Pitch Perfect Workshop: February 23rd

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Dragon’s Den auditions are returning to Oshawa on March 2nd. Get your pitch ready with our useful workshop presented by Spark Centre sales advisor and pitching expert, Robert J. Weese.

Spark Centre has helped many startup companies and entrepreneurs create and deliver successful investment pitches. Clients have appeared on Dragons’ Den, Digital Den and other major pitch competitions.

What You Will Learn:
- The 8 key components of an investment pitch
- The importance of content and delivery
- What questions will the investors ask
- How to deal with presentation anxiety
- How to make it a pitch investors’ will remember

Tuesday February 23rd
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm
Spark Centre (1st Floor) – 21 Simcoe St S, Oshawa

REGISTER HERE

Client Update: Q&A with Henlen Watches

Kyle George and Gregory Barnes, two 2nd year engineering students, are the creators behind Henlen Watches. These two young entrepreneurs have created an interchangeable smartwatch for all occasions.

We sat down with Kyle and Greg to discuss Henlen Watches, their experience as young entrepreneurs, and what’s next for their company.

Tell me about Henlen Watches
We have created an interchangeable smart watch that allows for a smart component to be swapped and compatible with various bands and designs that we manufacture. It’s all about the user customization and letting them decide what they want to wear instead of telling them what to wear. Our product lets the user change watches depending on what activity they’re doing, whether it’s going to the gym, going to a business meeting, or wearing something casually around every day.

Something we really focus on is the traditional watch aspect. With traditional watches, they aren’t meant to be worn every single day for every activity. You have different ones for different occasions, whereas the current smart watches are just a piece of technology that you’re slapping on your wrist. We’re trying to bring it back to what watches were originally purposed for, with the same functionality that a smart watch has. Right now Henlen Watches is preparing to create a sports band, a casual band and a more elegant band for special occasions.

Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?
Kyle – When the original Moto 360 came out, I bought one and loved the functionality of it but was not a fan with how it looked. It didn’t match with anything. When I had to go to a formal event, I had to wear one of my fancier watches without the functionality of a smart watch. Once we realized that smart watches wouldn’t appeal to everyone just based on how they looked, Greg and I started brainstorming different ideas of how we could make it better and it eventually grew into Henlen Watches.

Greg – We weren’t actually sure about becoming entrepreneurs. We were in an engineering program and we had an idea, not necessarily thinking “let’s make this a business” but more of “let’s make this idea happen.” We heard about FastStart at University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and Durham College in Oshawa, and went to one of their bootcamps run by Spark Centre. The bootcamp was all about how to start a business and how to actually turn your idea into something. That’s when we realized it was more than just an idea.

How has Spark Centre helped Henlen Watches?
Dennis Croft, President & CEO of Spark Centre was the first person we spoke to at the FastStart Entrepreneurship Bootcamp in February 2015. After meeting Dennis and going through the bootcamp, we signed up to become Spark Centre clients. We were then pointed towards the new UOIT Brilliant Incubator which allowed us to have free space at Spark Centre’s head office ‘The Loft’ and be able to work with Dennis as our lead advisor and mentor. Dennis has really helped us with everything from putting together a business plan to getting our company incorporated. We had a lot of learning to do when it came to starting a business.

What are some milestones you have reached?
Figuring out what to call our company was a pretty big milestone. Another big milestone was joining the UOIT Brilliant Incubator. Being accepted into that incubator came with a $5,000 grant from the Firefly Entrepreneurship Fund which really fueled us into the journey we’re on now. Also, through the incubator we participated in various pitch competitions which gave us exposure and public interest in our company. We ended up winning the final pitch competition and were awarded $2,500 as well as $1,000 for being the top leaderboard company (based on incubator attendance, participation and other milestones). We’re currently on a very positive path with our product development, we’re getting our manufacturing in order, and we’ve figured out our brand.

What advice do you have for other young entrepreneurs?
Even if you think your idea is a bad idea, just do it. The amount of things you learn from the start-up scene opens your eyes to so many opportunities. Maybe you’re first idea will crash, but learning from that will help you in your next venture until you find something that works for you. If we hadn’t gone to that FastStart Bootcamp, we probably would not have started a business. If you have an idea, get advice from the right people. Don’t just keep it to yourself, because you never know where it will take you.

What’s next for Henlen Watches? 
We are currently looking for investment to help fuel the marketing for our upcoming Kickstarter campaign. Our goal is to launch on Kickstarter in early Summer. We are also hoping to get accepted into the next cohort of Spark Centre’s Thrive Accelerator program.

If you’re interested in learning more about Henlen Watches, please get in touch through their website henlenwatches.com

IFTech and Sound Options Announced as the $25,000 Winners of Ignite

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Spark Innovation Centre is pleased to announce IFTech as the Young Entrepreneur winner and Sound Options as the General Entrepreneur winner of the 2015 Ignite competition. Both companies have taken the top prize of $25,000 each.

Inventing Future Technology Inc. (“IFTech”) co-founded by son and father duo Brodie Stanfield and Michael Stanfield are innovators in wearable technology, leading the next generation of immersive gaming. Their first product is ARAIG (As Real As It Gets), a high-tech, multi-sensory gaming suit. The ARAIG gaming suit provides a new unique immersive experience through multi-sensory feedback. Whether it is for gaming, training, virtual reality, augmented awareness or another market entirely, ARAIG can deliver the most cutting edge technology to its users.

Sound Options, founded by Dr. Michael Chrostowski, designs accessible and affordable treatments for chronic ringing in the ears known as tinnitus. The company works with hearing clinics to provide patients with a software-generated customized sound therapy embedded in music. Using current knowledge of the brain changes that trigger tinnitus, the treatments are tailored to each individual using cutting-edge software that takes into account a person’s tinnitus and hearing loss.

Along with the $25,000 prize, these two companies will be given free office space in Spark Centre’s head office The Loft, located in Oshawa, and will also join Spark Centre’s Thrive Accelerator Program which offers significant advisory and business support services to achieve a faster market entry.

“I am continuously impressed with the amount of entrepreneurial talent in Durham Region. The level of competition this year was at its highest and I congratulate all 72 companies who participated throughout the process,” said Dennis Croft, President & CEO of Spark Centre. “Congratulations to IFTech and Sound Options, two incredibly dedicated and hard-working companies. Spark Centre is looking forward to being a part of their journey and continued success.”

About Ignite: Currently in its third year, Ignite is an exciting entrepreneurial journey organized by Spark Innovation Centre. The competition is an extensive journey which includes a 60 second pitch competition, a three minute pitch competition, and a 30 minute boardroom presentation in front of the Ignite Power Panel before two $25,000 winners are chosen. For more information visit ignitedurham.ca.

Ignite Student Entrepreneur Winner – Durham Electro Optics

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By Ahmad Touseef, Owner and Director of Durham Electro Optics & Durham Electro

Durham Electro Optics’ product line enables regular LED light bulbs to transmit wireless data to devices. This means LED (both visible and invisible infrared spectrums) lighting can be used to implement WiFi and many other types of wireless networking standards. This technology enables Wireless Data speeds that are 99.9% the speed of ethernet. The speed gains occur due to no need for encryption (light is local to each room), mutual repeaters (each light source also repeats the signal), data transfer at carrier wave of visible and near-visible frequency – Terrahertz range, which is 1000x Gigahertz. Durham Electro Optics is the brain child of 3rd year undergraduate Electrical Engineering student – (Ami) Ahmad Touseef – who is now studying in the University of Ontario Institute of Technology. Ahmad Touseef’s start-up is a research and development focused in embedded hardware systems and embedded systems software.

DurhamElectroWinPrior to the Ignite competition, Ahmad Touseef operated his embedded hardware engineering and software engineering projects in his garage. Winning the Durham Ignite competition in the Student Entrepreneur category means Ahmad Touseef and his team can take their garage level science activities to a full-fledge R&D company scale operation. Ahmad Touseef is using the $5,000 grant funding to file patent, register trademark, DBA (doing business as) tradename, incorporation of start-up costs, orders of first round of bill of materials of parts for next stage of prototyping. The guidance from Spark Centre in preparation for the Ignite competition was essential and paramount. Without the staff at Spark Centre, Ahmad Touseef’s idea would have not seen the light of commercialization, and perhaps would remain confined within his science garage with white papers published about it for use by future students in pure research and bench science use cases. Ahmad Touseef is deeply indebted to the Spark Centre for their continued support and is soon going to re-locate to Spark Centre’s flagship office space for start-ups located at 21 Simcoe St. South, called the “The Loft at Core 21″. You can read more about Ahmad Touseef and his start-up on his webpage at http://ahmadtouseef.ca/durhamelectro

To contact Ahmad Touseef and the team, connect with them via email

1. ahmad.a.touseef@ieee.org
2. dhimiter.qendri@uoit.net

Spark Centre Announces Cohort 2: Fall Student and Youth Incubator

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Spark Centre is pleased to announce Cohort 2: Fall Student and Youth Incubator! Congratulations to the following start-up companies who have been chosen to join the 10-week program.

1. Henlen Watches
Henlen Watches have created interchangeable smart watches that allow the user to pop the “smart” component out and insert it into different types of watchbands. Their vision is to offer several types of fashionable watchbands for all situations.

2. Ideal Compass
Ideal Compass is a web application company that increases the time efficiency, business management, and sale closures for travel agents. Their goal is to help agents that struggled in the previous years due to websites wholesalers service their customers better and help make them more money.

3. Belle in a Box
Belle in a Box helps companies to promote their product or service to their fan base using a subscription outlet. By working together, they use creative methods to enhance the user experience; adding on to a customers already present and predominant product experience.

4. Spectro
Spectro is a paint mixing device designed to help artists create masterpieces easily and effectively. By using online cloud software, artists can select colour values in the form of a hex code, ratio or picture and send it to the Spectro. The Spectro then prints out this colour with accuracy.

5. GoOrganic
GoOrganic is a web and mobile platform that will bring buyers and sellers of organic products together – providing greater visibility to sellers, and greater opportunity to consumers of organic products. The platform will bridge the current gap that exists between local and global producers and consumers of organics.

6. Charleton’s Flavoured Coco
Charleton’s Flavoured Coco provides unique, hand-created, hot chocolate flavours. Sold online at first, flavours such as Caramel, Birthday Cake, Strawberry, and Cookies & Creme and many more will be available. The products will first be sold in take home sizes online, with ready-to-drink options bring provided from a store front later.

The goal of Spark Centre’s Student and Youth Incubator program is to help entrepreneurs validate their business ideas and take those ideas to market quickly. It also aims to provide practical exposure to entrepreneurship as a career path.

The incubator provides the entrepreneurs with free office space at The Loft, a state-of-the-art environment in Durham Region. They will also have access to one on one mentoring, job shadowing, peer group best practices, partner programs, coaching, and support for youth grants and loans.

For more information, CLICK HERE.

Ignite Student Entrepreneur Winner and Final Five

Spark Innovation Centre is very pleased to announce the Student Entrepreneur winner as well as the Final Five Finalists, after an incredible evening at the Ignite Central Pitch Competition.

The Top 25 competitors gave their best three minute pitch in front of the Ignite Power Panel. The Student Entrepreneur winner was chosen and awarded $5,000! After much deliberation, the panel also chose the Final Five (two Young Entrepreneur Finalists and three General Entrepreneur Finalists) to move onto the Boardroom Competition on November 17th and continue their quest for $25,000.

Spark Centre would like to congratulate the winner and finalists!

Student Entrepreneur Winner
- Durham Electro Optics

Young Entrepreneur Finalists
- IFTech
– Ball In The 6

General Entrepreneur Finalists
- BackFlip
– IntriEnergy
– Sound Options

For tickets to the Boardroom Competition on November 17th, please CLICK HERE.

Introducing the Ignite 2015 Top 26!

The first round of Ignite pitches are complete and we have our Top 26!

Currently in its third year, Ignite saw 73 incredible innovation, technology or invention based businesses apply. Those eligible had the chance to give their best one minute pitch to a panel of judges made up of successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. The judges then had the difficult task of choosing the Top 26 to move onto the next round.

Ignite held three separate competitions for the three categories; Student Entrepreneur, Young Entrepreneur and General Entrepreneur. During the competitions, each participant had only 60 seconds to convince the judges that their startup was viable and investment worthy. Being able to pitch in one minute is not easy, but it shows the need to communicate clearly, quickly, and to engage your audience when speaking about your start-up business.

Spark Centre would like to congratulate the 26 companies selected to move on to the Central Pitch Competition October 14th at the Abilities Centre in Whitby.

Student Entrepreneur CategoryTop26
EDIT
Durham Electro Optics
Go Charge
Think Tank Oshawa
Warlords 1944

Young Entrepreneur Category
Abilidoc
Ball In The 6
BusinessMatch
Henlen Watches
Icarus Technologies
IFTech
Locus
Turnkey Aquaponics
Yulitz
Zambah

General Entrepreneur Category
Backflip
Belle in a Box
Coqui 3D
Hexyoo Scientific
IntriEnergy
Jason Campbell
Shopfunds
SOKO Insight
Sound Options
tagamaze
Unafraiddesigns

If you’d like to join us for the Central Pitch Competition on October 14th at Abilities Centre, please REGISTER HERE. Tickets are limited, so reserve your place quickly! The Student Entrepreneur winner will be announced and awarded $5,000! Two Young Entrepreneur and three General Entrepreneur finalists will also be announced to move on to the Boardroom Competition for their chance to win $25,000.

Client Update: IFTech Announce the Release of SDK Closed Beta for ARAIG

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IFTech Announce the Release of Software Development Kit Closed Beta Version for ARAIG
Companies can now integrate the ARAIG gaming suit technology into their software

Oshawa ON (August 19, 2015) – IFTech Inventing Future Technology Inc. are pleased to announce the Software Development Kit (SDK) for ARAIG, a high-tech, multi-sensory gaming suit is now in closed beta.

The ARAIG gaming suit provides a unique immersive experience through multi-sensory feedback. Whether it is for gaming, training, virtual reality, augmented awareness or another market entirely, ARAIG can deliver the most cutting edge technology to its users.

The ARAIG SDK is used to integrate the ARAIG gaming suit into software and applications to properly activate the suit’s various sensors. The software development kit is now available to a variety of companies across multiple marketspaces. A major milestone from the Alpha version to the Close Beta version of the ARAIG SDK is the Visualization Tool. Now it is easy to develop, debug and demonstrate the functionality of the ARAIG suit while simultaneously running your software and applications.

ARAIG Software Development Kit provides:

  • Ability to evaluate functionality before Purchasing a DevKit
  • Ability to learn how to integrate the ARAIG SDK into software and applications
  • A robust Visualization Tool to support the development and demonstration of ARAIG integration and functionality
  • Access to developer support
  • Ability to provide feedback to help IFTech better support the needs of developers

Access to and use of the ARAIG SDK is free but you need to sign a confidential developer license agreement to get your exclusive access.

For companies who are interested in the ARAIG Software Development Kit, or to be placed on the reservation list for the ARAIG Development Kit, please email sales@iftech-technologies.com. To receive the license agreement please provide the following information:

  • Company Name
  • Company Address
  • Contact Information (Name, Email, Phone Number)

As a future business partner with IFTech, you will be on the leading edge of your marketplace.

About IFTech: Created in 2008 by father and son Michael and Brodie Stanfield, IFTech Inventing Future Technology Inc. is a high tech innovation company creating solutions to improve and bring about change across as many industries as possible. Their first product, ARAIG As Real As It Gets is a fully immersive, multi-sensory gaming suit.

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Media Contact:

Amanda Reynolds
Public Relations & Media Manager 
905-432-3999 x 122
areynolds@sparkcentre.org