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Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear responds during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Sept. 27, 2012. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Minister of State for Science and Technology Gary Goodyear responds during Question Period in the House of Commons in Ottawa, Sept. 27, 2012. (Adrian Wyld/THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Small Business Briefing

Government invests millions in 'innovation projects' Add to ...

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‘Encouraging Ontario entrepreneurs’

The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) has announced funding for more than 20 “innovation projects” in the Greater Toronto Area, a press release states.

The money will be distributed to “projects and companies that are developing software and digital media technologies, completing research for medical treatments and diagnostic tools, improving food production and processing, and encouraging Ontario entrepreneurs through mentorship and business incubators.”

Here’s a look at the numbers:

  • About $9.5-million will be invested in 16 projects for product development and commercialization for startups. FedDev Ontario says it hopes to attract another $34-million from angel investors and venture capitalists.
  • Nearly $6-million has been set aside for three projects that contribute to building an economic advantage in areas such as technology and food processing, and mentoring for students and recent graduates. FedDev Ontario is seeking an additional $19.4-million in private-sector investment.
  • More than $1.7-million is being hived off for development and delivery by not-for-profit organizations of two new projects to encourage young Ontarians to pursue education and careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
  • A contribution of approximately $1.2-million for three commercialization fellowship programs that will allow STEM graduates to commercialize their research and improve their business management skills, and leveraging up to $2-million in matching seed capital.

For a detailed list of projects, go to the FedDev Ontario website.

CrowdMedia comes out on top

The 2013 edition of Startup Weekend Montreal, where aspiring entrepreneurs pitch ideas and try to launch new businesses, crowned CrowdMedia the best of the lot, according to this blog post by the folks at Busbud. The event kicked off on Feb. 8 with the start of the Pitch Fire sessions, where project leaders presented their concepts, a vote was taken to select the best ones, and teams were formed. Prototypes were developed through the wee hours of Saturday, and final pitches were prepared and presented to the judges on Sunday. Busbud describes winner CrowdMedia as “a platform allowing users to sell eye-witness photos to media outlets instantly.” Runners-up were Dashbook, an iPhone app that aggregates data, and Smartalyzer, which helps people decide whether or not they can drive after drinking.

New games for a (very) old console

A Hamilton-based outfit called Classic Game Publishers Inc., is developing and releasing new video games for Intellivision, a Mattel console that was first released in 1979 and ceased production five years later, CBC reports. The 49-year-old founder, William Moeller, loved the system as a child and still has several machines in his house. “There were three million of these units sold,” he told CBC. “And I've got to believe that there are at least 30,000 of them still out there. And of that, 1 per cent is going to want to buy a new game for it.” D2K Arcade and Minehunter are both on sale online, retailing for about $65, and Mr. Moeller and his team have five more in development. He estimates his break-even point is about 500 customers.


SEO and social media course

Have you wasted time and money trying to market and promote your business online with no proof that it works? Author, speaker and sales and marketing specialist Paul Tobey shares the secrets that made him millions in sales on a less-than-zero budget at this Calgary event on April 19.

A celebration of B.C.

Top business owners, industry executives, media and government officials will gather in Vancouver on Feb. 28 to “celebrate the amazing entrepreneurs who prove that BC is an awesome place to start and grow a business.” Register here for Small Business BC’s Successful You awards.


What you should (and shouldn’t) be doing

Picking up mail, dropping off invoices and making bank deposits are not what a business needs its owner to be doing. It needs the owner to be working on tasks that only the owner can do. Everything else should be delegated. But you do have to be careful about who you assign to do things.


No business like shoe business

David Markowitz says he was born with a shoehorn in his mouth, instead of a silver spoon. His namesake luxury footwear store, Davids, was founded 60 years ago in Toronto by his parents, Louis and Julia Markowitz, in the same year he was born. Now, as president and chief executive officer of Markio Designs Inc., the parent company of three Davids locations and the seven-outlet Capezio shoestore chain, which he co-founded in Canada with his brothers, he heads up the family’s multi-generational business. He talks about his success in this Q&A from November, 2011.

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