FREDERICTON, NB, June 3, 2015 /CNW/ - The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) announced today that the turning-point project "Curb Appeal," submitted by local businessman Phillip Curley, will represent New Brunswick in the finals for the 2015 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award.
Phillip's project will help his company, HotSpot Parking, grow beyond its initial user base on the East Coast and make a splash in the Toronto market as a first step to rolling out in cities across North America. To claim the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award $100,000 grand prize and fund this project, Phillip needs votes from Canadians from coast-to-coast.
Parking in an urban core is a hassle for everyone. Shoppers are always worried about getting ticketed for an expired meter. Merchants lose business when shoppers can't take their time. Phillip had an idea for a mobile system that would help both, which he pitched at a Startup Weekend event. When local communities expressed interest, Phillip knew he had a viable business on his hands. Three years later, HotSpot Parking has over 10,000 users in the Maritimes and has just established a presence in two U.S. cities.
"Municipalities usually look at parking as an issue for drivers, and work with large service providers to create mobile apps for them," says Phillip. "But we look at the issues businesses have with parking: How does it affect their customer base, and how can they use mobile technology - in a way that doesn't cost customers anything - to provide an additional level of service?"
Phillip and his team have worked with local business organizations to come up with a solution that helps merchants turn parking to their advantage, with a mobile payment app and a wireless network that uses Apple's iBeacon technology. When shoppers using HotSpot enter a business, they are shielded from a parking ticket for as long as they stay. Establishments that serve alcohol can protect their customers from parking tickets, even if they have to take a cab home and leave their car until the next morning. Merchants can also use the system for interactive marketing to their customers.
HotSpot Parking has a unique business model and a different market focus that makes it the ideal partner for large providers of mobile parking payment solutions and the team has set sight on the Toronto market. To capitalize on this opportunity, Phillip needs fresh capital to hire salespeople in Toronto. Success there could open the door to other North American cities.
"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 mobile parking system, Phillip is tackling a problem that can cause real financial hardship for local merchants in a creative way that can actually drive more business to their doors."
"Local merchants are the lifeblood of urban economies and major sources of employment," says Phillip. "Vote for us and we can help them build strong businesses while also saving shoppers a parking ticket. It's a win for everyone."
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
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 loans, consulting 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
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