When great ideas need cash— who you gonna call: The Awesome Shit Club

Victoria's Awesome Shit Club rewards great ideas with cold hard cash.

Victoria's Awesome Shit Club rewards people with great ideas with cold hard cash.


At first glance, their crest is very traditional: a unicorn, rampant upon a bed of oak leaves. It would make a handsome addition to any preppie golf shirt. That is, until one takes a closer look. The unicorn seems to be playing an electric guitar.

It’s that sort of juxtaposition of serious purpose and whimsical attitude that has made the Awesome Shit Club (ASC) the talk of Victoria. It all began with Kris Constable, a self-described serial entrepreneur and owner of several successful businesses. He and a group of similarly entrepreneurial friends started a group they called Ideas Victoria.

They knew that lots of folks were out there who had any number of great ideas; “awesome shit that only needed a little encouragement and funding to get going.” The question was how to incentivize those people so the ideas didn’t die.

The ASC was born.

“The name was controversial right from the start,” says Constable. “We knew that established businesses and the media would find it hard to be involved with a name like that. Still, it expressed the spirit of the concept, so we stuck with it.”

And that concept is simple. The club invites up to 20 people to join as ‘Awesomites.’ Each of them contributes $50 to a fund, all of which is given to the best idea at the next meeting.

People with ideas register as ‘Awesomers.’  The ASC meets every four months at the Fort Street Café, where these petitioners have the opportunity to pitch their awesome idea and be judged by the Awesomites. The best idea gets the cash; no strings attached.

“We’ve had some great ideas,” says Constable. The December 2011 winner developed a low-cost, open concept Braille display that dropped the price of this service to the blind from $5,000 to about $200.

That’s the sort of thing that’s caught the attention of the media and businessmen in the community. They seem to have gotten past the ASC name and embraced the concept.

An example of that acceptance is the current sponsorship by the Victoria Film Festival and Tectoria (a local technology group). As a special promotion for the film Something Ventured they have topped up this month’s prize with an additional $2,500. The first part of the judging will take place, as usual, at the Fort Street Café on Feb. 6 where three finalists will be chosen. Then, on Feb. 9, those three finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their idea to the entire audience at the screening of Something Ventured. The winner, by popular vote of the audience, will receive the $3,500 prize.

It’s a fitting venue. Something Ventured  is a documentary film by Dayna Goldfine and Dan Geller that celebrates venture capitalism and the vision of the people behind companies like Apple and Google.

Incidentally, Constable has even bigger plans on the horizon. His group is about to announce details on a new group called Ideas Worth Funding. “It’s a kind of grown up version of the ASC,” says Constable.

No word yet on what the new group’s logo will look like. M



Something Ventured   Review by Ian Lambert

Something Ventured is something amazing. This well-assembled film illuminates the audience on the birth and evolution of venture capitalism. The business behind the brains that allowed a handful of Fortune 500 companies to be started in the latter-half of the twentieth century. Apple, Intel, Atari and Cisco are some of the companies that were nothing before a group of brilliant and foresight-full people changed the way business happens. By taking risks and imparting proper business techniques, venture capitalism was born.

The story of two cowboy capitalists is well-documented and presented proficiently by the filmmakers. The film presents a great history of some of the most significant accounts of venture capitalism. It also presents the flip side of the coin — the ethics or, in some cases, lack of ethics in big business.

Overall, I loved the film and found it very interesting and informative. I would recommend it, especially to the men and women of the business world. Not all rebels and rule breakers fit the anti-hero stereotype, these capitalists prove that.

n Thurs. • Feb. 9 • Odeon Th2 • 7pm

Directors: Dayna Goldfine, Dan Geller

USA • 2011 • 85 min • HDCam

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Jen Hodge conducts an online concert during the pandemic after returning to B.C. from New York City. Photo courtesy Claudia Nobauer
Canada Recovery Benefit won’t replace the magic of live performance, musicians say

Cash will help, but its the audience connection that most performers miss — and crave

Mary Fox’s new book My Life as a Potter is available at bookstores nationwide. (Cole Schisler photo)
My Life as a Potter raises funds for Mary Fox Legacy Project

Acclaimed Vancovuer Island potter’s story raising money for developing artists

Premier John Horgan and Rob Douglas, BC NDP candidate for Cowichan Valley, meet with Cowichan First Nation elders, as they demonstrate spearfishing along the river. (Submitted)
Horgan acknowledges A&E sector hit hard by COVID-19, but showing signs of recovery

Hollywood North doing better than Hollywood South, Horgan says

Gatineau artist Michèle Provost visits the Malaspina Galleries during her artist residency on Gabriola Island. (Photo supplied)
Gatineau artist the first to take part in new Gabriola Island artist residency

Michèle Provost to create art book reflecting on the positives of aging

Legendary Vancouver-based blues and jazz guitarist and vocalist Jim Byrnes will perform live at the Tidemark Theatre in a concert that will also be streamed. Contributed photo
Legendary blues musician and actor Jim Byrnes hits the Island

Playing Campbell River’s Tidemark Theatre for a hybrid live/online show

Dinner shows in the Playbill Dining Room are keeping the Chemainus Theatre going during the pandemic. (Photo by Don Bodger)
Dinner events satisfying for the Chemainus Theatre and patrons

Small groups enjoy entertainment and the food in the Playbill Dining Room

Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Kent Laforme looks through the sound tunnel, or visual portal, carved inside the 25,000-pound marble sculpture that could be installed at Cattle Point. (Screen Shot, Oakbay.ca video)
Stone Takaya sculpture could soon ‘howl’ at Cattle Point

Oak Bay inviting public suggestions for 25,000-pound marble sculpture

The Sid Williams Theatre marquee is once again proudly displaying upcoming events. Photo supplied
Courtenay’s Sid Williams Theatre reopening in a limited capacity

Theatre has been closed since March due to COVID-19

Nanaimo-based ceramic artist Joe Lyons is presenting his first solo exhibition, ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction,’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts from Oct. 26 to Nov. 12. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-based ceramic artist showcases variety of bottles in first solo show

Joe Lyons presents ‘Poppin Bottles Soda Distraction’ at Nanaimo Ceramic Arts

Toronto poet Robert Priest is presenting an online reading on Oct. 24. (Photo courtesy Allen Booth)
Nanaimo spoken word society presents online reading by prolific Toronto poet

Robert Priest to dip into 40-year catalogue for upcoming Zoom reading

Nanaimo singer Elise Boulanger releases her new single, ‘Cigarettes et rosé’ on Oct. 11. (Photo courtesy Laura Baldwinson)
Nanaimo singer releasing new single inspired by overheard conversations

Elise Boulanger to unveil ‘Cigarettes et rosé,’ accompanying ukulele tutorial video to come

Most Read