BDC recognizes Aboriginal entrepreneurship at annual E-Spirit Business Plan Competition awards ceremony

KAMLOOPS, BC, May 23, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced today the winners of its 13th annual BDC E-Spirit Business Plan Competition. Gold, Silver, and Bronze were awarded to the "Kanata of Youth" team from Winnipeg, MB,  "Frisbis" team from Coldstream, BC, and the "Onimiki" team from Maniwaki, QC, at a ceremony held at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops. A total of 34 teams of Aboriginal students from across Canada participated in the competition.

The three winning teams received cash prizes in the amount of $1,500 for Gold, $750 for Silver and $500 for Bronze. Nine Special Achievement awards were also presented with winners receiving iPads, Netbooks, and iPods.

BDC E-Spirit is a 16 week web-based competition for Aboriginal high school students in grades 10 to 12 that provides interactive business planning resources, online access to mentoring and extensive student networking opportunities.

"I'm always impressed by how the BDC E-Spirit students have the ability to turn a business idea into a full business plan in just 16 weeks," said Wilson Neapew, BDC National Director, Aboriginal Banking Unit. "Throughout the competition, students use the Internet and social media as a strategic business tools. Their participation in this competition offers them practical business experience that can be applied to many of their personal and future professional pursuits."

The BDC E-Spirit competition was created and developed by BDC and is supported by Secrétariat aux affaires autochtones, Government of Quebec, Thompson Rivers of University, School of Business, SDEUM (Société de développement économique Uashat mak Mani-utenam), Economic Development corporation, Universite Laval and University of Manitoba, Aboriginal Business Education Program (ABEP).

2013 BDC E-Spirit winners

Gold Award
Business Plan:   Kanata of Youth
School: Tec Voc High School
From: Winnipeg, Manitoba
Students: Diandre Thomas-Hart, Lanze Michaels
Facilitator: Amy McBride
Description: "Kanata of Youth" proposes an online Aboriginal cultural hub for youth. Blending Elder teachings with technology, the subscriber-based site will offer educational content such as up-to-date articles, discussion forums, documentaries, interviews and videos of Elders.

Silver Award:
Business Plan:   Frisbis
School: Kalamalka Secondary School
From: Coldstream, British Columbia
Students: Brendan Ryan-Lewis, Chris Leverman, Mordachai Borkowski
Facilitator: Sandra Lynxleg
Description:  The "Frisbis" project promotes and merchandises a new flying disc sport developed by students at Kalamalka Secondary School. Free demos and tournaments in parks and on beaches serve as a promotional vehicle and a way to sell Frisbis products on-site. This activity will be complemented by the sale of Frisbis products online.

Bronze Award:
Business Plan:   Onimiki
School: Kitigan Zibi Kikinamadinan
From: Maniwaki, Quebec
Students: Sierra-Lee Odjick, Julianne Dumont
Facilitator: Amanda Buckshot
Description:  "Onimiki", meaning 'thunder' in Algonquin, specializes in outdoor adventures that immerse participants in Aboriginal culture. Those staying at the Onimiki grounds will be hosted in traditional wigwams and participate in a variety of activities such as searching for traditional medicine, Algonquin cooking, setting up wigwams, canoeing and archery.

Nine Special Achievement Awards:

"Frisbis", Kalamalka Secondary School, (Coldstream, British Columbia)

"Manukashutau", École Manikanetish, (Sept-Îles, Quebec)

"Travelling Voices", Sisler High School, (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

"Kanata of Youth", Tec Voc High School, (Winnipeg, Manitoba)

"Unama'ki Bags", Sydney Academy, (Sydney, Nova Scotia)

"UNCEDED Caps", Kitigan Zibi Kikinamadinan, (Maniwaki, Quebec)

"Onimiki", Kitigan Zibi Kikinamadinan, (Maniwaki, Quebec)

"UNCEDED Caps", Kitigan Zibi Kikinamadinan, (Maniwaki, Quebec)

"Issaak Cultural Campground", Alberni District Secondary School, (Port Alberni, British Columbia)

About BDC E-Spirit
BDC E-Spirit is a 16 week web-based competition for Aboriginal high school students in grades 10 to 12 that provides interactive business planning resources, online access to mentoring and extensive student networking opportunities, via the web and in person. The 2013 BDC E-Spirit edition involved 80 students in 34 teams from 17 different schools. Participants had the opportunity to network and showcase their projects during a trade show, presentation rounds, and awards gala.

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 financingsubordinate financingventure capitalsecuritization and consulting services to more than 28,000 small and medium-sized companies. Their success is vital to Canada's economic prosperity.

SOURCE: Business Development Bank of Canada

For further information:

Maria Constantinescu
Senior Advisor, Public Relations
Business Development Bank of Canada
(514) 496-7146

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