Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC)

May 15, 2008 23:59 ET

BDC Announces 2008 Winners of E-Spirit National

REGINA, May 15 - The winners of the 8th annual E-Spirit
National Aboriginal Youth Business Plan Competition were announced last night
at a special Awards Ceremony. The three-day event that lead to the ceremony
attracted some 200 Aboriginal youth from across the country. It was hosted by
the First Nations University of Canada and the University of Regina in Treaty
Four territory.
The business plan competition, organized by BDC, featured 16 weeks of
interactive business planning resources, access to mentors online and a chance
to meet and network with other students, online, and in person at the Regina
event. This year's event involved a total of 145 teams from 75 schools and
over 436 students from across Canada. In addition to presentations by each
team, an independent panel of experts judged business displays that included
posters, detailed 3D mock-ups, product samples, business cards, promotional
videos and laptop demonstrations.
"These young business people exemplify entrepreneurial spirit,
persistence and savvy," said the Honourable Chuck Strahl, Minister of Indian
Affairs and Northern Development and Federal Interlocutor for Métis and
Non-Status Indians. "Our government believes that investing in young people
contributes to building a strong, competitive Canada. That is why we invested
$125,000 in the 2008 E-Spirit Aboriginal Youth Business Plan Competition."
"BDC is committed to support the business vision of the new generation of
young Aboriginal entrepreneurs. E-spirit provides the perfect opportunity to
allow these talented students to shine," said Edmée Métivier, BDC Executive
Vice-President, Financing and Consulting. "We were genuinely impressed with
the quality of the projects submitted this year and with the participant's
pledge to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in their communities," she added.

E-Spirit 2007 winners

The Gold Award was presented to Bathurst High School in Bathurst, New
Brunswick. The students are Michelle Kelly and Stephanie Peter-Paul, coached
by Rose Kryszko. Their business project, Camp Mukluk, is designed to teach the
youth of New Brunswick about the lifestyles and culture of Aboriginal people.
Camp Mukluk is designed to offer recreation and adventure while promoting
tourism to New Brunswick.
The Silver Award was presented to LaSalle Secondary School in Sudbury,
Ontario. The winning student is Lyndsay Brisard, coached by Leo Laclair. His
business concept, The Summer Event Ride Program, aims to reduce the incidence
of impaired driving in Sudbury after or during summer events. This service
will be provided to event organizers who wish to ensure a safe ride home for
guests.
The Bronze Award was given to Gold River Secondary School from Gold
River, British Colombia. Students awarded are Charmaine John and Katherine
Fraser. The team was coached by Arlene Fehr. Their winning business idea,
Running Slug, is to bring high-speed Internet service to the community of
Tsaxana in British Columbia. A limited partnership with a regional provider
will allow Charmaine and Katherine to use existing cable infrastructure and
local looping for PLNet to ensure Tsaxana is "online with the times".
"E-Spirit encourages First Peoples youth to develop business ideas that
will help preserve the cultural values carried by our ancestors' traditions,"
said E-Spirit Elder Lillian McGregor. "During the past two days, students
benefited from a real-life business experience that will allow their future
projects to have a significant impact on our communities," she concluded.
Cash prizes were awarded to the three winning schools in the amount of
$2,500 for Gold, $1,500 for Silver and $750 for Bronze. Six special
achievement awards were also presented in addition to the cash prizes.

About BDC Aboriginal Banking

The number of Aboriginal entrepreneurs has grown to over 27,000,
representing a 30% increase from 1996 to 2001. This growth in self-employment
is more than nine times that of the Canadian average. With this increased
activity comes the need for a greater variety of consulting and financial
services. BDC Aboriginal Banking consists of Aboriginal people who are aware
of the specific needs of Aboriginal entrepreneurs, and play a leading role in
the development and delivery of BDC's customized, long-term, and flexible
solutions.
The E-Spirit program was developed by BDC and is supported by Atlantic
Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and Indian and Northern Affairs Canada
(INAC).

About BDC

BDC actively supports the development and growth of Canadian small and
medium-sized businesses through its complementary financing, investment and
consulting services. BDC is a financial institution wholly owned by the
Government of Canada. Visit www.bdc.ca and www.bdc.ca/espirit for more
details.

Contact Information

  • Johanne Bissonnette, Media Relations Manager,
    BDC, (514) 283-7929, johanne.bissonnette@bdc.ca; Indian and Northern Affairs
    Canada, Media Relations Unit, (819) 953-1160