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Six startups win $50,000 Spin Master prize for innovation

Anton Rabie, President and CEO of Spin Master and Benny Varadi, Chief Creative Officer of Spin Master,


The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team.

Spin Master Innovation Fund helps startups get off the ground

As any startup knows, gaining momentum in the early stages can be extremely difficult. But for the six recipients of this year's Spin Master Innovation Fund, the task just became a little easier.

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The award, co-financed by Spin Master Ltd., Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), includes $50,000 in financing for each of the six startups, as well as a mentor from CYBF and the opportunity to attend a two-day Innovation Launch Pad Workshop in Toronto.

The following winners were selected from a short-list of finalists who pitched their business plans to the Spin Master Innovation Fund Selection Panel:

1. George Phu and Harjas Dogra, GrandezVous, Mississauga, Ont – a social platform that helps organizers plan, manage, execute and reflect on an event.

2. Sarah Fong, Suite City, Toronto, Ont. – an online platform that helps condo buyers, sellers, and investors manage the entire process of sale from the search/list stage to negotiations.

3. Frédéric Leduc, Jean François Larrivee and Simon Gaudreau, Immune Biosolutions Inc., Sherbrooke, QC – a business that creates high-quality innovative antibody-based products)

4. Miriam Groom,, Montreal, QC

5. Jeremy O'Krafka, MENTORnetwork, Toronto, Ont. – connects entrepreneurs with the right mentors.

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6. Lily Tse, Think Dirty App, Toronto, Ont. – helps consumers learn about the potentially toxic ingredients in cosmetics and personal care products.

New survey reveals tech habits of small business owners

As the tech landscape continues to shift, more small businesses are handling their own IT operations and, as a result, relying more on cloud computing, smartphones, tablets and high-speed internet, says a new survey. But rapid changes seem to have also fueled fears over cybersecurity, specifically as it relates to credit and debit card acceptance.

The National Small Business Association (NSBA) released its 2013 Small Business Technology Survey which covered a wide range of topics including use of tech, online presence, challenges, cybersecurity, data storage, customer notification, innovation and intellectual property.

Key findings include:

  • 74 per cent smartphone use, up from 57 per cent in 2010
  • Laptop usage up from 67 per cent in 2010 to 84 per cent today
  • In 2010, just 5 per cent of small firms used cloud computing. Now 43 per cent are on the cloud
  • The number of small firms that accept credit or debits cards dropped dramatically (from 91 per cent to 69 per cent) and the number of third-party vendors increased (i.e. PayPal use moved from 22 per cent in 2010 to 47 per cent today)
  • Business networking remains the number reason why small-business owners utilize social media.
  • Nearly half of all small businesses have been a victim of cyberattacks.


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Young Entrepreneurs Night comes to the capital

The Report on Small Business is hosting its next Young Entrepreneurs Night in Ottawa on Oct. 15. Space is limited. Register here.

National Franchise & Business Opportunities Show

From Sept. 21 to 22, the show will take place in Quebec City. If you're interested in starting your own business, visit the website for more details.


How can a 'lowly little startup' attract world-class advisers?Brad Palmer needs highly specialized, world-class advisers to give his Vancouver-based tech business an edge. How do you attract savvy people to your board, no matter where they are? Find out in this week's edition of The Challenge.


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