Venture Acceleration Program generates jobs, revenue, investment


Venture Acceleration Program helps BC startups generate 396 jobs, $4.4 m in revenue and $25+ m in investment

Media Release | September 11, 2013

BRITISH COLUMBIA – The BC Venture Acceleration Program, a structured venture growth program launched by the BC Innovation Council (BCIC) in September 2012, has supported the growth of more than 140 startups across the province.

BCIC today announced the following results since the Venture Acceleration Program was introduced last year:

143 companies have been involved with the program396 jobs have been created$4.4 million in revenue has been generated$25+ million in investment has been attracted24 Executives in Residence (EIRs) provide one-on-one coaching to each company, supported by 75 volunteer Mentors

The program is delivered by 10 partners across the province. A list of partners in the BC Acceleration Network is on the program website:

“These positive job creation and investment results highlight the great work BCIC has done over the past year to strengthen BC’s economy through the Venture Acceleration Program,” said Minister of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services Andrew Wilkinson. “Government will continue to support BCIC in its role in helping BC’s startup tech companies develop and commercialize their ideas, in turn creating jobs for families and spurring economic development across the province.”

“We are pleased to see the Venture Acceleration Program is truly accelerating the growth of tech startups across the province,” said Dean Prelazzi, Managing Director of the BC Acceleration Network. “We are helping innovations and ideas become viable businesses, and helping to build the BC economy.”

Examples of success stories from the BC Venture Acceleration Program include:

Janice Taylor recently raised $650,000 for her company Just be Friends™, a web-based interactive social education platform that connects families and builds community. Just Be Friends promotes healthy, positive relationships and brings like-minded parents and kids together in a safe, online environment. Janice spent four months at the Rocketspace Canadian Tech Accelerator Program in San Francisco before setting down company roots in Kelowna. Just Be Friends already employs 12 people.

Mike Tan and Taylor Conroy are working to give every child access to education. Their company, Change Heroes, provides an online fundraising platform that enables individuals to engage their network to raise money to build a school in the developing world. Change Heroes is on track to generate $10 million in donations. The company recently won Startup World Vancouver, which included a prize worth $80,000.

Bradley Roulston broke all the rules when he started his company – he went into business with a family member, started a tech business in the remote town of Nelson and offered his product for free. Bradley launched, an innovative calendar software program in March 2012. Since then, the calendar has been installed on over 70,000 websites, indexing more than 3.5 million events. The company now employs 8 people.

Carol Lee was an Engineering student at UBC who was worried about the health of her grandparents in Taiwan. A project about producing wireless sensor answered her questions – and provided the launching pad for a global business. Today, ReFleX Wireless has developed a number of products, including their Sleep Angles sensor, which monitors how a body lies during sleep. The company’s finger sensor reads blood pressure and heart rate; the data can be viewed on a smart phone or computer.

About the BC Venture Acceleration Program

Based on business growth models promoted by world-renowned technology startup experts, the BC Venture Acceleration Program has been designed as an intense apprenticeship in technology entrepreneurship providing highly structured coaching and mentoring guidance by serial entrepreneurs and experienced executives. Its primary purpose is to help companies accelerate the process of achieving product-market fit and a sustainable business model with customer acquisition as the principal goal very early in the startup’s lifecycle.

About BCIC

BCIC accelerates the commercialization of technology in the priority sectors of the BC Jobs Plan, through the support of startups and the development of entrepreneurs. Together with its partners, BCIC delivers programs and initiatives that promote startup growth and speed to market, resulting in jobs, revenue and economic development. BCIC is a Crown Agency of the Province of British Columbia.

For more information, contact:

Karen Speirs
Marketing and Communications Manager

Media release PDF.

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