A great opportunity for young entrepreneurs

Lisa
Lisa Goudy
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Joel Pinel, CEO of WOW Factor Media and winner of the 2013 Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Young Entrepreneur Award, stands in a room in the Moose Jaw office on Feb. 12, 2014.

2014 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award accepting applications

Even if Joel Pinel hadn’t won the 2013 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award, the experience would’ve been worth it.

“It’s great for sure. We’ve benefitted quite a bit from it. The exposure that we got during the competition was very big,” said Pinel, CEO of WOW Factor Media and winner of the 2013 Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) Young Entrepreneur Award. “We even got national coverage from it and our business being out of Saskatchewan but distributing to Western Canada, it helped us big time in that respect.”

Applications for the 2014 award are now open and the deadline to enter is April 3. According to the BDC website, it is open to all Canadian entrepreneurs between the ages of 18 and 35 as of Dec. 31, 2013.

All applicants must have been responsible for the company daily management for at least two years and hold at least 20 per cent of the company’s capital stock. Apply online at bdc.ca/yea.

Pinel said the experience helped him and his business learn a lot. The BDC paired the business with a public relations manager to help point him in the right direction and prepare for the media.

“Because of it too we grew. We added more staff … but we also added new products. We really ramped up our own social media for the competition so we can help generate votes and then we did videos throughout it as well,” said Pinel. “Both of those were showcased so well that people started asking us, ‘Oh, well can you manage my social media for me or can you do videos for me?’

“So now we’ve got a full social media and video production department within our business, which can be directly related to the BDC award.”

Also with the $100,000, Pinel said the WOW Factor Media, a print media design and marketing firm, bought new equipment. In his entry last year for the competition, he proposed expanding by purchasing new equipment to manufacture directional and custom signs for high-rise buildings.

The BDC website said applicants must submit a short video describing their business’ “turning point” to either “continue at their current pace or seize the opportunity to grow their business and achieve the momentum that will lead to long-term success.” The grand prize is $100,000.

“Anybody who is in the age 18 to 35 and falls under the requirements of the BDC Award, there’s no reason they shouldn’t enter,” said Pinel. “The only cost that you really will be associated with it is doing a video. They say if you shoot a video with your cellphone that would work too.

“I would encourage people to definitely go the extra mile for the video because I think it helped us a lot.”

He added by shooting a good video, applicants can use plenty of footage to promote the business.

 “Really, there’s nothing to lose and everything to gain,” said Pinel.

Follow Lisa Goudy on Twitter @lisagoudy.

 

Organizations: BDC, WOW Factor, Business Development Bank of Canada

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Western Canada

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