Applications For Ignite 2015 Are Now Open!

Applications For Ignite 2015 Are Now Open!

Spark Innovation Centre has announced applications are now open to its third annual Ignite Competition. The organization made the announcement at an Innovation Celebration held in partnership with 360 Incentives and SAP Canada on August 13th in Whitby, Ontario. Two start-up companies will be awarded $25,000 to use towards their business plans.  Along with the monetary prize, the two winners will be given free office space in The Loft and will also join Spark Centre’s Thrive Accelerator Program which offers significant advisory and business support services to achieve a faster market entry. Spark Centre continues its strategic focus on youth entrepreneurship and accordingly, Ignite will continue to include the Student Entrepreneur category for a second year, giving away $5,000 to a post-secondary entrepreneur along with automatic inclusion into Spark Centre’s Winter Youth Accelerator Program. Start-up businesses located anywhere within Canada are eligible to apply, but winners must establish their business within Durham Region. One of the 2014 Ignite winners, Tiko 3D, has since gone on to close one of the all-time most successful Kickstarter campaign, raising $3.5 million CDN. Tiko 3D is now co-located with Spark Centre at The Loft and continues to work with the organization as part of the Thrive Accelerator Program. “Spark Centre is an awesome support network that takes tech savvy entrepreneurs and gives them a foundation upon which they can grow their company,” says Matt Gajkowski, Founder & CEO of Tiko 3D and 2014 Winner of Ignite. “Winning Ignite and working with Spark Centre has helped us go from prototype to product to a viable business.” “Ignite has become without a doubt the biggest...
Two Spark Centre Clients Receive Seed Funding From City Flow

Two Spark Centre Clients Receive Seed Funding From City Flow

Two Spark Innovation Centre clients from the Thrive Accelerator Program have secured significant angel funding from City Flow Project, a newly formed seed investment fund. City Flow Project LP, has invested $300,000 in National ProStaff and $55,000 in Zambah. This marks the two largest investments made in Spark Centre clients during the 5 years of existence.  It is also just the beginning as more equity investments are quickly coming from City Flow. National ProStaff (“NPS”) is a social commerce platform which connects consumers with brand experts. 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. Zambah is a web and mobile platform dedicated to exposing and promoting independent musicians to wide variety of new fans. Independent artists can share and sell their music directly to listeners through a visually engaging, dynamic platform. “We’re thrilled to be working with Jason Atkins and the entire group behind the City Flow Project,” said Dan Miguel, CEO of National ProStaff. “The investors behind City Flow are some of the most successful people in Canada, and their expertise and guidance will help us get to where we want National ProStaff to go. Their financial investment in us will help us grow our team and do the things we need to do to execute on our vision.” “Angel investment is now alive and well in Durham Region,” said Dennis Croft, President & CEO of Spark Centre. “City Flow has answered a...
Spark Centre Announces New Centre At Durham College

Spark Centre Announces New Centre At Durham College

Spark Innovation Centre today announced plans to open a new student entrepreneurship contact centre atDurham College’s Oshawa campus. This new centre will be strategic in a number of ways: A focal point location where Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT)interconnect on their joint north Oshawa campus Provides Spark Centre with on-campus day-to-day access to more than 20,000 full-time college and university students Provides additional support opportunities for Spark Centre with the FastStart consortium More than 70% of Spark Centre’s clients annually emerge from the post-secondary student population at Durham College and UOIT. This on-campus centre, almost exactly where the college and university intersect, will provide Spark Centre with additional opportunity to reach students daily in order to provide advisory services and promote the value of entrepreneurship as a career. “Over the past number of years we have continued to invest in new resources and tools beyond the classroom to foster greater entrepreneurship in our students,” said Don Lovisa, President, Durham College.“When you combine this with the excellent leadership, resources and mentorship available through the Spark Centre, our students have more opportunities than ever before to flex their entrepreneurial side, launch business ideas and ultimately find success. We are very pleased to be able to open this new space and expand our partnership with Spark Centre.” “The campus in North Oshawa is very unique in Canada, given it has both college and university students converging, who are more often looking to start their own business,” said Dennis Croft, President & CEO, Spark Centre. “Spark Centre is so excited that Durham College has been able to...
Spark Centre And 360incentives To Open Investment Accelerator Centre

Spark Centre And 360incentives To Open Investment Accelerator Centre

In partnership with 360incentives, Spark Innovation Centre announced today plans to open an Investment Accelerator Centre location in 360incentives’ upcoming strategic Whitby, Ontario location. This new centre will be established in the heart of old Downtown Whitby in the heritage building known as R.A. Sennett Public School. Constructed in 1922, The R.A. Sennett Public School is a landmark in the neighbourhood and an important heritage asset for the Town of Whitby. Designed in a Classical Revival style, it is an excellent example of scholastic architecture constructed in Ontario in the early 20th century. This new location will provide Spark Centre immediate access to one of Canada’s fastest growing technology companies, 360 Incentives and a newly formed private equity company, CityFlow. The proximity to 360 Incentives and CityFlow will provide an optimized approach to obtaining angel investment for Spark Centre’s technology and innovation focused clients. Timing on the new location is still under review but plans are well underway between the various organizations. “We are very excited to have a secured a location as prestigious as the heritage .R. A. Sennett Public School,” said Jason Atkins, CEO of 360incentives. “The location offers us approximating to Whitby’s vibrant downtown, relaxing green space, beautiful residential surroundings and access to the historical Centennial Building. The new location will serve as our global headquarters and allow us to consolidate over 150 local staff spread throughout down town Whitby.”  “Co-locating with successful, passionate entrepreneurs is a critical element for any new start-up,” said Dennis Croft, President & CEO of Spark Centre. “Proximity to 360incentives creates a unique environment for our early stage clients to see and...
Spark Centre’s Youth Accelerator Program Winners Announced

Spark Centre’s Youth Accelerator Program Winners Announced

Spark Innovation Centre is pleased to announce the summer winners of its first every Youth Accelerator Program. The organization is also pleased to announce that applications are now open for its Fall Youth Accelerator Program. With the first cohort in the Summer Youth Accelerator Program coming to a close, participating companies were invited to take part in the Finale Pitch Presentation on August 11th in Oshawa, Ontario. The finale had 11 post-secondary student companies giving a 3 minute investment pitch on the businesses they have been building over the summer. The Youth Accelerator Program saw 20 student companies spend four months over the summer receiving hands on advisory services, free office space at The Loft in Oshawa and seed financing from both the local university and college. Of the 20 companies, 11 qualified for the Finale Pitch Presentation. The overall finale winner was Henlen Watches, who were selected by a panel of judges as our $2,500 Youth Accelerator Program Winner. Henlen Watches created an interchangeable smartwatch that allows for a smart component to be swapable throughout various designs and styles of watches. The 20 participating student companies, more than 35 students, also participated in a cumulative points competition throughout the four months and Spark Centre announced Ideal Compass and Henlen Watches as the two $1,000 winners. “We’ve learned so much in Spark Centre’s Youth Accelerator Program,” said Kyle George, CEO of Henlen Watches. “We are thrilled to have won the pitch competition, and are looking forward to working with Spark Centre more in the future to advance our business”              “Spark Centre’s first Youth...