The only Victoria company in province-wide startup competition

Plus, you told us how you feel about AI, and Outway's Rob Fraser shares a mistake that he doesn't want you to make.

Welcome to this week’s Midweek Memo. In this issue, learn about the only Victoria company in the running for $250,000 in cash and prizes, see what the local tech community thinks about AI, and find an opportunity to pass on some knowledge from local tech leaders.

Now onto today’s briefing. It’s 727 words: a three-minute read.

-Allison, @allisongacad

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Joni makes the Top 25 for New Ventures BC

Joni co-founders Jayesh Vekariya, left, and Linda Biggs, right. Photo: LinkedIn

One of the largest and longest-running tech competitions in the province has announced that a single Victoria company has made its top 25. Joni, a period-care startup, was announced among the suite of finalists for the annual New Ventures BC competition.

The non-profit, supported by crown agency Innovate BC, has seen over 3,100 companies enter its competition since 2000, with notable local alumni including Certn and Cuboh. This year, participants are eligible for more than $250,000 in cash and prizes, alongside events, mentorship, and an educational seminar series. New Ventures BC claims that its top startups do better than the average startup, with over 80 percent of them still in operation.

“These companies use our competition as a launching pad to accelerate their growth, connect with new partners, and get on the radar screen of early-stage investors,” said Angie Shick, executive director of New Ventures BC. “This year, we’re excited to uncover a new wave of startups that will bring even more attention to B.C.’s thriving tech community.”

Joni, a direct-to-consumer e-commerce brand offering sustainable pads and tampons, was co-founded by Jayesh Vekariya and Linda Biggs, with a mission to create period equity. The startup offers compostable and biodegradable bamboo period care, and gives back five percent to communities in need through donated products and funding of educational programs.

It’s been a busy period of time for Joni, which has seen no shortage of awards and public recognition. In 2022, the venture won the social impact award at VIATEC’s Victoria Tech Community Awards, and was a participant in the Canada Women’s Business Mission to Japan. Biggs was also in Ottawa in response to federal changes mandating access to period care products, calling for an expansion of the Labour Code to the private sector.

Last week, we asked about your thoughts on AI. Exactly half of you think it will revolutionize every industry. Check out what a fellow subscriber said, and let us know what you think:

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📰 More Victoria innovation news

💸 He walked so you can run: Rob Fraser, founder of Outway, shares the lessons he’s learned from making a costly hiring mistake.

🚗 Gone seaweed farming: Cascadia Seaweed was featured as part of a series of Foresight Canada’s virtual road trip, Cleantech Coast to Coast.

💻 For the students in your life: HighTechU, an initiative of UVic’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, offers high school students two pathways to explore careers in tech this August.

☀️ Plug into solar: Solaires launched its PV modules for integration with battery-driven smart gadgets, IoT devices, and wireless energy transmission.


COAST Talks July 6: Meet the non-profit disrupting ecosystem restoration, an entrepreneur transforming marine conservation, and a bioplastic startup lessening ocean pollution. Register here.

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