Industry Highlights

Photo of a Business Meeting
Augmenting all of the innovation industries in Durham are organizations who focus on both creating innovative talent and helping innovative businesses start, grow and succeed. Incubators such as The Loft, The Vault and the CAVE are designed to accelerate incubation outcomes and prepare companies for commercialization.
Ontario Centres of Excellence Logo and National Research Council Logo
Ontario Centres Of Excellence and National Research Council are just two examples of provincial and federal level governments who are focused on contributing to Durham Region’s incubation programs and startup company focus within the innovation industries. Significant funding as well as continued program development continues to drive a growing incubation environment and focus on innovation.
Photos of students
A unique consortium including University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), Durham College, Fleming College, Trent University and Spark Innovation Centre founded FastStart. FastStart is an entrepreneurial training partnership designed to increase the entrepreneurship skills and awareness of university and college students and help them develop solid business plans and take products to market. It is being funded through an $800,000 Government of Ontario grant being shared equally among all four post-secondary institutions under the province’s $5 million On-Campus Entrepreneurship Activities (OCEA) program, managed by Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).

Featured Incubators

Spark Centre Logo


As one of the fourteen official Regional Innovation Centres funded by the Province of Ontario, Spark Centre provides incubation and commercialization services to pre-revenue and early stage revenue technology and innovation startups. Spark Centre also provides services to maturing technology companies to help them address scalability, market expansion and restructuring. Visit Website
Spark Centre Logo


FastStart is an entrepreneurial training partnership aimed at university and college students. FastStart is designed to increase the entrepreneurial skills and awareness while also helping students create solid business plans that take their products and services to market – quickly and successfully. Visit Website.


UOIT’s Faculty of Business & Information Technology has created a Gaming and Virtual Reality laboratory with motion capture facilities, an audiometric (sound) room, 3D scanners and software and latest in interaction devices. Further, UOIT also boasts a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) which includes motion-tracking cameras that determine where the user is and how they are positioned, projections are rendered in stereoscopic 3D. Visit Website

Incubation News

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!

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 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...