The University of Windsor’s EPICentre, a haven for entrepreneurs, is fast gaining a global reputation as an incubator for companies seeking to establish themselves in a globally competitive marketplace.
Prior to COVID-19, the latest two to set up offices here in Windsor were InLogic Global and GaiaDigits Inc.
Wen Teoh, director of the EPICentre, said both companies made contact via third party connections who recognized the value of EPICentre’s programs which include mentoring advice, availability of qualified students preparing to enter the workforce, office space, workshops and networking opportunities.
“We’re a one-stop shop in many ways because we can provide a wide range of services and opportunities for entrepreneurs seeking to become established,” said Teoh.
InLogic, founded by Yahya Shunar in Dubai five years ago, is a one-stop shop for business owners seeking web development, mobile app development, event management, survey management and award excellence management.
The company now has more than 300 clients including Samsung, LG and a number of government departments and organizations.
“The EPICentre provides a lot of support for start-ups,” explains Yahya Shunnar of InLogic. “We have access to talented students, professors who can provide mentoring advice, office space and there are great opportunities for networking.”
Shunnar said that WEtech Alliance is one of the biggest reasons for InLogic establishing a footprint in Windsor because of the services they provide for small startups.
“We’re still setting up our office and adding to our workforce but I am happy with what we have achieved so far,” said Shunnar. “From here, we can develop a client base anywhere in Canada.”
GaiaDigits provides cloud-based time and attendance solutions, workplace scheduling and analytics as well as workforce onsite management.
Over the past 10 years, GAIA has gained more than 1,000 customers and is considering setting up a research and development centre in Windsor as well as expansion into South America and Europe.
“The price of our office space is very reasonable which is attractive for startups,” explains Cheng Ye, co-founder and president of GaiaDigits. “There are also a lot of resources available to us including talented students, professors who can provide mentoring advice and networking opportunities.”
“Our business sector is dominated by three or four large companies and our goal over time is to break into the top three,” said Ye of GaiaDigits future goals.
Teoh said that the EPICentre’s legal triage program is also popular among start-ups because it provides free legal assessments and information from law school students.
“They meet individually with clients, under the supervision of a law professor, and provide information about filing patents, registering trademarks, writing contracts and intellectual property protection,” said Teoh. “The information allows our clients to prioritize their legal needs before they meet with a lawyer.
Although the EPICentre remains closed due COVID-19, both the co-working space and companies are working on innovative solutions to address the new normal.
Most recently GaiaDigit announced the launch of GaiaScreen, a health status self-screening application for essential businesses. Employees can self-assess by answering questions and sync responses with management instantly. Mangers can then remind people with potential symptoms to self isolation and/or change their schedules to handle the workforce shortage.
Similar to GaiaDigit, InLogic Global is also adapting.
“Inlogic Global has released new features for organisations to better connect with their customers” said Adam Castle, Director of Venture Services at WEtech Alliance. “Using a survey management system, Inlogic hopes to offer new and current customers the ability to gain meaningful insights through data collection.”
Despite their doors being closed, EPICentre continues to support its current and future members.
“During this difficult time, EPICentre continues to support our startups by waiving their monthly membership fees while delivering all other services virtually.” said Teoh. We recently launched the EPIC Start Up Sustainability Fund, supported by FedDev Ontario’s Community Economic Development and Diversification Stream, for our startups who are working in the mobility sector or those who are bringing solutions to combat COVID-19 challenge in the community.”