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Frima Studio’s artistry and technology go global

Steve Couture wins BDC’s Young Entrepreneur Award for Quebec

Quebec City, Quebec, May 3, 2011 – Quebec’s own Steve Couture, the entrepreneurial force behind the magic of Frima Studio, a leading developer of games for the Web, consoles, Facebook, iPhone, iPad, TV and mobile markets, plans to capture young minds, hearts and screens around the world. With products for media giants such as Warner, Electronic Arts, Build-A-Bear Workshop and Nickelodeon, as well as games of its own, Frima’s creations captivate millions.

Steve, 35, who co-founded Frima Studio inc. in 2003, is Quebec’s Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) 2011 Young Entrepreneur Award winner, and will be honoured tonight at a gala in Saskatoon. “Our dream is to become a world-leading entertainment developer,” Steve says. “We want to use our wealth of homegrown talent to create and export intellectual property around the world.”

With the goal of producing entertainment for every screen, from cellphones to IMAX theatres, Frima has invested hundreds of thousands of hours in research and development. It continues to perfect its technological leadership by innovating with cutting-edge advances before they hit the market, gaining experience well ahead of competitors. “Our ability to move quickly allows us to adapt to new markets and exploit the latest trends faster than some of the traditional players,” Steve explains.

Ongoing investments in training and employee engagement are an equally important part of Frima’s technology edge. With growth approaching 3,000% between 2005 and 2009, Frima expanded to 260 employees—no small challenge in a province that has become a highly competitive game development hub. Adding its own animation and special effects division for movies and television in 2011, Frima continues to generate job opportunities that reflect its unique competitive advantage: a complementary trio of artistic, technological and business talents. “This balance is what makes us distinct; it’s something we strive to maintain as we grow.”

Cultivating the passion
Frima (which is French for frost) was born when three partners from different backgrounds got together in an incredibly cold Quebec City apartment. “Seriously, we had to work with gloves!” says Steve, explaining how they decided on the name. Steve, a tech guy, was passionate about business; Philippe Bégin, with an artistic background, was into production; and Christian Daigle was an accomplished illustrator. “We worked in this field before starting Frima, but we wanted to do things differently,” Steve says.

Building on their interest in online, social, multi-player games for young audiences, they began with small contracts for the industry’s biggest names. With a portfolio of brands such as Harry Potter, Sponge Bob Square Pants and Build-a-Bearville, Frima quickly established itself on the international big screen.

Committed to developing the next generation of entrepreneurs, Steve teaches, coaches and leads conferences on entrepreneurship. “To be successful,” he tells students, “you have to be passionate about business; it’s not enough to be passionate about your field.” One of a select few chosen for a prestigious entrepreneurship program at MIT, he also served as guest entrepreneur and host on the Génération Inc. television series.

With plenty of exciting new projects ahead, Frima continues to seek the very best talent. “We want all of Canada to know: we’re here, we’re hiring and we need the best. Come work with us!”

“Steve’s passion for entrepreneurship is at the heart of this spectacular success,” says BDC President and CEO Jean-René Halde. “With substantial investments in research and development and training, he and his partners have created an innovation growth engine, giving our young Canadian talent the chance to shine internationally.”

About BDC’s Young Entrepreneur Awards

Created by the Business Development Bank of Canada in 1988, the Young Entrepreneur Awards pay tribute to successful Canadian entrepreneurs between 19 and 35 years of age. YEA winners are recognized for their business prowess, creativity, innovative spirit and community involvement. The BDC 2011 Young Entrepreneur Awards are sponsored by Deloitte, Cisco, BLG, Sage and The Globe and Mail.

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.