Spark Innovation Centre Announces New President & CEO

Spark Innovation Centre Announces New President & CEO

Spark Innovation Centre is pleased to announce the appointment of Sherry Colbourne as the organization’s new President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), effective January 3, 2017. Sherry is a Canadian entrepreneur who has recently returned to Ontario from a four-year entrepreneurial sabbatical in the Middle East. During her time there she co-founded Startup Oman, which has become the hub of Oman’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, focused specifically on high-impact entrepreneurs. Prior to founding Startup Oman, Sherry was co-founder and CEO of Ladybug Teknologies, a social technology company that developed innovative breath-screening solutions. Sherry’s energy and love of technology was seeded early in her 25-year career in the Canadian high tech sector where she worked for some of Canada’s leading technology innovators including Leigh Instruments, Com Dev, Diemaco, DspFactory and Certicom. “We are very pleased to be welcoming Sherry to the Spark Centre team,” said Kathy Weiss, Chair of Spark Innovation Centre Board of Directors. “We know her experience and passion for entrepreneurship and innovation as well as managing community networks and relationships at all levels will be of tremendous value to Spark Centre.” “I am delighted to be joining Spark Centre and to become part of the continued progress it is making throughout Durham Region in fostering entrepreneurial innovation,” said Sherry Colbourne. About Spark Innovation Centre: Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre is one of eighteen not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centres (RICs) that form part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). The centre works to improve competitiveness and visibility of Durham Region and Northumberland County as a world-class innovation cluster. For more information on Spark Centre, please visit...
Meet The Ignite Final 4 And Student Winner!

Meet The Ignite Final 4 And Student Winner!

Spark Centre is very pleased to announce the Student Entrepreneur winner and the Final Four Finalists after an incredible evening at Ignite’s Round 2: 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 4 to move on to the Boardroom Competition on November 15th and continue their quest for $25,000. Spark Centre would like to congratulate the winner and finalists!   Student Entrepreneur Winner Ultima Apparel: Creators of compression athletic wear with embedded wearable technology. Young Entrepreneur Finalists Dash MD: Providing patients with the tools and resources they need to successfully traverse their road to recovery after a visit to the hospital. MIR: Creators of a drone that can carry multiple or large packages, expanding the capabilities of current delivery drones. General Entrepreneur Finalists Cliply Corp: Leveraging computer vision technologies and the latest advances in machine learning to automatically create “video-stories” from raw video footage. Hexyoo: Creators of a proprietary gel based pressure ulcer pad with embedded sensors for the treatment and prevention of pressure ulcers. Come cheer on the Final 4 at the Boardroom Competition!  Tuesday, November 15th 5:00pm – 8:00pm Whitby Council Chambers – 575 Rossland Road E REGISTER...
Spark Centre Opens Applications for the 2016 Ignite Start-up Competition

Spark Centre Opens Applications for the 2016 Ignite Start-up Competition

Spark Innovation Centre pleased to announce that applications are now open for its fourth annual Ignite Competition. Two start-up companies will be awarded $25,000 to use towards their business. 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 once again include the Student Entrepreneur category for a second year, giving away $5,000 to a post-secondary entrepreneur. The 2015 Ignite winners, IFTech and Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments have gone on to do extraordinary things with the help that they received after winning Ignite. “Ignite was a great experience for us throughout the competition. Not only did we develop great contacts and start mentoring relationships that have helped drive our sales,” says Michael Chrostowski, PhD, President and CEO of Sound Options Tinnitus Treatments. “Winning Ignite also allowed us to create the momentum towards our entry into the US market.” “Ignite is more than just winning a contest, it gets companies ready to meet the demands of financing. All companies need money to run and Ignite helps with that,” says IFTech Co-Founder Micheal Stanfield. “Working with Spark Centre throughout the competition helped us with our confidence and they continue to help us handle the constant ups and downs of business.” Applications for the Young and General Entrepreneur categories must be received by 5:00pm on September 9th. Student Entrepreneur applications will be extended until 5:00pm on September 16th. Please...
Thrive Accelerator Program: Cohort 4

Thrive Accelerator Program: Cohort 4

Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre today announced the fourth cohort of start-ups accepted into their Thrive Accelerator Program. Eight companies have joined Thrive’s four month accelerator program which offers significant advisory and business support services to achieve a faster market entry. The eight companies will also be co-located at The Loft – Spark Centre’s collaborative ecosystem in Durham Region. Spark Centre is excited to introduce and welcome two new companies: Henlen Watches: Creators of the first interchangeable smartwatch that allows for a smart component to be swapped with various designs and watch styles. CrossPlatform Cloud Technologies Inc.: CrossPlatform is focused on harnessing the best of the cloud and make it more accessible, easier to use, and delivering innovative products for users. Spark Centre is also excited to welcome back the following companies to Cohort 4: 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. Sound Options: Sound Options provides effective treatments for reducing chronic ringing in the ears by working with hearing clinics to provide a software-generated customized sound therapy embedded in music. Panda Insights: Creators of the first bio-metric data driven customer loyalty solution connecting health & fitness retailers with gym members. Their solution uses fitness wearables to track gym member work-out activity. Tiko 3D: Creators of the most affordable, elegant, and easy to use 3D Printer. Tiko 3D is bringing...
Durham College to Build Centre for Collaborative Education on Oshawa Campus

Durham College to Build Centre for Collaborative Education on Oshawa Campus

Durham College announced today that it has received $22 million in funding from the provincial government toward the construction of the Centre for Collaborative Education (CFCE) at the Oshawa campus. The announcement, which was made by Reza Moridi, minister of Training, Colleges and Universities, at an event held at the Oshawa campus this morning, represents one of the largest investments in DC by the provincial government since the college opened its doors in 1967. The CFCE will replace the college’s aging Simcoe building, which was originally built as a temporary structure and opened in 1969. The new three-storey facility, a legacy project tied to DC’s 50th anniversary in 2017, will bring together local, Indigenous and global communities, providing a new home for several of the college’s innovative and ground-breaking programs. “Although our Simcoe building has served us very well over the past 50 years, leaving behind a wonderful legacy of teaching, learning and memories for our students, faculty members and administrative staff, it has reached its end of life,” said Don Lovisa, president, DC. “As we prepare to celebrate DC’s 50th anniversary in 2017, we are excited to bridge our past with our future through the creation of a new facility where students, employees and the broader community can work together in ways that transcend traditional concepts of education. On behalf of everyone at DC, I extend my sincere thanks to the provincial government for its wonderful support in bringing our vision for the Centre for Collaborative Education to life.” DC has continued to experience tremendous growth year after year. This includes the addition of more than 40 new...
Start-Up Companies In Durham’s Innovation And Technology Sector Continue To Thrive At The Spark Centre In Oshawa

Start-Up Companies In Durham’s Innovation And Technology Sector Continue To Thrive At The Spark Centre In Oshawa

By Ian McMillan – Metroland (source) Dennis Croft is holding court at the Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre. As he walks through the spacious facilities located at the Loft, 21 Simcoe St. in Oshawa, his three guests are captivated, not only by what they’re hearing but the energy and people who surround them. These three entrepreneurs are looking for help and Mr. Croft appears to have what they are looking for. During any given week, he conducts between 20 and 30 such tours. It may be hard to believe but the Loft, Spark Centre’s head office, houses 50 innovation- and technology-based businesses in the Durham Region and Northumberland County. Inside, top 2015 companies such as IFTech, ARAIG, Sound Options, National ProStaff, Panda Insights, Tiko 3D and Seriously Fun Games, to name but a few, are busy building their start-up companies. The genesis of Spark Centre came in 2010 when the Durham Strategic Energy Alliance began to pursue an Ontario start-up program focused on innovation. Key players within the DSEA who saw the vision included Jacquie Hoornweg, Michael Angemeer, Michael Owen, Jeff Kistner, Debbie McKee Demczyk, Doug Lindeblom, Sheila McGrory and Johnathon Wheatle. In 2011, Spark Centre was born with Mr. Croft arriving as a volunteer mentor. He was tasked with helping the start-up companies with funding and investment, offering expertise on their business plans, marketing strategies and product developments, among other things. “You just can’t possibly know everything about business,” he said. “There are grant programs and other companies that can help them with their needs.” Kathy Weiss is chairwoman of Spark Centre’s board of directors and the director...