BCBusiness Report Card: Debate preparation and a good week for Vancouver tech

We assess how different people/things and, of course, businesses fared this week.

Devesh Bharadwaj’s company, Pani Energy, was recognized by the federal government this week

We assess how different people/things and, of course, businesses fared this week

The first U.S. presidential debate was a massive tire fire inside a dumpster fire inside a burning building. We’re not even trying to be funny; that’s really the most adequate description we can come up with.

But it made us think about the upcoming provincial election, whose first leaders’ debate is scheduled for October 13.

Like Biden and Trump, Andrew Wilkinson and John Horgan also have a track record of disliking each other. So yeah, we’re excited to see some fireworks, especially after Wilkinson had no problem straight-up dissing one of Horgan’s closest allies in government, Ravi Kahlon. Just fireworks, though; no dumpster fires, please.

Here’s what made the grade (and what didn’t) this week.

Pani Energy
Grade: A

Recent BCBusiness 30 Under 30 winner Devesh Bharadwaj and his company, Pani Energy, recently secured $2.8 million in funding from the Canadian government to tackle climate change. “Clean tech companies like Pani Energy are changing the world with their innovative AI technology,” said Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Navdeep Bains.

Congrats to Devesh, and to whichever publication had the tremendous foresight to feature this promising young man. (Oh, that was us? So weird.)

Grade: A

Another young B.C. startup made the news this week, as Vancouver vendor selection software company Olive announced $1 million in seed funding. Billing itself as the “olive branch” (clever) between buyers and sellers, the outfit has worked with brands like A&W and Krispy Kreme. This is where we lie through our teeth and say that we’d rather have an olive than those things. But hey, we’re glad to have Olive in B.C. either way. Now please excuse us as we definitely don’t go out and get doughnuts.

Forum for Women Entrepreneurs
Grade: A

Wow, what’s with all the good news? These are supposed to be terrible, unprecedented bad times! But we suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the FWE’s newest program is the excellent Money Moves, which the group bills as “the most comprehensive, industry-inclusive capital education course in Canada.” Just great for the organization and the province as a whole. Can we start getting mad at stuff yet?

BC Urban Mayors Caucus
Grade: C+

If we’ve learned anything about Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart recently, it’s that he’s quite good at demanding things from higher levels of government. It’s no surprise that the BC Urban Mayors Caucus (which is something that exists) gave the provincial parties a well-reasoned list of concerns they hope to see addressed in their election platforms. Whether that actually happens or if we should value those suggestions as the mayors actually “doing something” is another matter.

Election suspense
Grade: C

So far, the provincial election doesn’t have the looks of a very close race. Despite the unpopular snap call, polls reportedly have the BC NDP in a commanding lead. Whatever your political preference, this is indisputably bad news for those of us that like living on the edge of our seat and enjoy speculating about stuff to no end. Come on, at least make this interesting, Wilkinson and Sonia Fursteneau! Announce stuff! Reveal hideous secrets about Adrian Dix and Carole James! Do something!

Although, if we want edge-of-your-seat, might-puke suspense, we could probably just turn our attention down south. 

Transport Canada
Grade: C–

Has no one from Transport Canada ever taken a ferry? That’s what it seems like with the federal government body’s insistence that people go up to the top decks. Sure, it only takes one capsizing to prove Transport right, but come on. We’re in a global pandemic, and frankly, it’s only gotten worse. So the return of the rule after people were allowed to stay in their cars from March until September 30 just doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.  

The News Forum
Grade: D

“You know who we’ve really missed? Tony Clement.” –No one, ever. Shame on Bell for giving whatever this is a national platform.