TEC VenturePrize

Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate the 15th VenturePrize Awards!

2017 VenturePrize Winners


Fast Growth Grand Prize Winner

Ceres Solutions
Fast Growth Runner-up

Leara eLearning
Fast Growth Runner-up


DynaLIFE  Health Grand Prize Winner

DynaLIFE DX Health Runner-up

DynaLIFE DX Health Finalist


Preza Technologies
TELUS ICT Grand Prize Winner

TELUS ICT Finalist

TELUS ICT Finalist


Alberta Student Grand Prize Winner

Boardee Inc.
Alberta Student Runner-up

Preza Technologies
Alberta Student Runner-up

Other Winners

Ceres Solutions
People’s Choice Award Winner

Good Glucos
Screener’s Award of Merit

Fast Growth Grand Prize Winner vrCAVE


About VenturePrize

VenturePrize (discontinued in 2017) was an annual Alberta-wide program that provided business training, mentorship, feedback and financial incentives to help people build or enhance a viable business. Open to individuals such as aspiring entrepreneurs, faculty, and students of post-secondary institutions, or new companies entering the marketplace, VenturePrize helped people move towards their entrepreneurial goals.

Competition participants submitted the ultimate business plan to one of three streams (Fast Growth, Telus ICT and DynaLIFE Health) for the chance to win some of the $150,000 in cash prizes and various in-kind services. Business plans were evaluated by a judging panel of business and financing professionals.

Program Highlights


Lisa Deutscher owns and manages Checkone2 Enterprises Inc., which she started in 2007, a consultancy providing business management services to a wide range of Calgary business owners and industry leaders. Prior to this, as a professional accountant, Lisa served as corporate officer and director, CFO, and VP of Finance for owner-managed companies in Calgary since 1989, participating from start-up, development, through significant growth and divestiture in senior finance roles. Lisa holds a Bachelor of Accounting Science degree from the University of Calgary’s Haskayne School of Business, and serves on the faculty of the SAIT School of Business. She is a member of the Certified General Accountants Association of Alberta, and participates directly in preparing and assessing CGA candidates through the credentialing process.

Phil Doublet, P.Eng. helps companies grow by raising capital through private equity investors or arranging debt and other financing. In addition, assisted with performing due diligence (for either the buyer or the seller), assisting entrepreneurs in making their enterprise “investor ready”, and/or “buyer ready”, and providing clients with strategic advice in regards to marketing, finance, technology and growth. His extensive business background includes high technology, distribution, manufacturing and other industries, providing clients with competitive advantages, increased revenues, enhanced profitability and overall superior results. Co-owner of a Calgary-based manufacturing company and owns/ operates a management consulting practice.

Craig Elias is an entrepreneur and salesperson, with almost 20 years of success. In that 20 years he has won Tim Draper’s Global Billion Dollar Idea Pitch contest and collected a $1 million prize. He also coached two Canadian teams to top 10 finishes in the same contest. Because of his achievements he has received coverage on NBC News, The New York Times, Business 2.0, Sales & Marketing Management magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The Nikkei Marketing Journal. Craig’s passion is helping entrepreneurs and start-up companies outsell larger more established players and win business plan competitions like TEC VenturePrize. His philosophy is ‘Integrity above all else’, and his motto is ‘No Regrets’.

Kris Hans is Co-Founder and Strategist of Market Grade, an interdisciplinary marketing and design consultancy, and W21C‘s first Entrepreneur in Residence at the University of Calgary. Kris teaches Business Management, Strategic Planning, and Economics for Business at the University of Calgary, and Business Communications at Mount Royal University. He has also taught Entrepreneurship and Marketing in the past, and continues to work with students and start-up ventures to help grow their businesses and diversify the Alberta economy. In both his professional and personal life, Kris is truly a social entrepreneur. He continues to undertake diverse roles and responsibilities that bring his skills and experience to serve Calgary’s many communities–a testament to the value that he places on civic participation and social enterprise.

Peter Kinkaide is a Vice President with MNP Corporate Finance Inc. He assists the Firm’s private, mid market clients in seeking value maximizing strategies through financing or divestiture transactions. He has led transactions of +$100 million in aggregate value. Since joining the Firm he has worked on a multitude of finance and consulting assignments, including: equity and debt financings, divestitures of owner managed businesses, economic development analysis; business plans, FOFI projections, due diligence, investor presentations and valuations. He spent a year in London, UK working with an MNP affiliate, leading transactions overseas. He enjoys delivering lectures on maximizing value in a business, raising finance and selling a business. He has worked with clients in a variety of industries and niches. Peter graduated with distinction from the University of Alberta with a major in finance and a minor in marketing. He earned the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 2006.

Marty Park founded Evolve Business Group Inc., and has since remained its president and a participating business coach. As an Action International business coach, Marty was awarded the 2002 Business Coach of the Year for North America at an international conference in New Zealand. Marty also received the National Award for the Coach of the Year two months later. In 2003, Marty received the Award for Global Contribution to Action and to the coaching profession. He is recognized internationally for his work developing both business coaches and their practices around the world, including Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Spain. In addition to international recognition, Marty has been selected as one of Calgary’s Top 40 Business Professionals under 40 in 2004 by Calgary Inc. magazine. More recently, Marty was awarded the CYBF Canadian Mentor of the Year for 2005 in Toronto. The co-owner and operator of five successful businesses, Marty is presently involved in operations in Calgary and the United States. He has been a crucial player in all phases of start-up, including corporate strategy, sales and marketing, and financial operations.

David J. Muddle is a management consultant with Western Management Consultants, based in Edmonton, Alberta. Prior to consulting David held senior executive positions within the federal government in both advisory and operational management capacities. David’s areas of expertise and interest include public policy development and operational implementation, regulatory and governmental affairs, science management, public engagement, governance, strategic foresight and planning, and business transformation. He has extensive knowledge and experience working in the health, safety, environmental and energy sectors, and working with diverse partners including government, industry, academic and aboriginal groups. David has a particular interest in the innovation cycle and creating pathways for successful commercial ventures.

David Saxby, President of Spark Communications helps businesses professionals develop innovative marketing and sales approaches and deliver powerful sales presentations. He has been a trainer and a sales and marketing consultant for over 30 years. David speaks internationally, giving presentations in an attempt to inspire innovation in business leaders to help them achieve success in their marketplace. He enjoys sharing insights he’s gained from his hard-learned lessons in the marketing and advertising world as well as the knowledge he has gained as a visionary business leader. David has worked with a wide range of industries including beverage and liquor, land development, real estate and construction, media and marketing, education, legal, medical, and financial professional services as well as with the small business sector.


Fernanda Badano brings her vast experience in consulting, high-tech, and mobile to mentoring. Originally from Uruguay, she lived many years in Seattle where she received her MBA from the Foster School of Business at the University of Washington. Currently, she is managing production and publishing of interactive apps with Nation9, a full-service, digital and interactive studio that creates experiences in interactive storytelling, learning and entertainment for iPad, Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Windows Phone. She previously held a number of account management, project management and business strategy roles at iSoftStone Inc, a global consulting and IT outsourcing company based in Beijing, China. As part of the US division of iSoftStone, Fernanda delivered outstanding services to clients like Microsoft and other Fortune 500 companies, contributing to the growth of this division from $7M in revenue to $50M in just two years.

Yen Chuang operates 3 Sides, a consultancy specializing in strategic alignment and critical problem solving to a wide range of businesses and initiatives globally. With over 18 years consulting experience in widely diverse industries from not for profit and medical marijuana testing, to technology and education, his passion for start ups lies primarily within the food and beverage, and technology fields, with a focus on unconventional approaches to conventional problems.

Colin Christensen has had the good fortune to live his great passion – what he loves to do and what he was put here to do: help others succeed. He has been working with entrepreneurs and leaders in and around business his whole life and has been part of VenturePrize since its inception. Alongside those businesses, he has experienced great victories: One team went from 3 – 40 people and opened 4 branch offices in 24 months landing them at #27 on the list of fastest growing companies in Canada. Another team presented the opportunity to lead programmers, sound techs and artists to realize two award winning digital educational games. He has built up and sold a small business and helped a team of 3 grow to 13 and >$10M in revenues. Colin has experienced multiple life-altering challenges as well. His stories will surely make you grateful for what you have and will help you avoid many landmines. The right people and a simple, disciplined system is the difference between success and failure, easy and hard, fun and frustrating.

Bill Cogan, over the last 30 years, has worked as a business manager, corporate engineering manager, manufacturing manager, HR Manager, and management change consultant. As a management change consultant Bill employs many different methods to facilitate change, including consultancy and strategy, soft skill programs which address personal development, outdoor development programs, and other tailored programs to address specific needs of organizations. He has been involved in the electronics, pharmaceuticals, engineering, public sector retail, communities, education and financial sectors as well as working with sports teams and athletes.

Lorena Forster recently joined Innovate Calgary’s Kinetica energy accelerator doing business development in Northern Alberta. For the past 20 years, Lorena Forster has worked with early stage technology companies, entrepreneurs and inventors in various technology commercialization related positions, most notably in the energy and ICT industries. Lorena was Strategic Partnerships Manager at TEC Edmonton for 5 years and Venture Manager at the Alberta Research Council (now Alberta Innovates Technology Futures) for 9 years delivering business services to researchers, entrepreneurs and Alberta based start-up and early stage companies and working closely with provincial and federal partners and collaborators. Lorena has direct experience in business operations in both the private and public sectors including Marketing Operations Manager for a small ICT company and COO of Alberta Women Entrepreneurs. She is a past board member of the Alberta Clean Technology Industry Association (ACTia) and currently an active Futurpreneur (formerly Canadian Youth Business Foundation) volunteer mentor.

Dan García is a Director at the Legal Education Society of Alberta. He is responsible for the efficient and effective management of human, financial, physical, technological, and knowledge-based resources; and social capital through branding, communications, and community engagement initiatives. Certified in Association Management and Project Management coupled with an education in Business Management, Dan has a strong understanding of converting strategic goals into operational initiatives. He offers a fresh perspective on the modern application of traditional management principles.

Ted Heidrick is presently Ernest E. and Gertrude Poole Professor in Technology Management – a joint appointment with the Faculties of Engineering and Business. Ted has over 25 years of experience managing the development of new products, process and services and is responsible for coordinating the MBA in Technology Commercialization. In addition to technology commercialization he teaches new venture development and intellectual property subjects to the MBA’s and to senior level engineering students. Ted’s experience developing and commercializing technology based products with industry includes the technical, marketing, intellectual property, and business planning.

Edward Darrell Neuman (not available for 2016/17 competition): Edward has previously worked for a University of Alberta based start-up company called BioTools Inc. as a Technology Commercialization intern providing management with timely suggestions and advice for obtaining federal regulatory approval for the commercial sale and use of a medical device in the United States and Canada. The project team consisted mostly of software developers and research scientists from the University of Alberta in the fields of software engineering and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). The project involved a joint commercial venture between BioTools Inc. and Varian based in Palo Alto, California to produce a high volume and fully automated system for screening bodily fluids for the presence of leading indicators of diseases such as cancer. A prototype of the system was located in the TEC research center located on the University of Alberta campus. Darrell has successfully taught an introductory course on project management as a sessional instructor with NAIT Continuing Education. Darrell has been a volunteer with many non-profit organizations including Junior Achievement of Northern Alberta where he served as a mentor and instructor to a group of High School students who were learning about entrepreneurship and best business practices. Darrell has an extensive amount of education having graduated with an MBA and Bachelor of Arts degree. A two year college diploma in computer systems technology was also completed. Darrell is currently an employee of the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association (AUMA). He would be interested in assisting startup companies which have either a product or service that could potentially be adopted or test marketed by municipalities in Alberta.

Sherwood Park

Pierre Cormier is a seasoned business coach with experience in building successful organizations in achieving aggressive business growth, for the past 22 years. Pierre’s sharp and comprehensive research skills have been effective in identifying business trends and consumer needs. As a business professional and volunteer, Pierre has coached and mentored over 100 entrepreneurs to help them reach optimal potential and performance in several sectors: manufacturing, technology, environmental, educational, non-profit, retail, food services and consumer packaged goods. Pierre consults with all aspects of an organization, such as marketing, financial, and operational questions, to deliver a balanced outlook on a project.

Brian Goheen has been a CMA since 1987 and a CGA since 1985 and President and CEO of Chiro since 1988. Chiro has 600 employees, annual sales of over $30 million and is headquartered in Edmonton. Brian has been a TEC VenturePrize mentor for the past three years. Brian has a great deal of experience in accounting, finance, management theory and marketing, as well as commercial law. He enjoys helping entrepreneurs crystallize their business plans.

Van Konrad is a senior business analyst, management consultant and has been a mentor for the TEC VenturePrize Competition since its inception. As the CEO and Founder of a management consulting company, his job description ranges from management and business consultant to analyst and project manager. Throughout Van’s professional career his assignments and projects have been fast-paced, challenging and broad in scope – requiring strong technical, management and strategic planning capability.

Glynis Middleton is the president and founder of G. Whiz Business Services Inc., a firm dedicated to empowering businesses. With her MBA at Queen’s University, Glynis applied her business expertise with the Toronto Dominion Bank as a Commercial Lender. Working with a variety of professionals, Glynis developed proficiency in assessing business plans and coaching her clients to fulfill their financial objectives. She enjoyed increasing her responsibility as an Assistant Branch Manager with specific responsibility for mortgage development. Glynis has spent more than 15 years helping numerous businesses and individuals develop their entrepreneurial dreams, assess opportunities, secure financing and build enduring business.

Dennis Pommen, since 1990 he has operated successful management and out-sourcing consulting companies. Dennis provides organizational direction, executive level recruiting services, action-orientated business plan modeling workshops and has implemented budgetary restraint policies for clients. He also has experience in developing strategic initiatives to enhance excellence in customer and pubic relations and has also run mediation services. In addition, Dennis has provided leadership, advice and recommendations to local governments and the Board of Education regarding short and long-range financial planning and community development.


Mark Salopek is the Manager of Technology Transfer and Commercialization for GRAND NCE (Graphics, Animation and New Media Network Centre of Excellence), a consortium of 24 Canadian research universities, and primarily, he is facilitating and directing the transfer of technology out of the university computing labs to private sector digital media firms, developers and studios. Mark Salopek earned his Ph.D. at Cambridge University and completed his Masters and undergraduate degrees at the University of Alberta. His research interests include business strategy and corporate management, knowledge transfer, knowledge management, and distance and online learning methodologies and technologies. Prior to arriving at GRAND he taught strategic management, e-commerce and marketing at Thompson Rivers University in the Open Learning Division and was actively involved on the University Senate and Senate committees. In the private sector he worked at British Columbia’s leading technology firm, Macdonald Dettwiler and Associates (MDA), promoting the commercialization of data, information and products derived from Canada’s RADARSAT satellite. In his various business development capacities he worked with policy makers, and senior executives in the private and public sectors and a wide range of national and international agencies and organizations including the Canadian Space Agency, European Space Agency, World Bank, WHO and other UN agencies. He was also the founding member and director of several Internet companies and start-ups in the late 90s and early 2000s.