UBC Okanagan to host BDC’s 2009 E-Spirit National Gathering

More than 150 Aboriginal youths from across Canada will visit UBC Okanagan next month for the Business Development Bank of Canada's (BDC) ninth annual national E-Spirit Aboriginal Youth Business Plan Competition gathering and awards gala.

Aimed at Aboriginal youth in Grades 10 to 12, E-Spirit is a 16-week Internet-based competition that provides interactive business planning resources, online access to mentoring and extensive student networking opportunities, via the web and in person. This business plan competition is designed to increase students’ awareness of entrepreneurial and business opportunities, management and business skills, e-commerce and technological capacities.

The gathering from May 12 to 14 will include a tradeshow presentation on May 12 at the UBC Okanagan Gymnasium and an awards gala at the Kelowna Community Theatre on May 14. Cash prizes will be awarded to the three winning schools in the amount of $2,500 for Gold, $1,500 for Silver and $750 for Bronze. Twelve Special Achievement awards will also be presented.

"The UBC Okanagan community values our growing links with the Aboriginal community we are very proud to be hosting students of the E-Spirit competition," said Doug Owram, Deputy Vice Chancellor at UBC Okanagan. "It is exciting to have so many future leaders and entrepreneurs visit us. It's a great opportunity for them to get to know UBC Okanagan and our region."

“BDC is proud to associate with UBC Okanagan for the ninth edition of E-Spirit,” said Wilson Neapew, National Director, Aboriginal Banking, Business Development Bank of Canada. “This business plan competition offers Aboriginal students a chance to develop their entrepreneurial spirit by putting technology at work, forging relationships and strengthening community bonds.”

The E-Spirit program was developed by BDC and is supported by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA).

The following schools qualified for the E-Spirit Business Plan Competition 2009:

Canmore Collegiate

British Columbia
Chase Secondary School
Clearwater Secondary School
Grand Forks Secondary School
J.V. Humphries (Kaslo)
North Peace Secondary School (Fort St. John)
Salmon Arm Secondary – Sullivan Campus and Jackson Campus
Stein Valley Nlakapamux School (Lytton)

Children of the Earth High School
Gordon Bell High School
St. John’s High School (Winnipeg)
Margaret Barbour Collegiate Institute (The Pas)

New Brunswick
Bonar Law Memorial School (Rexton)
Southern Victoria High School (Perth-Andover)

Newfoundland and Labrador
Lake Melville School (North West River)

Nova Scotia
Chief Allison M. Bernard Memorial High School (Cape Breton)
Sydney Academy
Wagmatcook School
Unama’ki High School (Eskasoni First Nation)

John Arnalukjuak High School (Arviat)
Nuiyak School (Sanikiluaq)

Dennis Franklin Cromarty High School (Thunder Bay)
Espanola High School
Saugeen District Secondary School (Port Elgin)
Wasse Abin High School (Wikwemikong)

École Manikanetish (Sept-Iles)
Kitigan Zibi Kikinamadinan (Maniwaki)

Regina Christian School

Del Van Gorder School (Faro)

About UBC Okanagan
UBC opened its Okanagan campus in Kelowna, B.C., in 2005. With 5,300 undergraduate and graduate students, UBC Okanagan is an intimate learning community where students interact with one another and their professors on a daily basis, while becoming global citizens through interaction with their community and the world.

For more information, visit www.ubc.ca/okanagan.

About BDC
BDC is Canada’s business development bank. From 100 offices across the country, BDC promotes entrepreneurship by providing highly tailored financing, venture capital and consulting services to entrepreneurs. Visit www.bdc.ca for more information.

For more information on E-Spirit, visit www.bdc.ca/espirit.

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