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Voting has ended for the 2015 small business Challenge contest

Update on Sept. 1, 2015: Voting for the contest has now ended.  The winner will be announced on Sept. 17.

More than 3,300 companies from across Canada entered this year's Small Business Challenge contest, sponsored by The Globe and Mail and Telus Corp. Check out the five semi-finalists below and vote for your favourite – the winner will be awarded a $100,000 business grant. Each company hopes to use the money to put it on a path to further growth. Judges will take into account five finalists' original contest submissions, live pitches and online vote scores before making their final decision in September.

AquaMobile Inc.

This Toronto-based startup offers swim lessons at customers' homes using an inventive Web platform. To achieve her goal of building AquaMobile into the largest school of its kind in North America, Ms. Goodwin says she needs to have at least one full-time employee to recruit swimming instructors, plus another employee to look after marketing and advertising.

Read more: Her swim-lesson business has a digital edge

PathCore Inc.

This Toronto-based software company gives pathologists a tool for analyzing biopsied tissue to determine the presence of cancer cells. The Challenge prize money would help the company fund trips to the United States to present PathCore’s cloud-based technology to some of the best hospitals in the country.

Read more: Tool takes guesswork out of disease diagnosis

BakerStone International

This Toronto-based company came up with a barbecue grill insert that cooks pizzas at high heat in two to four minutes. Winning the Challenge contest would give the company money to put into infomercials. Mr. Rose estimates infomercial costs at about $60,000 for video production and $40,000 to buy television airtime.

Read more: Baking box turns backyard grill into a pizza oven


This Kelowna, B.C.-based firm came up with an online platform where gamers using a computer can log in and play on servers designed to keep the action going, unhampered by slow Internet speeds.

Read more: His company feeds online gamers' need for speed

MyBabbo Inc.

This online service based in Toronto allows funeral directors to easily distribute legacy photo books, stationery, memorial websites and video tributes to deceased loved ones. Founder Tracy Rossetti plans to launch mini-websites where clients can view their families’ books, place orders for additional copies, and add or switch photos. The first phase of this site will have a price tag of about $90,000, says Ms. Rossetti, who expects a 370-per-cent return on investment.

Read more: Photo books help the grieving remember loved ones

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