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IO-Report: Summer 2016
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IO-Report: Summer 2016

The summer is finally here and although it’s the perfect time for vacationing and lounging by the beach, the Ottawa ecosystem never takes a day off! Here are a few of our highlights from the past months.
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#OttawaInc – Legend

Mobile technology is now so ubiquitous; society at large has grown accustomed to any good, service or piece of information being available with the simplest of swipes. Its impacted industries of all breeds, as companies race to provide end users with the solutions they need. While other global players battle for screen time in the realms of transportation, accommodation and romance, Legend from the UK, has quietly been building a software empire within an industry ripe for transition.
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Blog Life Science OttawaInc

OttawaINC: SpartanBio

In their recent report, the Ontario Bioscience Innovation Organization (OBIO), a non-profit dedicated to positioning the province as a world leader in health science technology, declared that in order to capitalize on the $9-Trillion dollar Global Health Economy, Canada must facilitate an environment of innovation and growth. The report stated that Canadian companies are competitive players but not differentiated, ultimately making it difficult to stand out on a global stage. But the Ottawa start-up community is ready to change this. Strong government support and leading academic institutions offer a wide talent pool, research facilities, and funding possibilities to companies in the Nation’s capital. As an example, MedDev Commercialization Centre (MDCC) is helping corporations bring their products to the global market by reducing barriers to commercialization. The City of Ottawa is bolstering innovation, and Invest Ottawa is facilitating relationships for the Life Sciences sector in foreign markets. It’s perfect timing for Ottawa’s Spartan Bioscience to bring its next-generation device to the market.
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Bayview Yards Innovation Centre Announcement
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Bayview Yards Innovation Centre Announcement

Over 350 people gathered at the site of the Bayview Innovation Center Wednesday for the unveiling of an $8 Million dollar injection from the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario.) The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development delivered the announcement and was joined by representatives from all levels of government. “The Government of Canada is focused on supporting businesses to obtain the tools they need to succeed. We are doing this by investing in smart, collaborative partnerships that fuel growth. This project will open doors for a number of small and medium-sized businesses in high-growth sectors, and will lead to the development of innovative products and technologies here in our Nation’s capital.”
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#OttawaInc: TradeDesk

The on-demand workforce is becoming very prevalent in today’s society. Consumers want fast, convenient services and hordes of temporary employees are lining up to fill their demands. Need a ride? A contracted driver will arrive at your doorstep within minutes. Having trouble building your Ikea bookcase? A personal handyman can come to your house to assemble it for you. Yes, the industry is filled with services & workers that are vying to meet the needs of consumers. But what if you’re a company that’s in need of a part time worker? TradeDesk is the next up-and-coming contender in the on-demand marketplace. They service the trades industry to connect skilled job seekers such as electricians, labourers, and welders with employers on temporary job sites; and address the ever growing need for on-demand employees. Their platform makes it simple to either find or provide work and specifically focuses on the materials handling sector.
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Truform Chats Entrepreneurship in Ottawa

As the child of an entrepreneur, Gillian Woods had always figured that one day she would be running her own show. However when faced with the ‘anticipated headaches’ of being her own boss- the tax implications, the client relations, the marketing- as well as the unclear process of how to begin a design firm, she settled for the life of an employee. It was never a question of whether she had the talent for it, though. Woods went into Interior Design from a Degree in Science without any previous experience in drawing or design and was able to harness her incredible creativity to excel in her work. When she was finally in the industry, she was personally sought out for private work and consultations outside of her job. As her opportunity increased, Woods’ hereditarily entrepreneurial spirit returned and this time she asserted to act upon it.
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#OttawaInc: ChangeJar

In the startup world, the fintech space has been heating up as of late. Whether it's small firms making the big banks nervous or trying to shake up the investment world, a race between the old and the new is on, to make the financial world more efficient and cost effective for everyone. Enter Ottawa's ChangeJar with a solution that hits both those marks. Say you're at a local coffee and open your wallet to find only a twenty dollar bill. Rather than get back a handful of bills and coins: swipe your smartphone and the balance is digitally dropped in your ChangeJar account. No fees and no fuss.
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Victoire Chats Entrepreneurship in Ottawa
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Victoire Chats Entrepreneurship in Ottawa

Stacked with homegrown labels, floral wallpaper, and classic (but edgy) styles, Victoire Boutique is the store women across Ottawa have always wanted. The boutique first opened ten years ago in the heart of the capital by long-time friends Regine Paquette and Katie Frappiere. And it quickly became one of Ottawa’s go-to places for ageless staples and high-quality Canadian design. “What makes Victoire special to me is the connections we’ve been able to establish between our designers and our customers,” explains Regine, “I really love that our customers are a part of that process (of things being made and creation in Canada) and it’s not just buying something at a shop and you don’t know where it comes from or how it was made.”
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President’s Report – Spring 2016
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President’s Report – Spring 2016

The importance of Canada’s innovation economy has quickly become a key priority for government at all levels of office. Prime Minister Trudeau has signaled that knowledge-based businesses will be a key focus for the Liberals and their Ontario counterparts have said the same. With that in mind, Invest Ottawa had the privilege of hosting two very special guests within just a few short weeks of each other.
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Trade mission to India generates $80M in business opportunities

Ottawa companies on last week’s trade mission to India signed memoranda of understanding, strategic partnerships, and other agreements that are worth an estimated $80 million. “This has been a successful trade mission, generating a dozen investment announcements and partnerships that are helping to build Ottawa’s global reputation and relationships between Ottawa and Indian companies and organizations,” Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson said in a statement. Mr. Watson, who led the 35-delegate mission, added many of the deals introduced Ottawa companies to markets and financial resources in India.
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Premier Wynne at Invest Ottawa
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Premier Wynne at Invest Ottawa

During a round-table discussion, The Honourable Kathleen Wynne, Premier of Ontario was joined by eighteen leaders within the city's innovation economy and local knowledge-based businesses. It was the Premier's first visit to Ottawa's economic development agency and the group took full advantage of the 60 minutes to discuss the city's role as an economic engine for Ontario and Canada.
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Forget Demographics, Measure Customer Intent
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Forget Demographics, Measure Customer Intent

Nothing can replace direct insight from customers. Traditional market research methodologies were developed simply because it was almost impossible to get insight directly from customers on an ongoing basis.
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#OttawaInc: Flyta
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#OttawaInc: Flyta

International shipping has always been a pain for people. Big couriers are expensive, and the cheaper alternatives do not always come with tracking. Often times, packages are lost in certain parts of the world or the recipient gets a surprise Cash on Delivery bill (when payment is collected on delivery and not in advance) for import duties and brokerage when it reaches the destination. To remove these pain points, we are building a solution that will make international shipping as simple as buying a cup of coffee! Primarily, the biggest barriers that prevent businesses from selling overseas are the uncertainty of import duties and filling out customs forms. So we automate these tasks in our courier software so they are done like magic. We also offer our clients affordable prices by using spare cargo space of bigger carriers to get the best rates. Now any e-commerce or retail stores that sell within the country can easily sell their products worldwide by shipping with Flyta.ca and use our API to display prices that include import duties and brokerage fees.
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How To Gather Great Market Research (And Save $$$)
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How To Gather Great Market Research (And Save $$$)

As a market researcher, I am absolutely dumbfounded by seeing some startups waste so much time and resources to get their hands on a traditional “market research report”. Here’s a pro tip many don’t know; much of the information they need is free to access within seconds! To give an example, last week I had a client who wanted a third-party report on customer adoption of mobile devices and the roles these devices play in the customer journey. Normally, a third party report covering those topics would cost at least $3000 USD. And an annual subscription will run upwards of $15K to $30K. My immediate response to their question was:
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Federal Government Announces Improvements to Small Business Financing at Invest Ottawa
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Federal Government Announces Improvements to Small Business Financing at Invest Ottawa

Changes will allow small businesses to access up to $1 million over 15 years. An enthusiastic crowd of local entrepreneurs was on hand to welcome the Minister of Small Business and Tourism, Bardish Chagger to Invest Ottawa. It was her first visit to the city's economic development agency. Minister Chagger took full advantage of speaking with every startup, their innovative products and the challenges they face as a small business.
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OttawaInc : FarmLead

Mobile technology and the drive for efficiency are shaping the future, and even the world's oldest industries need to adapt. Luckily for Canadian grain farmers and buyers, the cream of the crop has just moved in. Saskatchewan-based company FarmLead has created a virtual marketplace for grain, replacing the need for hundreds of daily phone calls. Making a big splash in the local tech sector, the company decided to make its way into the Ontario and Quebec markets. FarmLead is expanding fast and has already gathered a growing base of over 250 verified buyers.
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#OttawaInc : NextBigThing Studios
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#OttawaInc : NextBigThing Studios

NextBigThing Studios created the first strategy game where players can actively participant in the real world around them. This app doesn’t place you in front of a video game; instead, it lets you place the video game into your life. Their most interesting feature is the use of Google Maps to track opponents in real time. It’s time to look up because it’s a big world out there. They encourage you to play in it.
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President’s Report: 2015 in Review

A journey to make Ottawa the most innovative city in Canada.
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#OttawaInc : Gnowit

As online content becomes shorter and more frequent, it’s hard to keep up. In the face of so much noise, most people get discouraged. How can business professionals who manage and monitor media ensure they don't miss vital information? That’s where Gnowit comes in. They aim to help organizations find useful content and interpret it properly to make informed decisions. No more sifting through irrelevant content or missing an important post again. Gnowit organizes content in a way that is universally recognized by filtering out the noise and focusing on solely significant information.
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Joining the Journey to India
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Joining the Journey to India

With visits to four cities in five days, this is going to be one busy week for Invest Ottawa's CEO Bruce Lazenby and the rest of the Ontario delegation. On Sunday January 31st, the Ontario delegation embarked on a trade mission to the world's largest democracy. Not wasting any time, $98 million worth of partnership agreements were announced on day 1 of the mission. Led by Premier Kathleen Wynne, the delegation to India consists of Liberal MPPs, municipal leaders, representatives from post-secondary institutions, as well as several business leaders including Ottawa-based Solantro Semiconductor Corp. and our very own Bruce Lazenby.
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