INVESTING IN INNOVATION: CAMPBELL RIVER IMPACT INVESTOR CHALLENGE WINNERS
Prizes awarded to Cassandra Hui, Heal Mary, and Damien Gillis, ProjectDome
More than 150 people from around British Columbia registered to watch the finale of the 2021 Campbell River Impact Investor Challenge on June 16. Five finalists, from all over British Columbia, pitched their businesses, vying for the grand prize of a minimum $50,000 investment in their businesses.
The evening included a keynote discussion with Laura Plant, impact economist at PwC’s Sustainability Consulting. Plant’s presentation, How to know when you have really made an impact, gave viewers some useful frameworks for measuring social and environmental impact.
Heal Mary, a business helping patients, families, and the medical system create more access to clinical trials, won a minimum $50,000 investment. Founder Cassandra Hui will use the investment for product development and sales growth.
Campbell River’s Damien Gills won a low-interest $15,000 loan for his startup project, ProjectDome, an affordable, engaging, sustainable dome projection system targeting the virtual reality market.
“Salmon Capital Holdings was thrilled to partner with the City of Campbell River and Spring to deliver the first ever localized Spring Impact Investor Challenge,” said Dana Kammersgard, managing director and co-founder of Salmon Capital Holdings. “The challenge attracted 33 startups and 12 new investors who learned about startup investing. The result was a loan for a local innovation, and investment in a very worthy BC impact startup.”
Several local businesses and investors joined the Campbell River Impact Investor Challenge, a 12-week training program for investors and businesses. Amy Stevenson joined the investor cohort after hearing a pitch for the program during a Rotary Club presentation.
“I found that the challenge fit the gap between the community support that I do through shopping local and the project work that I do through the Rotary Club,” Stevenson said. “It enables me to feel confident and have the tools and knowledge to engage in place-based investing, which encourages innovation with interesting dynamic growth opportunities for the community.”
Place-based impact investing builds a culture to support for-profit businesses that generate positive social or environmental outcomes. The Impact Investor Challenge was created and facilitated by Spring Activator to provide real-world training to both investors and entrepreneurs.
Spring’s investment director, Graham Day, commented, “This program was a successful example of how a diverse group of investors and entrepreneurs can come together to push forward critical solutions to challenging social and environmental problems. We look forward to more fruitful partnerships around the province and Canada to accelerate impact investment in communities.”
The 2021 Campbell River Impact Investor Challenge was sponsored by Salmon Capital Holdings, Ltd. Other local partners included the City of Campbell River, the Campbell River Area Angel Group, Study Build, DLA Piper, INK LLP, and Rhiza Capital.