BlackBerry Developer Challenge


This morning we launched the official call for entries for the 2009 BlackBerry Developer Challenge. We’re pretty excited about it, and there are some great prizes lined up for BlackBerry Developers!

Here is a summary of the prizes to be won at this year’s challenge:

Finalist Prize Package worth approx. US$5,000:
– Featured Placement on BlackBerry App World carousel for one week;
– One BlackBerry Developers Conference pass;
– One BlackBerry smartphone;
– Invitation to demo at “BlackBerry Sweet 16” event at the BlackBerry Developers Conference in San Francisco, California, where final judging will take place;
– Publicity via monthly press release announcing finalists.

Grand Prize Package worth approx. US$100,000:
– $75,000 Cash Prize;
– $25,000 Value Package.
– Value Package includes:
—- One Elite BlackBerry Alliance Membership for one year;
—- One Day Mentoring Session with RIM in Waterloo, Ontario, providing analysis, review and insights into how to best improve the application on BlackBerry;
—- Press Release and Featured Interviews with Media;
—- Two additional weeks of BlackBerry App World Featured Placement on the carousel;
—- Potential investment offer from BlackBerry Partners Fund.

Runner Up Prize Package worth approx. US$25,000:
– $10,000 Cash Prize;
– $15,000 Value Package.
– Value Package includes:
—- One Select BlackBerry Alliance Membership for one year;
—- One Day Mentoring Session with RIM in Waterloo, Ontario, providing analysis, review and insights into how to best improve the application on BlackBerry;
—- Mention in Press Release;
—- One additional week of BlackBerry App World Featured Placement on the carousel.

More information can be found on the official challenge page.

Kevin and I will be Tweeting about the challenge; for real-time updates add @ktalbot and @jsookman.

Financing Opportunities for Canadian Start-ups


I want to draw your attention to a blog post that I wrote on the BlackBerry Partners Fund website a few months ago. In times of recession, when cash is tight and purchase orders are scarce, understanding how and where to receive financing becomes of paramount important.

For additional details, please refer to the full article.

Here are some of the highlights:

If you are a mobile start up, please feel free to apply for Jump Start Financing at the BlackBerry Partners Fund, which can invest up to $500K USD into innovative start ups.

OCE Discovery 2009


Ontario Centre’s of Excellence (OCE) is putting on their annual event called Discovery 09 on May 11-12, 2009.

The event is expected to draw an impressive crowd of over 2000 people and over 200 booths. The event will be divided among three major Zones: Green Tech, Health & Digital. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore a huge showcase of promising ideas across numerous research, academic and industrial sectors as well as connect with the leaders, dreamers and doers who are driving Ontario’s innovation revolution.

I recently confirmed a speaking engagement on a panel that will be held on May 12th called “Building a Digital company for 2010.” Should be fun.

If you have a startup and you’re looking to go international, this is the place to be. You’ll have the opportunity to meet with 80 Canadian trade ministers representing 26 Canadian trade countries from around the world. Rick Segal talks about the value of these Canadian trade ministers in his blog, The Post Money Value.

I hope to see you all out there!

Indian Billionaires


There are 946 billionaires in the world, that’s a lot. As far as developing nations are concerned, China is projected to boom before India. But, interestingly, India leads Asia billionaire club with 36 billionaires; comparatively Japan has 24 and together Hong Kong and China have 41. In today’s economy, those with money – make lots more of it!

A problem in Canada is that there aren’t enough High Net Worth individuals backing venture funds to infuse capital into start-ups and growing companies. In the US, there isn’t that same problem; in California there is over US $13 billion in venture funding to businesses and much of it originally came from those high net worth individuals.

So … what does this mean for Chindia? Well, if these billionaires setup more venture funds in India, my bet is that you will start to see a lot of high-tech companies emerge and compete internationally to fuel the Indian economy. Will China be left in the dust?