Winnipeg Free Press Newspaper Archives Jun 18 2015, Page 25

Low-resolution version. To view a high quality image

Start Free Trial
Winnipeg Free Press (Newspaper) - June 18, 2015, Winnipeg, Manitoba C M Y K PAGE B9 BUSINESS CITY EDITOR: SHANE MINKIN 204- 697- 7292 I CITY. DESK@ FREEPRESS. MB. CA I WINNIPEGFREEPRESS. COM THURSDAY, JUNE 18, 2015 B 9 T HE Winnipeg startup ecosystem cleaned up nice and was in fine form at the Fort Garry Hotel on Wednesday for the annual Venture Challenge pitch competition. Innovate Manitoba’s signature event featured pitches from six promising startups to four of the savviest judges the event has ever had, including California tech entrepreneur Randy Smerik ( who also gave an eyeopening keynote on what to watch out for from venture capital investors). The display of business accomplishment and serious enterprise from young Manitoba entrepreneurs was impressive. Backed by the province and with substantial private- sector sponsorship, Innovate Manitoba is a major player in this community. The six presenters at Wednesday’s Venture Challenge event were selected from a group of about 15 companies that took part in Innovate Manitoba’s threeday boot camp led by veteran investors who put these companies through the paces. The goal was to get to the point where they are ready to make a legitimate pitch to potential investors. Jan Lederman, the head of Innovate Manitoba, said, “ We have taken a systems approach to this.” The system has started to produce amazing results. For example, the three winners from the 2014 event — Kindoma, PermissionClick and Exigence Technologies — have not only raised an average of $ 440,000 each since then, but all are operating entities. Each of them has hired additional staff in Winnipeg, and all three have the potential for significant scale. “ The growth has been phenomenal,” Lederman said in reference to the Venture Challenge event specifically and the startup community in general. Many in attendance noted the marked improvement in the quality and sophistication of the presentations. Among other things, the boot- camp experiences these young entrepreneurs have had access to is encouraging more of them to scale their businesses to national and international markets as opposed to the more modest local market approach more prevalent in the past. Here are the three 2015 Venture Challenge winners who share a total of $ 30,000 in cash and in- kind prizes: . Pricerazzi. com — first place. Serial entrepreneur Declan McDonald and his technology specialist partner Robert Keizer already have a number of satisfied customers for their webbased service that helps consumers get extra money back from purchases by mining retailers’ price- match policies and finding the lowest prices. It is on track to do $ 2.5 million in business this year — taking 10 per cent of the refunds as its fee — and has proved out its system. Shoppers sign up, take a picture of the receipt, then Pricerazzi directs them to the retailer with the lowest guaranteed price. It’s launching a mobile app in the U. S. in the coming weeks and the forecast to be doing $ 100 million in business by 2018 does not seem far- fetched at all. . Portay Advertising — second place. Lifelong friends Kyle Boult and Greg Lipschitz developed their food- court- tray advertising concept the hard way. The first prototype was launched at St. Vital Centre in the holiday season of 2013. But some glitches in the way the paper advertising interacted with the trays kept them on- site working long hours for 85 days straight. “ I found out I passed my third- level CFA while we were in the dish pit,” Lipschitz said. They’ve since filed for a patent on a new design tray that secures the paper advertising and have had increasingly encouraging support from advertisers and mall operators. They hope to launch in 14 malls this fall and have already pre- booked $ 250,000 in advertising from Fortune 500 companies. . BecometheGamer — third place. Matt Doak is an avid online gamer, but he admits his chops are waning because his business prevents him from spending the time he needs to move up the rankings. He likens his business to a training gym for online gamers. The idea is to match coaches with competitive gamers who want to improve their scores and move up the global rankings. Improbable as it may sound to the uninitiated, the market is mammoth and becoming ever more professionalized, with the best players bringing in high six figures in prizes and some universities now offering full scholarship for top gamers. Filling out the very competitive field this year were: . FarmTrack Technologies — an innovative cattle nutrition- management solution. . Pristine Prairie Organics — a certified organic beef producer. . Crik Nutrition — a manufacturer of cricket- based protein powder. martin. cash@ freepress. mb. ca OTTAWA — The deal to privatize the Canadian Wheat Board took another step closer to completion Wednesday when the government passed a tax motion creating a trust to give a kind of share in the new company to farmers. The ways and means motion, which passed by a vote of 149 to 126, is one of the final hurdles before the Winnipegbased CWB becomes a fully private entity. In April, Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz announced the government was selling a majority stake in the CWB to G3 Global Grains, a joint venture of the Canadian wing of the American agribusiness firm Bunge Ltd. and Saudi Agriculture and Livestock Investment Company Canada Ltd. The new company will retain its name and remain headquartered in Winnipeg. The new partners will get a 50.1 per cent stake in the company in return for an investment of $ 250 million. It is not a cash deal and must still be approved by the Competition Bureau. Farmers who sell to the wheat board will get shares in the company, but in five years, G3 Global Grains can buy back those shares at market value. The motion passed Wednesday created a trust with shares for farmers, the value of which will be determined by the company, and in five years they can be called back by the company. Winnipeg MP Pat Martin says it is another sad day for Canada and called the trust created Wednesday “ very strange.” He said farmers won’t have any control over how much the units they are given are worth and will be forced to sell them for a price set by the company in five years. “ It’s like some kind of incomprehensible loyalty awards program of indeterminate value or worth,” said Martin. A spokeswoman for Ritz called the motion “ a necessary step in order to finalize the deal.” The new company is still awaiting approval by the Competition Bureau, but the deal is expected to be finalized this summer. The CWB building on Main Street was recently sold, but the company will rent back the top two floors of the building. An order- in- council approved earlier this year allows the CWB to spend up to $ 5 million to rent the space over the next five years. mia. rabson@ freepress. mb. ca MANITOBA has the lowest vacancy rate for seniors housing units in the country despite more than 100 new suites being added to the market in the past year, according to a new report from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation ( CMHC). In its 2015 seniors housing report released Wednesday, the federal agency said the vacancy rate among standard seniors units, which account for most of the 4,039 rental units included in this year’s market survey, is 4.6 per cent. That’s unchanged from a year ago. The next- lowest provincial vacancy rate is Quebec’s at 7.3 per cent, while the national average is almost double the Manitoba rate, at 8.9 per cent. The agency noted Manitoba’s overall rate held steady even though 109 new one- bedroom seniors units were added to the local scene in the past year. While that boosted the vacancy rate in the one- bedroom segment of the market to 4.7 per cent from 4.0 per cent, it didn’t affect the overall rate because the vacancy rates declined for both bachelor and two- bedroom units. CMHC said the vacancy rate for bachelor units dropped to 3.9 per cent from 5.9 per cent a year earlier, while the rate for two- bedroom units fell to 4.2 per cent from 6.2 per cent. Standard seniors rental units are suites in assisted- living complexes such as the Canoe Club and Riverwood Square Communities in Winnipeg, where residents receive less than 1.5 hours of care per day. A total of 3,404 of the 4,039 seniors units surveyed this year were standard units. Dianne Himbeault, CMHC’s senior market analyst for Winnipeg, noted the agency has only been surveying the seniors housing market for a few years, and during that time Manitoba’s overall vacancy rate has been fairly steady. She said one of the good things about having a lower vacancy rate is, “ It’s probably encouraging the construction of more ( new) projects.” This year’s survey also found the average monthly rental rate for standard units in Manitoba increased by 4.8 per cent in the past year, climbing to $ 2,565 per month from $ 2,447. Himbeault attributed the increase in part to having some new units coming onto the market, which tend to command higher rents and bump up the provincial average. The category that saw the biggest year- over- year hike in average monthly rents was the bachelor units and private rooms where meals are included in the rent. The increase there was 19.3 per cent, and Himbeault said that was due to a combination of more newly built units being included in this year’s survey, and some instances where additional services were added. “ That also pushes up the rents,” she said. “ So it’s more a compositional thing than actual seniors being hit with 20 per cent rent increases.” murray. mcneill@ freepress. mb. ca Startups impress biz gurus Venture Challenge pitch event a boot camp to help woo investors By Martin Cash PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Pricerazzi. com co- founders Robert Keizer ( left) and Declan McDonald came in first place Wednesday. Manitoba leads vacancies for seniors housing units By Murray McNeill CWB nearer to private status Creation of new trust latest step to finalizing By Mia Rabson PHIL HOSSACK / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES The Canadian Wheat Board building on Main Street was recently sold. B_ 09_ Jun- 18- 15_ FP_ 01. indd B9 6/ 17/ 15 9: 57: 08 PM

Search all Winnipeg, Manitoba newspaper archives

All newspaper archives for June 18, 2015