School (North West River)

    Nova Scotia
    Chief Allison M. Bernard Memorial High School (Cape Breton)
    Sydney Academy
    Wagmatcook School
    Unama'ki High School (Eskasoni First Nation)

    Nunavut
    John Arnalukjuak High School (Arviat)
    Nuiyak School (Sanikiluaq)

    Ontario
    Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School (Thunder Bay)
    Espanola High School
    Saugeen District Secondary School (Port Elgin)
    Wasse Abin High School (Wikwemikong)

    Quebec
    Ecole Manikanetish (Sept-Iles)
    Kitigan Zibi Kikinamadinan (Maniwaki)

    Saskatchewan
    Regina Christian School

    Yukon
    Del Van Gorder School (Faro)

    About University of British Columbia Okanagan - Kelowna

    UBC opened its Okanagan campus in Kelowna, B.C., in 2005. With 5,300
undergraduate and graduate students, UBC Okanagan is an intimate learning
community where students interact with one another and their professors on a
daily basis, while becoming global citizens through interaction with their
community and the world.

    For more information, visit www.ubc.ca/okanagan.

    About BDC

    BDC is Canada's business development bank. From 100 offices across the
country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing,
venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. Visit www.bdc.ca for
more information.

    For more information on E-Spirit, visit www.bdc.ca/espirit.




For further information:

For further information: Bud Mortenson, Communications Coordinator,
Public Affairs, Alumni and University Relations, UBC Okanagan, (250) 807-9255,
bud.mortenson@ubc.ca; Johanne Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager, Business
Development Bank of Canada, (514) 283-7929, johanne.bissonnette@bdc.ca


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