Vancouver startup gets business boost from Coast Capital Savings

Wed, Jan 6, 2016

Vancouver, B.C. – Most entrepreneurs don’t get their start by pitching a winning business idea to panel of billionaires-turned-TV personalities.

But for students and graduates of Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU), a similarly styled competition sponsored and funded by Coast Capital Savings is giving young entrepreneurs an opportunity to give their business a $5,000 head start.

Late last year, KPU business graduate Colette Griffiths submitted a business plan for the Coast Capital Savings Youth Entrepreneurship Award (CCYEA). Although her luncheonette and grocer was already becoming a reality, she presented to a panel of Coast Capital and KPU representatives with the hope of getting some extra capital to put the finishing touches on her Mount Pleasant business.

When she found out she had won the inaugural award, Griffiths was overwhelmed with appreciation and excitement.

“I am absolutely thrilled to be the first recipient of the Coast Capital Youth Entrepreneurship Award,” she said. “My experience in this competition has been incredibly valuable in getting to know my business better, and the ability to gain meaningful feedback from real business professionals has better equipped me for the challenges of being the entrepreneur I have always dreamt of being.”

The CCYEA competition launched in partnership with KPU aims to champion and encourage the entrepreneurial spirit of local youth. It also provides business-minded learners the opportunity to bring their real-world business before an experienced panel of community leaders.

“It was a pleasure to see the hard work of our students and alumni showcased at this level while also building engagement with the external community through Coast Capital Savings’ generous support,” said Steve Lewarne, CEO of the KPU Foundation and executive director of advancement at KPU.

Set to open early this year, The Federal Store is a dream come true for Griffiths, who is applying the $5,000 award toward the cozy café’s DIY renovations and vintage décor. On top of being a welcome addition to a rapidly growing neighbourhood, Griffith’s store will feature a thoughtful selection of local, sustainable, organic and artisanal products.

“The Coast Capital Savings Youth Entrepreneurship Award brings together two things we’re very passionate about at Coast Capital: building a richer future for youth and helping small business owners achieve financial well-being,” said Don Coulter, president and CEO of Coast Capital Savings. “We’re excited to be a part of this award that supports young entrepreneurs get their ventures up and running.”

Both KPU and Coast Capital will offer the competition again in 2016. For more information, visit

The KPU Foundation builds community and corporate partnerships that benefit students, support faculty and enhance education. Each year, hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and awards are given to students across disciplines. More on the KPU Foundation is available at

About Coast Capital Savings

Coast Capital Savings is Canada’s largest credit union by membership, owned by its 522,000 members. It has 50 branches in the Metro Vancouver, Fraser Valley and Vancouver Island regions of British Columbia and has exciting plans to grow. Product innovations include Canada's first free chequing account from a full-service financial institution. In 2014, we invested $5.7 million into our local communities, focusing on empowering and engaging youth. Coast Capital is one of Canada's 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures™, a member of Canada's Best Managed Companies Platinum Club, and an Imagine Canada Caring Company. To learn more, visit

Kwantlen Polytechnic University has served the Metro Vancouver region since 1981, and has opened doors to success for more than 200,000 learners. Four campuses—Richmond, Surrey, Cloverdale and Langley—offer a comprehensive range of sought-after programs in business, liberal arts, design, health, science and horticulture, trades and technology, and academic and career advancement. Over 19,000 students annually have a choice from over 120 programs, including bachelor’s degrees, associate degrees, diplomas, certificates, citations and apprenticeships. Learn more at    

Photo available on Flickr.
Photo caption: KPU alumna Colette Griffiths proudly holds her $5,000 award next to Julienne Hills, manager of community partnerships and corporate social responsibility for Coast Capital Savings (right). Surrounded by her family in her luncheonette and grocer, Griffiths will put her well-deserved award toward the finishing touches on her Mount Pleasant business.

Media contact:
Hayley Woodin
Media Specialist
t: 604.599.2883
c: 604.364.1288

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