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


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


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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


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


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 & 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.


The Downtown Oshawa BIA is seeking volunteers!


The Downtown Oshawa BIA has two major events in August where they close roads downtown Oshawa. These are free events to the participants and public.


Saturday 12 August is Bikes on Bond – this is where they will line the streets with motorcycles. Motorcycle enthusiasts come from all over Ontario to join our free events. We have vendors and live entertainment with this year’s headliner being Paul James.


There are 3 shifts for volunteers

11:45 am – 3 pm

2:45 pm – 6 pm

5:45 pm – 9 pm


Kars on King is on Friday 25 August – this is where they line the streets with classic cars. People bring their classic cars from across North America to attend this event and the weekend event at Lakeview. We also provide live entertainment with the headliner this year being Pauly and the Goodfellows.


This is a great opportunity for students to get their community service hours. Working all day for both these events and attending the volunteer training session gets students 20 hours.


If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Angela at or via phone at 905-447-9714.

$1.26B Strategic Innovation Fund now accepting applications


$1.26B Strategic Innovation Fund now accepting applications

The Government of Canada has now launched its much anticipated $1.26B Strategic Innovation Fund, a new program to attract and support high-quality business investments across all industry sectors.

Quick Facts.

  • This new five-year fund was first announced in Budget 2017.
  • It consolidates and simplifies the Strategic Aerospace and Defence Initiative (SADI), the Technology Demonstration Program (TDP), the Automotive Innovation Fund (AIF) and the Automotive Supplier Innovation Program (ASIP).
  • The Strategic Innovation Fund is open to all industries and will support four types of innovation activities: (1) research, development and commercialization of new products and services; (2) growth and scale-up of high-potential firms; (3) attraction of new investments to Canada; and (4) public-private collaborations in developing and demonstrating new technologies.
  • The fund will provide both grants and repayable contributions to businesses of all sizes.

Funding Streams.

The fund will offer four distinct applicant streams:

  1. Stream 1: Encourage R&D that will accelerate technology transfer and commercialization of innovative products, processes and services.
  2. Stream 2: Facilitate the growth and expansion of firms in Canada.
  3. Stream 3: Attract and retain large scale investments to Canada.
  4. Stream 4: Advance industrial research, development and technology demonstration through collaboration between academia, nonprofits and the private sector.

Eligibility Requirements.

  • Under Streams 1-3, the Applicant must be a for-profit business.
  • Under Stream 4, applicants are consortia or networks that may include Canadian universities, colleges, research institutes, businesses and/or nonprofits.
  • Eligible projects must correspond to the approved Technology Readiness Levels associated with each Stream:
  • Stream 1: TRL 1 to 9 (Basic principles observed and reportedto Actual product and/or process proven successful)
  • Stream 2: TRL 8 to 9 (Actual product and/or process completed and qualified through test and demonstrationto Actual product and/or process proven successful)
  • Stream 3: TRL 2 and above (Technology concept and/or application formulatedto Actual product and/or process proven successful)
  • Stream 4: TRL 1 to 7 (Basic principles observed and reportedto Product and/or process prototype demonstration in an operational environment).


  • The amount awarded to each applicant will vary depending on eligible activities.
  • The government will not contribute more than 50% of eligible costs. The maximum level of funding will only be considered in exceptional circumstances.
  • Contributions under Stream 4 will be non-repayable and will not exceed 50% of eligible costs, except for recipients that are academic institutions or networks, where the contribution provided may cover 100% of eligible costs.

Details on how to apply can be found here.

Client Profile: Tax Audit Solutions (TAS)

Tax Audit Solutions (TAS)

By Dan White, President of TAS


TAS is an active member in the local business community. They are members of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce and are a client of the Spark Centre.

The business evolved from a firm that focused on international business companies, (IBCs) high end tax strategies and regular tax accounting, to a firm that focuses on helping taxpayers who found themselves in trouble with the Tax Man. The understanding of IBCs and tax strategies was instrumental in the morphing into a different business model, where an understanding of complicated tax scenarios is extremely useful.

The transition to becoming a Tax Representative occurred over time because there is no formal training for Tax Representatives. This is a specialized field that one learns in the trenches. Representatives must learn and understand the inner workings of the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) and tax policy. Reps must know income and excise tax law and how to stand firm on facts and law during a tax audit.

All audits are investigative by nature and a Rep must understand they are dealing with a civil law investigator. There is a profound difference between a civil investigation and a criminal investigation and a representative must understand the distinction. Although auditors have broad powers, there are strict rules governing what they can and can not do. The Rep’s job is to ensure that audits do not cross the Rubicon. (A tax term for crossing the line.)

Hosting an audit is not about explaining what was done and answering a never ending stream of questions, rather it is about presenting the facts and tax law in a manner where numbers are not disputed, and the issues can be resolved.

Being Audit Ready requires accounting to be done in a manner similar to forensic accounting. CRA has made it standard policy to consider a net worth assessment in all audits. Therefore the rep must take note of money transfers and any gains in taxpayer wealth that is not accounted for, because that is what CRA will watch for.

The knowledge and skill TAS has gained has allowed them to extend their services in support of other accountants, lawyers and trustees.

In order to run their business efficiently and to keep client’s costs to a minimum, TAS developed their own Practice Management software. The code name is “Ogeemo.” The software has been cloud based for over a decade and features its own virtual operating system. Ogeemo offers an integrated business package including accounting, email, document management, task management, project management and knowledge base.

The Ogeemo software has its own intelligent data base that is capable of running highly complex business processes. It will also be able to automatically create on line forms, which will be a huge cost saving to any company that requires large amounts of on line data entry.

TAS is working with the Spark Centre to take phase 3 of Ogeemo to the market at large. Currently it is in ‘In House” beta version and will be rolled out to users sometime this year.

TAS is a good example of how today’s business can ride the technology curve to increase their business efficiency.


Client Profile: Qloud+

Hi, it’s nice to meet you!

We’re Qloud+. No, not Q-Loud, we prefer QloudPlus

(or, Cloud Plus), if you please. 


About Qloud+
Do you spend lots of time looking for your files?  Us too.  That’s why we created Qloud+.

Connect to as many cloud storage accounts as you want. Choose from the most popular services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive.

#FindYourFilesFaster and spend less time looking and more time finding with easy search tools. Access your recent files, uploads, shares, favorites, all at a glance.

Get More Done  Qloud+ Activities provide you with superhero powers, so you can get more done and get on with it faster, whatever it is (and it’s not looking for files!).


What Can You do with Qloud+? Glad you asked!



You can use the powerful Qloud+ Search to #FindYourFilesFaster from all of your connected cloud storage accounts. Spend less time looking and more time finding!



You can now effortlessly create groups of files and folders from any connected storage account, even if it was only shared with you.

Awesome, right?  We call this Qloud+ Collections.



You can now do all kinds of stuff with your files and folders using Qloud+

From day-to-day upload and download, to creating folders, organizing your stuff, and even sharing, you can do it for all of your connected accounts all in Qloud+.



We built some really cool ways to help you #FindYourFilesFaster in Qloud+ and we put a bunch of them together for you in the QlickList.

The QlickList is where you can go to quickly find items from across all of your connected accounts like:

Shares: literally everything you have shared, or that has been shared with you, from all of your connected accounts, in one list (BOOM)

Recent: all the recently modified files attached to your Qloud+ account, even if someone else modified them, and has it shared with you, you’ll find it in your list at a glance

Deleted: a combined recycling bin for all of your connected accounts, anything you have ‘deleted’ but not permanently removed can be found here

Favorites: You can now tag your favorite files and folders and find them in a flash on your Qloud+ Favorites list

Collections: Get to your Qloud+ Collections and carry on with that awesomeness from here as well!

Remember, Q is the new C 🙂 so you can now your files are just a Qlick away!



When Qloud+ analyzes your connected accounts, we provide you with some cool Insights about what you have. We give you quick and easy ways to #FindYourFilesFaster based on activity, size, type, and even show you how much space you have left. So cool!

Figure 1 – Qloud+ Insights


Come join Qloud+ today and #FindYourFilesFaster



Simon Foster of Chatter Research joins Spark Centre to kick off Startup Grind Durham Region!

Spark Centre Announces Launch of Startup Grind Durham Region

A Collaboration to support entrepreneurs, innovation and technology

OSHAWA, ON (June 19, 2017) – Spark Centre is pleased to announce the launch of Startup Grind in Durham Region. Startup Grind and Spark Centre will join together to help strengthen entrepreneurial efforts and activities in Durham Region through monthly events that will teach, inspire, and connect local entrepreneurs.

The inaugural Startup Grind Durham Region event will feature guest speaker, Simon Foster, CEO of Chatter Research on Thursday July 6th at The Robert McLaughlin Gallery in Oshawa, this month’s Event Partner (

Simon Foster, is a digital business builder with 15 years management experience at leading digital media companies and has a strong entrepreneurial spirit that supports achieving aggressive business targets. With a deep knowledge base that includes content and product development, he is now the founder and CEO of Chatter Research, a real-time customer feedback company backed by US and Canadian venture capital.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled to have Simon kick off our Startup Grind Durham Region chapter”, said Spark Centre CEO, Sherry Colbourne. “Simon is the personification of the innovative spirit that lives in Durham Region and guests of our inaugural event will be inspired by his journey.”

For more information or to purchase tickets visit:

About Startup Grind: Startup Grind ( is a global entrepreneurial community made up of 400,000 entrepreneurs in 200 cities and 85 countries around the world. Founded by Derek Anderson in Silicon Valley, Startup Grind educates, inspires and connects entrepreneurs around the globe.

Startup Grind is powered by Google for Entrepreneurs and features successful local founders, innovators, educators and investors who share personal stories and lessons learned on the road to building great companies.

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




Download the official press release: here


For more information, please contact:

Andrew Kritiotis

Spark Centre