The 2023 contest is now underway and you're invited to enter! If you're starting a business in the RDBN area in the first half of 2023, or if you already started a business after January 2020, you could be eligible. Download the full contest rules and entry forms to get started.

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  1. Entrants must be age 19 or older at time of entry.
  2. Proposed business must be ready to begin start-up process within 6 months of contest closing.
  3. Existing small businesses must have been in business no longer than two years from contest opening.
  4. Existing businesses that began prior to January 2020 must have plans to diversify within 6 months of contest closing.

Businesses must be located in one of the following communities:

  • Smithers, Telkwa, and Electoral Area A (Smithers/Telkwa Rural)
  • Houston, Granisle, and Elecotoral Area G (Houston/Granisle Rural)
  • Burns Lake, Electoral Area B (Burns Lake Rural) and Electoral Area E (Francois/Ootsa Lake Rural)
  • Fraser Lake and Electoral Area D (Fraser Lake Rural)
  • Vanderhoof and Electoral Area F (Vanderhoof Rural)
  • Fort St James and Electoral Area C (Fort St. James Rural)

Following the entry deadline the selection panel will review all entries and the top five finalists will be selected.  The finalists will be notified and they will advance to Stages 2 and 3 of the contest. Finalists will provide additional materials to the selection panel, deliver a concept pitch, and be interviewed by the selection committee at the Business Forum. The finalists will attend the Gala Dinner for the announcement of the Start-up Business Contest winner.


Questions about the contest or the application process? Please email us at