Reflections & Predictions: A Look Back on 2017 & Ahead to 2018

Each year we ask the WEtech Alliance team to share their favorite moments from the past year, as well as what they’re looking forward to in the year to come.

Here’s what they had to say about their reflections on 2017 and predictions for 2018.

LOOKING BACK ON 2017:

How quickly the year goes by! The past year has been yet another transformative year for WEtech Alliance. New team members (welcome Adam Frye), new leadership (welcome Chair, Paolo Piuno), new board members (welcome Justine Jansen, Michael Furtado and Amar Singh), new clients and members, and a new home at the University of Windsor’s EPICentre. We’ve had clients achieve their first sale, secure angel investment, establish new space, and even prepare to travel across the globe to further grow their venture. These milestones are what drives our team and makes our jobs so rewarding.

The past year also included building on existing partnerships including that with the Chatham-Kent Economic Development Corporation and the City of Chatham-Kent. A special shout out to Mayor Randy Hope, Stuart McFadden and team for your ongoing support. We are eager to host our first-ever teCK Night in 2018.

Another special memory is the inaugural Tech Week YQG. Never have I been so proud of YQG’s tech community. This event not only brought together the local tech community but formed partnerships with global tech giants IBM, GM and Amazon. Seeing over 400 people – and Chamber President Matt Marchand experience PlayStation Virtual Reality – are memories that I will cherish from 2017. I can’t wait to see what Tech Week YQG 2018 will bring. Will our Amazon partnership get even “closer” (wink, wink)?

Our team would be remised if we did not thank our past Chair, Adam Davis, for his leadership as well as commitment to WEtech Alliance since opening its doors in 2010. Adam, you are a true pillar in this community and we are grateful for your leadership and commitment to promoting technology and innovation in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent. By the way, congrats again on your “WEtech Choice Tech Award”.

Last but definitely not least, 2017 would not have been as impactful without the efforts and dedication of the WEtech team. This team knows no limits – as well as no caffeine limits – and any leader knows that your business is only as good as the talent that makes it. A special thank you to the newest member of the team, Adam Frye, who has not only helped build out our first-ever accelerator program, Libro StartUP and War Rooms, but has been an instrumental part in growing our suite of business advisory programs and services.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2018:

Partnerships, partnerships, and more partnerships!

With 8 years under our belt, WEtech has grown its brand and footprint in our community. We’ve made great new partnerships this year including but not limited to that with Libro Credit Union (Libro StartUP), AlphaKOR Group (Tech Titan), Capitol Theatre of Windsor and WEpodcast (Tech In The City), Connecting Windsor-Essex and The City of Windsor (Smart City Challenge), WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation (Autonomous Vehicle Innovation Network (AVIN), University of Windsor and EPICentre (New Space and New Programming), St. Clair College (Nerd Olympics and Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit IV), Techtown Detroit (Med Health Summit), and CDMN (Advisory Board).

2018 will continue along the same path with new partnerships being built locally, nationally, and internationally to assist our Clients and Members in achieving success and job creation.

Last but not least, we are looking forward to expanding the team as well as our programming offering in 2018 thanks to the recent success of an Ontario Trillium Foundation grant. Our new programing will target helping Clients with scaling and corporations with innovating.

LOOKING BACK ON 2017:

I am so excited to see our Clients accelerating their businesses and products to market.  Until recently, some were just start-up entrepreneurs with an idea. Now, it is wonderful to watch them acquire paying customers, hire their first employee, get awarded government funding, secure investment for growth, and expand their reach internationally. As their advisor, I am thrilled to be a part of their journey, and it is most gratifying to see them become successful!

2017 was an exciting year as we had continued with our focus on the life science sector.  Our region has recognized that Health Innovation is an Economic Driver. WEtech in collaboration with community partners, university, college and hospitals promoted our region as a gateway to the USA and an attractive place to develop and adopt medical innovations.  We have become a strategic partner of MedHealth Cluster in Michigan. Together, we want to build up the medtech and health IT sectors in Southeast Michigan and Southwestern Ontario region. The collaborative initiatives will advance clinical research, grow innovative health technologies, attract high value investments, and create attractive high paying careers in our region.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2018:

I’m looking forward to an opportunity to engage in new and exciting initiatives and technologies.  We are excited to plan the MedHealth Summit, a match making event that will connect our medtech innovative clients and American payers and big US VC investors.  It is so great to be a part of the dynamic and enthusiastic WEtech team.  We will support our entrepreneurs in accelerating their businesses and help them making real headway into the market place in the coming year! Happy 2018 to all!

LOOKING BACK ON 2017:

I am so proud of our inaugural Libro StartUP accelerator program.  It was a privilege working with startups who embody the perseverance and courage of entrepreneurship.  It was a treat watching them accelerate their business, overcome challenges, and lean on each other.  Whether it was their first or fifth sale, hire or investors pitch – we felt blessed to be part of their success and celebration.  None of this would have been possible without the amazing community driven team at Libro Credit Union whose enthusiasm was infectious and whose encouragement was unwavering. It was a dream working with Lori Atkinson and the Libronites.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2018:

I am looking forward to the launch of a new initiative called Innovation Quarters (IQ).  The premise is simple – help large organizations to spark and cultivate ideas from frontline staff that will improve service delivery, increase efficiency and potentially bring some of those ideas to market.  We were inspired by the story of Kaitlyn Sheehan – a local nurse we met through Hacking Health who developed several technologies which improve patient outcomes.  Or Lisa Jacobs, another healthcare professional who created a mobile app called Clinic Seeker that lets folks locate the nearest clinic and provides wait times.  Traveling soccer moms love Lisa and Clinic Seeker – and so do we.  WEtech is betting that we can help identify many more Kaitlyn Sheehans and Lisa Jacobs through IQ – and we are looking forward to partnering with some dynamic organizations who are looking to boost their IQ.

LOOKING BACK ON 2017:

It’s been another amazing year at WEtech Alliance!

Our inaugural Libro StartUP program was a huge success, with 5 amazing Startups that are on pace to explode in 2018.

Our 2nd annual Nerd Olympics saw the addition of 2 Community Challenges, which saw over $3200 in cash and gift cards, and 385 supplies donated to the Welcome Centre Shelter and 47 blood donations made to the local chapter of Canadian Blood Services. It was also great to have new teams from the IT departments at the City of Windsor and St. Clair College as well as students from the University of Windsor Computer Science department join us.

Another big highlight for me was our first ever Tech Week YQG. It was great to bring out tech community together for a week of fun, learning and opportunity. I’m really looking forward to growing this week out even further in 2018.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2018:

We have an exciting year planned for 2018, with a number of new partnerships and program offerings being introduced throughout Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, including our new Innovation Quarters initiative, WEtech War Rooms and a new ScaleUP program, just to name a few.

My predictions for 2018 can be summed up in one word – GROWTH. Growth of our team, with the addition of a new Startup Business Advisor & Program Manager. Growth of our community and ecosystem partnerships. Growth of our program offerings & initiatives. Growth of our regional focus. And most importantly, growth of our tech companies and local tech sector overall.

Be sure to follow our WEtech Alliance social media channels – FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, YOUTUBE, LINKEDIN – for details coming soon!

LOOKING BACK ON 2017:

2017 was a banner year in terms of client impact for WEtech. We were able to foster incredible community partnerships with folks like Libro Credit Union in order to offer the ecosystem something brand new in the Libro StartUP Accelerator. It was an absolute blessing to be able to work alongside our Startup 5 and to not only see their businesses grow, but to watch them grow as people. We were able to develop new programming in the form of our monthly War Rooms, renew our dedication to providing world class support to our clients, and had some fun along the way.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2018:

2018 is going to be a massive growth year for WEtech across the board. More targeted programming in our War Rooms, Cohort Sessions, and Libro ScaleUP. Bigger community impact through Nerd Olympics, Hacking Health, and Tech Week. As well as finding ways to help large organizations become more innovative through IQ. If 2017 was about building, 2018 is about execution, and we could not be more excited for what’s to come. 

LOOKING BACK ON 2017:

As we close another year, I reflect on how WEtech provided opportunities, partnerships and programs to grow stronger companies in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent.

The Nerd Olympic events challenged teams with trivia, jumping, shooting, sliding to victory (or not) both on and off the field! Fun activities that strengthened the Tech community. Tech Week educated, accelerated and celebrated the local tech community as well.

Our Team has passion just like entrepreneurs and together we’re changing the landscape of this region one day at a time.

LOOKING AHEAD TO 2018:

As we ramp up 2018, WEtech’s activities will be robust!

Our activities and programs including; WINnovation, ScaleUP, FIRST Robotics, Hacking Health, MedHealth Summit, Social Media Day, Clean Tech Academy, P2Ps, Nerd Olympic Challenge, and our ever growing Tech Job Board are at the top of our list to continue to grow.

Tech Week will showcase tech leaders and entrepreneurs, researchers, and investors.

Whew… that’s an aggressive whiteboard, but our Team is excited at the prospect of changing the image of YQG in 2018!

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