At conferences and events, we often get asked "what is ventureLAB?" The answer is: it's hard to summarize in a few short sentences. ventureLAB is more than just a place where entrepreneurs and innovators build and scale their businesses. It's a community of creative, passionate, innovative individuals working together to help build a vibrant place to do business. It is a well-connected ecosystem throughout Central Ontario, more specifically, York Region, Simcoe County and Muskoka District. It's a place where art meets technology and exceptional entrepreneurs flourish.
Sprouter and BetaKit founder Sarah Prevette is all about innovation and entrepreneurship. She launched Future Design School to teach students to innovate. She was recently one of the judges in the Canadian Global Impact Competition hosted by ventureLAB and won by fourth year mechanical engineering student Andrea Palmer-Boroski from UBC. The winning idea to revolutionize ‘quantified-self health’ with a wearable device initially, but not just for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). A very inspiring story about an innovative, motivated young entrepreneur.
John Abele was recently on the convocation stage to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from York University in recognition of his role as a health care innovator and long-time friend of YorkU.
By Dan Wasserman, ventureLAB Executive in Residence
In the highly competitive world of innovative health technologies there are some excellent reasons to be hopeful that Ontario will continue in its leading role.
According to the Ministry of Finance’s 2014 Budget, the Province of Ontario is a premier centre for life sciences in North America-internationally recognized for its leadership in developing world-class research. Arguably, that’s because this Province has itself invested close to $49 million into the life sciences industries since 2003. Leading to that fact that Ontario is now home to many innovative life sciences companies. And that many top-ranked biomedical researchers are working here. Clearly, Ontario’s support programs have helped accelerate the development of innovative therapeutics, diagnostics, medical devices, health information technology platforms, research tools, and enabling technologies.
I don’t recall exactly what was going through my mind that morning, 30 years ago this summer, when a group of us in Tysons Corner, Va., launched a start-up called Quantum Computer Services, later renamed America Online.
I do recall what was going through my parents’ minds, though: bewilderment.
Their 26-year-old son, who had recently left jobs at two Fortune 500 companies inside of three years, was now co-founding a start-up with the audacious aim of making an obscure platform called “online services” — the word “Internet” wasn’t common then — part of everyday life.
Bill Gross has founded a lot of startups, and incubated many others -- and he got curious about why some succeeded and others failed. So he gathered data from hundreds of companies, his own and other people's, and ranked each company on five key factors. He found one factor that stands out from the others -- and surprised even him.
Watch video here.
Last week the Province announced its support for the new Markham Campus of York University and a resounding congratulations is being shouted from the rooftops here at ventureLAB. With York University coming to Markham and looking to grow their already successful and collaborative relationship with Seneca College - Markham and York Region have an unprecedented opportunity to grow their innovation ecosystem with these two winning post-secondary institutions working together to continue the important work of advancing a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship within the surrounding area.
York Region, is made up of nine beautiful, safe municipalities between Lake Simcoe and the City of Toronto. These are the Town of Aurora, Town of East Gwillimbury, Town of Georgina, Township of King, City of Markham. Town of Newmarket, Town of Richmond Hill, City of Vaughan and the Town of Whitchurch–Stouffville. The hard facts are impressive. As the fastest growing municipality in the GTA, York Region boasts a population of more than 1,000,000 mostly urban, said to become 1.5m residents by 2013. York’s median household income is $90,000, compared to $60,000 for Toronto, $64,000 for Ontario and $60,000 for Canada. More than 45,000 businesses call York Region home, including local operations of 17 Fortune 100 corporations.York Region is Ontario’s second largest business hub. And York Region is "Canada’s largest Enterprise Solutions ICT Cluster” with more than 25 times the number of companies than Waterloo. York Region has recently been called Canada’s Hidden Silicon Valley North.
There’s more good news. A new study from the UofT’s Mowat Centre says that the residents and business people in York Region are living in the best part of Canada. ventureLAB celebrates that.
Singularity University's Global Impact Competitions happen every year in over a dozen countries around the world. This year’s Canadian competition will bring together creative innovators and entrepreneurs who are harnessing disruptive technologies to affect positive transformational change in our society. The Global Impact Competition challenges participants to answer the formal challenge: “How can we improve the standard of living of one million Canadians in the next three to five years through the use of technology?”
On April 2, 2015, five finalists will pitch their ideas to impact one million Canadians through technology to a panel of judges and community of Canada's innovators, business leaders, politicians and other stakeholders in York Region, ON.
Deloitte's Exponentials website is a hub of curated content on exponential tech. It brings readers stories on new and inspiring technologies that are shaping our future.
“John Zambakkides - Z3 Controls
ventureLAB was directly instrumental in us gaining a vast amount of experience and knowledge in all stages and phases of a start-up, starting with BUILD, to the series of excellent sessions from finance to launch, and the mentor program which has been critical in us reaching a number of organizations that helped Z3 Controls' growth. We had the opportunity to attend and talk to IP, trademark and copyright experts, as well as legal advice among other things. The opportunity to network with other entrepreneurs and experts was most helpful. Looking back, I must admit that ventureLAB provided us with a series of seminars that covered all aspects of a fledgling company such as ours, with a seminal impact that was invaluable. It is exactly what a company like Z3 Controls needed to get us on the right track and perfectly align us with what we needed to go to market with and succeed. We will be forever grateful and indebted to ventureLAB and its fine people for guiding us and teaching us, mentoring us, at a time when we needed all the help we could get. Thank you ventureLAB.”