CALGARY, May 30, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Canadians can now vote online for "A Greener Footprint", the innovation project proposed by Chinook Foot Orthotic Laboratory Inc, one of eight finalists competing for the $100,000 Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Grand Prize for Innovation.
Founded in 2006, Chinook Lab manufactures custom foot orthotics for its sister company, Orthotics in Motion and other orthotic providers. With remarkable growth in recent years, the Chinook team now wants to improve the efficiency of existing systems while reducing plastic waste, material costs and product defects. To do so, the firm has proposed a two-part project of equipment, material and software upgrades.
First, Chinook will replace the thick plastic sheets used to make orthotic shells with thinner 3D "blanks", reducing plastic waste by 74%, while improving productivity. Then, the company plans to produce a new "unibody" material that will replace much costlier composites and make lighter, more resilient orthotic. The result? The company expects to see a combined reduction in waste of 59% and a combined cost reduction of 67%, while virtually eliminating defects.
"This idea isn't just tailored to our lab. We hope to sell the blanks and our technology to other labs, thus reducing waste across the industry and redefining orthotics manufacturing," says Patrick Bergevin, Chinook Foot Orthotic Laboratory Inc founder.
"I would like to congratulate Patrick for bringing his project to the finals of the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest," says Michel Bergeron, Senior Vice President, Marketing and Public Affairs at BDC. "It is now up to Canadians to choose which project will come to life in the following year. Every vote counts towards the Grand Prize!"
"The environmental benefits alone are a great reason to vote for this project," concludes Bergevin. "We expect to go far beyond our waste- and cost- reduction goals. This is only the first step of many we want to take to improve internal protocols and become more efficient. Integrating technology to get the best and most environmentally-friendly product possible has always been our goal."
"All the finalists competing for the Grand Prize for Innovation have projects with a solid potential to generate growth and prosperity. The eight finalists have proven that they have ability to run a successful business and to establish themselves as thought leaders in their industries," adds Bergeron.
Voting for the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest runs from May 30 to June 19 and the general public can vote once a day. To support your favourite innovation project, log in to the dedicated microsite or vote directly on Facebook at BDC Entrepreneur. Frequent contest updates will be posted on Facebook, Twitter at @BDC_News and LinkedIn. The BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winner and runner up will be announced on June 25.
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 successful Canadian entrepreneurs between 18 and 35 years of age. For the first time in 2012, the contest will see finalists competing for the BDC Grand Prize for Innovation which will award $100,000 to one young Canadian entrepreneur to carry out a specific innovation project. The Financial Post is the exclusive media partner of the BDC 2012 Young Entrepreneur Award. The contest is sponsored by Les Affaires.
Canada's business development bank, BDC, puts entrepreneurs first. With almost 1,900 employees and more than 100 business centres across the country, BDC offers financing, subordinate financing, venture capital and consulting services to 29,000 small and medium-sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada's economic prosperity.
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