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Venture Challenge Competition announces Top 10 student/graduate finalists who are building businesses that create positive change

Vancouver, BC. Vancity's competition was launched to help B.C. post-secondary students and recent post-secondary graduates grow businesses that are creating positive social and environmental impact in B.C.. Three of the applicants will be awarded a share of the $90,000 in prize money on April 25, 2012 with a top prize of $50k for the first prize contender. The competition attracted 40 applications from student- and graduate-run businesses, ten of which were shortlisted as finalists.

Criteria for the challenge required applicants to:

  • Have an ownership stake in a sustainable business, whose revenues are invested in achieving positive social and environmental impacts and;
  • Be able to illustrate in their business plan how they can achieve positive financial returns within three years

Participants submitted an 8-page business plan that included a summary of social and environmental impact and were reviewed by judges from the Community Investment division of Vancity. Applications were received from students/graduates who had connections to academic institutions including: SFU, UBC, UVIC, University of the Fraser Valley, Royal Roads, Capilano University, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, BCIT, Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Langara and Camosun Colleges.

Top Ten Finalists
A Creative Arts Collective (Vancouver)
EnergyCzar (Vancouver)
Fresh Roots Urban Farm (Vancouver)
Twothirds Water
UrbanStream (Vancouver)
Your Local Food Pedalers
Shailah Interactive
Saakori Lifestyle Inc. (Burnaby)
Synergy Enterprises
Reef Safe Fish (Victoria)

The winners will be announced at a Ceremony on April 25, 2012 in Vancouver, BC.

  • 1 first prize of $50,000;
  • 1 second prize of $25,000; and
  • 1 third prize of $15,000.

For more information on the challenge, visit

About Vancity:
At Vancity we make you good money by putting money to good. Vancity's vision of redefining wealth incorporates personal and community well-being. Vancity has distributed $221 million to members through dividends and to communities through grants and community investment initiatives since 1994. We are a member of the Global Alliance for Banking on Values – a network of the world's leading sustainable banks sharing the commitment to achieving triple-bottom-line impact through responsible banking practices. A Living Wage employer, Vancity is Canada's largest community credit union, with $16.1 billion in assets, more than 479,500 members and 59 branches throughout Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, Victoria and Squamish. More information about Vancity is available at

For more information contact:
Lorraine Wilson
Cell: 778.837.0394

Vancity Venture Challenge Applicants Backgrounder

A Creative Arts Collective is a mobile performing arts school that sends qualified professional instructors to child care centres, public and private schools, community centres, and private studios to teach dance, drama, and yoga programs.

EnergyCzar Solutions is a clean technology company started with the goal of reducing and monitoring power usage in data centre and server farm facilities by monitoring incoming requests, analyzing server capacity, and adjusting usage accordingly.

Fresh Roots Urban Farm Society enhances urban food sovereignty by creating equitable access to healthy food and educating communities through engaging, innovative neighborhood farms, and most recently through schoolyard market gardens.

Twothirds Water Inc. is a BC social venture that provides water treatment products for international development and disaster relief. Twothirds Water's launch product is a water filter that is simple enough that any child can immediately treat his or her own drinking water to US EPA standards, without training or written instructions.

Urban Stream Innovation Inc. develops technology for the emerging urban agriculture market including their launch product, the urban micro-farm, that combines composting technology with small-scale aquaculture or hydroponics in an enclosed waste-to-resource system roughly the size of a street-side parking space.

Your Local Food Pedalers is a bicycle-powered social enterprise providing a link between local consumers and food growers by delivering responsibly grown, seasonally appropriate food in an emissions-free manner.

Shailah Interactive based mobile applications and edugames that are touchlessly controlled through motion capture technology for the benefit of children with autism and other cognitive and physical challenges.

Saakori Lifestyle Inc based inBurnaby is committed to creating sustainable communities globally and helps move towards a zero-waste events by offering 100% compostable, handcrafted, disposable palm-leaf dishware and other sustainable products.

Synergy is a consulting firm that builds innovative and economically driven sustainability and marketing programs for businesses, including community engagement, emissions management and operational strategies.

Reef Safe Fish is an environmental engineering and product development firm dedicated to increasing sustainability in aquaculture through technological innovation.