Monthly Archives: October 2013

Enter the Third Annual Jump:Start:Challenge

Jump:Start:Challenge

The Jump:Start:Challenge is a competition for tech start-ups and entrepreneurs that provides concentrated help in cracking one of the most persistent business challenges: raising capital.

Are you a technology start-up, entrepreneur, or company ready to go to the next level? This competition is for you!

Run by Accelerate Okanagan (AO), the Jump:Start:Challenge is a pitch competition supporting tech entrepreneurs seeking investment to finance their growth. This competition provides participants with hands-on training on how to get “investor ready”.

Through the 8 weeks of workshops, coaching, training and mentorship, the pool of candidates will be whittled down to 5 finalists who will go on to pitch to a room full of preselected BC investors. Besides offering the possibility for investment, our panel of judges will award a cash prize to the winning company.

Jeff Keen, CEO of AO said, “We’ve seen remarkable successes from previous Jump:Start:Challenge participants, and we’re excited to see what the next group of Okanagan technology companies have to offer. The top 10 companies that earn access to the program, will receive 8 weeks of coaching and mentorship that will dramatically improve their chances of raising capital.”

How to Enter

Email a short description of your business concept (1 page max) to jumpstart@accelerateokanagan.com or tweet it to @accelerateok by December 13th, 2013. Successful applicants will be invited to pitch to a panel of judges in Kelowna, BC on January 10th, 2014.
For more information, click here: http://www.accelerateokanagan.com/jumpstart/

Prizes

  • The top 10 entrants will receive eight weeks of expert training, coaching and mentorship to improve their pitches and increase their chances of raising capital.
  • Five finalists will get to present their business ideas to pre-selected members of the BC investment community.
  • The winner will receive a cash prize.

Meet The Past Winners

Rob Bartlett, CEO of WTFast, won first place in the Jump:Start:Challenge in 2011. For WTFast, the Jump:Start:Challenge was the perfect platform to springboard growth. “I found the Jump:Start:Challenge invaluable – it’s like a boot camp for companies looking for investment. You will learn what investors are looking for and how to present. Along the way you will learn more about your company and ways to improve it.

Thanks to AO and this program, I have gone from never pitching before in my life to now pitching to investors in Vancouver, California and Seattle. These pitches led to $150k in investment for WTFast in 2012, which helped drive company revenues in 2013, leading to an additional $424k in debt and grant funding in 4th quarter 2013.”

Alison Yesilcimen, Co-founder and CEO of Media Cooler Innovations, won first place in 2012. She said, “The Jump:Start:Challenge greatly benefits every company that participates. The mentorship that you get is incredible, as it allows you to continuously improve how you pitch your company’s idea. As an entrepreneur, you are going to need these skills anywhere, whether it’s in a boardroom selling your product or presenting to investors and so having those skills, and always refining those skills, is very important.

Winning the Jump:Start:Challenge created a lot of great exposure for our company throughout British Columbia. I would strongly encourage any startup to join the Jump:Start:Challenge!”

For further information, contact Accelerate Okanagan at (250) 870-9028.

Tweet it up at #AOJumpStart and @accelerateok.

Happy Halloween


Goblins and Skulls, Dark Angels and Ghouls!
Photo: L.G. Photography
Makeup: SJB
Hair: AMP Hairstyling
Model: Shelby
Stylist: Lise Guyot

If Only Comedians Could Play The Hits

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Photo by Joe Moroney

Article Submitted by David Kopp

Stand up comedians have it rough now. In the 80’s and 90’s, they could travel the country with a solid hour of material they honed over the years. Everywhere they went it was new and fresh. At least to the audience.

Musicians can play their one hit song and everybody loves it, but no one wants to hear a comedian’s jokes from last week. YouTube has made this even tougher on the pro comics. With audience members posting clips of unfinished jokes online, it is becoming even harder to keep audiences in suspense.

The silver lining is that this forces comedians to write more material than ever before and, as a result, everyone is getting better. Today could be seen as the new golden age of comedy. Comedy really is everywhere. Every full time comedian has a podcast and a special and most touring comics have at least a one DVD of amazing material for sale and a few great clips online.

The other effect of there being so much comedy available is that the bar has also been raised. Almost everyone in the audience watches the newest comedy specials. This is obviously great for comedy, but it also means a new comedian is performing to a pretty savvy crowd. New comics are forced to learn the trade quite quickly or deal with perhaps the worst feeling imaginable… bombing. A crowd who talks through a set is annoying, but when they sit silently through it, there is really no one else to blame. No artist ever bombs as hard as a comedian and even if a comedian does find that special line that works every time, eventually everyone’s heard it and its no longer special. No comedian can tour like the Rolling Stones, getting by on forty year old material when the new stuff sucks.

Comedians really are in a unique position. Just imagine if at your job you were constantly compared to the best performers of all time’s very best performances. No one ever says to the best architects in town, “Yeah, that is pretty nice, but have you seen the Taj Mahal? You should make buildings like that.” However, it is common, after a set, to hear “You should do jokes like Seinfield. I saw him. All he really does is talk, but its so funny.”

Focus Friday: Creek Fog

mission-creek-fog

This week’s fog made for some magical light and dreamy autumn scenes, like this one in Mission Creek Park. The Greenway is spectacular right now — definitely worth a walk or bike ride this weekend. Earlier in the week, it seemed like the morning fog was burning off by lunchtime. The last few days have stayed socked in, giving us a preview of winter cloud.

Foggy Morning by Melanie Friesen

Daniel Romano – Streaming Cafe

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Another amazing concert happened last night at Streaming Cafe. . . Daniel Romano with Grey Kingdom performed and you should’ve been there. Spencer Burton (Grey Kingdom), not only has a great stage presence of humour and sarcasm, but his vocals and folk melodies will move you. . . check him out and buy his album here.
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The Streaming Cafe has great sound and the small venue makes for the perfect audience experience. You become fully absorbed while in an intimate live setting. Daniel Romano and band played amazingly well and I was surprised to see such well crafted country/western songs. Romano played all of the set electric as well which is something I’ve never seen before, so that was a nice touch. Romano’s vocals pierce the soul with a deep range that drawls on with highs that can leave you heartbroken. His songs tell stories of relationships and heartbreak that make you yearn and reflect. If you haven’t heard of Daniel Romano before, please do yourself a favour and check him out.
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After the evening of music was over, I stuck around and got to talk to Daniel for a few minutes outside and conversation ensued.

What are your opinions on alternative country, indie, folk and pop country music?

I think that those probably exist, genres like “alt country” or “americana” because there’s such a disconnect with the origin of country music and what is now considered country music. I don’t know if it helps any, but if it helps people decipher one thing from another I guess that’s a good thing.

Do you think it’s getting better or worse for country/western music?

It’s hard to tell right now, I know that the “americana” scene is flowering and that’s good I think. That’s pretty broad that category though, there’s a lot of styles of “americana” and that can be confusing.

What’s your favourite venue so far in Canada?

Oh you know what, there was this festival on Wolf Island in Kingston, Ontario. We were supposed to play on the back of this dock looking back at this bar. Minutes before our set time we moved inside because there was torrential down-pour. So we crammed inside this little bar and moved some chairs aside and did a show, it was so much fun. We had weird adrenaline from being confused and having no P.A system, that was a memorable show.

What’s your favourite show in the USA?

Actually, we just played a chili cook off in Portland that was awesome.

What’s your opinion of downloading and social media?

Uhm, whatever. It’s inevitable, it’s going to keep happening.

How has it affected your career?

There’s just no money to be made. It sucks because you can’t sell records and that’s what you want to do, but right now bands basically make their money off of merchandise.

How has it felt to transition to playing country music and changing your image?

I mean my image hasn’t really changed so much, but I would say that it’s a lot more comfortable for me.

Follow Daniel Romano on Facebook and check his website to learn about tour dates. His next show is coming up on the 13th of October, where he’s playing at Mercer Tavern in Edmonton.

Daniel Romano

I was lucky enough to briefly chat with former indie vocalist now turned country/western singer Daniel Romano, while he was gearing up for his Canadian tour in Portland, Oregon.

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Hey Daniel, how are you?
Not too bad.

Where are you right now?

We’re in Portland, we have today and tomorrow off then we play Seattle.

So that’ll be the starting of your tour then?
Yeah exactly.

And you’re playing with Spencer from “Grey Kingdom”, how’d you two meet?
We used to be in a band together called “Attack in Black”. We met in high school, he actually grew up in Kelowna and later moved to Welland, Ontario where I’m from.

So this tour is for your new album Come Cry With Me, how’s the reception so far?
It’s been great.

Where was that album recorded?
Oh, at my house.

Who else played and recorded with you on this album?
It’s pretty much just me, Erin plays lap steel and a friend of mine named Natalie sings on it as well.

So transitioning from Attack in Black and the more indie side of Dallas Green’s work, how has it been putting out your own country albums?
It’s been great, makes more sense for me.

How was playing with Dallas Green?
It was fine, was a good job.

Any plans once this tour is over?
I’m actually currently making a new record so I’m probably going to work on that a bit.

What does the songwriting process look like for you?
Um, it varies. Usually it’s find a good line and work around it kind of thing. I haven’t found anything that works better than anything else.

I’m excited that you’re playing at St. James Hall in Vancouver before the show in Kelowna, I went there to interview Gavin from The Wooden Sky and the venue is beautiful!
Oh yeah our friend raves about that place, I’m glad to hear it’s a good venue.

I’ve read you listen to punk rock so I’d like to ask you what some of your favourite records are?
Hmm ok, let me think about that for a second here. I’m going to go with this band called The Regulations, then there’s a band from my hometown called Keep it up they were great and The Ramones “It’s alive” was the best punk record ever.

What about some of your favourite singles from some country and western singers?
Roy Acuff’s “Crash on the highway”, George Jones’s “I can still see him in your eyes” and any side that Hank Senior ever cut.

Romano’s new album titled “Come Cry With Me” was released on January 22nd and should be played on the nearest porch with a glass of your favourite alcoholic beverage. He’s playing this Friday the 11th at Streaming Cafe so get ready for beautifully crafted folk/country and stay tuned for the show review this Friday!

Focus Friday: Aurora

Aurora Over the South OkanaganIt’s tempting to hunker down as the days get shorter, but some Okanaganites wisely embrace the night. Caillum has been finding some beautiful skies lately. We’re glad he’s got the gumption to sit outside late at night, capturing excellent scenes like this.

Aurora Over the South Okanagan by Caillum Smith