Spark Centre’s Thrive Accelerator Program Announces Cohort One

Spark Centre’s Thrive Accelerator Program Announces Cohort One

Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre today announced the first cohort of start-ups accepted into their new Thrive Accelerator Program. Six ambitious companies will join Thrive’s four month accelerator program which offers significant advisory and business support services to achieve a faster market entry. The six companies will also be co-located at The Loft – Spark Centre’s collaborative ecosystem in Durham Region. “We’re very excited to be working with six incredible startups that are positioned to make a huge impact in 2015.” says Braden Kemp, Director of Client Services at Spark Centre. “Thrive provides a focused environment for bringing rapidly scalable start-ups to market quickly. These entrepreneurs already have the ideas and the passion to succeed, we support them with the resources, advice and operational support required to get there faster.” Introducing Thrive Cohort One: Blancride: Blancride is a mobile application that modernizes carpooling. Incorporating GPS and smartphone technology, Blancride matches passengers and drivers to share a ride instantly. IFTech: Innovators in wearable technology, IFTech is leading the next generation of immersive gaming. Their first product is ARAIG, a high-tech, multi-sensory gaming suit. National ProStaff: The leading social network for anglers, brands, tournaments, and outfitters. Fishing brands are able to manage, recruit, and highlight all brand ambassadors in one place while consumers are able to make smarter buying decisions and interact with ProStaff. Seriously Fun Games: Aims to provide access to the incredible power of educational games. The company creates engaging and fun game-based learning experiences to enable educators to deliver their message with impact. Tiko 3D: Creators of the most affordable, elegant, and easy to use 3D Printer. Tiko...
Jennifer Osborne boldly leads Durham tech company into uncharted territory

Jennifer Osborne boldly leads Durham tech company into uncharted territory

by durhamregion.com Jennifer Osborne never set out to become president of Search Engine People; her employees demanded it. “When I started I got to choose my own title, so I went with what was best for the company,” she said of the initial title of director of business development, which she chose upon starting with the company in 2005. She describes the moniker as a catch-all for a position that required her to step into many different roles, including leading divisions such as paid search, human resources, enterprise sales and client services. When she playfully complained during a meeting about having to order four different business cards her employees offered a solution. “Everyone said ‘hey, you should just be president,’ so as far as I know I’m the only president elected by a jury of my peers.” Ms. Osborne was the first person founder Jeff Quipp hired when he began looking for someone to help him with the business side of the digital marketing company. That ability to fit into any role has been crucial to the company’s remarkable growth — it has been featured on the Profit 500 list of Canada’s fastest growing companies for six consecutive years. (Click Here to read the full...
Downtown Oshawa co-working space expands with opening of the Loft

Downtown Oshawa co-working space expands with opening of the Loft

by Reka Szekely, durhamregion.com There’s more room for budding entrepreneurship in Oshawa after the expansion of a downtown co-working space. CORE21, located at 21 Simcoe St. S., opened in 2013. The idea is that business professionals who don’t need or aren’t in a position to rent a full suite of offices can become members of the co-working space and rent a desk, sharing amenities including a common reception area. CORE21 vice-president Denis O’Connell said CORE21 was a success shortly after opening. “We filled up to 90 per cent (occupied) fairly quickly,” he said and it wasn’t long before plans were underway to double the size of the space and develop the building’s second floor. The Loft opened in February with space for roughly 80 more professionals. “It’s been very positive,” said Mr. O’Connell. “We wouldn’t be investing in the upstairs unless it had a growth potential in our minds.” About half the space in The Loft is being snapped up by Spark Centre, one of 14 non-profit regional innovation centres in Ontario. The City of Oshawa has committed $30,000 per year in funding to Spark Centre over three years, allowing the organization to expand at the downtown facility. The Spark Centre already worked out of CORE21 but with the additional space, it can meet the needs of more local startups. (Click Here to read the full...