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It’s All About Women Entrepreneurship at the next Kootenay Pitch Competition Event

Host Karen Kornelsen welcomes Kootenay Pitch Competition contestants Terry Van Horn, Sarah Hobbs and Adele Hills. — Submitted

Since its launch in August 2020, the first ever Kootenay Pitch Competition has helped nine entrepreneurs and startups from across the Kootenay region become investor-ready and take their businesses to the next level.

On Thursday, April 8, 2021, the final qualifying event will take place and feature solely women entrepreneurs.

Put on by the Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (KAST) and Nelson Innovation Centre, the virtual competition is made up of three qualifying pitch events with a grand finale pitch event where the winners of the three qualifiers battle it out for the grand prize.

Each qualifying pitch event sees three entrepreneurs pitching their businesses in front of a panel of judges that includes investors, technology experts, funding agencies and experienced entrepreneurs who have global connections to both markets and investment capital. The event is streamed from the Nelson Innovation Centre by Strawman Productions.

The first two events took place in November and February and the third and final qualifier takes place on April 8, 2021. What makes this event special is that it’s 100 percent women-focused. All three contestants are women entrepreneurs: Terry Van Horn of SMRT1 Technologies in Nelson, Adele Hills of Sacral Solutions in Creston and Sarah Hobbs of Karma Well in Kimberley.

The event is hosted by Karen Kornelsen, who manages marketing and communications for KAST, runs the Nelson Innovation Centre, organizes the Kootenay Pitch Competition and is an entrepreneur herself.

“Having a pitch event dedicated solely to women entrepreneurs was the best accident,” said Karen Kornelsen.

“It just so happened the top three applicants for this round were all women and since I’m a women entrepreneur myself, it made sense for me to host and make this an all-female event. Here at KAST and NiC, diversity and inclusion are incredibly important to us and to be able to elevate and empower the incredible entrepreneurs in our region who identify as women, is an absolute honour. We are happy to provide them with a month of in-depth coaching and support leading up to the big night because that’s what this competition is all about...helping Kootenay entrepreneurs level up and become investor ready.”

Not only do the entrepreneurs compete for cash and amazing prizes - mentorship, networking, support and incredible exposure are all up for grabs. KAST provides contestants with thousands of dollars worth of support for free leading up to the pitch event.

They receive business coaching from Tyler Rice of Rice & Company as well as 1:1 pitch coaching from Paul Brassard at Volition Advisors. They also receive additional support from KAST Executive-in-Residence, Steve Fisher. Not to mention, exposure through marketing and promotion from KAST.

Winners of the three qualifiers also get their entrance fee waived for the New Ventures BC Competition this year so they have the opportunity to compete on a provincial stage and have a chance at winning big money and big support.

KAST is working diligently to build and develop a healthy and thriving technology ecosystem that supports the broader business network in the region. Winners of this competition will be fast-tracked into the Venture Acceleration Program which provides further customized 1:1 business coaching with an experienced mentor to help tech start-ups scale and grow. As the global economic landscape continues to change and businesses continue to adapt to this new global pandemic, adopting new technology and supporting the local tech sector is more important than ever to ensure a healthy economic future for Kootenay residents.

To get a FREE ticket to the Women Entrepreneur Edition of the Kootenay Pitch Competition and to learn more about the contestants and the event itself, visit www.kast.com/kpc3.