Eastern Innovation Corridor comes together for First Look – Investor Collision

For Immediate Release
March 21st, 2018

Oshawa, ON – Eastern Innovation Corridor comes together for First Look – Investor Collision

Spark Innovation Centre, in partnership with the Regional Municipality of Durham’s Economic Development and Tourism Dept. and Open People Network (OPN), are hosting their inaugural First Look Investor Collision, focused specifically on the Eastern Ontario Innovation Corridor. This invite-only networking event will provide opportunity for high potential startups, accredited investors and stakeholders of the entrepreneurial community to come together to collaborate with the goal of fostering partnerships, growth and development.

The Eastern Innovation Corridor – spanning from Pickering to Corwall – is a rapidly growing technology and innovation ecosystem that is developing competitive, world class businesses. First Look aims to connect the innovative entrepreneurs located in this corridor with the expertise of accomplished investors from across Ontario.

The Eastern Ontario First Look is modeled after the highly successful First Look event hosted by the Regional Innovation Centre, The City of Mississauga, and Angel One Investor Network. Now in its fourth year, this consortium is producing real results for investors and startup companies, one of which closed $925,000 in seed financing, thanks to the relationships made during First Look.

“We want to improve the connectedness between high-potential startup companies and the robust Angel networks that exist in Ontario. We want to ensure that our regional startups get their share of the more than $66 million dollars of angel investment made in Ontario alone last year,” said Spark Centre CEO, Sherry Colbourne.


Clients in attendance include:

  • Neothane, who has developed a magnetic urethane patch, called Magnaseal, which is used to stop and prevent hazardous leaks
  • WeTraq, who has developed a more advanced and versatile tracking device, called Tab, and
  • MeetScribe, who has developed a smart productivity assistant that provides a layer of intelligence during meetings that allows users to collaborate seamlessly with each other using natural language.


Kathy Weiss, Director of Economic Development and Tourism, Regional Municipality of Durham is thrilled to be co-hosting such a high-profile event. “Meaningful partnerships are key to economic development prosperity. Both the Federal and Provincial governments emphasize collaboration amongst municipalities in order to build strong clusters, allowing the country and province to remain competitive on the global stage. We are pleased to be working closely with Spark Centre and Open People Network to set the stage for an Eastern Ontario Innovation Corridor,” said Kathy.


Participating partners include Venture Lab, Peterborough Innovation Cluster, Startup Durham, Northumberland Community Futures Development Corp., University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Durham College, Quintevation, Startup Bay of Quinte, PEC Innovation Centre, PELA Community Futures Development Corp., Launch Lab and Queen’s University.



About Spark Centre: Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre is one of seventeen 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.

For more information:                                                                     
Kristina Svana – Marketing Director, Spark Innovation Centre

Spark Centre visits DC for Dragons’ Den auditions!

Before stepping into the den, you must audition! Durham College hosted the the hit CBC television show Dragons’ Den on February 28, to hold auditions in the search for Canada’s best new businesses.


Invited by FastStart, Spark Centre attended the campus to raise awareness to startups about the great resources available in the Durham Region. With educating future prospects, people left the booth excited to have connected and look forward to working with Spark Centre!


Interested in becoming a Spark Centre client? E-mail us at info@sparkcentre.org and see how we can help!

Support WeTraq’s TapGPS Indiegogo Campaign!

WeTraq launches Indiegogo campaign for Tab, the World’s most advance and versatile tracker.

Never worry about losing anything that’s important to you again! Tab supports global tracking, seamlessly swapping between GPS, Wifi, Bluetooth and Cellular tracking to maximize signal precision and extend battery life. Reserve your Tab(s) today and save up to 56% on the estimate retail price!

By backing WeTraq today via Indiegogo you are saving 41% off the estimated retail price. With this perk you’ll get: – One Tab GPS Device – Access to Tab App (Free) – Six Free Months on the Tab Cellular Plan – One Charging Cord. Limited quantities available!


Learn more and support WeTraq’s Tab to ensure you never lose track of anything or anyone again! Click HERE for more information

Client Profile: Mentally Charged

Article by: Coach Corey Lucas of Mentally Charged


Beyond Talent:

Athletes Must Win the Mental Game Too


School is back in full swing, and feelings of excitement and promise are replaced by stress, anxiety, and pressure for many students.  Kids and their parents are bombarded with long to-do lists, deadlines, and full schedules.

Hockey players carry an enormous weight on their shoulders.  They receive conflicting messages on hydration, proper nutrition, and physical health, but they completely overlook the importance of their mental well-being.  It is something coaches and performers talk about, but focus little time towards.

We all know that depression and anxiety are on the rise, so we need to make the mental health of our athletes a top priority.  So, what’s the solution?




Mentally Charged is an online mental training program that builds the mental toughness of hockey players at all levels, from the grassroots to the pros.  Our mobile-friendly, easy-to-use FREE mental training membership provides players with timely content such as blogs, videos, and podcasts that align with the hockey season.  Mentally Charged aims to increase confidence and focus while providing the tools to cope with stress and anxiety.  Our lessons train the brain, just as exercise strengthens the body.


Mentally Charged offers three membership tiers (one of which is FREE) so that parents, coaches, and players can learn online, anytime, anywhere.  Combine this with a group of strong individual athletes and you have a winning team.  Better players mean better team results.


The Mentally Charged Way:


Each video, podcast and article tackles an issue players universally share at some point in their career.  Coach Corey shares anecdotes from his professional hockey career and applies sports psychology and neuroscience principles to equip you with strategies to overcome roadblocks.

Traditionally, sports psychology was reserved for professional athletes, as it was formal and costly, but with the memberships that MC offers, members can login and gain access to their tailor-made content each and every day.




Mentally Charged was born out of a desire by the company’s founder, Corey Lucas, to combine a love of hockey with a passion of sports psychology.  As a former professional hockey player, certified mental strength coach, teacher, and coach of over 10 years, Corey is acutely aware and concerned with the mental aspect of the game of hockey. After experiencing first-hand the stress, pressure, and anxiety that’s involved in the game, Corey decided that he could help others by sharing his knowledge and expertise.  Through the use of technology, Corey continues to develop and provide the techniques that hockey players need to overcome the pressure, stress and anxiety that are involved both on and off the ice.


Sign Up For FREE:


With more pressure than ever in hockey, MC’s goal is to ensure that hockey players have the resources needed to become confident and resilient individuals.


Give your mental game the attention it deserves. What are you waiting for?


Sign up for FREE:  www.MentallyCharged.com


Coach Corey








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




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


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.





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



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



Tao (Thomas) Qu

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