The Kootenays are experiencing a tech-sector boom, but critical missing ingredients are the availability of capital and investor readiness.
The number one barrier to the growth of Kootenay tech startups is their investment readiness, meaning their ability to pitch and secure investment from sophisticated angel investors. The number two barrier is the readiness of regional accredited investors. Many of these investors have traditional portfolios dominated by real estate and energy stocks; however, they do not have sufficient knowledge of tech sector investing to consider impact, angel, or venture capital investment in local startups. These two hurdles limit the potential growth of tech companies in the digital economy in the Kootenays and the creation of modern, high-paying jobs located in our communities. They are the number one reason for our client companies’ failures—and also the top reason that successful companies leave our region.
To support the Kootenay tech-sector boom, KAST has partnered with Spring Activator to bring an investment readiness training program for entrepreneurs and investors to our region. With the support of Volition, the first entrepreneur training program occurred in the Spring of 2022, with five local businesses participating. The program ended with a Grand Finale pitch event, where the top pitcher won a cash prize and automatic entry into the Kootenay Investment Challenge in the fall of 2022. ListSimple, out of Fernie, BC, was selected as the grand finale pitch event winner.
To learn about ListSimple’s experience in the Investment Readiness Training program, please visit Spring.is.
The fall Kootenay Investment Challenge will bring together two intersecting cohorts, one comprised of investment-ready regional tech entrepreneurs and the other filled with investors looking to have an impact in the Kootenays. A second Investment Readiness Training (IRT) program will take place before the Challenge to support the entrepreneurs in becoming investment ready. At the end of the IRT, participating businesses will develop a pitch and a data room and receive one-on-one coaching from leading industry experts.
The Kootenay Investment Challenge will include 8-weeks of training for investors, five of which will see the investors collaborating with the entrepreneur cohort, and two pitch events. The entrepreneurs will start their journey in the Challenge by competing in the first of the two pitch events. This initial pitch event will see the top 3-4 Kootenay region tech startups selected to continue in the Challenge and compete at the final pitch event five weeks later.
During the five weeks between both pitch events, entrepreneurs and investors will work together on the due diligence aspect of investor funding. Investors will learn to assess a business model, finances, deal mechanics, and more. At the same time, entrepreneurs will polish their pitch, learn how the investor mindset and evaluation process works, and more.
KAST is looking for entrepreneurs and investors (accredited and non-accredited) to join the Investment Readiness Training program and the Kootenay Investment Challenge. We encourage all businesses to apply for the entrepreneur program, even if they are only at the ideation stage.
Click here to apply to the Investment Readiness Training Program as an entrepreneur.
Click here to apply to the Kootenay Investment Challenge as an investor.