Author Archives: Invest Ottawa

Sep 8, 2021

New Health and Safety Protocols, Including Proof of Full Vaccination, at Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards and Area X.O

Since the onset of the pandemic, we have worked closely with health authorities to help keep you and our community healthy and safe.  As we continue to combat the challenges presented by the fourth wave of COVID-19, we are committed to taking all steps required to preserve the health and safety of our employees, licensees, guests, and community. This is our top priority.

With a strong focus on this goal and adherence to all provincial requirements, our leadership team is developing a plan for the safe, staged and carefully managed re-opening of our facilities this fall.  We are working closely with health authorities on the initial steps we aim to take following the launch of the Ontario vaccine certificate and verification app on October 22, 2021 (pending pandemic conditions, recommendations, and guidelines). Our facility will remain closed to the public until this time.

I wanted to share the initial protocols we have established to help keep you and all members of our community healthy and safe when we re-open our doors at Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards and Area X.O.

Like many organizations, we are collaborating with experts on all facets of these new policies and how best to implement them. We wanted to share what we know today to help prepare you for a healthy and safe return to our facilities when we are ready. These initial protocols include:

  • Proof of full (double) vaccination required to enter and use our facilities (effective immediately)
    • Full vaccination is considered complete 14 days after a second dose.
    • Until the Ontario vaccine certificate and verification app is launched on Oct. 22, 2021, only employees, licensees, and tenants will be permitted to access and use our facilities.
    • We will engage these members of our community directly to share additional details about how we will manage this critical health and safety protocol effectively and securely.
    • We look forward to welcoming external guests back to our facilities following the launch and implementation of the Ontario vaccine certificate and verification app.
    • In preparation for this step, we will establish and communicate new safety protocols, contract terms and conditions for future space rental, contracted events, and external meetings at our facilities. Event and meeting organizers will be responsible for ensuring and managing proof of vaccination for all participants and guests using Ontario’s official vaccine certificate and verification app.
  • Mandatory completion of the online COVID-19 screening form upon entrance to our facilities
  • Social distancing at least two metres from others; we are reconfiguring key parts of our facilities to support this protocol
  • The provision of hand sanitizer and handwashing stations throughout our facilities, with rigorous and consistent sanitization of high traffic areas
  • A requirement for all individuals to wear masks when moving throughout our facilities until seated with proper social distancing.

We look forward to keeping you apprised of all developments in the days ahead and collaborating with you and all stakeholders on successful implementation.  Should you have any questions along the way, please do not hesitate to reach out to me or any member of our leadership team.

We know these are truly dynamic and unprecedented times. We appreciate your cooperation and support as we chart this critical path and take all steps required to preserve the health and safety of our community.

Sincerely,

Michael Tremblay

President and CEO

Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards and Area X.O

Posted in Blog
Aug 19, 2021

When you know your company’s lifecycle, you’re more prepared and better able to manage risk.

Every company has a lifecycle. Tech businesses, however, tend to move through their lifecycles quicker than the average company. This is primarily because the nature of the technology industry is in and of itself fast-paced, with new products, services and tools coming to market all the time.

In order to ensure that your people and your company are protected every step of the way, you need to know what lies ahead. This way, you can see and recognize the risks that arise at different points in time and help you make informed decisions to protect your business.

 

PHASE 1:  Start-up

You’ve just begun. Your company is pre-revenue and you don’t yet have a product in the marketplace. There’s a small team fueling the business (perhaps even working atop boxes in a garage like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates), and you’re knee deep in the excitement of planning, research, and development.

At this stage, we know it’s likely you haven’t even yet thought about insurance or risk management at any great length – and that’s okay! In the beginning, the most important aspect of your business in need of protection is you, the owner. The best way to accomplish this is to consider an individual disability policy, with employee benefits and life insurance following closely behind.

Wise Insurance Solutions in Phase 1

  • Premises Liability
  • Costs to Recreate Research and Development
  • Key Man Insurance
  • Introduction of Employee Benefits

 

PHASE 2:  Early-stage Growth

You’re starting to earn revenue! At this point, while still limited, you likely have test clients and a beta product in the market. Your team is building and your business is experiencing early growth. It’s possible you also have interested angel investors or venture capitalists.

Oftentimes insurance protection comes in the form of a request from your investors. Be ready for this. Most importantly at this stage, you want to consider protection for your product and since your team is growing larger, it’s time to start focusing on your people. Look at what your competitors are offering for Employee Benefits and make sure you’re competitive.

Perceptive Insurance Solutions in Phase 2 (in addition to Phase 1)

  • Directors & Officers Liability Policy
  • Errors & Omissions Liability / Cyber Security Program
  • Product Liability
  • Buy / Sell Agreement
  • Build-out of Employee Benefits Program to Attract New Talent

 

PHASE 3:  Early Commercialization

Revenue is ramping up and you can feel the momentum of your business growth. Customer, supplier and manufacturer contracts are rolling in, more product is in the marketplace and your team continues to expand. You’ve probably moved into a leased commercial space by now and you have an investor ownership position in place. The name of the game at this stage? Scale.

While you may have been presenting your company in somewhat of an embellished way in phases 1 and 2, now is when you actually grow into that projection. You’re getting noticed in the industry and you may very well have clients requesting particular insurance policies from you. Right now, your best foot forward is with a “Just What You Need” approach so you can preserve your profit margins, while still protecting your company and people.

Discerning Insurance Solutions in Phase 3 (in addition to Phases 1 and 2)

  • Full Property / Business Income Policy
  • Crime Policy
  • Review of Buy / Sell Agreement
  • New and Updated Build-out of Employee Benefits Program to Attract New Talent

 

PHASE 4:  Full Commercialization

Revenues continue to grow, and now you’re expanding your product line as well as the markets you serve. Your team is still building, it’s likely you now have a full-time CFO on staff, and you’re probably considering whether or not the business is ready for an IPO.

Your company is now in its mature stage, and while before you were focused on attracting top talent, now you’re more concerned with keeping that talent because other businesses are trying to recruit people away from you. It’s likely that the valuation of your company is significant at this point, and it’s time for a full spectrum insurance solution.

Comprehensive Insurance Solutions in Phase 4 (in addition to Phases 1, 2 and 3)

  • Updated Build-out of Employee Benefits Program to Retain New Talent
  • Continued Review of Insurance Program
  • Continued Monitoring of Emerging Risk Management Issues
  • Continued Review of Employee Benefits Program as Team Demographics Evolve
  • Exploration of IPO Triggers Specific Considerations for Directors & Officers Liability Program

Your business will grow and evolve quickly over time. A good insurance advisor works collaboratively with you to develop your insurance program at every phase of your company lifecycle.

 

About the Authors

Derrick Wohlfahrt is the Manager of Employee Benefits and Retirement for HUB’s Ottawa Office. Derrick helps his clients understand the needs of their employees and develop benefits programs that support the wellbeing of their employees. With experience in both the Commercial Insurance and Employee Benefits space, Derrick brings a unique perspective to providing solutions to his clients.

Andy Samaroo is a Senior Account Executive on HUB’s Commercial Insurance team. With over 22 years of experience in the property and casualty insurance space, Andy helps his clients assess their business risk and put the right insurance solutions in place. Many of Andy’s clients are emerging and established technology and engineering companies.

 

Why HUB International?

From 50 employees in 1998 to over 13,000 now, HUB International knows scale. Thousands of brokers on our team were once entrepreneurs just like you, which gives us a level of startup expertise that’s hard to beat.

We’re here to ensure that the requirements of your client contracts align with the policies of your insurers. HUB makes a point of staying one step ahead of your needs, so we’re always prepared for what’s coming next and fully aware of emerging risk management trends. Think of us as an extension of your team, helping you grow and scale with confidence, whether you’re in Phase 1 or Phase 4.

 

HUB’s Technology specialists can help entrepreneurs manage current and future risks as you grow. Contact HUB to learn more.

 

 

Aug 19, 2021

Press Release title with AccelerateOTT and Invest Ottawa logos

Women Founders, Investors, Changemakers and Groundbreakers Will Own the Stage at Invest Ottawa’s Flagship Entrepreneurship Conference on October 27

OTTAWA, ONTARIO; August 19, 2021 – Invest Ottawa, lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, today announced that Manjit Minhas, founder of the 10th largest brewery in the world, venture capitalist and co-star of CBC’s Dragons’ Den, will join AccelerateOTT as a keynote speaker on October 27, 2021.

Now in its ninth year, Invest Ottawa’s flagship entrepreneurship conference will have women founders, funders, changemakers and groundbreakers from every walk of life leading from the stage and airwaves. It will serve as the backdrop for the second SheBoot Pitch Competition, where nine amazing women founders will pitch for $200,000 in investment from 20 women angels.

It will also feature a top tier roster of inspirational women leaders from Ottawa, across Canada and around the world who are pushing through the She-Cession driven by COVID-19. They will share actionable insight, strategies and lessons learned from the tech and entrepreneurial trenches during the pandemic. Participants will gain scale-up, revenue, customer, and funding strategies to accelerate growth in any climate. And this year, there is no cost for tickets to ensure this event is as accessible as possible to every member of our community.

Featuring a combination of live and virtual networking, speakers, and pitches, AccelerateOTT 2021 is the first hybrid event of its kind to be delivered by Invest Ottawa. It will safely assemble an approved number of participants live, and many more online, in three locations:

  • Bayview Yards, Ottawa’s one-stop business acceleration shop and innovation hub;
  • Hub 350, the new gateway to Kanata North Tech Park, the largest of its kind in Canada right here in the Capital; and
  • Online, the live streaming experience.

Rigorous public health and safety measures will be in place, and capacity will be limited and carefully managed at Bayview Yards and Hub 350. Invest Ottawa will host a lottery for a permitted number of tickets for both on-site event venues. AccelerateOTT is expected to bring together hundreds of founders, technology developers, innovators, industry leaders, investors and other R&D and business partners virtually from the local, national, and global ecosystem.

Building directly on Invest Ottawa’s five-year strategic plan and Women Founders and Owners Strategy, this six-hour hybrid conference will address critical opportunities and challenges facing entrepreneurs and business owners across our startup and scale-up community. These innovators and companies are key drivers of Canada’s economic growth and job creation.

 

Quotes

“It has been a year of grit and grind for entrepreneurs. Women founders and owners disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.  AccelerateOTT will celebrate resilience, growth, and gains and get real about ongoing challenges, including the need to accelerate the success of diverse and visionary ventures. I’m looking forward to celebrating the inspirational women leaders and courageous founders who have persevered through the pandemic. This conference will enable all participants to leverage their experience, actionable insight and lessons learned, and catalyze their growth and success.”

– Sonya Shorey, Vice President of Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards, and Area X.O; SheBoot Co-Founder and Program Leader

 

“It’s amazing to see AccelerateOTT shining such a spotlight on women founders, owners and investors.  It is an ideal platform for our second SheBoot Pitch Competition. An intensive investment-readiness bootcamp, SheBoot aims to increase Capital for women-owned and led technology or tech-enabled firms. It is a critical objective as women entrepreneurs received only 2.3% of global venture capital in 2020. With the support of 20 committed women angels, nine women founders will compete for $200,000 in investment. I can’t wait to see these amazing entrepreneurs pitch on the AccelerateOTT stage.”

– Jennifer Francis, Investor, Chair of the Capital Angel Network, Director of the Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards Board, and SheBoot Co-Founder and Program Leader

 

“AccelerateOTT is a powerful event because it brings together founders, innovators, industry leaders, and investors and stimulates new ideas, actionable insight and opportunities that propel growth, learning and success. Everyone has been through a lot over the past 18 months.  We all have stories, expertise, and experience to share that make a significant difference in the entrepreneurial journey. I look forward to serving as one of the MCs and panel moderators this year and helping all participants reap immense value from this event. I am inspired by the founders and investors across our ecosystem every day.”

– Julia Elvidge, Investor, Invest Ottawa Advisor, Director of the Capital Angel Network Board, and SheBoot Co-Founder and Program Leader

 

“In 2018, I had the opportunity to participate in AccelerateOTT and get to know Invest Ottawa and many amazing founders and firms across the region. It was an inspiring day that prompted me to engage in this entrepreneurship ecosystem. It has been truly exciting to contribute to the Women Founders and Owners strategy and action plan as a Director and Chair of the associated sub-committee. AccelerateOTT 2021 is another important step in our journey to enable and accelerate the growth and success of women entrepreneurs from every walk of life. I can’t wait to be a part of it.”

–Shav Hasfal-McIntosh, DE&I Consultant on the Bright and Early Team; Founder of SHM Consulting Company Inc.; Director and Chair of the Women Founders and Owners Sub-Committee of the Board, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards

 

“xahive is a cybersecurity company that ensures professionals around the world remain safe and secure in the ever-expanding digital communications space. Our offering includes online cybersecurity governance education and the secure communication tool xamessenger. As a tech company founded in Canada’s Capital, we value the opportunity to collaborate with Invest Ottawa, other founders, investors, and prospective customers in domestic and global markets. AccelerateOTT fosters these opportunities. I am excited to take the stage to share our experience and help fellow entrepreneurs achieve their goals.”

–Sem Ponnambalam, Co-Founder and President, xahive; Author, Online Cybersecurity Governance Instructor

 

“Kanata North Business Association is proud to build on our long-standing collaboration with Invest Ottawa and serve as a strategic event partner for AccelerateOTT 2021. We are thrilled to help bring the vision of this hybrid entrepreneurship conference to life at Hub350. As the gateway to Canada’s largest tech park with more than 540 tech companies, Hub350 strives to create a space that fosters collaboration and connection. This is at the heart of AccelerateOTT. We are also honoured to support an event that directly addresses our shared diversity, equity and inclusion goals.”

–Victoria McGlone, Chief Operating Officer, Kanata North Business Association

 

About AccelerateOTT

Entering its ninth year, AccelerateOTT rallies hundreds of founders, innovators, industry veterans, investors, tech giants, and a host of entrepreneurial partners from Canada’s Capital Region across Canada and worldwide. This one-day flagship entrepreneurship conference hosted by Invest Ottawa strives to equip, connect, and create new opportunities and impact for founders, entrepreneurs, business owners, startups, scaling firms, SMEs, and their partners.  It aims to catalyze their growth and success by addressing key opportunities and challenges facing the startup and scale-up community; providing actionable insight entrepreneurs can put to work; and facilitating relevant investor, customer, and market connections. For additional information, please visit: www.accelerateott.ca

 

About Invest Ottawa

Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally recognized, innovative, inclusive, and future-ready city, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development, global expansion and talent programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include small business training, mentorship, acceleration for technology firms, foreign business and investment attraction, local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors, commercialization, and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life. Invest Ottawa is also the founder and manager of Area X.O, the futureplex of innovation and collaboration. Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and companies; helped firms attract more than $666 million in Capital; contributed to the creation of more than 9,714 jobs; and attracted $862 million in domestic and foreign investment. For additional information, please visit: www.investottawa.ca

 

About SheBoot

SheBoot is a six-week bootcamp based in Ottawa, Ontario that prepares women founders to pitch their business and secure investment. Launched in March 2020 during International Women’s Week by founding organizations Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa, this program aims to help address the funding gap facing women entrepreneurs by increasing the number of women making and receiving investment. Designed and delivered by women investors and entrepreneurs, SheBoot arms technology and technology-enabled startups with fundamental business skills focused on investment and market readiness. It culminates in a pitch competition for a minimum of $100,000 of equity-based Capital. This investment is made by at least ten women investors committed to fueling the next generation of women-owned and led firms. For additional information, please visit: www.investottawa.ca/sheboot

 

About the Capital Angel Network
Founded in 2009, the Capital Angel Network (CAN) has been investing in startups in the National Capital Region over the last decade. Since its inception, CAN members have invested over $30 million into almost 100 early-stage companies, 90 percent of which are based in the National Capital Region. This funding has also leveraged over $250 million in additional investment through government grants, syndication with other angel groups and venture capital funds. The portfolio has now seen nine exits that provided a positive return for investors. The membership base now consists of over 50 Angels, 20 percent of which are women. Our group made ten new and nine follow-on investments totalling $5 million in investment. For additional information, please visit: www.capitalangels.ca/

 

About Kanata North Business Association

Kanata North Business Association (KNBA) is an organization committed to representing and advocating for the best interests of the over 543 member companies located in the area. As a critical part of Ottawa’s economic development future and a renowned hub of technology and innovation, the Kanata North business area is a robust and vital region that can foster even greater success for its constituent companies. Powered by KNBA, Centre, Hub 350 will serve as the gateway for member companies to industry, academia, and finance communities in Canada’s largest technology park. For more information visit: www.kanatanorthba.com

 

Media Contact

Sonya Shorey

Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications

Invest Ottawa, Bayview Yards and Area X.O

613.851.9416

[email protected]

Posted in News, Press Releases
Jun 28, 2021

CAN and IO logos

Ottawa, Ontario – June 29, 2021: The Capital Angel Network (CAN), a group of angel investors in the Ottawa-Gatineau Region, and Invest Ottawa, lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, today announced the ten founders selected for the second cohort of SheBoot, a bootcamp that prepares women entrepreneurs to secure investment. The program will begin this fall and conclude with a pitch competition where the founders will vie for a total of $200,000 in investment from twenty local women angels. Each participating entrepreneur will also receive $10,000 in non-dilutive investment from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) through the Pan-Ontario ScaleUp Platform delivered by Invest Ottawa in the Capital and Eastern Ontario.

 

Invest Ottawa and CAN are delighted to welcome the following ten founders to SheBoot 2021:

 

These founders will participate in a six-week intensive bootcamp that catalyzes the growth, investment potential and long-term success of their startup. It will equip these innovative companies with fundamental business skills, focusing on investment and market readiness. It will also facilitate peer networking and introductions to investors and investor networks at the right time, with a goal to help every founder acquire funding.

 

Designed by women investors and entrepreneurs for women founders, SheBoot aims to help increase capital for women-owned and led technology or tech-enabled firms. The bootcamp seeks to address long-standing systemic challenges in the investment landscape by increasing funding for women founders and the number of women making investments. It is a critical objective as women entrepreneurs received only 2.3 percent of global venture capital in 2020, a number that has declined during a global pandemic that has disproportionately affected women.  Moreover, underfunding women is leaving at least $3 trillion out of the global economy, with one recent Harvard Business Review study suggesting it could add as much as $5 trillion to global GDP.

 

Founded on powerful collaboration, SheBoot harnesses the collective expertise and resources of the Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa, and more than 50 Ottawa women business and tech mentors, investors, and champions.

 

More than 125 companies applied for this round of SheBoot, more than doubling the number of applicants in 2020, the inaugural year of the bootcamp. Following a rigorous, criteria-driven review process, the Capital Angel Network, Invest Ottawa, and participating angel investors selected ten founders for the 2021 cohort. SheBoot champions are now working to connect every single applicant with mentors, opportunities, and programs offered by Invest Ottawa or partners across the country to help accelerate the growth of these firms.

 

The selection of the second cohort caps off an exciting month of SheBoot announcements, including $1.7 million funding secured by Heirlume, the inaugural SheBoot pitch competition winner; the doubling of both private investment (from $100,000 to $200,000) and the number of local women investing in SheBoot (from 10 angels to 20 angels); and a new strategic partnership with Mistral Venture Partners.

 

 

Featured Quotes

“This program was developed by women for women to address deep systemic challenges and investment barriers facing women founders. I am so proud to see what we have been able to accomplish in just one year during a global pandemic that has had a disproportionate impact on women. These ten founders serve as role models for the next generation of women entrepreneurs. We are excited to help them secure the investment required to grow and compete globally.”

Jennifer Francis, Investor, Chair of the Capital Angel Network, Director of the Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards Board, and SheBoot Co-Founder and Program Leader

 

“These founders are creating new technology-enabled solutions for critical sectors of our economy, from life sciences to information and communication technology (ICT), education, digital media, and fintech. They will be joined by a remarkable team of investors, champions and mentors who are committed to fuel the growth and success of more women-owned and led firms. Together, we are moving the needle in the right direction. I can’t wait to see how these founders impact our economy.”

– Julia Elvidge, Investor, Invest Ottawa Advisor, Director of the Capital Angel Network Board, and SheBoot Co-Founder and Program Leader

 

“Just three years ago, Invest Ottawa developed a Women Founders and Owners strategy with a sub-committee of our board. To drive sustainable change, we knew it was critical to address the investment challenges facing women entrepreneurs. Together with CAN, and 50+ women investors and business leaders, we are taking steps towards this goal through SheBoot. We are excited to help all founders in our second cohort acquire capital and promote SheBoot as a model for regions around the world.”

Sonya Shorey, Vice President of Strategy, Marketing and Communications, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards, and SheBoot Co-Founder and Program Leader

 

“The opportunity to participate in the inaugural cohort of SheBoot was invaluable. As a social impact management software company, we strive to help non-profits leverage data to make better decisions. SheBoot enabled us to refine our pitch to prospective customers and investors and secure new deals. Over the last year, we have increased the number of non-profit programs using Bingo from eight to 56, and we are now serving clients from Halifax to Vancouver. We put the knowledge acquired through SheBoot to work every day to grow our business.  I can’t wait to see what the second cohort will achieve.”

-Caitlin Pentifallo Gadd, Founder and CEO, Bingo Impact Management (Ottawa)

 

About SheBoot
SheBoot is a six-week bootcamp based in Ottawa, Ontario, that prepares women founders to pitch their business and secure investment. Launched in March 2020 during International Women’s Week by founding organizations Capital Angel Network and Invest Ottawa, this program aims to help address the funding gap facing women entrepreneurs by increasing the number of women making and receiving investment. Designed and delivered by women investors and entrepreneurs, SheBoot arms technology and technology-enabled startups with fundamental business skills focused on investment and market readiness. It culminates in a pitch competition for a minimum of $100,000 of equity-based capital. This investment is made by at least ten women investors committed to fueling the next generation of women-owned and led firms. For additional information, please visit: www.investottawa.ca/sheboot

 

About the Capital Angel Network
Founded in 2009, the Capital Angel Network (CAN) has been investing in startups in the National Capital Region over the last decade. Since its inception, CAN members have invested over $30 million into almost 100 early-stage companies, 90 percent of which are based in the National Capital Region. This funding has also leveraged over $250 million in additional investment through government grants, syndication with other angel groups and venture capital funds. The portfolio has now seen nine exits that provided a positive return for investors. The membership base now consists of over 50 Angels, 20 percent of which are women. Our group made ten new and nine follow-on investments totalling $5 million in investment. For additional information, please visit: www.capitalangels.ca/

 

About Invest Ottawa
Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally recognized, innovative, inclusive, and future-ready city, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development, global expansion and talent programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include small business training, mentorship, acceleration for technology firms, foreign business and investment attraction, local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors, commercialization, and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life. Invest Ottawa is also the founder and manager of the Area X.O, the futureplex of innovation and collaboration. Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and companies; helped firms attract more than $666 million in capital; contributed to the creation of more than 9,714 jobs; and attracted $862 million in domestic and foreign investment. For additional information, please visit: www.investottawa.ca

 

About FedDev Ontario
For nearly 12 years, FedDev Ontario has actively worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation and growth in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in Southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving their productivity, growing their revenues, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region.

 

About Mistral Venture Partners

Mistral is a seed-stage venture capital firm with offices in Toronto, Ottawa, and California. Mistral is currently investing from their third fund, with a focus on SMB and enterprise software. Since they were founded in 2012, Mistral has invested in more than 30 startups – including companies like Ritual, Symend and Rewind. www.mistralvp.com

 

Media Contact
Sonya Shorey
Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards
613.851.9416
[email protected]

 

Posted in News, Press Releases
Jun 23, 2021

Unveiling the IO Venture Path for every business milestone, and those times in between. IO Ignition, IO Flex, IO Accelerator, IO ScaleUp
The optimized portfolio will help Ottawa’s startups and scaleups shorten their path to success

June 24, 2021 Ottawa, ON – Today, Invest Ottawa unveiled the IO Venture Path, an optimized portfolio of programs designed to help startups and scaleups shorten their path to success and as a result, help create jobs and wealth for the city of Ottawa.

The IO Venture Path includes Invest Ottawa’s existing venture programs including IO Ignition (previously known as the Pre-Accelerator), IO Accelerator and IO ScaleUp, as well as a new addition to the portfolio, IO Flex.

IO Flex was designed and added to address the needs of startups who would be better served by being able to access business resources at a self-directed pace. “We saw a gap where many promising companies were graduating from what is now IO Ignition, but they didn’t have the traction required for the IO Accelerator,” said Michelle Younes, Director of Venture Programs. “IO Flex is the result of listening to our clients and adapting our offerings to better serve their needs.”

The portfolio has also been given a new brand, IO Venture Path, which reflects Invest Ottawa’s commitment to delivering business programs that address the needs of tech companies at every stage of their growth path.

“Entrepreneurship is not a linear journey,” said Nick Quain, Vice President of Venture Development. “Our aim is to support Ottawa’s startup founders throughout their journey, and these changes will enable us to ride shotgun for founders whenever they need us along the way.”

The IO Venture Path portfolio includes the following programs:

  • IO Ignition (previously known as the IO Pre-Accelerator), a highly successful 10-week bootcamp created for entrepreneurs in the ideation stage of a startup
  • IO Flex, a new program designed to provide companies with access to business resources at a self-directed pace
  • IO Accelerator, an intensive program helping early-stage startups fast track to product-market fit
  • IO ScaleUp, designed to help high growth tech companies go global and reach $100 million

Under the IO Venture Path, IO Ignition is the new name for the highly successful IO Pre-Accelerator, one of the busiest cohort-based startup programs in Ottawa. This new brand better reflects the program design, acting as a starting point from which entrepreneurs work to ignite and solidify their innovative ideas.

The IO Accelerator, a cornerstone in the Venture Path portfolio, also saw changes. Going forward, the program will focus on helping companies address four key areas: solidifying their governance framework, stabilizing their product performance, finding product-market fit and accelerating growth. These priorities will act as “phase gates” for companies to follow as they move through the program, towards eventual graduation.

Quick Facts

  • Since 2018, the IO Venture Path portfolio of programs has supported 711 Ottawa startups and scaleups. $519 million in non-diluted and VC investments have been raised and more than 2,200 knowledge-based jobs created to fuel the growth of these companies and Ottawa’s economy.
  • Since 2018, Invest Ottawa has continuously augmented its venture programming to respond to the needs of the companies, including:
    • In 2018, the IO Accelerator was restructured to adopt a more structured and intensive programming.
    • In 2018, IO Ignition (then known as the Pre-Accelerator) was created to address the needs of ideation-stage startups. Since then, 11 cohorts have been hosted and more than 200 startups supported.
    • In 2019, IO ScaleUp was launched to help high-growth tech firms increase their potential to become $100 million-plus companies.

About IO Venture Path

The IO Venture Path is a portfolio of Invest Ottawa’s venture programs designed to help Ottawa’s startups and scaleups shorten their path to success. The IO Venture Path includes four programs:  IO Ignition (previously known as the Pre-Accelerator), IO Flex, IO Accelerator and IO ScaleUp, each designed to serve tech companies’ unique needs at different growth stages. The portfolio provides business resources including advisory services, peer groups, workshops, exclusive events and more at little to no cost to qualifying companies, thanks to the generous support of the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, FedDev Ontario, RBC, Logan Katz and MDK Law.

To learn more about Venture Path programs, visit www.investottawa.ca/venture-path/.

About Invest Ottawa

Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally recognized, innovative, inclusive, and future-ready city, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development, global expansion and talent programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include small business training, mentorship, acceleration for technology firms, foreign business and investment attraction, local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors, commercialization, and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life. Invest Ottawa is also the founder and manager of Area X.O, the futureplex of innovation and collaboration. Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and companies; helped firms attract more than $666 million in capital; contributed to the creation of more than 9,714 jobs; and attracted $862 million in domestic and foreign investment.

For additional information, please visit www.investottawa.ca.

Media Contact
Lucy Lai
Senior Manager, Marketing and Communications
Invest Ottawa
613.290.8464
[email protected]

Posted in Blog
Jun 14, 2021

3 mins | 669 words

by: Jamie-Lynn Kraft

When starting your business, one of the first questions you probably asked yourself was “What do I call it?”  You wanted to pick a name that was unique and made a promise to your customers that you stand behind your products. Since you are the face and soul of the company, it only made sense to put your name on the letterhead. While personal names and surnames can serve as brands (think of some of the most famous fashion houses in the world that are named after a designer), you might be surprised to learn that protecting those brands in Canada can be difficult.

The best way to protect your brand is with a trademark registration. A trademark registration is a certificate granted by the government which gives you the exclusive right to use your trademark anywhere in Canada with your products and services, and to prevent the use by your competitors of trademarks which are confusingly similar.

When considering whether to apply for a trademark registration, it is important to know that not every brand can be registered. The law which governs trademarks in Canada says that certain marks are not eligible for registration, at least not without showing that they have already developed a significant reputation. One type of mark which cannot be registered without establishing reputation is a mark which consists “primarily merely” of a name or surname of an individual who is living or has died in the past 30 years.

What does that mean? Well, if you choose your own surname as the brand for your business (e.g., “Smith”) and you seek to register your name as trademark, then the Canadian Trademarks Office will require you to prove that customers recognize the brand SMITH as pointing exclusively to you, such as through sales, advertising, media references and testimonials. If you cannot establish a reputation, you will be unable to register the mark and it could be very difficult to enforce your brand against others.

Your name (or surname) does not need to be commonplace in order for this barrier to exist. If the Canadian Trademarks Office identifies even one reference to the same name in directories or on social media, it can raise an objection to the registration of the mark.

But what if, when choosing your brand, you add something to your surname which describes your business (e.g., “Smith’s Carrots” and you sell carrots)? While doing so would remove the mark from the realm of being “primarily merely” a name or surname, it could nonetheless run into obstacles when seeking registration.

Another type of mark which is not eligible for registration without a prior reputation is a mark which lacks “inherent distinctiveness”, that is, a mark which does not point to a single source. The Canadian Trademarks Office deems a mark consisting of a name (e.g., “Smith”) plus a descriptive term (e.g., “Carrots”) to lack inherent distinctiveness since the mark could point to any person named “Smith” selling carrots.

So, while there is nothing wrong with using your own name as the brand for your business, if the brand consists solely of your name (or surname) or of your name and a descriptive term, it could be very difficult to protect it through registration. Instead, you might consider adding unique, coined or arbitrary words to your name to create a distinctive, registrable brand.

For further information please contact a member of Smart & Biggar’s Trademark & Brand Protection team.

The preceding is intended as a timely update on Canadian intellectual property and technology law. The content is informational only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. To obtain such advice, please communicate with our offices directly.

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Author:

Jamie-Lynn Kraft, Senior Associate

Jamie-Lynn’s trademark counselling extends beyond protecting brand owners’ valuable IP assets. With a passion for helping businesses grow, Jamie-Lynn advises her clients on strategies to harness the full potential of their brands.

Posted in News, Press Releases
Jun 11, 2021

Invest Ottawa, Digital Main Street, FeDev Canada, and Launch Lab logos

Invest Ottawa and Regional Partners Help Main Street Business in Canada’s Capital and Southeastern Ontario Combat COVID-19

Ottawa, June 11, 2021 – As Ontario moves into the first phase of its reopening plan, many small businesses in Canada’s Capital are building back better with a program the helped them get online and get selling to help them survive multiple shutdowns over the past year.

Thanks to a $42.5 million investment through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) in the Digital Main Street (DMS) platform, small- and medium-sized enterprises across the province received critical support to build an online business and generate new revenue as quickly as possible during the pandemic.

Since July 2020, Invest Ottawa, lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, together with Launch Lab, have been privileged to deliver the DMS Future Proof Program in Ottawa and Southeastern Ontario, and:

  • Support more than 1,700 businesses spanning hospitality, retail, trades, and services; and
  • Hire more than 300 students and new graduates to help deliver the DMS Future Proof Program in this region.

Invest Ottawa extends sincere thanks to all DMS Future Proof champions, ambassadors and regional partners that helped small business owners from every walk of life put this program to work in the face of COVID-19.  This includes the Ottawa Coalition of Business Improvement Areas (OCOBIA) and associated BIAs.

As DMS Future Proof wraps up as scheduled on June 30, 2021, Invest Ottawa is launching a new campaign on June 14th to get people back to their favourite local businesses as they reopen their doors.  Invest Ottawa will continue to support main street businesses as they always have through their Small Business Programs and Services, including mentorship, advisory and consulting services, peer groups, education and events.

 

Quotes

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, a source of local jobs – and local pride. With Government of Canada support, thousands of entrepreneurs across Ontario have adopted and expanded their digital presence and more than 1,400 students have been provided jobs since the launch of this program in June 2020. We are so proud to see the incredible impact our DMS partner organizations are having on small businesses in the region, setting them up for success in the future digital economy.”

-The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

 

“We are honoured to collaborate with FedDev Ontario and partners across our region to help future-proof our main street business and economy. The DMS Future Proof Program has helped more than 1,700 local firms digitally transform their business, maintain jobs and revenue in any economic storm. It has equipped business owners from every walk of life with new digital business models and strategies to drive growth. This will help propel our economic recovery.”

-Michael Tremblay, President and CEO, Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards

 

“I own several businesses in the Ottawa Area, including two Global Pet Food stores and a Freshii. My businesses are in two of the hardest-hit sectors during the pandemic. Thanks to the DMS Future Proof Program, we had the opportunity to leverage digital marketing professionals, technologies, and support to drive online sales. We closed our year in our pet food stores with a 20 percent year-over-year increase over previous years. After being open for a decade, that is unheard of. I attribute this greatly to the support of the DMS Future Proof Program.”

-Karla Briones, Serial Entrepreneur, Business Owner, and 2018 Immigrant Award Winner, City of Ottawa

 

“I was not expecting such an in-depth review. All aspects that were covered have been a very welcome change and will definitely help me to meet the new digital side of today’s business requirements. I cannot thank you enough for ALL the help and tutelage that was given.”

– Paul Castonguay, Paul’s Bistro (Kemptville)

 

“The team was great to work with – they not only provided me with useful content, but also with the knowledge and skill development I needed to improve my digital business marketing efforts going forward, which is especially beneficial these days when it’s more important than ever to stand out online. I’m grateful for their efforts and so glad I signed up for the Future Proof program!”

– Dana Deathe, The Book Lady (Fenelon Falls)

 

“The DMS Future Proof team was better than I could have expected. I didn’t even realize all of the work that goes into digital marketing. Having someone focusing on such specific areas of the business was hugely educational and has left me with the resources I need to succeed.”

-Owais Khan, Founder, Ottawa Samosa

 

“Being a small business, it was very difficult to cope with the pandemic and know what strategy to take. The DMS Future Proof came at just the right time. It provided us with expert advice, support and education that is paramount to business success. Izere Coffee is now in a position to expand its activities and products and grow our business online.”

-Deborah Ntawigirira, Founder and CEO, Izere Coffee (Ottawa)

 

“Having a team of experts support me, answering every question I had, really supplemented my existing knowledge. The team created a strategy specifically for my unique business model that worked with my approach and experience.”

-Jessica Oliver, Owner, MUST Boutique (Ottawa)

 

“The information I got from this program holds SO much value. From graphic design to the mood board and customer personas created. These were things I knew I needed, but never got around to. I’m forever grateful for all of your help!”

– Holly Patenaude, Dental Hygiene on Location (Prescott)

 

“Our team is grateful for having access to the Digital Squad. They helped us revamp our website, which has allowed us to capture more useful metrics while improving our guest experience. They taught us the intricacies of SEO and the importance of having a consistent tone across our website.”

– Storm Patterson, Kingston Axe Throwing

 

“It was an honour to have worked with the transformation team. Anyone can get online traffic, but the resources I gained from the Future Proof Program will help us retain that attention.”

-Jon Ruby, Co-Founder, Carlington Booch (Ottawa)

 

About the DMS Future Proof Program

Building on Toronto’s foundational investments into Digital Main Street, including ShopHERE, the DMS Future Proof Program equipped Ontario businesses with new digital capabilities, expertise, and support. It helped main street companies navigate the COVID-19 crisis by enabling them to leverage digital marketing teams and technologies, develop e-commerce and online strategies, and establish new business models to access broader domestic and global markets, customers, and revenue.

Employing digital marketing students and experts, this program helped facilitate the digital transformation and ongoing operation of main street companies in hospitality, retail, trades, and services.  In Ottawa and SouthEastern Ontario, the program served small business owners from every walk of life in Canada’s Capital, the St. Lawrence Seaway (including Brockville, Cornwall, and surrounding areas), Kingston Region (including Belleville and Napanee) and Peterborough County. For additional information, please visit: https://www.investottawa.ca/digital-main-street/

 

About Invest Ottawa

Invest Ottawa is the lead economic development agency for knowledge-based industries in Canada’s Capital, facilitating economic growth and job creation in Ottawa. Guided by a vision to help realize Ottawa’s full potential as a globally recognized, innovative, inclusive, and future-ready city, Invest Ottawa delivers venture development, global expansion and talent programs and services that catalyze the growth and success of entrepreneurs and firms. These include small business training, mentorship, acceleration for technology firms, foreign business and investment attraction, local business retention and expansion in targeted sectors, commercialization, and marketing Ottawa’s diversified economy and high quality of life. Invest Ottawa is also the founder and manager of the Area X.O, the futureplex of innovation and collaboration. Since 2012, Invest Ottawa has worked with thousands of entrepreneurs and companies; helped firms attract more than $666 million in capital; contributed to the creation of more than 9,714 jobs; and attracted $862 million in domestic and foreign investment. For additional information, please visit: www.investottawa.ca

 

About Launch Lab

Launch Lab is a Regional Innovation Centre, a provincially funded network of resources for entrepreneurs. As a RIC, Launch Lab’s regional boundaries consist of most of southeastern Ontario (Trenton, down to Picton, over to Cornwall, and back up and around through Smiths Falls and Bancroft). Launch Lab’s head office is in Kingston and has a team of Entrepreneurs In Residence (EIRs) that operate throughout the region. Launch Lab’s purpose is to foster entrepreneurship and the commercialization of innovations to help build globally competitive companies in Eastern Ontario.  For additional information, please visit: https://www.launchlab.ca/

 

About FedDev Ontario

For nearly 12 years, FedDev Ontario has actively worked to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation and growth in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in Southern Ontario businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving their productivity, growing their revenues, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region.

 

 

Media Contact

Sonya Shorey

Vice President, Strategy, Marketing and Communications

Invest Ottawa and Bayview Yards

613.851.9416

[email protected]