International Innovation Conference at the University of Waterloo

On July 10-11, 2013, the International Conference on Innovation was held in Waterloo, ON.

One of the conference organizers was CERBA – Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association. The main topic of the conference was creation and growth of small and medium innovation businesses with international focus at large science hubs. The purpose of the conference was to promote innovation among youth and to stimulate productive collaboration among scientific&educational institutions and industrial  enterprises, development of professional collaboration and international cooperation, and creation of an open environment for cooperation, education and knowledge exchange.

The first day of the conference included three  sessions:

1: Commercialization of Innovations Projects in the Global Market: Challenges and Perspectives
2: The Economics of Leadership and Innovation
3: Innovation Journey: Path to success.

The fourth session (on the next day) was on academia and industry collaboration.

The speakers were renowned educators, scientists, CEOs, heads of research centers, government representatives, embassy officials etc. Some of the keynote speakers were: George Wright, Director, Global Industrial Partnerships, Office of Research, University of Waterloo; Peter Molnar, Advisor, International Research Collaborations, Ministry of Economic Development, Trade, and Employment, Ministry of Research and Innovation; Emil Strumban, Director, Multinational Startups, International Centre for Innovative Technology Transfer; Alina Pekarsky, President, Sci-Tech Ventures Associates; Senior Account Executive, Russia & CIS Programs, Schulich Executive Education Centre, York University; Irina Muhina, Managing Director, Manulife Asset Management Centre; Cedric Jeannot, CEO, I Think Security, and many others.

Here is what Peter Braid, MP, Kitchener-Waterloo said during his welcome remarks: “Waterloo Region is well-known as a centre of technology and innovation. Our first-rate universities and research institutions attract bright young minds that are generating new and exciting discoveries that will change the world. At the same time, our supportive ecosystem helps to channel this creativity towards economic opportunities that will ensure a prosperous future”.

The audience wanted to learn more about the Canadian Foreign Investments regulations and how Canada provides incentives to the foreign investors from different industries. The panelists explained that Canada has a decentralized approach between Federal and Provincial Government having differing strategies when it comes to attracting foreign investments and the related regulations. Moreover, they noted that the government at various levels provides tailor made incentive packages to each individual FDI project. The Canadian government is focused on creating an innovative commercially-dynamic and entrepreneurial-friendly business climate which will attract more FDIs. The country doesn’t offer specialized incentives to foreign investors, however they have a strategy to stimulate investments in innovative industries.

The advice that the speakers gave to the entrepreneurs is to never go alone, instead they should seek technological soulmates. Stay persistent; don’t expect too much help from the government. On the other side, students should be encouraged to implement their ideas and find professors who will continuously support and motivate them. And, most importantly, students were advised to create a great network of professionals around themselves in order to realize their goals more efficiently.

After the end of the conference, the attendees were taken for a tour in the Communitech hub, an innovation hub where industry leaders, startups, and students come together.

Communitech outside
Velocity
They were told a success story of Bufferbox, an innovative and successful startup based in the Hub.
BufferboxBufferBox Inc. is a Canadian startup company from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada co-founded by Jay Shah, Aditya Bali, and Mike McCauley. It is a service offering users a temporary parcel pickup station for packages ordered online. After conducting a pilot trial at the University of Waterloo, the service began spreading to various locations in the Greater Toronto Area. A deal was announced in early November 2012 to install kiosks at GO Transit stations.
In 2012 BufferBox had been acquired by Google for more than $25 million. The acquisition is seen as a step to compete with Amazon’s Locker service.

Virtualreality A demonstration of virtual reality environment (created by a company member of the Hub) for the conference attendees.
Advertisements

MaRS Introduces the impact 8 venture bootcamp

With a view to boosting the investment pipeline and accelerating innovative, sustainable solutions to social and environmental challenges, the MaRS Centre for Impact Investing is launching a new initiative—impact 8—to fast-track social ventures to a greater stage of investment readiness, help them attract financing and scale their impact.

The impact 8 venture bootcamp targets high-impact entrepreneurs with blended value propositions: social enterprises, social purpose businesses and co-operatives with the potential to turn investment into positive social or environmental impact and financial returns

Impact 8 provides:

  • Skills development
  • Advisory services
  • Mentorship
  • Expanded networks
  • Peer learning
  • Opportunities to pitch to impact investors

The eight-week program is intensive yet flexible, consisting of two days of on-site workshops bi-weekly, select guests speaker and networking events, online programming and one-to-one meetings with mentors and expert advisors.

More details here

APPLY HERE BEFORE JULY 12, 2013

Launch your Start-Up! A new program that teaches business skills and gives $30,000 of seed capital

If you are an entrepreneur with a degree in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics in Southern Ontario, and are looking for business support services and financing to successfully launch and manage your start-up business, VentureStart is an ideal opportunity you should explore.
VentureStart is a new program that enhances the success rate of start-up enterprises by providing essential business training for technology entrepreneurs. Plus, your start-up enterprise has the opportunity to be approved for matching seed financing of up to $30,000 (subject to approval).
See details on www.venturestart.ca

Entrepreneurship 101 – free courses by CIBC and MaRS

Interested in learning more about entrepreneurship? Looking to start a new venture? Look no further! Entrepreneurship 101 is a free, non-credit introductory course about entrepreneurship offered by MaRS. Over 29 weeks, Entrepreneurship 101 takes you through all the steps of building a successful business.

In this lecture, get a sense of the scope of the course and how it applies to your start-up. Future lecture topics include financing, business modelling, defining markets, hiring teams, protecting intellectual property and raising capital.

Part of CIBC Presents Entrepreneurship 101

Register on MaRS webpage

Get government funding for your technology-related business – SR&ED seminar

SRED Unlimited and RBC Steeles && Dufferin branch are hosting a SR&ED seminar on October 13, 2010. The event starts at 6pm. Admission is free.

Come learn about SR&ED (Scientific Research & Experimental Development), an incentive program by the Canadian government that refunds companies involved in Research and Development (R&D).

If your company is dealing with technology, or at least has production environment, there is a good probability that you are entitled to some refund of your R&D expenses. Come to our seminar to find out.

Keywords: Government funding, technology, startups, small and medium business, tax refund, software, hardware, telecom, printing, mechanical engineering, food technology, biotech, free, event

Intended For: Companies that spend money on creating or modifying products or processes through experimenting. Any company that deals with technology (software and hardware development, machinery, printing etc., even food technology and biotech) may qualify for SRED.

Register on LinkedIn or Facebook.

My article for Blog Idol contest: Resources for technology-related startups in Toronto, Ontario, Canada

This article contains some useful information that I inevitably accumulated over the past few years, as a SR&ED consultant and as someone who has recently started a business. It might save you some time that took me to figure out all this. Good luck with your startup!

Various camps, startup drinks, green drinks

Startup entrepreneurs and people who has been there and done that regularly meet to have a drink, exchange battle stories, get a sound advice and find a potential business partner or even an angel investor. Startup Drinks is a simple concept: a grassroots effort to make sure startup folks get in touch and stay in touch.

The same refers to Green Drinks which is a casual, monthly forum for environmentally-oriented individuals to have a few drinks, mingle and toss around ideas.

By the way, the next Green Drinks together with Startup Drinks will happen on May 26 at Grace O’Malleys – 14 Duncan Street, Toronto, from 5:45 to 9:00.

Various camps are also held in Toronto every month. See the description of some in this article. The admission to them is affordable or free. (Some impose a nominal fee to ensure that people who register do indeed show up, and your admission pays for your first drink.) Among other nice get-togethers, I should mention Product Camp and Girl Geeks Dinner.

Democamps

Democamps are such an important feature in the life of Toronto technology scene that it is worth a separate mention. An evening of beer, cocktails and tech demos for designers, developers & marketers, Democamp became quite an institution. It was conceived in Toronto, but now there are democamps in other cities and towns, too.

http://democamp.com/

Creative spaces for independent entrepreneurs

When you work from home, it is very difficult to concentrate! Independent business owners know that better than anyone. Besides, sitting between the four walls tends to get lonely. Because of that, several creative spaces opened in Toronto. Their founders, entrepreneurs themselves, formed a community of like-minded people and opened spaces downtown, offering reasonable monthly rates in a comfortable space. Born from the feeling of collaboration and connection found at events such as BarCamp and tech conferences, coworking is the social interaction of independent entrepreneurs, consultants, freelancers, developers, and writers out of their homes and cafes and into a creative space. A coworking facility is the shared office space for these individuals, where they can work independently in a social way. Rachel Young and Wayne Lee cofounded Camaraderie. Tonya Surman founded Centre for Social Innovation at 215 Spadina, and CSI recently acquired another building in the Annex to expand their space.

(Read more at BlogIdol website…)

My article for Blog Idol contest: Cloudcamp 2. Cloud Computing: Return on Investment

This is another session from Cloudcamp that was held in Toronto on April 6, 2010. (Find the article about the first session, with links to the CloudCamp sound files and some presentations, here.) The session was facilitated by Dave Nielsen and discussed the ROI of cloud computing. The following questions were raised:

What is cloud computing anyway?

How do we measure the ROI of migration to the cloud?

What’s the cost of intangible benefits?

When does it make sense for a startup to use the cloud?

Not all of them got answered but some certainly did, and the answers given were very interesting.

(Note: I did not catch the names of all the people who answered questions, so if one of them is you, please let me know so I can acknowledge it properly! – Tania)

Dave Nielsen: I’ve been saying, “Here’s what I think cloud computing is,” over and over and over again and it’s changed a little bit every time, but actually hasn’t changed much at all in the last like 10 times I’ve done it. But it still could. I’m hoping to get to the 80/20 rule where I come up with 20 percent of what is the main thing of cloud computing and 80 percent of the people agree. But basically, here it is: so you know, you guys know the triangle, the pyramid, cloud computing, Infrastructure as a Service, Platform as a Service, Software as a Service, right? Right here. This is a very, very simple, like over-simplified definition of cloud computing, types of cloud computing.

So Infrastructure as a Service is really providing a service to IT folks. And Platform as a Service is really providing a service to developers where they can put their code. And then Software as a Service is providing a service to business users who don’t want to have to set up anything, don’t want to have to install software on their desktop, right? That was basically the three types of cloud computing but if you don’t know who you’re talking to and they ask you what cloud computing is and you don’t know what type of person they are, or you simply ask yourself, what do all these things have in common, it turns out they really have, in my opinion, three +1 things in common. And the first one is super obvious. What do you think that is?

(Read more at BlogIdol website…)