Student Entrepreneur Pitch Competition

Spark Centre‘s first cohort in the Youth Accelerator Program is well underway and you are invited to watch the students pitch their entrepreneurial experiences.

Click the dates below to register your attendance!

Thursday, July 9th
1:30pm – 3:30pm
The Loft at Spark Centre
21 Simcoe St. S, Oshawa

Thursday, July 30th
1:30pm – 3:30pm
The Loft at Spark Centre
21 Simcoe St. S, Oshawa

Background
The first student cohort of Spark Centre’s Youth Accelerator Program is done in partnership with Durham College’s Summer Accelerator and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s Brilliant Summer Incubator. Both programs are facilitated and led by Spark Centre who provides in-depth advisory services, start up support, free office space, and a breadth of specialty workshops and events.

The goal of the program is to help these entrepreneurs validate their business ideas and take those ideas to market quickly. The program also aims to provide practical exposure to entrepreneurship as a career path. Learn more…

Client Update: ARAIG & Durham College Research Project

The co-founders of Inventing Future Technology Inc. (IFTech) had a great opportunity to work with Durham College’s Office of Research Services and Innovation (ORSI). The video below highlights the applied research work that Durham College students accomplished with the IFTech team to help make their As Real As It Gets ARAIG gaming suit come to life.

The college worked with IFTech beginning in June 2014 when it received funding from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE). The student and faculty team worked to support IFTech’s growth and expansion into the wearable technology marketplace with a focus on bringing ARAIG to a manufacture-ready, commercial product.

Check out the video below to get an idea of the great work that has been done with this partnership.

Client Update: Q&A with Sustainable Engine Technology Inc.

Sustainable Engine Technology Inc. is one of the inspiring student companies we have working at The Loft. Tom Ross and Joshua Eidelberg, both 23, joined our Summer Incubator through the Univeristy of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Brilliant Entrepreneurship Program. Their business has been rapidly expanding and these two are a great example of the innovative talent we have in Durham Region looking to make an impact worldwide.

Have you ever been behind a truck or bus forced to breath in its thick black smoke? Tom and Joshua created ACE Systems, created to make that experience nothing but a bad memory by greatly reducing the diesel smell and particulate matter from the exhaust.

Spark Innovation Centre sat down with Tom Ross, Sustainable Engine Technology Inc. President at Co-Founder to talk about the impact his business will have on the environment and what’s next for his team.

What is the ACE System?

The ACE System stands for After Market Combustion Enhancement Systems. ACE Systems enhances the combustion process by adding fractional amounts of hydrogen and oxygen gas which will allow you to burn more fuel instead of spitting it out of the tailpipe. By burning more of the fuel you will have increased fuel economy and a cleaner engine, which prolongs engine life and reduces maintenance costs. This means an increase from 5-20% in fuel economy and reductions in maintenance, oil degradation, and most of all pollution.

We can prolong the life of existing transport trucks and also bring any previous truck up to current emission standards. Any one pre-1988 trucks are equal to 60 of today’s trucks worth of emissions. The ACE System can bring any truck no matter what year up to 2010 emission standards.

Tell me about your team?

I’ve been working with my father for five years now developing and marketing onboard hydrogen generators which has influenced me to go into Energy Systems Engineering at UOIT. I’ve also taken some business courses at UOIT which have been hugely beneficial now that I’ve started in entrepreneurship. Josh has graduated Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technician at Algonquin College. His hands-on experience has been beneficial in manufacturing and installation. Our success is in large part to the combination of his hands-on experience and my theoretical knowledge, which has made us a really good team. We are also rapidly expanding! We have hired on three individuals on contract basis, two are handling sales in Texas, and one doing sales in Vancouver. They are currently working with private and government enterprises to secure orders.

What’s next for your company?

This month we are going to China to install six units on government and private vehicles in both the airports and ports. This should lead to a larger order after the initial trial period.

Our focus now is to try and secure an investment in our company.  Our product is completely ready for commercialization so we are now at the stage where we need to secure investment or a large enough order to propel us to the next level of manufacturing.

What advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs?

The number one thing is just get started. If you have a good idea and something you are passionate about, don’t wait. Just get started. There is no better time than now. Young Entrepreneurs have a lot at their disposal right now.  There are so many programs and resources out there and government and academic funding. The UOIT Brilliant Program and Spark Centre have been so helpful for us. I would highly recommend anyone to join Spark Centre as it’s been hugely beneficial to just be in this environment.

How has Spark Centre helped your company?

The help that we’ve received from Spark Centre has been great. Kristie Arbour from Spark has been a huge help with our website and we wouldn’t have what we have now without her.  Meetings with Robert Weese and Dennis Croft have been beneficial for our company strategy, future plans and direction. Also, just being in the environment at The Loft and talking to other young entrepreneurs has been helpful to bounce ideas off each other and have an environment like this.

To learn more about Sustainable Engine Technology and their ACE System, visit www.getSETnow.ca.

Spark Innovation Centre Announces the Launch of Innovative Youth Incubator

Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre is pleased to announce the launch of a new youth incubator. The incubator launched on May 4, 2015, with the first cohort running from May to September 2015 and it celebrates 25 youth aged 18 – 29, contributing to 20 start-up companies.

The first cohort is done in partnership with Durham College’s Summer Accelerator and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s Brilliant Summer Incubator.  Both programs are facilitated and led by Spark Innovation Centre who offer the companies in-depth advisory services, start up support, free office space, and a breadth of specialty workshops and events.

The incubator provides a state-of-the-art environment with seminars, workshops, one on one mentoring, job shadowing, peer group best practices, partner programs, coaching, and support for youth grants and loans.  Young entrepreneurs also have opportunities for exposure to private angel networks.

The 20 student companies were selected to participate in the program after presenting a compelling business venture pitch, identifying the potential for large market sustainability. The goal of the program is to help these entrepreneurs validate their business ideas and take those ideas to market quickly. The program also aims to provide practical exposure to entrepreneurship as a career path.

“The demand for new business incubation in the Durham Region is growing rapidly. At the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) our student entrepreneurs are excited about the opportunity to develop their business and innovation skills and knowledge in partnership with Spark Centre and UOIT’s Brilliant Incubator program,” said Michael Owen, Vice-President, Research, Innovation & International at UOIT.  “Our student entrepreneurs have amazing business ideas and technological insights, and represent the future for the Region of Durham.”

“We were thrilled to launch the DC Summer Accelerator, the latest addition to our FastStart programming,” said Debbie McKee Demcyzk, Director, Office of Research Services and Innovation at Durham College. “Teaming up with Spark Centre to provide expert advising and mentorship services, we will provide participants with a unique opportunity to kick-start their businesses. We’re confident this will be a successful and in-demand program supporting young visionaries in the community.”

“Incubation is proven method to accelerate commercialization, and the demand for youth has never been higher,” says Dennis Croft, President & CEO of Spark Centre.  “We believe this will be a significant economic driver for our region and offers a truly unique environment for youth entrepreneurs. UOIT and Durham College are amazing partners, and their student talent is best in class.”

Spark Innovation Centre plans on holding three four month cohorts a year, and will open applications up again in late August for Cohort Two.