Blancride hits over 500 users

Spark Centre client and one of Ignite Durham’s Final Five, Blancride, has hit over 500 users of their innovative mobile app designed to evolve carpooling into the modern age. Using GPS and smartphone technology, BlancRide matches passengers and drivers based on similar routes. Passengers save time, drivers save money and everyone saves the environment. 

Blancride’s first beta was launched in November targeting students, staff and faculty at University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and Durham College. The company was founded by Dr. Hamid Akbari, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Business and Information Technology (FBIT) at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). UOIT  featured Blancride in a recent news story about how quickly the company has evolved.

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UOIT Researcher’s Innovative Carpooling App Creating a Smooth Ride for Commuters

Fuel and insurance costs, parking fees, vehicle upkeep, traffic congestion, weather conditions and sheer time spent on the road. No matter how you slice it, commuting by car in the GTA tests every driver’s patience. And it certainly takes a toll on the pocketbook.

One way motorists can get around the financial roadblock of commuting is to share costs by setting up a carpool. But even getting a carpool off the ground can be a trying task: how do you find people who are going where you are? How do you know where to meet someone? What if schedules change?

“We examined all of these questions and looked for a way to create an app-based tech solution to tackle the challenges that prevent carpooling,” said Dr. Hamid Akbari, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Business and Information Technology (FBIT) at the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT). “Our answer is Blancride: an innovative carpooling platform that matches passengers with drivers who share the same travel needs.”

Blancride works through smartphones as a customized message-board. It automatically balances the costs of each trip between each passenger and driver, simplifying the financial transaction and lowering the cost of each individual’s trip. Blancride takes a small fee for performing the service.

 (Click here to read the full story…)

 

Durham Region Post-Secondary Institutions Launch FastStart Program

The University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), in conjunction with Durham College, Fleming College and Trent University shared today that the four organizations are working with Spark Innovation Centre and the Greater Peterborough Innovation Cluster (GPIC) to launch the FastStart program (FastStart), a powerful new resource designed to help university and college students acquire entrepreneurial skills and convert innovative business ideas into successful companies.

FastStart is an entrepreneurial training partnership designed to increase the entrepreneurship skills and awareness of university and college students and help them develop solid business plans and take products to market. It is being funded through an $800,000 Government of Ontario grant being shared equally among all four post-secondary institutions under the province’s $5 million On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program, managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).

“Fostering the entrepreneurial spirit among students is a key component of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, through programs that help transfer their ideas and skills to the marketplace while creating rewarding careers,” said Reza Moridi, Ontario’s Minister of Research and Innovation, and Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities. “By partnering with colleges and universities to support entrepreneurship, we are ensuring our province’s business leaders of tomorrow are getting the support they need to succeed today.”

FastStart, designed to leverage existing synergies, educational approaches and the student needs of each university and college in their respective geographic market, reflects the commitment of the six partnering institutions to offer a program that enables students to apply what they learn to their future careers, whether they are in startups, established businesses, social innovation or public service.

FastStart features include:

  • Available to students at all four institutions, in all fields of study, including youth in the community with an entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Customized services to help participants refine their ideas, build teams and prepare solid business plans to deliver products to market.
  • Programs such as boot camps and student incubators.
  • Progressive, more focused programs to students with demonstrated interest and ability.
  • Opportunities for students to transition through FastStart to the Spark Centre, GPIC or local business access development centres where they can access additional services to help them quickly advance and launch their businesses.

The OCEA program is part of Ontario’s Youth Jobs Strategy, which is seeing the province invest $295 million over two years to help 30,000 more youth from across the province connect with the tools, experiences and entrepreneurial support they need to find employment or start their own businesses.

“Ontario Centres of Excellence is pleased to be able to deliver this project as a trusted partner of the Government of Ontario,” said Dr. Tom Corr, president and chief executive officer, OCE. “I look forward to putting our years of experience in connecting academia and industry, and our ongoing support of young entrepreneurs to good use in making this initiative a tremendous success.”

Funded by the Government of Ontario, the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) is Ontario’s innovation system. The ONE is made up of regional and sector focused organizations designed to help Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their companies, and create jobs. For more information visit http://www.onebubsiness.ca.

Please visit faststartfs.ca to find an online copy of this release. Further information will be posted as it becomes available.

National ProStaff and Tiko3D Announced as Winners of Ignite 2014

Spark Innovation Centre is pleased to announce the Ignite Durham Young Entrepreneur Winner National ProStaff and the General Entrepreneur Winner Tiko 3D, who have taken the top prize of $25,000 each. The announcement was made on Thursday November 27th, 2014 at the Durham Art of Transition Creative Awards in Whitby, Ontario.

National ProStaff (“NPS”), the Young Entrepreneur winner, is a social commerce platform which connects consumers with brand experts. Over the past 3 years, NPS has grown to become the premier fishing website and app for anglers all across Canada. Brands are able to manage, recruit, and highlight all of their brand ambassadors in one place while consumers gain a great resource to make smarter buying decisions. For more information on NPS, visit www.nationalprostaff.com.

“Winning the ignite competition is an amazing honour when you consider how great our competition was this year,” says Dan Miguel, CEO of National Prostaff. “This award now offers our company a great opportunity to grow and scale that much faster. Not only will we use the money to expand our business into the US market and other industries, but this prestigious title alone will certainly give us the credibility we need to attract future investment. We’re so excited to begin working with the great people at Spark Centre, as their knowledge and resources are sure to help National ProStaff succeed.”

Tiko 3D is a cutting-edge startup that aims to bring new, affordable 3D printers to everyone. They are a passionate team of innovators who develop new technologies that make 3D printers more accessible and more capable. Together, they hope to bring this amazing technology into the hands of students and entrepreneurs, empowering them to develop the products and technologies of tomorrow.

“Winning Ignite is a huge door opener. There are so many amazing things we wanted to do before releasing the product, and the $25,000 will allow us to keep pushing the limits of what’s possible while refining what we’ve already made.” says Matt Gajkowski, CEO of Tiko3D. “Even more valuable is the support from the Spark Centre and their team of startup experts. With their guidance and eagerness to help, we know we’re on a path to success!”

Now in its second year, Spark Innovation Centre’s Ignite Competition saw an incredible amount of engagement in the local entrepreneur community. Focusing this year only on innovative technology or invention based ventures, the centre accepted over 65 applications – nearly double the number in that category last year.

“I was so impressed with the level of competition at Ignite this year. I applaud all those who participated for their courage and dedication,” said Dennis Croft, Executive Director of Spark Centre. “Congratulations to National ProStaff and Tiko3D, two innovative companies who truly personify the entrepreneurial spirit in Durham Region. Spark Centre is looking forward to working closely with both of these hardworking companies and we can’t wait to see what the future holds for them.”

The Ignite competition was an extensive journey for the finalists which included a 60 second pitch, a three minute pitch, and a 30 minute boardroom presentation in front of the Ignite Power Panel before the two winners were chosen. This year saw the inclusion of a new Student Entrepreneur Category where Turnkey Aquaponics, a startup founded by two University of Ontario Institute of Technology students was announced as the winner and presented with the $5,000 prize earlier on in the journey.

Along with the $25,000 prize, these two companies will now take part in Spark Centre’s upcoming Thrive Program. Thrive will offer a hybrid of incubation and acceleration services including co-location in Spark Centre’s The Loft offices in Durham Region with other local startups, and significant advisory and business support services to achieve a faster market entry.

Spark Centre’s Manager of Business Acceleration Services, Braden Kemp is leading the Thrive Incubator Program. “Thrive is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs in Durham Region to access critical support and resources that are rarely found outside well-known startup ecosystems like Toronto, Waterloo, Silicon Valley, or New York,” says Kemp. “It will allow Spark and our partners to focus significant efforts on up to ten rapidly scale-able businesses, bringing incredible technologies to market right here in Durham Region.”

Thrive will be accepting applications to be included in the program. A full assessment will be completed and entry will be based on various criteria. Applications to enter the Thrive program will be open soon at www.sparkcentre.org.

Zambah is Changing the Way we Discover New Music

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by Kenneth Asafo, CEO & Co-founder of Zambah

The Independent music scene has been emerging and growing over the past few years, with countless musicians trying to find a suitable outlet to expose their music as well as engage their fans; but have only come across barriers or dead ends.

At Zambah, we have created a unique experience for both musicians and music lovers alike. A chance for musicians to upload, share and sell their songs directly to their fan base. A way for anyone and everyone to discover brand new music in the matter of seconds. We do this by organizing songs in a new and trendy manor by tagging each song with “hashtags” that users can easily use to discover brand new songs based on the mood they are in, genre of music, or even by the artist’s name.

We have recently released our beta; resulting in a great response from music lovers and musicians. Over 200+ users have signed up and are currently using the Zambah platform. We have gained a variety of new musicians who have also been featured on our blog thanks to their incredible content and high quality music.

At this stage of our company, we are solely focused on building a passionate community of artists and music lovers who want to help us push the indie music scene to new heights. We truly value community feedback as their help and advice will give us the right insight needed to make us a great community driven platform for discovering new music.

For any more information on who we are and what we do, please visit www.zambah.com. Or check out some of our great features at blog.zambah.com and discover some of the best songs that you’ve never heard!

Spark Centre Client Update: Durham College Receives $20,000 in OCE Funding to Continue Work with IFTech

The Durham College (DC) Office of Research Services and Innovation (ORSI) today announced that it has received $20,000 in additional funding from Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) to support its ongoing applied research work with IFTech Inventing Future Technology Inc. (IFTech), an Oshawa-based start-up company that specializes in wearable technology related to immersive gaming and virtual world simulation.

Received via OCE’s Voucher for Innovation and Productivity (VIP), which allows eligible companies to gain access to expertise and resources from colleges, universities and research hospitals to support commercialization, innovation, productivity, e-business and research and development, the funding will see DC faculty and student researchers continue their work on IFTech’s multi-sensory stimulation device – As Real As It Gets (ARAIG).

“ORSI, along with the college’s talented faculty and students, is pleased to be able to continue our exciting work with IFTech as we support the ongoing research and development of ARAIG,” said Debbie McKee Demczyk, director, ORSI. “We have made great applied research progress since June – including offering students from our School of Science & Engineering Technology the opportunity to gain hands-on research and work experience – and we look forward to working together to bring ARAIG to market in the coming months.”

The college has been working with IFTech since June when it received an initial $20,000 in funding via an OCE VIP toward the introduction of an applied research project designed to support IFTech’s growth and expansion into the wearable technology marketplace with a focus on bringing ARAIG to a manufacture-ready, commercial product.

“OCE is proud to support IFTech and the incredible work they are doing with Durham College,” said Dr. Tom Corr, president and chief executive officer, OCE. “I had a chance to see their impressive technology up close and personal at our Discovery conference this year and I think it has terrific potential in a variety of applications.”

A wireless gaming suit, ARAIG immerses individuals into the reality of a gaming world by interacting with users to increase their immersion based on situations and/or interactions occurring within a range of media environments. The media environment, activities and interaction taking place in a virtual world translate into tangible sensory stimulations that affect the user’s interaction with the environment, resulting in the user being more aware of the virtual world through his or her heightened sensitivity.

The new funding will allow the college to conduct applied research specific to the creation of the wireless communications protocol of ARAIG – a component critical to the commercialization of the device. Under the project, the college will develop a wireless communication system between ARAIG’s sensors. Once completed, IFTech will own a universal wireless communication protocol that will allow it to use ARAIG for any application in any market appropriate to its sensory technology.

It will also allow IFTech to benefit from skills and expertise provided by the college’s faculty and student researchers including access to technical input, know-how and applied scientific research and development knowledge.

“Innovation is not just about an idea as there are thousands of innovative ideas that do not make it to market,” said Michael Stanfield, founder and co-chief executive offer, IFTech. “Theory, research, applied science, finance, market and business are required pillars to support the success of new innovations and we are very excited to be working with Durham College on this project. The college has proven to be a great fit with IFTech with its high-tech facilities, knowledgeable and experienced project leads and students that are adept at handling our applied research needs. We look forward to a continued working relationship with Durham College as our company grows.”

In addition to its relationship with the college, IFTech has also been working with innovation experts from Spark Centre, an innovation centre in Durham Region, to advance its commercialization plans over the past two years. The organization has provided a wide array of free start-up services including executive coaching, interim executives, strategy, market validation, sales readiness, operation excellence, legal and corporate design and distribution and manufacturing and, along with DC, is helping IFTech reach its commercialization goal.

“IFTech is currently co-located with Spark Centre, which creates a day-to-day, interactive working model that accelerates the start-up curve and commercialization timeline,” said Dennis Croft, executive director, Spark Centre. “IFTech is now poised to make a huge impact on the market with a fully immersive game suit. The sheer thrill of being involved and wearing the prototype suit was incredible and I can’t wait for the near production!”

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About Durham College

At Durham College, the student experience comes first. In September 2014, the college welcomed more than 30,000 students to campus including more than 11,000 full-time post-secondary and apprenticeship students as well as part-time and continuing education students and online learners. The college offers a wide range of market-driven programs in a number of different disciplines including culinary, hospitality, tourism, horticulture, business, information technology, media, art, design, general arts, science, skilled trades, justice, emergency services, health and engineering technology, enabling students to develop the skills required to meet the demands of today’s job market.

A three-phase expansion of the college’s Whitby campus was completed in 2013 when the 36,000-square-foot Centre for Food opened on the northwest corner of campus. Accommodating approximately 900 additional students studying in culinary, hospitality, event management, food science, and agricultural and horticultural programs, the CFF features Bistro ’67, a new, 70-seat, full-service, green-certified teaching-inspired restaurant and Pantry, a retail store featuring fresh-baked items, meals-to-go, preserved foods and ready-to-cook meals created by students in the college’s culinary programs.

For more information, please visit www.durhamcollege.ca or call 905.721.2000.

About IFTech

IFTech is a high-tech innovator in wearable technology leading the next generation of immersive gaming and virtual world simulation. IFTech’s wearable technology is focused on providing real world simulation applications for the user. IFTech’s product ARAIG, ‘As Real As It Gets’ is a multi-sensory stimulation device, a suit worn by the user that totally immerses them into the reality of their gaming world. It stimulates the senses with localized directional feedback, provides physics to the body, and leaves the mobility of the user unfettered. ARAIG is a product that provides a new level of immersion for its users that is revolutionizing how games and virtual simulations are experienced. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter https://twitter.com/ARAIG. Join the community as we bring about the most immersive gaming product to ever hit the market space.Located in Oshawa, Ontario, IFTech can be reached at 289.298.2853.

About Spark Centre

As a member of the ONE Network and an official recognized Ontario Regional Innovation Centre (RIC), Spark Centre helps innovative companies Start, Grow and Succeed. The Centre, located just east of Toronto, focuses primarily on Durham Region and Northumberland County, with additional support to Peterborough and Halliburton areas, resulting in a population reach just over 850,000. www.sparkcentre.org

About Ontario Centres of Excellence Inc. (OCE)

OCE drives the commercialization of cutting-edge research across key market sectors to build the economy of tomorrow and secure Ontario’s global competitiveness. In doing this, OCE fosters the training and development of the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs and is a key partner with Ontario’s industry, universities, colleges, research hospitals, investors and government ministries. A champion of leading-edge technologies, best practices and research, OCE invests in sectors such as advanced health, information and communications technology, digital media, advanced materials and manufacturing, agri-food, aerospace, transportation, energy, and the environment including water and mining. OCE is a key partner in delivering Ontario’s Innovation Agenda as a member of the province’s Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). Funded by the Government of Ontario, the ONE is made up of regional and sector-focused organizations and helps Ontario-based entrepreneurs and industry rapidly grow their company and create jobs. For more information visit www.onebusiness.ca

Do It In Durham!

CELEBRATE GLOBAL ENTREPENERUSHIP WEEK RIGHT IN DURHAM REGION!

Do It In Durham is a series of events taking place in the Region of Durham from November 17-21. Business Advisory Centre of Durham (BACD), along with 22 partners, including Spark Centre, have come together to collaborate and create 30 business focused events for budding entrepreneurs and business interested in growing, networking and leveraging resources.

This is the second year for Do It In Durham – small business is growing here and the entrepreneurial movement is gaining ground with many different programs and services such as Starter Company, Summer Company, Ignite Durham and Start Up Drinks.

Global Entrepreneurship Week is the world’s largest celebration of business innovators and job creators who launch startups and run businesses that bring ideas to life, drive economic growth and expand human welfare.

During one week each November, GEW inspires people everywhere through local, national and global activities designed to help them explore their potential as self-starters and innovators as well as to connect with fellow businesses. These activities, from large-scale competitions and events to intimate networking gatherings, connect participants to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors—introducing them to new possibilities and exciting opportunities.

Millions who had never before considered launching their own ventures soak up advice and inspiration from entrepreneurial experts.

World leaders and local elected officials alike have embraced the campaign as they look to fuel the economic engine of high-growth startups in their own countries and communities. During 2013 alone, 126 heads of state and ministers from 69 countries supported Global Entrepreneurship Week by speaking at activities during the Week, filming statements of support or otherwise endorsing the national campaigns in their countries.

GEW is more than just an awareness campaign. It is a platform for connection and collaboration—engaging all players along the entrepreneurship spectrum in strengthening ecosystems around the world.

To learn more visit our website at www.doitindurham.biz

Ignite Student Entrepreneur Winner and Final Five

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Photo Credit: Jason Chow Photography

Spark Innovation Centre is pleased to announce the Ignite Student Entrepreneur Winner as well as the Young Entrepreneur and General Entrepreneur finalists.

The Student Entrepreneur award is a new category for Ignite this year which celebrated student entrepreneurs currently attending a post-secondary institute in Durham Region.

Congratulations to Turnkey Aquaponics who was selected by the Power Panel as our $5,000 Student Entrepreneur Winner.

Turnkey Aquaponics designs, manufactures and installs scalable aquaponics systems for rural and industrial applications. Aquaponics is a system that combines aquaculture and hydroponics into a controlled symbiotic self-filtering, closed system. Turnkey uses innovative designs that allow for reduced water and energy consumption and year round growing in any environment.

“We are very excited to be the Ignite 2014 Student Entrepreneur Winners. Moving forward we will use the money to further proto-type our designs.” says Michael Veneziano, Co-Founder of Turnkey. “We will continue to explore the market and make contacts working to develop our business. We are extremely grateful for all the support from Spark and the Durham community for helping us grow.”

“Congratulations to UOIT students Turnkey Aquaponics as well as all of the student entrepreneurs who competed in Ignite.” said Steve Rose, Associate Dean, University of Ontario Institute of Technology: Faculty of Business and IT. “On behalf of UOIT, we are very proud of the bright, young leaders emerging from our institution.”

“Ignite is a great opportunity for student entrepreneurs to network with their peers, business leaders and industry professionals,” says Debbie McKee Demczyk, Director, Office of Research Services and Innovation at Durham College. ”It provides a great opportunity for them to work toward taking their ideas to the next level. Durham College is looking forward to participating next year and seeing more great ideas from the bright minds of our community.”  

Congratulations also go out to the Ignite Final Five selected by the Power Panel to move onto the next phase.

Young Entrepreneur Finalists:

National Prostaff – National ProStaff (“NPS”), located in Ajax, is a social commerce platform for fishing enthusiasts which connects consumers with brand experts. Fishing brands are able to manage, recruit, and highlight all brand ambassadors in one place while consumers gain a great resource to make smarter buying decisions.

Zambah - Zambah is located in Oshawa and is a free music discovery platform dedicated to exposing and growing the reach of independent music across the world. Zambah has evolved into a functional app that is currently available for Android and PC.

General Entrepreneur Finalists:

Blanclink Inc. – The creators of BlancRide, a mobile app that evolves carpooling into the modern age. Using GPS and smartphone technology, BlancRide matches passengers and drivers based on similar routes. Passengers save time, drivers save money and everyone saves the environment. Blanclink is located in Oshawa.

Prometheus Healthcare* – is an Ajax-based consultancy and solutions company. Their goal is to help architect novel approaches to overcome the complex challenges facing healthcare systems today. They believe that the best solutions will make use of emerging technologies to enrich rather than replace the patient-doctor relationship.

Tiko 3D – Tiko 3D an Oshawa-based company has created an affordable and easy to use 3D printer. By continually reducing the cost and complexity of 3D printers, they hope to empower innovators and young entrepreneurs around the world.

The Final Five will participate in the Boardroom Competition on November 13th at the Whitby Council Chambers which will be the last step in their journey to $25,000. The Boardroom Competition will have all five finalists presenting their company for 20 minutes, followed by a 10 minute Q&A with the Power Panel.

After the Boardroom Competition, the Power Panel will head into deliberations where they will choose one Young Entrepreneur and one General Entrepreneur to win $25,000 each. The two winners will be announced at the Durham Region Art of Transition Creative Awards happening on November 27th at Heydenshore Pavilion in Whitby.

*Due to a technical result, GeoSight Inc., an original finalist has been eliminated from the Ignite competition. We are very pleased to have Prometheus Healthcare take the fifth spot as the next placed company chosen by the Ignite Power Panel. Spark Centre looks forward to working with GeoSight in the near future.

Spark Centre Client Update: New Music Discovery App “Zambah” Announces Public Beta

Spark Centre client, Zambah announced that public beta for their new application has begun. No longer, will the general public have to wait for an invitation because they can now instantly create a Zambah account directly from the main website.

The Zambah platform provides independent artists with the most important tools needed to gain valuable exposure to their musical content, as well as leverage their existing fan base for further expansion. Early beta users will have the opportunity to become contributors to a growing independent music community within the platform. Zambah’s objectives during public beta are to utilize early adopters for guidance during development, collect valuable feedback to improve the platform and target specific thought leaders that can help fuel its growth.

“Public beta is an important milestone for Zambah because we’ll finally be able to start the process of building a community of music lovers that value the creative offerings provided by independent artists.” says Kenneth Asafo, CEO of Zambah, “Our main goal is to be a reliable platform that focuses on the basic essentials needed to promote and expose the independent music scene to a wider audience.”

Zambah’s features are unique because of their minimalistic approach to music sharing and discovery. Their platform focuses on the fundamental needs of an independent musician, which are to seamlessly upload musical content that can be easily discovered by a new listener. Zambah chose to start a public beta stripped of the distractive bells and whistles that their competitors may have, because they believe there is much more value in focusing on and enhancing the user’s experience.

Within 3 easy steps, musicians who participate in Zambah’s beta will be to create an account, upload a song, and provide a song with 3 hashtags. After completing these steps, the listener community on Zambah can easily discover and share the song. The app’s “Discover” feature builds on the idea of making the process of finding new music as efficient as possible for the listener. This is accomplished by utilizing artist submitted hashtags based on genres, moods and feelings that are used to create a random playlist of 30 second song snippets. The listener is able to quickly swipe through songs until they find something they like and with a simple tap of a button, songs can be saved in the “Likes” section for access to the full length song.

About Zambah: Zambah is a free music discovery platform dedicated to exposing and growing the reach of independent music across the world. Starting as an idea by three students with a passion for music, Zambah has now evolved into a functional app that is now available for Android and PC. Founded in October 2013, Zambah is headquartered in Oshawa, Ontario. Visit http://zambah.com for more information.

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For further information:
Kenneth Asafo, CEO and Co-Founder, Zambah
905-409-5364
k.asafo@zambah.com

Spark Innovation Centre Partners with Durham Art of Transition Creative Awards

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Spark Innovation Centre is pleased to announce their partnership with The Regional Municipality of Durham, Planning and Economic Development and Tourism Division to present the Durham Art of Transition Creative Awards (DATCA) on November 27th at the Heydenshore Pavilion in Whitby.

“We are always pleased to partner with Spark Centre on our events in the Region,” says Kerri King, Tourism Manager for Region of Durham.  “It is the perfect fit as both DATCA and Spark Centre work to support a strong creative economy and promote Durham Region’s innovative culture.”

The partnership has brought forth a new category for 2014 – The Lifetime Innovator.  This new award is given to a respected leader in the world of technology and innovation in Durham Region.  This individual has shown success in business, has given significant contributions and has inspired innovation in their community.

“We are honoured to be able to partner to present The Lifetime Innovator Award this year,” says Dennis Croft, Executive Director of Spark Centre.  “Spark Centre works with several innovative business leaders and look to them as our champions and inspiration for innovation in Durham. What a great opportunity to share their stories with the rest of the community.”

The Durham Art of Transition Creative Awards on November 27th will also be where Spark Centre’s 2014 Ignite winners will be announced.  The Ignite competition has been an ongoing program which saw over 60 startup companies pitch their business idea in a series of competitions.  One Young Entrepreneur winner and one General Entrepreneur winner will be awarded $25,000 each to use towards their business.  For more information on the Ignite competition, visit www.ignitedurham.ca

Nominations are open until 4:00pm on October 31.  To submit a nomination, visit the Creative Awards section at www.artoftransition.ca.

For information on the DATCA awards program, eligibility criteria, nominations and the judging process, visit www.artoftransition.ca.

Spark Centre’s Ignite is Heating Up!

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Thank you to everyone who applied to be a part of Spark Centre’s Ignite Startup Competition. Applications are now closed and we have officially accepted 61 eligible applicants into the program!

Ignite begins this week with three Pitch Schools where entrepreneurs will learn how to perfect their pitch. After going through a workshop and receiving feedback from Spark Centre advisors, the entrepreneurs will move onto one of three pitch competitions where they will pitch their idea to an audience including a local power panel, who will choose who moves onto the next round.

Our local pitch competitions are open to the public, but seating is limited so get there early! The three pitch competitions will split up Ignite’s three different categories competing; Young EntrepreneurStudent Entrepreneur and General Entrepreneur. Details of the pitch competitions are listed below.

Whitby Pitch Competition – Young Entrepreneurs (18-29)
Monday September 29th 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Whitby Courthouse Theatre
416 Centre St S. Whitby

Oshawa Pitch Competition – Post-secondary Student Entrepreneurs (18+)
Tuesday September 30th 6:00pm – 8:30pm
University of Ontario Institute of Technology
61 Charles St. Oshawa

Ajax Pitch Competition – General Entrepreneurs (18+)
Wednesday October 1st 6:00pm – 8:30pm
Ajax Town Hall: Council Chambers
65 Harwood Ave S. Ajax

We are also pleased to announce our local power panels. Click on the links below to learn more information.
Whitby Power Panel
Oshawa Power Panel
Ajax Power Panel

For more information on Ignite, please visit www.ignitedurham.ca