Canadian young business owners have until April 8 to compete for $100,000 BDC innovation award. Are you up to it?


Montreal, Quebec, March 5, 2012 -  Innovative young entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35 have until April 8, 2012 to apply for the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) $100,000 Grand Prize for Innovation and become the winner of the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest.

BDC’s new approach to this annual event will see Canada’s young entrepreneurs send a video submission to share their plans for an innovation project designed to drive their business to new growth.  Applications for this year’s edition of the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award can be submitted online between March 5 and April 8, 2012. Contest details are available through the dedicated
2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award microsite or on BDC’s Facebook page, BDC Entrepreneur.

“Innovation is a cornerstone of success in today’s competitive business world,” says BDC President and CEO, Jean-René Halde. “The $100,000 BDC Grand Prize for Innovation gives the next generation of entrepreneurs an edge in becoming leaders in their field or industry. Canada needs ambitious young entrepreneurs whose fresh thinking can create market value.”

“Projects such as the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award generate a great return on investment,” says Grant Ellis, managing editor of the Financial Post. “The finalists receive well-earned exposure and, most importantly, the contest is a great opportunity for young entrepreneurs to take their companies to the next level. The Financial Post is proud to partner with the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award contest.”

“Les Affaires Group is proud to be associated with the 2012 edition of the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award,” said Stéphane Lavallée, vice president, Business Solutions and editor, Les Affaires, TC Media. “Our organizations share a mandate to support and accelerate the development of a new and vital generation of entrepreneurs. This is an essential part of our daily activities. And thanks to this contest, we are able to enrich our contribution.”

Canadians invited to cast their votes for favourite innovation project

Eleven panels of judges – one for each province and one for the combined territories - will review the submissions and select 11 finalists to compete in the next round of the contest. 

From May 2 to 22, Canadians will be able to vote for their favourite innovation project and receive contest updates on BDC’s Facebook page.  The 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award winner will be announced on May 28.  Canadians can also follow the contest on Twitter at @BDC_News, under the hashtag #BDCYEA2012 and on BDC’s LinkedIn page.

After May 28, the general public is invited to follow the winner’s advances in a detailed video journal as the young entrepreneur implements his or her innovation project. 

What the judges are looking for
The 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award judges will look for feasible, innovative projects that will enable entrepreneurs to increase their company’s growth potential and overall profitability.

“In our experience, successful innovation is often incremental for small and medium-sized businesses —a simple but creative improvement to an existing product, service or process” adds Halde.  “We encourage young entrepreneurs to participate in the contest and share their innovation plans. This $100,000 prize represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make a business vision come true and emerge as a true business leader.” 

How to enter the 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award
The contest is open to all Canadian entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35 as of December 31, 2011.  Applicants must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents with a business based in Canada.  They must have been responsible for their company’s day-to-day management for at least two years as of December 31, 2011, and must hold at least 20% of the company’s capital stock.

The application process is described in detail at

A complete contest entry must include the following elements: a one- to two- minute video clip that summarizes the entrepreneur’s innovation idea and a completed 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award application form, available at  Up to four optional documents may be submitted to support the application. Only online submissions will be accepted; entrants have until April 8, 2012 at 23:59:59 Eastern Time to apply. The 2012 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award official rules can be downloaded at

If a potential finalist for a province or for the combined territories cannot be reached by phone or email, or fails to return financial statements and communicate with BDC within a specified time, he or she will forfeit the opportunity to become a finalist for the 2012 BDC Grand Prize for Innovation. In such an event, the applicant whose application and video received the second highest score from the selection committee will become the alternate potential finalist.

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 11 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.

About BDC
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.