Gov’t of Canada Invests in Innovation, Jobs and Growth in Southern Ontario


SOFII_ImagesBrantford, Ontario – The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of State for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) announced today a $20-million investment in innovation funds that will support small- and medium-sized businesses in southern Ontario. Minister Goodyear was accompanied by Phil McColeman, Member of Parliament for Brant.

“Innovation is critical to creating high-value jobs and securing a prosperous future for southern Ontario communities,” said Minister Goodyear. “The investment announced today will lead to new opportunities for small- and medium-sized businesses in the region, allowing them to grow, develop new products, services and technologies. This will diversify the economy, encourage greater innovation and create hundreds of jobs for southern Ontario.”

“Small and medium sized businesses in southern Ontario are ready to compete and lead in the twenty-first century global economy,” said McColeman. “With the launch of this new fund, our government is taking additional steps to encourage innovation and the creation of high quality, highly skilled jobs right across this region.”

The $20-million contribution comes through FedDev Ontario’s Prosperity Initiative. This investment will support two funds, known as the Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII) projects. SOFII will provide a $12-million fund in the west and an $8-million fund in the east. These two funds will be delivered by southern Ontario’s two regional Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) networks: the Western CFDC Association and the Eastern CFDC Network Inc. to both smaller rural and larger urban communities.

During the projects’ first two years, the Networks will provide business loans valued between $150,000 to $500,000 each to accelerate the growth of an estimated 80 southern Ontario small- and medium-sized businesses, which will help create or maintain over 700 full-time jobs. This will support innovation and growth in small- and medium-sized businesses in southern Ontario.

“We have heard about the difficulties small businesses can have bringing new developments to market,” said Cindy Swanson, Past-President of the Western Ontario Community Futures Development Corporation Association, Inc. “This fund will provide an opportunity for small companies to secure the financing they need and get the product to market more quickly than they otherwise might be able to.”

Dan Stanford, Chair of the Eastern Ontario CFDC Network shares this sentiment. “New products, new services and new processes often need support with that last push to the market—as do other late-stage commercialization activities,” said Stanford. “SOFII can help knowledge-based businesses do this successfully and we look forward to our role in assisting the Government of Canada to create a more productive and competitive private sector in southern Ontario.”

For more information about SOFII or the Prosperity Initiative, please refer to the SOFII-Brochure.

The investment announced today supports the Government of Canada’s science, technology, and innovation agenda, which is focused on increasing the country’s productivity, creating jobs and growing the economy.

Created in 2009, FedDev Ontario supports the southern Ontario economy by building on the region’s strengths and creating opportunities for jobs and economic growth. The Agency has launched a number of initiatives to create a Southern Ontario Advantage and place the region in a strong position to compete in the global economy. These initiatives are designed to encourage partnerships and support projects that help the region’s businesses and communities become more competitive, innovative and diversified. To learn more, please visit or call 1-866-593-5505.

Startups from Waterloo’s Velocity Incubator Have Raised $100 Million in Five Years

The University of Waterloo’s Velocity startup incubator today revealed that companies in the program have raised more than $100 million in funding.

That number comes five years after the program was launched and includes includes funding from venture capitalists, angel investors, government programs, grants from the Velocity Fund, and crowdfunding platforms.

Graduates with notable raises included Kik, Pebble, and Thalmic Labs. Kik’s last raise was a $19.5 million Series B round, while Pebble shattered crowdfunding records when it raised $10 million on Kickstarter. Meanwhile, Thalmic Labs had an incredible 2013, raising one of the most significant venture capital rounds of any Canadian startup that year and also winning 2013 Startup of the Year in the annual Canadian Startup Awards.

To read more:

Northumberland CFDC brings back N100 Startup Competition

By Joseph Czikk, Betakit

The Northumberland CFDC, a business development corporation dedicated to providing financing, strategy, and a comprehensive ecosystem for entrepreneurs, is bringing back to N100 Startup Competition. The winner takes home a cool $100,000.

Northumberland county is located one hour east of Toronto and part of the Northumberland CFDC’s mission is to establish a stronger startup culture in the area. Thus, while it calls the N100 a “global” startup competition, ultimately applicants are expected to establish a presence in Northumberland to qualify for the $100,000 investment.

Last year marked the first N100 competition, with the Unified Computer Intelligence Corporation taking the prize for it ubiquitous computing device, dubbed “the Ubi.” 34 companies applied in total.

“N100 helps accelerate early-stage companies in Ontario by providing risk capital to fund significant milestones in their development—such as prototyping—and ready them for angel round follow-on investment,” said Wendy Curtis of the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation. “In addition, N100 is an entrepreneurial attraction and development strategy designed to build a nucleus of next generation companies.”

To apply go to:

Do It In Durham 2013 Idea Generation

Do It In Durham celebrates Global Entrepreneurship Week and shines a light on local entrepreneurs who are making it happen right here in Durham, from students to the CEO’s of some of Canada’s fastest growing companies.

Entrepreneurship is increasingly the driver of new wealth, high paying jobs and investment. For many, entrepreneurship means living a few years like most people won’t, so they can live the rest of their lives like most people can’t. Could this be you?

Each year some 130 countries around the world celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week. To celebrate it here, Spark Centre and BACD have joined forces with regional partners to bring you Do It In Durham. For anyone with an interest in entrepreneurship, it is an opportunity to learn about the huge range of advice, education, connections and money available in Durham to help entrepreneurs start and grow businesses here.

Do It In Durham 2013 offered free workshops, participate in contests and a chance to win cash prizes. Thank you to everyone who took part and became part of the rising tide of entrepreneurship in Durham!

Thank you to our major sponsors, Meridian, RBC and the Region of Durham for helping us make this happen!

For more information go to 2013’s Do It In Durham Website. To find out about Do It In Durham 2014, join our mailing list.

Ignite 2013 Entrepreneurship Journey

Ignite 2013 was an exciting entrepreneurial journey organized by Spark Centre and The Region of Durham, along with many local community partners. The Ignite program began with all applicants attending pitch school to refine their idea and “elevator pitch”. The 102 applicants had a chance to learn about creating a value proposition, marketing and what angel investors are looking for as well as how to present their business idea from local business people and “been there done that ” mentors. Not only was Pitch School a great opportunity to learn skills is was a great opportunity to network and be involved in an exciting entrepreneurial community.

The next stage was to complete a two page business plan to get an opportunity to present their business pitches at Pitch Night (our version of “Dragon’s Den”) on February 4, 2013 at the Abilities Centre to the Ignite Power Panel, which did in fact include Bruce Croxon from CBCs Dragon’s Den.

A total of thirty applicants presented in front of an audience of over 200 people at pitch night and from those thirty, five were chosen to present to the Power Panel in a boardroom situation. Following the selection process two “Ignite Start-ups” were announced who then entered an intensive four-month boot camp, which included the following: a $25,000 cash award; access to a Power Panel and in-kind professional services from local experts in areas such as finance, marketing, and law. The boot camp culminated in a public event, the Ignite Finale, on June 25, 2013 at The Regent Theatre in Oshawa.

On June 25th, over 600 people attended the Ignite 2013 Finale were we celebrated the growing community of entrepreneurs and cultural leaders in Durham Region. Highlights included hearing the two finalists – Squabble Studios Inc. and Mobile Experience Company, fresh out of start-up bootcamp as well as from keynote speaker, international bestseller, Tim Ferriss. Part of the evening’s attractions included a “Social Media Lounge”  and a “Tweeting Contest” with a chance to win one of two iPad Minis. The evening continued with local gourmet food and drinks, music, breakdancers and participatory art.

Ignite 2013 has really stirred up excitement in our local business and cultural community. We would like to take this opportunity to thank all our sponsors and in-kind partners.

For more information go to 2013′s Ignite Durham website. To find out about Ignite 2014, join our mailing list.