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

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 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

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...