One of these 196 tech companies will be crowned the best in B.C.

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      The hunt for the province’s best tech startup was narrowed down this week.

      For almost two decades, the New Ventures BC Competition has scoured the region for its most exciting companies. Inviting businesses to pass through its rigorous application process, the contest boasts both excellent mentorship opportunities, and a hefty prize purse.

      Now, New Ventures BC has announced the 196 businesses that will be proceeding to the next round.

      More than 200 companies threw their hat into the ring—a record for the competition. Business plans ran the gamut from organizations aiming to democratize the contemporary art market to sorting out the issue of wastewater runoff, with particularly innovative proposals including an easy way to quickly convert blog posts to video, and to get someone to do your laundry on-demand.

      From here, the contest is comprised of three rounds, which will take place over the course of six months. The next challenge the 196 companies will tackle is the feasibility test, where organizations submit a six-page response to questions about their concept. From that pool, the top 40 will move through to the third round. Next, the companies will be asked to create a condensed venture plan, and they will be paired with first-rate mentors to expand that idea into an eight-page roadmap. The top 10 finalists will then pitch in person to the jury.

      The weighty prize money makes competition fierce. The company that wins the contest will take home $105,000 courtesy of Innovate BC. The runner up will receive $60,000, and third place will claim $35,000. Additional prizes are available for businesses that qualify, including a $20,000 purse from the BC Resource Industry, and $17,000 from Vancity Social Ventures. Innovate BC is responsible for another $10,000 regional startup prize, and the BC Tech Association has pledged $6,000 to reward a fast-growing organization.

      The full list of companies in the running for the top spot is available here.

      Kate Wilson is the Technology Editor at the Georgia Straight. Follow her on Twitter @KateWilsonSays