Announcing Our New Intern: Welcome Marcus Deans!

This week we’re excited to welcome Marcus Deans to the team as our new Summer Intern.

Marcus currently attends Academie Ste. Cecile in Windsor and is looking forward to learning more about the technology and business world as part of WEtech Alliance. Outside of school, Marcus volunteers with the Canadian Cancer Society, the Windsor-Essex Community Foundation, and the City of Windsor. He has also served in several leadership positions at youth-run companies as part of Junior Achievement. Marcus also enjoys science and has ranked internationally in youth science competitions as part of Team Canada.

He’ll be with us throughout the summer and will be reporting on his experience in our inaugural CleanTech Academy class through his CleanTech Blog posts.

Welcome to the team, Marcus!

WEtech Alliance Launches Cleantech Academy

(Windsor, Ontario) – Tuesday July 4th, 2017 – WEtech Alliance has launched the first Cleantech Academy in Windsor-Essex.

The initiative – made possible through an Ontario 150 Partnership Program grant and support from seventeen industry and community partners – introduces thirty high school students from the region to the clean technology sector.

CLEANTECH is one of the fastest growing, innovative sectors of the economy worth an estimated $1 trillion globally.  In Canada – the cleantech sector employs over 55,000 people across 800 companies – which means it employs more people than the forestry, pharmaceutical and medical device sectors, and has more companies than automotive and aerospace.

“We encourage our young people to consider career paths that will lead them to the doorstep of innovative local companies and organizations that are globally recognized and leading the charge in this dynamic sector, ” says Yvonne Pilon, President and CEO of WEtech Alliance.  “Cleantech Academy is the first step along that road.”

Students from thirteen area high-schools – including the United Way’s On Track to Success program – will participate in the weeklong Cleantech Academy, which includes on-site tours and seminars led by local companies and organizations such as Union Gas, GLIER, FCA Canada and CS Wind Canada. Cleantech Academy culminates in a Boat Tour of the Detroit River featuring seminars on environmental issues.

For more information on Cleantech Academy visit: www.wetech-alliance.com/cleantech.

Media Contact:

Dr. Irek Kusmierczyk, PhD

Director of Partnerships

WEtech Alliance

519.990.3132

ikusmierczyk@wetech-alliance.com

Celebrating 150 Years of Canadian Innovation

A CTV Windsor feature on our CANnovation project.

 

Launched in January 2017, our CANnovation project celebrates our rich history of Canadian innovations and innovators from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

The CANnovation Project is posted at Instagram.com/CANnovation and in our CANnovation album on Facebook.

 

Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit III Wows

The word has gotten out.

Well over one-hundred creative and collaborative professionals and students from the health, tech and business worlds came together over the May 5th weekend for the third annual Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit.

There were doctors, nurses and hospital administrators as well as programmers, graphic designers, entrepreneurs and investors.

They spent the weekend dreaming up, designing and demonstrating innovative solutions to everyday health care challenges, while building business cases around their vision.

Some of the team leads drove two hours from London, Ontario.  Others came from Ann Arbor, Michigan.  Most were from the greater Detroit and Windsor metropolitan area.

Christopher Bricio flew in from Guadalajara, Mexico – a biomedical engineer and project leader from the local Hacking Health chapter looking to bring best practises from Windsor-Detroit back to Guadalajara as they prepare their first event.

Christopher Bricio (3rd from right) from the Guadalajara, Mexico chapter of Hacking Health, meeting with some of the Windsor-Detroit organizers in Hacker HQ.

Teams had the opportunity to pitch in front of a star-studded panel of judges that included Jacqlyn Smith from the Detroit Medical Center, Dr. Steve Bartol from Henry Ford Innovations Institute and Lindsay Aspegren a venture investor at North Coast.

“Technology entrepreneurship moves forward when tech is connected to real people with real challenges,” says Paul Riser, Managing Director of Technology Based Entrepreneurship at co-organizer TechTown Detroit. “Hacking Health does that in spades, and the solutions and startups it generates backs that up.”

Windsor-based teams showed very well.

Mandeep Bumbra – a Registered Nurse and University of Windsor Odette School MBA – took home a prize powered by the Detroit Regional Chamber of Commerce and Office Depot – which includes tickets to the Detroit Policy Conference.

Bumbra’s Project LEAP focused on eradicating leprosy with the help of a mobile application.

A team led by Morgan Rosenberg, from TechAlliance in London, scored a prize sponsored by the University of Windsor Odette School of Business for his mobile application called Supports – which provides support to individuals facing mental health crises.  The award includes four tickets to the renown Georgie Odette Leadership Conference 2017.

Supports also received three months of co-working space at Grand Circus.

Members of the Supports team proudly displaying their 2 awards

A team of University of Windsor and St. Clair College students called MediMeals received the prize sponsored by the University of Windsor EPICentre which includes entry into the prestigious EPIC Founders accelerator program valued at $6000.

MediMeals also went home with the People’s Choice Award that included two Airtame media streaming devices courtesy of Audacia Bioscience and two Amazon Echoes powered by TechTown and WEtech.

Finally, Lisa Jacobs – who is part of the Libro StartUP accelerator program – took home Customer Validation Engagement consultation sponsored by SearchLite for her mobile application called ClinicSeeker.

I am always amazed at how Hacking Health continues to serve as a bridge, connecting people across the tech and health care sector but also across our region and beyond

Yvonne Pilon, President and CEO of WEtech Alliance, one of the co-founding organizations of Hacking Health Windsor Detroit.

As if to highlight the diversity of professionals at Hacking Health, the Overall Judges Prize went to the Dystexia/Stroke App – which was presented by Darnell Stewart, who is a Fire Captain with Detroit Fire Department.

Captain Stewart received entry into the Entrepreneurial Bootcamp at Ann Arbor SPARK as well as commercialization consultation with the University of Michigan Fast Forward Medical Innovation.

“Hacking Health provides WEtech clients with an opportunity to meet investors, potential clients, and other business support organization on both sides of the US-Canada border,” says Dr. Irek Kusmierczyk, Director of Partnerships at WEtech Alliance.  “Right away they learn to operate with the US and Canadian markets in mind, and draw from cross-border talent and resource pools.”

Plans are already underway for Hacking Health IV – which will travel back across the Detroit River to Windsor in 2018.

Hacking Health Windsor Detroit would not be possible without the generous support from Windsor Regional Hospital, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare, Leamington District Memorial Hospital, the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation and the University of Windsor as well as the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs and the Ontario Centres of Excellence.

WEtech Alliance Provides $6,500 in Funding through the WINnovation Fund to Two of Its Portfolio Companies

WINnovation Recipient, RF Kinetics

WEtech is pleased to announce that it has provided direct dollars through the WINnovation Fund totaling $6,500 to two of its clients. Formerly known as the Regional Advisory Service Fund (RASF), startup related activities undertaken by clients included specialized service provider support, search engine optimization, product development and testing, and marketing/communications activities.

The Q2 recipients include:

  • Brewin’ Bros Beverage Co. is not just a coffee shop in Windsor providing great service and local support, they are a company seeking to grow locally, provincially, nationally and internationally selling their innovative active charcoal teas.
  • RF Kinetics combines innovative design and manufacturing to produce high-quality, novel, and competitively priced devices for minimally invasive electrosurgery. They currently offer three lines of products: Vessel Sealing: Generator and Seal-n-Cut Forceps, Electrosurgical Burn Prevention Access Device: Scannula and Monopolar Hand Instruments: Modular and Disposable devices.

    WINnovation Recipient, Brewin’ Bros Beverage Co.

The WINnovation Fund is supported by the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). The ONE is made up of regional and sector focused organizations that WEtech Alliance is proud to represent for the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent Regions and is designed to help Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their companies to facilitate job creation.

Register now for Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit III

Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit breaks down barriers to healthcare innovation by bringing together IT and healthcare professionals across the US-Canada border to collaborate, dream up & design apps for patient-centric care.

The first Windsor-Detroit Hacking Health was held at TechTown Detroit – an innovation hub just five minutes from the border in May, 2015. Building on that success Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit II crossed the border into Windsor May 13-15, 2016 which was held at the Toldo Health Education Centre at the University of Windsor.

Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit III once again returns to TechTown Detroit May 5-7, 2017.

REGISTER TODAY!

This event sells out every year. Reserve your spot by registering below!

WEtech Is Graduating and Starting a New EPIC Journey

February 22, 2017

WEtech Alliance is graduating out of the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator.

The Regional Innovation Centre for Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent has spent five years at the Accelerator supporting the growth of tech companies as well as cultivating a community of innovation and entrepreneurship in the region.

“Like many startups, WEtech Alliance found its strength and built its network of partnerships at the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator,” says Yvonne Pilon, President and CEO of WEtech Alliance. “It is time to yield that space to other startups that can benefit from such support”.

Arthur Barbut, Manager Director at the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator, says there are companies lining up to enter the Accelerator, which is a sign the local economy is gaining strength and that the Accelerator’s services are in demand.

“At its heart, the mission of the Accelerator is to incubate businesses, so in a way we are returning to our core mandate,” says Barbut. “But the partnership with WEtech will remain strong, and we remain proud of our role incubating a key business support organization for our region.”

As of March 1st, 2017, WEtech Alliance is moving their office to the Entrepreneurship Practice and Innovation Centre – EPICentre – at the University of Windsor (2455 Wyandotte St W. Windsor, Ontario), which is an on-campus entrepreneurship centre and business incubator for student start-ups.

WEtech will continue to work with tech and innovation businesses of all ages, all sectors and stages across our entire region, says Pilon, who looks forward to new possibilities.

“We are excited about the opportunity to strengthen WEtech’s partnership with the EPIcentre, the University of Windsor and the Windsor Essex Economic Development Corporation just next door”, she says.

The EPICentre – home to 9 incubator members and 17 discovery members – has engaged with more than 1,100 students in the past 6 months. EPICentre’s mission is more about engaging faculty and students and developing an entrepreneurial culture/skillsets on campus.

“We have collaborated with WEtech Alliance on a number of initiatives and events, and we often support the same startups along their journey to commercialization,” says Executive Director Dr. Francine Schlosser. “Our strengths and resources complement each other nicely and that benefits companies in our region”.

WEtech Alliance works with over 125 clients representing sectors such as manufacturing, clean tech, advanced health, agriculture and digital media and ICT.

WEtech Alliance Provides Over $5,000 in Funding through the WINnovation Fund to Two of Its Portfolio Companies

Marc Mckale, President of Innovative Distilling Technologies Inc. accepts the WINnovation Fund cheque from WEtech Alliance Entrepreneur-in-Residence Deborah Livneh

 

WEtech is pleased to announce that it has provided direct dollars through the WINnovation Fund totaling $5,500 to two of its clients. Formerly known as the Regional Advisory Service Fund (RASF), startup related activities undertaken by clients included specialized service provider support, search engine optimization, product development, and marketing/communications activities.

The Q2 recipients include:

  • Simplifly is a business that provides customers with an email list that connects people with mistake airfares. For more information, visit www.simpliflyclub.com.
  • Innovative Distilling Technologies has developed a Barrel Cap device used for the matured spirits industry. Has applied for Provisional Patent application. The device can greatly assist with the processes of emptying and refilling the barrels for maturing.

The WINnovation Fund is supported by the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE). The ONE is made up of regional and sector focused organizations that WEtech Alliance is proud to represent for the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent Regions and is designed to help Ontario-based entrepreneurs rapidly grow their companies to facilitate job creation.

Quotes

“It was a pleasure to meet with the WEtech Alliance team and have the opportunity to present our business plan. This funding will allow us to move forward with our business development and concentrate on our next business milestone. On behalf of Dan and myself,  we thank you for your interest and support with this endeavor.” Mark McKale, President – Innovative Distilling Technologies.

Thom Malone of Simplifly accepts the WINnovation Fund cheque from WEtech Alliance President and CEO Yvonne Pilon

WEtech Alliance Launches Social Innovation Toolkit

Windsor, ON – A new toolkit has been launched to help foster social innovation across Windsor-Essex.
This first-of-its-kind toolkit will provide information for non-profits and entrepreneurs wanting to create innovative new products, services or approaches that address social challenges.
The comprehensive toolkit includes:

Social Enterprises have been recognized as an important social innovation tool by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Growth, which launched a social enterprise strategy to accelerate their growth.

The more than 10,000 social enterprises already in Ontario are helping reduce poverty, protect the environment, build stronger communities and create jobs.

“We are very excited to provide these tools to entrepreneurs and non-profit organizations,” states Yvonne Pilon, President & CEO WEtech Alliance. “These resources will help inform and ignite even more innovation across our region.”

The Social Innovation Toolkit is one of several programs of the Windsor-Essex Social Innovation Project, funded by the Ontario Trillium Foundation.
Interested in learning more about Social Innovation? For a presentation, please contact:
Cathy Mombourquette
Project Manager, Social innovation

WEtech Alliance Welcomes Social Innovation Advisor Adam Frye

Adam Frye, Social Innovation Advisor

WEtech Alliance is pleased to welcome Adam Frye to the team as Social Innovation Advisor.

Over the past 5 years Adam has worked extensively in the startup space in Waterloo and Toronto, both as an early employee in a high growth social enterprise, as well as a startup coach and mentor for young entrepreneurs. His values can be summed up in 3 quick sentences. Find your passion. Relentlessly pursue it. Help others to do the same.

Adam brings a wealth of hands on experience from working inside a high growth startup, specifically the social enterprise, Textbooks for Change. Adam’s role as the Director of Business Development at Textbooks for Change role was to develop unique growth strategies to hit their expansion targets, while at the same time coaching and leading their quickly expanding sales team. Over the last two years Textbooks for Change has grown from 4 employees to 16, had revenues of over 2M, and grown their partner base 300%.

As a startup coach and mentor Adam has helped startups go from product market fit to closing that first, 100th, and 1000th deal.  His goal is always to help build repeatable and sustainable systems and back end processes that allow young startups to blossom into thriving companies. He has participated in, and has been a part of designing several high end accelerators, including Impact 8, Ascent, the Laurier LaunchPad, Greenhouse, among a few others. Tangible, is the best way to describe Adam’s coaching philosophy.


WEtech Launches CANnovation Project in Celebration of Canada’s 150th Anniversary

Last May, the Governor General of Canada – Rt. Hon. David Johnston – boldly stated in a Globe and Mail op-ed that “in a nation of innovators, it’s time to foster a culture of innovation”.

We agree.

On the 150th anniversary of the birth of another great idea – Canada – we celebrate the stories of 150 Canadian innovations and innovators from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

We invite all Canadians to submit their favourite inventions or innovators – or the ones hailing from their hometowns – to be posted as part of the CANnovation Project.

Submissions can be sent to info@wetech-alliance.com (subject line: CANnovation) or on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram using #CANnovation.

The CANnovation Project will be posted at Instagram.com/CANnovation and in our CANnovation album on Facebook.

WEtech Hosts Libro at Downtown Accelerator

WEtech Alliance was delighted to host Lori Atkinson – Regional Manager, Essex Kent for Libro Credit Union – at the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator.

Lori had the opportunity to tour the accelerator and meet with several of the companies that call the Accelerator home – such as Witeck, Grasshopper, A1 Fingerprinting, Rivera Building Maintenance.

As well, Lori was introduced to WEtech Alliance clients Powerball Technologies, Eat DrinX and 3DFX – and tried out their innovative products and services including virtual and augmented reality.

More than just a home for business – Lori had the opportunity to chat with the Enactus group of students from the Odette School of Business who run the City Thrive program that provides entrepreneurial support for Windsor residents on social assistance.

In addition – Lori got a chance to test out her three-point range with the Windsor Express.

All in all – an excellent morning that strengthened the growing partnership between Libro Credit Union, WEtech Alliance and the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator.

Last but certainly not least  – the application for the Libro StartUP program will go live within the next week!  Announcement coming soon – so check back with us.

High School Students Learn Surgery with Robots

Fifteen high school students from across Windsor and Essex County spent a Saturday morning at Windsor Regional Hospital in the Operating Room with the innovative multi-million dollar Da Vinci surgical robot.

The Robotics Surgery Day is a collaboration between WEtech Alliance, Windsor Regional Hospital, and Minogue Medical Inc. – the company that distributes the Da Vinci in Canada.  Windsor Cancer Centre Foundation, which led the fundraising that helped bring the Da Vinci to Windsor-Essex, also supported the initiative.

“We want to inspire the next generation of surgeons, biomedical engineers and health tech entrepreneurs,” says Yvonne Pilon, President and CEO of WEtech Alliance.  “How many people – including doctors – actually get to say they used the Da Vinci?”

There are approximately 22 DaVinci surgical robots in Canada – and this was the first time a group of Canadian high school students had an opportunity to use this rare piece of technology.

Windsor Regional Hospital CEO David Musyj was on hand to share insights about the different paths that lead to careers in hospitals and healthcare.

“There are so many career paths that lead into healthcare, including doctors and nurses of course, but also engineers, computer programmers, business majors and communications to name just a few” says Musyj.  “Hospitals are like the Olympics in terms of the variety of disciplines it brings together.”

Minogue Medical technical and clinical specialists led the demonstrations on the Da Vinci and also on an additional surgical skills simulator shipped for the event.

Two Second Year medical students from the Schulich School of Medicine – Michael Ferrato and Thien Dang – introduced students to a portable ultrasound device and offered themselves up as the test patients, while also sharing their journeys through school.


For complete coverage – follow links to the following media:

Windsor Star

CTV Windsor

WEtech Partners with Healthy@Work: A collaboration of Priority Health and Crain’s Detroit Business

healthyatworkjpg

Healthy@Work: Engaging the Millennial generation

The Millennial generation could prove to be the most productive and creative generation in history. But, it’s proved to be an enigma for many companies so far. Engaging this generation in the health care discussion is no exception.

They have unique needs preferences and expectations.  Many of them are choosing to not purchase coverage and do not find value in the services delivered by health care companies.  They do not, in general, have strong brand affinity and value innovation, strong social connection and technology.

What services and capabilities should a health care delivery system develop to attract and retain this new market?

Challenge:

Healthy@Work is a collaboration of Priority Health and Crain’s Detroit Business, in partnership with TechTown, Hacking Health and WEtech Alliance.

We are seeking ideas, which can be implemented within six months, to solve this problem. New ventures, startups or collaborations are invited to apply.

Three finalists will present to the 400 to 600 executives at the Crain’s Health Care Summit on Nov. 17.

If you have questions or comments about this application, please reach out to Daniel Duggan, managing editor of custom and special projects and Crain’s Detroit Business at dduggan@crain.com or (313) 446-0414.

Libro Credit Union and WEtech Team Up to Support Startups

libroCU

September 1, 2016 – Windsor, ON

When Rebecca and Emmanuel looked to add a 3D printer to grow their Windsor-based braille printing company – Tactile Vision Graphics – they quickly learned Ontario’s entrepreneurial support grants mainly targeted youth.

Libro Credit Union is partnering with WEtech Alliance to bridge this important gap by establishing the Libro StartUP accelerator program that provides financial and mentoring support to startup entrepreneurs of all ages in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent.

Libro StartUP is made possible through a generous $50,000 grant from the Libro Prosperity Fund.

“What’s special about the Prosperity Fund is that decisions are made locally and reflect the communities we serve,” said Stephen Bolton, Head Coach, President and CEO of Libro Credit Union. “This is a tremendous opportunity to support innovative startup entrepreneurs in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent, aligned with our vision of growing prosperity across southwestern Ontario.”

More than just funding, Libro StartUP is an accelerator program that will provide intensive business mentoring through WEtech Alliance while connecting entrepreneurs to WEtech’s global network of partners.

“This innovative partnership is born out of a passion for community and a commitment to supporting the growing community of startup entrepreneurs in our region,” says Yvonne Pilon, President and CEO of WEtech Alliance.

WEtech Alliance and Libro Credit Union are looking to recruit five startup entrepreneurs who will be invited to start the program on January 1, 2017.

Interested applicants for Libro StartUP are encouraged to check the WEtech Alliance website www.wetech-alliance.com by mid-September for application information.

In the meantime, for more information on Libro StartUP please contact:

 

Irek Kusmierczyk, PhD

Director of Partnerships

WEtech Alliance

519.997.2848

ikusmierczyk@wetech-alliance.com

 

For information on Libro or the Libro Prosperity Fund, please visit libro.ca/Community/ProsperityFund.

 

About Libro Credit Union: Libro is Ontario’s third largest credit union with $3.8 billion in assets under administration and more than 100,000 Owners across southwestern Ontario. As a co-operative financial institution with more than 70 years of history, Libro supports the well-being of people, businesses and communities by providing high-quality financial coaching and profit sharing. Recognized as a 2016 Platinum Level Aon Best Employer in Canada, Libro is proud to support The Prosperity Project, which aims to grow prosperity in southwestern Ontario by mobilizing and inspiring collaboration, strengthening the financial health of people, families and businesses, and investing in our communities to help the region prosper together. Libro offers a full range of financial products and services for consumers, businesses and farms, including savings and chequing, investing, and borrowing. Great service can be experienced through 31 branches, online, telephone, mobile devices and a network of 4,000 ATMs across Canada. For more information, visit libro.ca/media.

 

About WEtech Alliance: WEtech Alliance is Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent’s Technology Accelerator; an industry-led non-profit organization focused on driving the growth and success of technology centric companies and entrepreneurs through leadership, connections and promotion. WEtech strives to identify, find solutions and foster the development of the technology industry in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent by engaging companies in the technology and innovation sector, as well as companies who utilize technology.