Michelle Scarborough has seen and done it all. Over the past 20 years she’s been an entrepreneur and built companies from the ground up; a prolific angel investor in Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa and Calgary; worked for investment groups and merchant banks; and developed an acceleration model used in Canada and the U.S. In 2007, she founded Canada’s Top 10 Competition (www.topcanadiancompanies.com
) in order to identify some of the best investments in Canada and raise the bar on early-stage investing.
Wildeboer Dellelce, a boutique corporate finance firm, is a sponsor of Backbone’s Start Me Up contest
. We sat down with the company’s Paul Flint to get his take on the importance of supporting the innovative and technology space in Canada.
For my travels to Austin and my work with Transverse (www.tractbilling.com
), I just became a Car2Go
Many of you have likely heard some buzz around Google's Project Re:Brief
, a new documentary/experiment that aims to inspire creative approaches to thinking about digital advertising and marketing.
Small ICT businesses looking to succeed need to look beyond playing only in our own backyard. A world of opportunity is out there for Canadian ICT innovators, but they need to seize it, and sometimes they need to be ready to ask for help.
The National Research Council Canada has helped more than 50 companies through its incubator program over the last 13 years. The program, in part, includes finding a mentor within the research community to support each startup. “We focus on technology, rather than offering business support,” said Marie Lussier, Manager of Industry Partnership Facility with National Research Council Canada.
Startup business NuEnergy has been leasing space at the St. Albert facility of novaNAIT for nearly two years. novaNAIT, in Alberta, supports and facilitates applied research and development of commercially relevant products and services for industry.
There's no doubt that QR codes has been a very hot topic for marketers over the past couple of years or so...but the actual use of QR codes still remains somewhat dubious. They're a novel little tool, with fantastic applications in digital marketing campaigns, but naturally, QR codes have their own limitations (for example, you need to launch a QR-reader app each time you want to read one).
By Neil McIntyre | March 29, 2012 5:30 AM | Categories: General Trends
The country’s professional accounting bodies regulating the use of Chartered Accountant, Certified Management Accountant and Certified General Accountant designations are currently deep into merger talks, as you might have heard.
By Michael Geist | March 28, 2012 6:30 AM | Categories: General
Athabasca University, BCcampus, and the Samuelson-Glushko Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic at the University of Ottawa have joined together to re-launch
Creative Commons Canada.
By Michael Geist | March 28, 2012 5:15 AM | Categories: Technology law
Finance Minister Jim Flaherty will unveil the government's much-anticipated budget this week amidst widespread speculation that it will feature sizable spending cuts and significant reorganization of major government programs. While changes to old age pension eligibility, the CBC, as well as government departments and programs will attract the lion share of attention, my weekly technology column (Toronto Star version
, homepage version
) notes the budget choices could have major implications for technology policy.
is a campus-wide initiative led by the Sauder School of Business, the Faculty of Applied Science, the Faculty of Science and the University-Industry Liaison Office. I sat down with Carl Leacy, Program Director, to discuss this program and the importance of supporting innovation at the university level.
The Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University is home to one of the largest entrepreneurship departments in Canada, which includes major and minor degree programs plus two MBAs. Students are taught by experienced entrepreneurs and venture capitalists who have started dozens of companies and helped hundreds of entrepreneurs raise more than $2 billion in financing.
If Canadian entrepreneurs have a mindset challenge, it’s probably dreaming big enough. We don’t do that as often as we should, and this conservative, pragmatic approach can put off investors looking for bigger gains—even if the idea really has legs. That doesn’t seem to be the problem for Joseph Fung, serial entrepreneur and co-founder and CEO of TribeHR.
Wondering how to get people to land on your site and then go to the pages you want them to visit? Chris Goward has helpful information on how to use conversion optimization and create hypotheses to obtain marketing insights, along with lots of 'which page won?' examples.
As a follow-up to our recent post, Avoiding Bankruptcy From an ERP Implementation: Three Dirty Secrets,
we’d like to take it to the next level and discuss how an organization actually can recover from being driven into bankruptcy by an ERP failure. Indeed, it’s a worst-case scenario, but also one we’ve seen too many times to ignore.
What is content curation and how to get started? Donna Papacosta explains and gives tips on best practices, how to define a content curation strategy and offers some helpful tools. Also find out what the difference between aggregation and curation is.
Earlier this week I posted
about a mini road show I was about to go on, with events in Toronto and Ottawa. Well, am back now, and I'd say it was pretty successful all around. This was the 2012 IT Buyers Forum, sponsored by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, with some help from the Export Development Corporation and Invest Ottawa.
As many experts have said, building a successful start-up requires identifying an industry pain point, and that’s what Kristin Garn, founder, director and CEO of Mathtoons Media did for secondary-school math education.
By Alan Brookstone | March 23, 2012 5:30 AM | Categories: eHealth
Many of Canada's provinces now operate EMR funding programs to support the purchase of EMR products by physicians. Some of the programs have already been established for some time and have been through multiple iterations (Alberta, Ontario). Others are much earlier in their evolution (Manitoba and recently, Quebec). In the short space of this article, it is not possible to do a detailed review of a single program, let alone multiple provincial approaches to EMR funding. As a result, what I would like to do is offer selected observations of the programs, what they have done well and what I believe they could do to make themselves more successful.
HP might be one of the farthest things from a start-up, but the company knows more than a few things about innovation. And those insights could be very useful to small businesses.
By Alan Brookstone | March 21, 2012 5:15 PM | Categories: eHealth
An important part of the mandate of CanadianEMR is to collect EMR satisfaction ratings from a wide range of physician users of EMR systems that are commonly used in the Canadian market. Ensuring the validity and currency of the rating data is of primary importance and to that end, we regularly send requests to verified users of EMR products asking them to keep their ratings current by logging in to CanadianEMR and checking and updating their rating.
The lack of progress on the Canadian digital economy strategy has been a source of frustration for many as the still-unreleased strategy has been largely missing in action. Late last year I dubbed it the government's Penske File, a reference to the Seinfeld episode involving a non-existent work project. While Canada is still without a comprehensive strategy, elements have begun to emerge in recent weeks.
The new amended version of Bill C-11
has been posted along with the Bill C-11 legislative committee report
I recently posted about ShoreTel’s acquisition of M5 Networks
(which is still getting tons of readership!), which may signal the strongest validation yet for cloud-based VoIP as an alternative to premises-based telephony systems. The deal is good news for both companies, and even better news for the broader cloud communications space
2012 has brought with it a wave of web design trends. Keeping up with these constant developments is essential, but it's important to keep in mind that effective web design is more than just a coat of paint; it always needs to support your business goals. Good web design is a necessary part of your larger web marketing and user experience picture. In keeping with this holistic approach, we selected the following as the top web design trends to implement this year:
By Michael Geist | March 16, 2012 10:00 AM | Categories: Technology law
One of the major unanswered questions about Bill C-30, the lawful access/online surveillance bill, is who will pay for the costs associated with responding to law enforcement demands for subscriber information ("look ups") and installation of surveillance equipment ("hook ups"). Christopher Parsons has an excellent post
that takes a shot at estimating some of the costs.
Great, great TED talk
from Rob Reid on the funny numbers often promoted by music and movie lobby groups in the context of copyright.
The three pain points of early-stage companies are human capital, markets and capital. The first two are served by various accelerators and incubators, but access to capital continues to be a tough nut for many start-ups to crack, especially in today’s economy.
By Alan Brookstone | March 16, 2012 3:30 AM | Categories: eHealth
Computers and EMRs are very good at performing repetitive tasks, particularly in areas such as appointment reminders for patients with chronic disease. Individuals with complex co-morbid conditions require a great deal of management, and generally this is more about consistently applying rules and reminders rather than dealing with acute complicating problems. Here are some important points to think about when using an EMR for automated reminders:
Healthy competition is good for Canadian innovation, whether it’s with the U.S. or inter-provincial, especially when supported by education, mentorship and a sense of community.
By Glen Farrelly | March 15, 2012 5:30 AM | Categories: Gadgets Trends
Over a year ago, we signed up for Bell's Internet TV service (IPTV
), Bell Fibe
. Judging from my blog stats the post I wrote
on it last year was rather popular. Bell has certainly been marketing the service more lately. Since last year, there's been improvements to the service and my experience has evolved too so I thought I'd update the post.
“If you look at the technology and ICT structures in Canada and you take out RIM, you’ll notice a huge drop-off in terms of size,” said Eugene Bomba, Senior Manager, Emerging Company Services with PwC. “There are a ton of smaller tech companies just starting out, yet the revenue in that sector is still really good.” PwC wants to guide and nurture these start-ups and it is willing to put resources behind that effort. Many entrepreneurs don’t have business and finance experience—which is where PwC’s expertise comes in.
Niagara-based FourGrouns Media
is a video production company which creates video content for the Web and television. It was founded four years ago by Adrian Thiessen and his partner Kristen Nater and, like many start-ups, they realized they didn’t have the expertise or connections they would need to be successful, and so they went in search of resources.
In the past decade, technology has been the fastest-growing industry sector in B.C., but it remains predominantly populated by small companies. Ninety-six per cent of all tech companies in B.C. employ less than 50 people, said Bill Tam, president and CEO of the BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA).
The Bill C-11 legislative committee concluded
its clause-by-clause review yesterday as eight government amendments were added to the bill and all opposition amendments were defeated. The amendments included an expanded enabler provision and some modest tinkering to other elements of the bill.
We often write and present about the challenges and pitfalls of ERP implementations
, as well as some of the best practices associated with making an ERP system
work for organizations. Our clients look to us to provide the expertise, methodology, and toolset to make their ERP implementations succeed. While there are a host of things that can contribute to an ERP failure, troubled deployments often boil down to a vitamin C deficiency – lack of cash, controls and change.
Valerie Fox is the Director of Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone. She has more than 25 years of experience in creative industries and has worked with technology in universities and in the private sector. The Ryerson Digital Media Zone is a sponsor of Backbone’s Start Me Up contest
, and we sat down with Fox to get her take on the importance of supporting the innovative and technology space in Canada.
CANARIE is offering a DAIR to small- and medium-sized Canadian tech companies: the Digital Accelerator for Innovation and Research (DAIR) program aims to speed time to market by offering an advanced R&D environment for product design, prototyping, validation and demonstration.
The Bill C-11 committee has just opened the clause-by-clause review of the copyright bill with 39 amendments on the table: 8 from the goverment, 17 from the NDP, and 14 from the Liberals.
By Consider the Source | March 13, 2012 5:30 AM | Categories: Outsourcing
Sustainable sourcing — considering environmental and social impacts in selecting and managing suppliers — can enhance your company’s brand, improve operations and drive efficiency while promoting a healthier environment and stronger community. Regulators, consumer groups and customer demands drive sustainability requirements.
Days after the Conservative government introduced its copyright reform bill in June 2010, Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore spoke out in support of the legislative package by notoriously labeling critics as "radical extremists"
who should be confronted until "they are defeated." This week, the copyright bill hits the home stretch as the Bill C-11 legislative committee conducts its final "clause-by-clause" review.
From October 22 to 24, 2012, business leaders, innovators and prominent speakers from around the globe will gather in Montreal for the world’s leading information technology conference: World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT 2012
Canada’s technology market is underachieving due to a lack of support by the private sector and a securities exchange structure that sets tech entrepreneurs up for failure, according to Jos Schmitt
Are you a follower or a leader? In our experience, one of the key challenges small and medium size innovative firms often struggle to overcome, is their inability to consistently and successfully commercialize enough profitable new products and/or services to ensure there is an adequate and predictable stream of funding to support R & D, and the ongoing development of key managerial and organizational capabilities critical to achieving the full benefits of a “first mover” advantage, and leadership position.
By Consider the Source | March 9, 2012 5:00 AM | Categories: Outsourcing
When I travel, I like to get out and see the city I’m visiting — especially when the city has more than 20 million people in it. On my most recent trip to Mumbai for the 20th successive NASSCOM India Leadership Forum
, I decided to use an open morning to take a city tour.
Along with millions of Apple converts, I have been following the announcement of the new Apple iPad at a live event in San Francisco. I have been tracking ABC News’ Joanna Stern via her live blog
of the event. The majority of the announcements have been focused on the iPad’s enhanced processing power, the 2048 x 1536 resolution retina display, 10-hour battery life, higher resolution camera, and high-speed 4G LTE connectivity. Healthcare is likely to be a major benefactor of these features. Here is how I see the new iPad being adopted by clinicians.
Alongside its federally-mandated mission to accelerate the adoption of electronic health records (EHRs) in Canada, Canada Health Infoway does its part to help fund smaller innovations that highlight the power of technology to improve healthcare.
Once entrepreneurs have a great idea they also have a healthy accelerator community to turn to for help, but what about before that big idea hits?
Need a handyman, a personal trainer or a math tutor for your kid? What’s the easiest way to access these service providers in your community? That’s the question Rob Platek is working to answer with his online marketplace jobdeals.com
Anyone who follows ERP industry news knows that ERP implementations
fail at high rates in both the private, commercial sector and the public, government sector.
Imagine a scenario in which a country enacts a law that bans the sale of asbestos and includes the power to seize the assets of any company selling the product anywhere in the world. The country tests the law by obtaining a court order to seize key assets of a Canadian company, whose operations with hundreds of employees takes a major hit. The Canadian government is outraged, promising to support the company in its efforts to restore its operations.
BCIC, the British Columbia Innovation Council, is dedicated to developing globally marketable innovative B.C.-based entrepreneurs in the global scene—with emphasis on marketable.
According to Ron Shuttleworth, a technology analyst at M Partners, an independent full-service brokerage, Canada is running out of publicly traded technology companies.
We’ve heard it time and again: Ontario has world-class academic institutions, which are proficient at turning out entrepreneurs who generate innovative ideas. Upon graduation, however, they often face roadblocks.
A year and a half ago, when Senia Rapisarda joined the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to head up the BDC Venture Capital’s new Strategic Initiatives & Investments (SII), she made an insightful, worldly observation about Canadian entrepreneurship.
It’s long overdue, but the relationship among enterprise integration, ERP, and productivity enhancements is finally attracting mainstream attention.
By Michael Geist | March 2, 2012 10:00 AM | Categories: Technology law
The CRTC has written
to Rogers Communication following the identification of yet another violation of the Commission's Internet traffic management policy.
By Alan Brookstone | March 2, 2012 5:45 AM | Categories: eHealth
One of the challenges of any major change is a potential loss of productivity. Paper-based practices have for years optimized workflow in order to achieve maximum productivity in individual settings. As these practices transition to EMRs, some of the major challenges they face are the workflow changes necessary to implement and use the technology in clinical practice settings. This is not helped by the fact that there is limited ability at this time to exchange data with other providers and pharmacies through eReferrals and ePrescribing.
, the venture capital arm of OMERS
, was started in late 2011 with the mandate of investing in technology, media, and telecom companies and offering financing ranging from $500,000 to $30 million.
Successful innovation in the digital economy is good for Canada, but it’s also good—it turns out—for charities. Formulating Change of Kitchener, Ont., has developed a novel way to help Canadians give more easily to charities.
When Josh Sookman developed a mobile application prototype that would empower people during emergencies by connecting them to personalized safety networks, he turned to the Mobile Experience Innovation Centre (MEIC) incubator at OCAD University for support.
By Glen Farrelly | March 1, 2012 5:30 AM | Categories: Mobility
Location-based services (LBS) and locative media have garnered a lot of attention - not least of which will be the focus of my dissertation. But the possible benefits beyond increased marketing opportunities has rarely been discussed or studied. Here's what I've come up with so far: