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Small Business Briefing

Extreme Startups announces partnership with India Add to ...

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper aims to revive trade deals in India this week, a new Canada-India accelerator partnership indicates that relations between the two countries – at least on the technological front – are moving in a positive direction.

Extreme Startups, a Toronto accelerator for high-potential entrepreneurs, today announced the launch of an 'exchange' with The Hatch, a business incubator located in India.

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“We think this is the best way to get Canadian tech startups into the massive Indian consumer and enterprise markets,” said Sunil Sharma, managing director of Extreme Startups, in an interview. “It’s a very high-touch model and we are happy to reciprocate for the Indian startups and entrepreneurs.”

Beginning in December, Extreme Startups will send a group of Canadian startups from its current cohort – including Shifthub, Venio and Picatic – to the city of Chandigarh, India. These teams will be provided not only with accommodation in dorm-style residences, but also have front-of-the-line access to The Hatch’s network of entrepreneurs, developers and investors.

In turn, Extreme Startups will host several Indian startups in Toronto in January, furnishing them with desk space as well as connections to its renowned pool of mentors and resources.

Mr. Sharma believe the new exchange program - which is not limited to Extreme Startups, but is open to any startup with high-growth potential - complements Startup Visa, an iniative the Canadian government is currently exploring to attract immigrant entrepreneurs.

It also potentially opens the door to similar arrangements around the world. In fact, Extreme Startups is already eyeing partnerships with accelerators in Brazil, China and Japan.

“Accelerators are built to be local but business is global,” Mr. Sharma says. “This partnership makes the accelerator model global.”

New testing system could give edge to women’s hockey team

Canadian Olympic medallist and women’s hockey team player Hayley Wickenheiser is using her on-ice celebrity status to bring Sport Testing Inc.’s athletic performance testing to Canadian women’s hockey.

“Athletes at every level of their sport have an insatiable desire to compete with themselves and their peers. Personal athletic assessments have become yet another measure for competitiveness,” she said in a press release.

The three-time gold medallist will be introducing the Toronto-based company’s advanced technology, data reporting and analysis services to provide athletes with the same state-of-the-art tools used by professionals in a range of sports including football, rugby, lacrosse and basketball.

“This kind of valuable hockey testing will contribute to the improvement of the women’s game – a personal passion of mine,” she adds.

Across North America, athletic performance testing is increasingly used by amateur and professional sports associations to provide athletes and coaches with individualized information to assess an athlete’s capability as part of developing personalized training programs and promoting talent in an organization. The quality of test data and the ability to analyze it is essential to proper athletic assessments.

Sortable’s new website so simple, even your mother can use it

Sortable, a Waterloo, Ont.-based consumer web company specializing in helping users find the right product, based on their own needs, has launched a major upgrade to its website. In a press release, the company says the interface is so simple, even your mother could use it.

But it’s not just about ease of use. Sortable has also added a load of features, including the ability to compare screens when trying to decide between two devices, product summaries that aggregate key points from top reviews and personalize them to your needs, visualized data that allows consumers to see product information in an intuitive graphical format, and a richer community experience, including a Q&A with community product experts.

Since its site debuted in 2009, the company has already made 98 million recommendations. And with the holiday (aka gift-buying) season quickly approaching, that number is likely to continue growing.

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Marla Kott, CEO of Imprint Plus and keynote speaker at The Globe’s Small Business and Summit in Vancouver, shares her insight on when and how to take the calculated risks necessary to grow a business.

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