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A small business based in Portland, AppThwack, tests mobile apps for developers. It has announced a partnership with a non-profit organization called In-Q-Tel (IQT), which in and of itself isn't particularly interesting.

What is interesting, as GeekWire reports, is that IQT is the investment arm of the CIA, and it looks to pair up with companies that serve the security interests of the United States. It's hoping customers of the U.S. intelligence community will be able to use the cloud-based tool to test apps across hundreds of devices as efficiently as possible.

"As a strategic investor, our model is unique," IQT writes on its website. "Our investments accelerate product development and add mission-critical capabilities with the sole purpose of delivering these cutting-edge technologies to (intelligence community) end users quickly and efficiently."

The value of IQT's investment in AppThwack was not released, but the non-profit claims that for every $1 (U.S.) it puts into a company, the venture-capital "community" adds $9.

BDC boosts health-care investments

BDC Venture Capital has committed $135 million in new funding for investments in innovative health-care companies, bringing its total contribution to the sector to $270 million. The BDC Venture Capital Healthcare Fund will invest in Canadian-based companies in areas such as innovative therapeutics and medical technology, diagnostics, health IT, mobile technologies and services, robotics and automation. The fund will partner with Canadian and global investors, along with new players in health care, to accelerate the growth of its portfolio companies. "All economies are struggling to maintain affordable and accessible health-care systems," Dion Madsen, senior managing partner of the fund, said in a press release. "They are seeking new technologies to improve their health systems and improve healthcare delivery, while managing rising costs."

He did more than Qwalify

Canadian business owner Phil Noelting came in first place in the Drucker Challenge Video Contest with his entry Simple Significance. The Drucker Challenge started out as an essay contest to raise awareness among young people of the works and ideas of management guru Peter Drucker. This year it expanded with a video submission option. Mr. Noelting will, among other things, receive a cash prize of €1,000 ($1,375) and registration to the Fifth Global Peter Drucker Forum on Nov. 14 15, 2013, with a waived conference fee and travel to Vienna. The president of Qwalify will also see his video aired at the forum.


Build a business and win

Shopify, a commerce platform for selling online and in-store, launched its fourth annual Build A Business Competition. The company has partnered with The Huffington Post and some of the industry's most successful entrepreneurs to help new and emerging stores grow their businesses. Participants must open an online store and start selling products using Shopify. At the end of the competition, the nine stores that sell the most over a two-month period will each receive $50,000 in cash and an exclusive meeting with their competition mentor.

New York is calling

The Consulate General of Canada in New York is recruiting the next six founders to join the Canadian Technology Accelerator in NYC from Dec. 4 to March 4. Participants receive a three-month communal membership at General Assembly, an orientation program with access to mentors and business contacts, and a mid-term program with Demo Day. Apply by Oct. 6.


Look beyond your borders

One of the drags on the value of a business is customer concentration. For owners planning to sell in the next five to 10 years, exporting is one way to diversify a customer base, columnist Jacoline Loewen writes.


Not all they're cracked up to be

Contests and giveaways shouldn't be relied on too heavily when looking to drive engagement around your brand. When you are thinking about setting up a contest on social media, take these points from columnist Mia Pearson into consideration to ensure you get the most out of it, without disappointing your fans.

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