Nine new Alberta companies are in the 2015 TEC VenturePrize Award finals, happening Wed. April 29, 2015 in Edmonton.

All will walk out of the Edmonton Shaw Conference Centre with something – a cash prize, mentoring, sponsorship, business services publicity, new investors.

But what does Alberta itself walk out with? Where do we start …

Nine new companies, growing and prospering.

Nine new technology-based companies, creating new wealth. Companies on the leading-edge of their sector, companies hiring highly educated individuals, companies using the knowledge of our post-secondary institutions and their graduates, companies paying corporate taxes, companies fulfilling Alberta’s desire to be less dependent on the energy sector alone.

The three winners will be happy campers indeed. The Student prize winner receives $20,000 in cash and services. The TELUS ICT contest winner takes home $30,000 plus an ongoing relationship with TELUS. The Fast Growth prize winner will have $80,000 cash and services to further grow.

The thing is every single entrant – at least 90 in total, including 50 post-secondary students itching to start their own businesses – is a winner, thanks to TEC VenturePrize’s business enrichment program.

Every contestant receives an intensive reality-based course in business planning and marketing.

Every contestant has access to a business-savvy volunteer mentor, preparing them both for VenturePrize, and business in general.

Every contestant has their business plan/dream critiqued by judges who are as much interested in individual progress as in picking a winner.

The proof is in the results. All the following companies were VenturePrize winners or finalists over the past 13 years and continue to thrive as Alberta companies: Localize, Tactalis, Login Radius, Orpyx, Surface Medical, Aquila Diagnostics, Parvus Therapeutics, Innovative Trauma Care, Darkhorse Analytics, Smilesonica, DataGardens (now a division of CenturyLink), Nirix, Yardstick, Sqambaro’s, Synodon and Scanimetrics. This list is the tip of the iceberg – so many other entrants have mightily grown, thanks to their VenturePrize experience.

Joining the list of technology-based businesses on the cusp of something big are our 2015 finalists in each division.

Ladies and gentlemen, our 2015 VenturePrize finalists:

In the Fast Growth Competition:

Alieo Games (alieogames.com) is an educational technology company that recently launched COW, a writing app for students and teachers from kindergarten to Gr. 12. COW provides a safe and fun space for students to practice writing (building writing fluency and vocabulary) and to share their work with classmates. For teachers, COW uses text analysis to provide useful feedback that they can use to customize their lesson plans to meet the specific needs of their students.

Pogo CarShare (pogocarshare.com) is Edmonton’s first car sharing service. Founded and managed locally, Pogo provides members 24/7 access to a pool of vehicles located within a central zone in our city on a simple pay-as-you-go basis. Cars can be located, reserved and opened using the Pogo app.

Sensassure (sensassure.com) is a wearable technology sensor solution for the incontinent – alerting nursing staff in extended care homes to the need to change incontinence underwear.  Sensassure helps restore dignity to those who suffer from incontinence by automating existing manual care processes, leading to timely changes that prevent secondary conditions from developing.

 

In the TELUS ICT competition:

OMx (omx.io) is accelerating the development of advanced molecular diagnostics with technologies to analyze and combine data about the chemicals, proteins and DNA in the body. Their first product helps improve and optimize diet and lifestyle with a urine test that measures indicators for diet and wellness.

MasV (masv.ca) is a software company within the oil and gas sector, MASV has a new way to benefit both rental companies and renters of oil and gas equipment. By connecting renters to the rental companies that have the relevant items, they reduce downtime stress while increasing profit for both parties.

Advancing Edge Technologies (advancingedgeinc.com)  addresses technology deficiencies with diagnosis reporting in anatomical pathology (providing patients with the final diagnosis from tissue biopsies and body fluids). Their state-of-the-art touchscreen-based examination software delivers a more streamlined, accurate, and consistent pathology diagnostic report while also saving money and time.

In the Student VenturePrize Competition:

Alberta Craft Malting – Olds College: Alberta Craft Malting uses Alberta barley to develop specialty made-in-Alberta malts – a crucial ingredient in the making of beer. The use of local grains means brewers can now access specialty malts made from local barley considered among the world’s best, rather than depending on out-of-province suppliers.

Scout (scoutcard.ca) – University of Alberta: Scout is a marketing platform for small and medium businesses that incorporates a smartphone based loyalty program. The Scout app replaces traditional punch cards and allows merchants to create a loyalty program tailored specifically to them, allowing them to truly interact with their customers.

NoLemon Automotive Inc. (nolemon.ca)  – University of Alberta: By offering an online classified platform providing third-party vehicle inspections, NoLemon helps buyers and sellers more effectively navigate the vehicle transaction process. NoLemon provides the comfort and confidence individuals seek in making their vehicle purchasing decisions.

Come to the VenturePrize Awards and Celebration, from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, April 29 in Hall D at the Shaw Conference Centre in downtown Edmonton.

Tickets (www.ventureprize.com) are $85 each for a fun, informal evening that includes a delicious informal dinner.  Hurray! Ticket sales close at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29, 2015.