BC & North Region – September 18, 2020 | Yesterday, the winners of the BC & North Canadian Export Challenge Pitch Competitions for the startup and scale-up categories were announced. Nyoka Design Labs was named the winner of the BC & North CXC Pitch Competition for the startup category, taking home $2,500. The scale-up category winner, BinBreeze, left with $5,000. Both businesses will have the opportunity to compete head-to-head against the other regional finalists for the grand prize, and the national title!
Based in Courtenay British Columbia, Nyoka Design Labs is reimagining the traditional plastic glow-stick and working towards empowering the next generation of eco-conscious entrepreneurs. Founded by Yamilla Franco, Nyoka uses permaculture design, Indigenous earth-caring knowledge, and biotechnology to power their Light Wand – a bioluminescent, non-toxic, reusable glow-stick.
“As a social enterprise we are constantly hitting walls, disrupting old systems, and creating new pathways for sustainability in business – but being one of the finalists now proves even more that there is an appetite, a need, and an eagerness from people to see more work and ventures like ours rise,” said Yamilla Franco, Founder of Nyoka Design Labs. “We look forward to connecting with the Startup Canada community, which will help us solidify our foundation to expand internationally and accelerate our impact throughout the world.”
Victoria-based company BinBreeze, Co-Founded by Taylor McCarten, has remodelled the compost bin for a more user-friendly experience. BinBreeze contains minerals formed from fossilized remains of algae, which provides a chemical-free method of repelling fruit flies and other insects. The product also deodorizes food waste through layers of moisture-absorbing carbon and lavender essential oils.
“The CXC Expo was absolutely essential for my start-up,” said Taylor McCarten, Co-Founder of BinBreeze. “I am so grateful that sustainable and circular economy companies are so well received and I encourage all entrepreneurs to think green if they want to grow!”
“Nyoka Design Labs and BinBreeze are fantastic examples of Canadian entrepreneurs seamlessly integrating earth-friendly design elements into innovative and inspired products,” said Kayla Isabelle, Executive Director at Startup Canada. “We are thrilled to see Yamilla and Taylor represent entrepreneurs from the British Columbia and North region at the Final Showdown in October.”
Presented by Startup Canada in collaboration with UPS, Export Development Canada, the Trade Commissioner Service, Mastercard, Scotiabank, Innovation Canada, CIPO, OSME, and Mitacs and powered by Google, last year’s Canadian Export Challenge showcased and supported more than 1,750 businesses to go global. This year, it’s going even further digitally to support rural and remote entrepreneurs from coast to coast to coast.
Yamilla and Taylor are set to represent global companies from British Columbia and Northern Canada on October 20th, where they will have the opportunity to pitch to win the grand prize.
Follow the Canadian Export Challenge as it makes its last regional stop in Quebec on September 21, 2020.
For more information or to schedule interviews, please contact:
Media Relations, Startup Canada
About Startup Canada
Startup Canada is the national rallying community and voice for Canada’s 2.3 million entrepreneurs. Since launching in 2012, Startup Canada has grown to represent more than 200,000 entrepreneurs and 50 grassroots communities from coast to coast to coast. Through digital programs and flagship events, Startup Canada is the network promoting, inspiring, educating, connecting and giving a voice to Canada’s entrepreneurs; supporting them to start, operate and scale businesses that build a better Canada for the world today and for future generations. For more information, visit www.startupcan.ca.