Reflections & Predictions: A Look Back on 2015 & Ahead to 2016

looking-back-moving-forward---Blog It’s been an incredible year at WEtech Alliance! We asked the team to share their favorite 2015 moments as well as what they’re looking forward to in 2016. Here’s what they had to say.

Yvonne Pilon – President and CEO 

LOOKING BACK ON 2015: How quickly the year goes by! The past year has been a transformative year for WEtech Alliance. New leadership, new board members, new team members, new members, new clients and new activities. Although the list of successes is long, I am personally proud of the launch of WEtech’s quarterly impact results via our WINfographic. This simple graphic highlights the great work our team is doing, the success of our Clients and our combined impact on our region. There’s nothing more exciting for our team to see our Clients make their first sale, hire their first employee, secure angel/private investment, lock down that key partnership, or even expand internationally. Their success is our success and we couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of their journey. Another special memory is the expansion of our entrepreneurial ecosystem with the launch of two new facilities: EPICentre at the University of Windsor and Genesis Centre at St. Clair College. These two new facilities are key pillars to helping us create a vibrant entrepreneurial culture on campus and off. LOOKING AHEAD TO 2016: Growth, growth, and more growth! My predictions are simple. Growing WEtech Alliance and its programs and services. Growing our Client portfolio and successes. And, growing the technology, entrepreneurship and innovation ecosystem with our partners and community. It’s a journey that we know cannot be done in isolation, but in partnership! Bring on 2016!

Deborah Livneh – Entrepreneur-in-Residence

LOOKING BACK ON 2015: My favourite memory is the increased focus on the promising life science sector in our region. WEtech had launched the first ever Cross-border Hacking Health in TechTown Detroit. WEtech has partnered with the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation, the University of Windsor, the hospitals and other community partners to promote the region as THE place to commercialize medical innovations. Operating from Windsor in such close proximity to the US has the potential to facilitate faster adoption of health innovation.   We envision this collaborative initiative will increase development of innovative medical technologies, advance clinical research, attract high value trade and investments, and create attractive high paying careers in our region. My other favorite year-end memories are related to being a part of the dynamic WEtech team, engaging in new ideas, exciting events and always supporting our entrepreneurs in accelerating their businesses. LOOKING AHEAD TO 2016: I am enthusiastic about the opportunity for WEtech to strengthen the collaboration with MaRS Health and with Transform SSO, build a stronger health innovation ecosystem and enhance the support we offer to medtech and e-health startups and SMEs. What excites me most about the New Year is that several startup companies that I have worked with over the past few years, will be making real headway into the market place. As advisor and mentor, it is most rewarding and gratifying to see them acquire paying customers, start generating revenues and become successful! I am looking forward to engage in many new and exciting projects and technologies in the coming year. Happy New Year to all!

Marco Fiori – Business Advisor

LOOKING BACK ON 2015: The best part of 2015 for me was the opportunity to work with WEtech as the newest Business Advisor. I only started in May and it has been a wonderful experience for me. It’s great to be part of such a dedicated team directly contributing to the startup success in the Windsor region. LOOKING AHEAD TO 2016: Looking forward to even better things for 2016.

Irek Kusmierczyk – Director of Partnerships

LOOKING BACK ON 2015: Looking back, I am so proud of the cross-border teamwork behind the successful Hacking Health Windsor Detroit that built bridges between the IT and the health care sector as well as between the tech and entrepreneurial ecosystems on both sides of the border in Windsor and Detroit. LOOKING AHEAD TO 2016: I am looking forward in 2016 to forward thinking WEtech continuing to shape the conversation in our City around entrepreneurship, technology and innovation.

John-Marc Vachon – Director of Programs & Marketing

LOOKING BACK ON 2015: What a year! After having spent the past 17 years with Wendy’s Restaurants, I joined the WEteam in April and immediately hit the ground running. It started on my 1st week on the job with the FIRST Robotics Windsor-Essex Great Lakes Regional tournament, followed by Hacking Health Windsor-Detroit in May & Windsor 180 in June. It’s been an amazing experience so far. From getting to learn about our incredible clients, to discovering & highlighting some of the awesome innovation & “firsts” coming out of this region while working on the WINnovation Map, to helping grow the Social Media Superheroes, to launching an unprecedented collaboration between 16 regional partners with the introduction of the Windsor-Essex Entrepreneur Support Network. LOOKING AHEAD TO 2016: Looking forward, I see 2016 as the “Year of Partnerships”. From shining an even larger spotlight on our amazing clients, to continuing to develop vital cross-border relationships with industry leaders, to working even more closely with the regional alliance ecosystem to develop programming, events and tools to assist our amazing local entrepreneurs. This region is on the rebound and is poised to become a key international innovation hub. A true “Maker City”. I’m very excited for the key role that WEtech will play in making these goals a reality and the opportunity 2016 presents for this region!

Michelle Teno-Wachter – Administration and Member Services


Reflecting on 2015, it’s been amazing watching WEtech’s member and client list grow during this past year.  I truly believe WEtech’s hard work from it’s mighty (but small) team  is  being recognized as a vital part of the network to create jobs in our Region.

As the Administrator for membership, I’m in touch with new members and ask why did they join WEtech? Here are just a few of their responses:
  • I want to connect with other Tech driven individuals
  • It’s the “tech place” to be in the city
  • I want to work with Tech minded individuals, to make changes for our region
  • WEtech is recongnized in teh media as the Tech sector specialists
LOOKING AHEAD TO 2016: WEtech was in the news quite a bit in 2015; but you’re going hear more about us in the upcoming year. We will heighten the Technology sector in our Region; enhancing the opportunities for entrepreneurs to pave the way for growth; because that’s what we do! Looking so forward to the new year; it’s an exciting time for WEtech staff to prove the mighty can and will be mightier.

Uma Venkataramaiah – Director of Social Innovation

LOOKING BACK ON 2015: As a new resident to Windsor, I’m thankful for the opportunity to lend my talent, skills, and passion to the WEtech team to drive social innovation in Windsor-Essex. LOOKING AHEAD TO 2016: To building new partnerships across institutional and sectoral boundaries to unlock new social value.  By enabling our residents to be architects of their own solutions, by providing a platform to leverage talent to solve problems in our communities, and by creating a network of social entrepreneurs working together to find new game changing ways of thinking to help lift people out of poverty, 2016 will be about catalyzing social innovation to build stronger and more resilient communities across Windsor-Essex.

Raymond Tran – Co-op Student

Wow it has been quite some time with WEtech and I’m already having a blast! Working on projects with the team and learning more about each member of the WEteam really enhanced my experience as a co-op student.
One of my favorite memories was the Ping Pong tournament that happened just recently, and how shocked I was to see John-Marc, Irek and Yvonne so pumped up and dressed TOO seriously for the tournament. Man you should have seen Irek’s wig! But time in the office was also amazing, and I am starting to seriously consider being at WEtech for a second semester. The value that is given here overwhelms any opportunity you could get co-oping anywhere else. I don’t think I can ever shut my mouth about WEtech at school!
In WEtech, the way that everybody is constantly growing and the robotics scene coming back once again
after a successful run last year WEtech will surely be successful. The team has a lot of momentum building up and I’m sure with all of their skills and talents and Yvonne constantly growing I believe WEtech will be one of the leading supporters in YQG for a long time. Whether I stay or not best of luck with them!


What were your favourite moments of 2015? What are you looking forward to in 2016? Tweet us @WEtechAlliance!