Five finalists from around northwest B.C. displayed their innovations in front of a panel of judges at the fifth annual 2018 Innovation Challenge on April 27. Five previous challenge winners were also at the event.
Whether it’s a toy, gadget, service or any other thoughtful experiment, the annual competition organized by the Skeena-Nass Centre for Innovation in Resource Economics (SNCIRE) offers a way for people in the region to garner attention around their ideas with the potential of winning thousands of dollars in cash prizes.
“There’s a huge number of ideas out there, people that tinker or have ideas that we don’t even get a chance to tap into,” said Rick Brouwer, executive director for the Innovation Challenge.
“Part of the solutions for our society are out there already, people just haven’t taken it to the next step because we aren’t hearing about them.”
After being selected, the finalists were awarded $250 to create a presentation to showcase during the final judging and public event at the Terrace Sportsplex Arena on April 27.
Evan Ramsay, who won the competition’s Mountain Prize award for Best Innovation, said he was expecting to only win the People’s Choice prize before the decision was announced.
He said the awarded $1,500 will go a long way in terms of helping launch his business, Cordial Carpentry, off the ground.
“It felt great,” said Ramsay, who also had a booth set up for this year’s Business Expo on April 28. “You could see how hard everyone worked on their ideas.”
This year’s winners are:
Rio Tinto Mountain Prize $1,500 – Best Innovation
Evan Ramsay of Terrace for Cordial Carpentry. Awarded on strength of innovation, regional relevancy, impact, appeal of proposed display, enthusiasm and potential for commercialization. Sponsored by Rio Tinto.
Tree Prize $1,250 – 1st Runner-Up Innovation
Lucy Sager of Terrace for All Nations Driving Academy. Awarded on strength of innovation, regional relevancy, impact, appeal of display, enthusiasm and potential for commercialization. Sponsored by Bulkley Valley Economic Development Association; Rotary Clubs of Terrace, Skeena Valley, and Prince Rupert.
Rock Prize $1,000 – 2nd Runner-Up Innovation
Laurie Gallant, Josette Weir, Denise Gagnon, Alison Watson, and Bryan Swansburg of Hazelton for Farmer’s Root Cellar. Awarded on strength of innovation, regional relevancy, impact, appeal of display, enthusiasm and potential for commercialization. Sponsored by ThriveNorth and Lakelse Financial.
Commercialization Prize $750
Lucy Sager of Terrace for All Nations Driving Academy. Awarded to the innovation considered to have the best potential for commercialization.
Regional Relevance Prize $750
Lucy Sager of Terrace for All Nations Driving Academy. Awarded for the innovation that best addresses the needs and opportunities of northern B.C., the innovation that is most clearly ‘for the northwest’.
People’s Choice Award $500
Nathan Saarela of Terrace for Tow-n-Go. Voted on and chosen by anonymous public ballot.
Door Prize – 15 Minute Helicopter Flight (worth $600)
Awarded to Ms. Agnew. Sponsored by Canadian Helicopters.
Other small business sponsors included Black Press, the Regional District of Kitimat-Stikine, McElhanney (Terrace), Silvertip Promotions and Signs, Spirit Stones, Terry’s Lock, FilmAds, Big Norm’s Bistro, Mountain Eagle Books, Nathan Saarela, and Canadian Helicopters.