Spark Centre awards $5,000 to local Student Start-up Ominous Games

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Oshawa, ON (November 13, 2017) – The top 25 entrepreneurs gave their best three-minute pitch in front of the Power Panel at the annual Ignite Durham pitch competition. The Student category winner was chosen and was awarded $5,000 to help grow their start-up.

 

The competition was held at Durham College’s Centre for Food and accompanied delicious food by Bistro ’67 – the campus’ teaching-inspired restaurant.

 

This year’s Student Category winner, Ominous Games was announced during the Round 2 installation of the competition.

 

Ominous Games is a small studio based in Whitby, Ontario and was founded by a student team from UOIT in 2015. Ominous Games is currently developing their first commercial title, Spirit, and the team of three is very excited to share this with the community.

 

The Ignite journey continued as we narrowed down the additional two categories: Scale-Up and Discovery to their finalists. Wish Me Inc., MeetScribe took the Discovery category while Healthy Pets, and FleetOps took the Scale-Up category. All teams will pitch it out on November 29th in the final Ignite Boardroom Competition to be held at the Whitby Council of Chambers.

 

Tickets for the Boardroom competition (November 29th) and the Ignite Showcase (December 5th) are available for purchase at www.ignitedurham.ca.

 

 

About Spark Centre: Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre is one of eighteen not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) that form part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). The centre works to improve competitiveness and visibility of Durham Region and Northumberland County as a world-class innovation cluster. For more information on Spark Centre, please visit www.sparkcentre.org.

 

 

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For more information:                                                                    

Andrew Kritiotis

Communications and Design Associate, Spark Innovation Centre

akritiotis@sparkcentre.org

Client Profile: Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments

Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments

by Michael Chrostowski – Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments, Spark Centre Client

Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments provides a novel tinnitus therapy that is effective and affordable. Tinnitus sufferers number in the tens of millions globally, with over 16 million North Americans seeking treatment for persistent tinnitus that disrupts their quality of life, work and even sleep. While there is growing demand for tinnitus treatments, many types of treatments currently on the market are neither affordable nor validated. We offer a clinically-tested sound therapy that is an effective and convenient tinnitus management option. Our customers obtain the treatment from one of over 250 hearing clinics across Canada and the US and can listen to it on their own music-playing device. Over 7 years of research went into understanding how to develop the software that can produce this sound therapy. Cutting edge neuroscience expertise coupled with advanced software engineering form the foundation of our products.

During the last year, Sound Options has entered the US market and has partnered with forward-thinking hearing clinic groups such as Hearing Health USA (over 100 clinics) to promote tinnitus treatments to patients who may not otherwise have any options.  Sound Options is also now available in many ListenUP! Canada and HearingLife Canada (Canada’s largest group of hearing centres).  This has provided even more access to tinnitus therapies in many parts of Canada.

In 2018, Sound Options will be developing new tinnitus management tools that will build on the success of our sound therapy and enable tinnitus sufferers to not only deal with the tinnitus sound but also the emotion-driven responses to the condition.  We will be developing these tools and products with the help of hearing healthcare professionals and counsellors and will look to provide them throughout our growing network of providers in North America. At the same time, Sound Options will look to expand its partnership network to hearing clinics in the Western United States.  Overall it is an exciting time with lots of growth for our company and a team with a passionate drive to help as many tinnitus sufferers as possible.

For more information please visit http://soundoptions.ca

 

 

Client Update: Make Your Mark Enterprises Ltd.

The team at Make Your Mark Enterprises Ltd. is excited to be a new client of the Spark Centre! We have had a warm welcome into our office space and have already begun a fantastic relationship with our business mentors and advisors. To help you get to know us better, we wanted to share some more information about who we are and some of the upcoming projects we are currently working on.

 

Make Your Mark Enterprises Ltd. was founded by Katie Zeppieri and is the parent company of three social enterprises: GIRL TALK Empowerment, The Pink Box, and MYM Event Management.

 

1) GIRL TALK Empowerment inspires, empowers and mobilizes girls to become world-changers, reaching thousands of girls across Canada and the U.S. We provide life-changing experiences, a multi-platform support network and leadership opportunities that give girls the tools they need to make their mark on the world. GIRL TALK Day is the signature event of GIRL TALK Empowerment and is the genesis of our entire movement that feeds all other initiatives throughout the year. It is a one-day pep rally that brings together over 1,000 girls ages 11-18 from across Southern Ontario for a day of musical performances, motivational speakers and inspiring media.

 

2) The Pink Box provides girls and women with beauty and lifestyle products that not only make them look good and feel good, but also DO good. Each product in The Pink Box meets at least one part of our P.I.N.K. acronym: Positive, Inspiring, Noteworthy, and Kind. $1 from each box sold is donated to charity.

 

3) MYM Event Management creates events and guest experiences that have a charitable component and that make a positive impact. Our services offered include: event-planning, public relations, and staffing.

 

Upcoming Projects:

 

  • #TDGivetoGrow Program: We are excited to share that we have been selected as one of 16 organizations from across Canada to participate in a 5-month partnership with TD Bank. Over the course of these next few months, we will be assigned a team of 7-8 Senior TD Managers from across North America who will be working with us to help develop a strategic growth plan for our social enterprise.
  • GIRL TALK Empowerment: We are currently recruiting schools from across Canada to join our free GIRL TALK School Chapter program that consists of 25+ Chapters from across Ontario as well as one Chapter in Uganda. Throughout the year we provide resources to help empower our School Chapters to host events, initiatives, and campaigns that improve the mental and physical health of all females in their sphere of influence. If you are interested in starting a Chapter at your elementary or high school, you can fill out our online form to get the process started.
  • The Pink Box: is relaunching this holiday season BIGGER. BETTER. PINKER. We are putting together the final touches on our Holiday edition which includes eight full-size beauty and lifestyle items that empower. Our Holiday Pink Box will ship on December 4, 2017 and pre-orders begin in November. You can sign-up for our newsletter to stay up to date on our launch and access our pre-order special offer.
  • MYM Event Management: We have been contracted as the Event Manager for the upcoming Ignite Gala taking place on Tuesday, December 5, 2017 at the UOIT Charles St. location. Join us for an exciting evening celebrating entrepreneurship and innovation in the Durham Region! John Ruffolo from OMERS will be the keynote speaker and we will also be announcing the Ignite 2017 pitch winners. You can learn more and purchase tickets on the Eventbrite page.

 

Client Profile: PPE Checkpoint

SAFETY is what we are all about.  Injuries are PREVENTABLE. 

PPE Checkpoint is a start-up focused on enhancing workplace safety by using technology to prevent Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) related injuries.

Workers often overlook the existing, old fashioned PPE signage posted, and enter worksites without their required PPE/safety equipment which has led to serious injuries in our industry.

PPE Checkpoint provides an interactive and independent self-check method for workers to confirm they have their required PPE prior to the entry of any worksite. Our machines can be positioned at the entrance of any worksite, and provide a highly visible, and hands-on method for verification.

 

Our mission is to enhance worksite SAFETY.

Let’s CONNECT.

www.ppesafetyapp.com

 

 

Client Profile: Textbx

TextBx – Connecting customers to your business by Taiwo Mcgregor

TextBx is a start-up tech company on a mission to create a more effective way for the world to share information and communicate. Our goal is to make communication and information sharing as quick and simple as possible.

At Texbx we understand that our generation does not like making phone calls, but instead prefer and rely heavily on instant messaging as a means for communication. If we don’t want to call our friends, then why would we want to call a business? Traditionally if wanting to communicate directly with a business, the most commonly accepted options are to email them and await a response, or alternatively give them a phone call, which means having to find the phone number, go through 4 – 5 prompts, speak with 2 – 3 people and be on hold for 10 minutes. For a generation that has a short attention span and wants information quickly, this is a very painful process. What if, instead, we could be given the option to text our business of choice and get an instant response? TextBx is creating an instant messaging platform that allows businesses to easily communicate and share information with their customers.

With our MVP we are targeting restaurant owners who want to give customers quick and easy access to promotional information like coupons or specials. TexBx provides a way of delivering this information as an automatic response to a text message from your customer, which is much quicker and easier than calling the restaurant or searching online. With automated text message responses businesses are able to increase customer engagement, leads and ultimately sales.

By making use of one of the most commonly used forms of communication, with the highest open rates (98%), TextBx enables you to get measurably improved response rates to all of your promotional media and advertising activities. When you include a TextBx in your marketing campaign you will optimize the ROI of your ad buy. We are the most effective marketing solution for customer engagement, so that you do not lose leads, but instead convert them into customers and generate revenue. To learn more or connect with us visit https://www.textbx.com

Spark Centre Announces Global Partnership with Beijing Future Science Park

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Spark Centre Announces Global Partnership with Beijing Future Science Park

 

Oshawa, ON (September 8, 2017) – In celebration of the fifth year anniversary of the Ignite Competition, Spark Innovation Centre is extending their reach to include much sought after global markets with a newly announced partnership with Beijing Future Science Park.

 

Spark Centre travelled to China with the Region of Durham Economic Development delegation in May 2017 and signed a reciprocal agreement with Beijing Future Science Park at that time. The $25,000 Ignite Scale-Up category award will now be exclusively funded by Beijing Future Science Park and will include a one-week trip to Beijing for exploratory discussions, in addition to $5,000 of IP legal support from Bereskin & Parr for the winner.

 

“Sponsorship by Beijing Future Science Park of the Scale-Up category of our Ignite Competition shows the immediate benefit of these international collaborations,” said Spark Centre President and CEO, Sherry Colbourne.  “Long term, we expect such collaborations to lead to exponential growth for Spark Centre clients and energize economic impact for Durham Region.”

 

“Beijing Future Science Park are very pleased to be the title sponsor for Spark Centre’s 2017 Ignite Competition in the Scale Up Category. This provides a direct opportunity for the Canadian business and technology community to know about Beijing Future Science Park, become connected with Changping District in Beijing, and, in return, further advance Canada and China exchanges and collaborations in science and technology,” said Zhang Yanyou, Mayor of Changping District People’s Government.“We invite Canadian startups to visit us in Beijing’s Changping District, through our soft-landing program at Beijing Future Science Park where startups can introduce their business in China and we can work together to build a bright future for the world.”

 

Ignite is a pitch competition organized by Spark Centre and supported by local municipalities, academia and private sector businesses across Durham Region. Ignite begins with a pitch school open to all technology, innovative or inventive applicants and progresses to an extraordinary finale celebrating winners who receive up to $25,000 across multiple categories.

 

Applications for all Ignite categories opened on August 21st and will close on September 29th.  Those interested in applying can do so at www.ignitedurham.ca.

 

About Beijing Future Science Park: Beijing Future Science Park (BFSP) launched in 2009 and is located in the Changping District of Beijing.  After eight years of construction, it is rapidly becoming a gathering place for innovation and entrepreneurship. Globally bi-directional incubation to science and technology projects, joint laboratories, introduction to the Chinese market for International businesses, and collaborations in funding and investment are just a few of its focus areas.

 

About Spark Centre: Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre is one of eighteen not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) that form part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). The centre works to improve competitiveness and visibility of Durham Region and Northumberland County as a world-class innovation cluster. For more information on Spark Centre, please visit www.sparkcentre.org.

 

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For more information:                                                            

Amanda Reynolds

Director of Marketing, Spark Innovation Centre

areynolds@sparkcentre.org

 

Tao (Thomas) Qu

SPOC – Beijing Changping District and Durham Region Friendship Relation & BFSP SPOC for Spark Innovation Centre

thomasqu.ca@gmail.com

 

Centre for Collaborative Education the way students learn, live on campus

Come September 2018, the face and physical footprint of Durham College (DC) will change dramatically.

The Centre for Collaborative Education (CFCE), a three-storey facility, will replace the campus’ aging Simcoe building.

A legacy project tied to the college’s 50th anniversary, the CFCE is a $40-million undertaking by the college to advance and grow learning space and facilities at the college’s Oshawa campus.

The Simcoe Building was initially built as a temporary structure in 1969. A number of the building’s classrooms lack updated technology and windows. “The deferred maintenance cost is close to 50 per cent of the replacement costs,” says Linda Flynn, associate vice-president for development and alumni affairs. The Simcoe building will be torn down but a portion of its wall will be preserved and incorporated into the design of CFCE to “protect its legacy,” Flynn adds. Where the Simcoe building stood will become an outdoor student and employee space with lawns, trees and benches.

Read more…

Client Profile: Zambah

Zamba

By Nigel D’souza

 

Zambah is the go-to influencer marketing platform that specifically caters to emerging musicians around the world. We seamlessly connect musicians to social media influencers to collaborate on original content that gets shared through various social media channels. This is beneficial on two fronts:

  1. Influencers gain valuable audio content to share with their audience which keeps them re-engaged and coming back for more.
  2. Musicians get the opportunity to have their music featured in front of thousands to millions of new eyes and ears.

 

Our goal is to give independent musicians the tools they need to compete with major label backed artists in a very competitive market. There are tons of musicians who are actively creating quality content but do not have the marketing budget or resources to be featured on radio, award shows or in major films/magazines – that’s where Zambah bridges the gap.

 

We recently launched a major series of campaigns with Mau5trap Records, a label founded by Toronto’s very own Deadmau5. These campaigns gave musicians the opportunity to submit their songs to Mau5trap Records for a chance to be featured on a series of curated playlists which would then be shared to millions of people through Facebook, Twitter & Instagram. The campaigns brought out thousands of artists and listeners to Zambah who then were able to submit songs, subscribe to campaigns and discover some of the best songs they’ve never heard. Our initiative was so successful that major electronic dance music (EDM) blogs like Dancing Astronaut, EDM Sauce & Edm.com covered our story within the first week of each campaign.

 

Over the next few months, we will be working on making the overall experience of Zambah as optimal as possible for both social media influencers and musicians around the world. We are also looking to release a long awaited mobile app which allows our users to experience Zambah on the go. In addition, we will be doing some more major collaboration with some big social media influencers and brands to create new and exciting opportunities for musicians to be discovered and break through in an ever growing industry.

 

In May, we had the opportunity to travel out to New Orleans for the Collision Conference with Sherry Colbourne (President & CEO of Spark Centre) – it was an incredible experience where we gained tons of valuable information, made some amazing connections and really had the chance to see what the potentials are within this digital music marketing industry. On that note, we wanted to thank Spark Centre for always supporting us and helping us through this journey. Without their suite of advisors and mentors, we would not have been able to formulate such a well rounded platform and really penetrate the music market as we have. As we continue to grow, we look forward to working here in Oshawa and developing our future endeavors alongside Spark as we expand our team, features and overall experience of the Zambah platform.

 

 

The Automotive Supplier Competitiveness Improvement Program

The Automotive Supplier Competitiveness Improvement Program (ASCIP) seeks to increase the sourcing capabilities of Ontario-based small and medium sized automotive suppliers, while encouraging innovation and productivity initiatives that increase success in the growing export markets.

Small and medium sized automotive suppliers, or large companies partnering with small or medium sized automotive suppliers, can apply for up to $100,000 in project funding. Funding must be matched 1:1 by industry cash and contribute to the adoption of industry leading IT. Projects can be up to two years in duration.

Read more…

Lakeridge Health: Working Together to Make Great Ideas Happen

Lakeridge Health is partnering with Spark Centre to take innovation at the hospital to a whole new level.

“Growing and fostering innovation is what we do best at Spark Centre,” says the Centre’s CEO, Sherry Colbourne.

With locations in Oshawa and Whitby, Spark Centre provides advisory services to early stage or growing innovation and technology companies. Services include executive coaching, co-location and day-to-day operational support to help entrepreneurs reach their full potential.

“Through our relationship with Spark Centre, we have been able to connect with start-up companies that are developing some amazing products and services that can help improve the patient experience at our hospital,” explains Len Kleine, Lakeridge Health’s Director of Business Development and Innovation.

For example, wayfinding for patients and families is a common complaint on patient satisfaction surveys at Lakeridge Health, says Len. Spark Centre has connected Lakeridge Health with Innerspace, a Toronto-based company that has developed state-of-the-art ceiling-mounted camera technology.  Together with Whitby-based software developer, Digital Ink Technologies, InnerSpace is helping Lakeridge Health develop a Wayfinding app that will have internal mapping capabilities that will allow patients and visitors to navigate the hospital with their mobile device.

“Spark Centre and its partners are helping us create innovation solutions to some problems we face every day,” adds Len.

Partnering with Lakeridge Health provides entrepreneurs at Spark Centre with an amazing opportunity to test their products and services in a real healthcare setting, adds the Founder of WeTraq, Ishaan Singla.

Ishaan has developed a device the size of a credit card that helps families track and monitor loved ones who are prone to wandering because of Alzheimer’s, Autism, Dementia and other conditions.

“Being able to test in a real-life health care setting boosts consumer confidence in your product or service especially when approaching investors for funding,” explains Ishaan.

With plans to grow Lakeridge Health’s Innovation Office in the future, Len hopes innovators at the hospital can also benefit from its partnership with Spark Centre by connecting with mentors and the support they need to grow their ideas.