“Congratulations to the winners of the 2015 Startup Canada Awards, each of whom embody the spirit of entrepreneurship and who have exemplified excellence, integrity and exceptional impact through their efforts, enterprises and ethos.”
“Entrepreneurs are by definition innovators. The countries that lead in innovation, the countries that lead in entrepreneurship, the countries that essentially understand the degree to which change is affecting the economy are the countries that are going to benefit.” Read the Q&A.
Iain Klugman is the CEO of Communitech, an accelerator complex in Waterloo, ON dedicated to helping tech companies start, grow and succeed. Click here to watch the video.
Victory Square Labs is a Vancouver-based venture builder that supports start-ups in the web, mobile, gaming and film spaces. Click here to watch the video.
“Entrepreneurs are the spark plug in the economy’s engine.” Read the Q&A.
Natalie Dakers is the President and CEO of Accel-Rx, a health sciences accelerator supporting the creation and development of early-stage health sciences companies. Click here to watch the video.
“We have remarkable science in this country and we need as Canadians to ensure we capture the value that it contains.”Read the Q&A.
Alex Gillis is the 17-year-old co-founder and CEO of Bitness.io, a location analytics tool revolutionizing how retail stores learn about their customers. Click here to watch the video.
“The end goal is perfect predictability allowing for both the retailers and shoppers to benefit from improved service, cost savings, and increased revenues.” Read the Q&A.
Tom Fath is the President of The Fath Group, which has six operating companies under its umbrella, including O’Hanlon Paving. Click here to watch the video.
“My father instilled in me the desire to succeed, which has been coupled with my love of learning new things – especially with results that better society and the planet.” Read the Q&A.
Since 1983, Medicine Hat-based Weddingstar has grown and evolved to become a designer, manufacturer, distributor and e-commerce seller of wedding related products worldwide. Click here to watch the video.
“The wedding industry has undergone many changes over the years. We pride ourselves in our ability to meet these changes head on and adjust our strategy accordingly.” Read the Q&A.
Entomo Farms is a pioneer the production and processing of insect and insect powder for human consumption. Click here to watch the video.
“We are looking forward to working with our global partners to continue to innovate and find ways for this superfood ingredient to be part of ordinary everyday food, enhancing the nutritional profile.” Read the Q&A.
RtTech Software is one of the first companies to offer cloud-based industrial software apps for operational intelligence. Click here to watch the video.
“We live and die for our clients – if a client is having an issue with our software everybody that is needed gets involved to make sure the issue is resolved right away and we do not stop until it is.” Read the Q&A.
Award received: Startup Canada Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Atlantic Region
Startup Canada: What has been the eureka moment in your career?
Alex Gillis: Noticing the apparent over-staffing and marketing issues at a local coffee shop was the first realization of how I could personally solve a large real-world problem with technology. While sitting at a local coffee shop and being one of maybe three customers in the store, I realized that there were four staff running the shop. My drink was maybe $4 with tax and I knew that this over spending on staffing wasn’t sustainable and their marketing wasn’t working as there was barely anyone in the shop. Thinking about how best to solve this problem, I quickly realized that it would have to be a passive solution for the store requiring no customer interaction in the data collection process.
Startup Canada: What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
Alex Gillis: The biggest risk I have ever taken is walking into the Volta Labs hackathon back in January 2014. Being 15 at the time, I had no idea what was in store for me. Entering the crowded event space, I found myself surrounded by very keen young and old people that looked like they knew what they were doing. I entered the room with my semi-decent knowledge in the outdated PHP programming language and an idea. Over the following 48 hours of the hackathon, I developed my idea and at the end presented MicroCent – taking home the grand prize.
Startup Canada: What motivates you to pursue excellence in what you do?
Alex Gillis: I’m a critical thinker and I believe that everyone should be able to have enough data to make informed decisions. Today, these retail stores that Bitness aims to aid through our technology have a general idea of their customers’ flows and behaviours but can’t quite say exactly what is working and what isn’t working in terms of marketing. The data we collect allows retailers to make smarter, more informed decisions, saving them money and increasing their revenues. The end goal is perfect predictability allowing for both the retailers and shoppers to benefit from improved service, cost savings, and increased revenues.
Startup Canada: Give us the Twitter-friendly version of your story – what got you started?
Alex Gillis: @theAlexGillis got started @VoltaEffect hackathon at age 15. 2yrs later, revolutionizing how retail stores learn about their customers Startup Canada: Entrepreneurs are architects of a better tomorrow. What is your vision for the future?
Alex Gillis: I envision a more connected world. Through the recent advancements in the Internet of things movement and personally working on passive data collection technology, I believe that this dream isn’t far from reality.
Startup Canada: What motivates you to keep going when the going gets tough?
Alex Gillis: Knowing that I’m still young is my biggest motivator. Being young allows me to take risks and not be as afraid of failing as I won’t end up in a bad situation if things go south. As a high school student, I used to hate missing school. This was true until I read a quote by Mark Twain, “I’ve never let my school interfere with my education”. This quote made me look at the bigger picture and realize the true intangibles and success that I am building supplementary to my schooling. Despite this, it’s all about finding a balance.
The movers and shakers of Atlantic Canada’s entrepreneurship movement to be celebrated in Halifax
October 2, 2015, HALIFAX, ON – Today, Startup Canada announced the East Coast winners of the second annual Startup Canada Awards. Winners will be celebrated and recognized Oct. 14 at Dalhousie University during a special grassroots event featuring a reception, ceremony, and fireside chats with winners.
“These winners represent the best of East Coast entrepreneurship – from social entrepreneurs and tech titans to community builders and storytellers,” said Victoria Lennox, CEO of Startup Canada. “The startup community is flourishing in the Maritimes and we are thrilled to be sharing and celebrating this growing ecosystem with the rest of Canada.”
2015 East Coast Startup Canada Award winners:
Adam Chowaniec Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Wolf Blass:
The Startup Canada Awards can be likened to the Oscars for the Canadian entrepreneurship community – celebrating and recognizing the individuals, communities and institutions that have demonstrated innovation, excellence, outstanding achievement and impact in advancing Canadian entrepreneurship.
The names of regional winners will be pushed forward to the National Adjudication Committee and the national winners will be celebrated at the Startup Canada Awards Grand Finale at the CN Tower in Toronto on Dec. 1.
The East Coast Startup Canada Awards ceremony will be held during the Halifax stop on Startup Canada’s #EveryEntrepreneur Tour, which will provide on-site inspiration, mentorship and training to hundreds of local entrepreneurs.
The ceremony will take place at the Dalhousie University Student Union Building (McInnes Room) 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM (ADT). Visit startupaward.ca/events for ticket information.
Startup Canada is a grassroots network of entrepreneurs working together to build an environment for entrepreneurship in Canada. Through online platforms, grassroots Startup Communities and cross-sector initiatives, Startup Canada is advancing entrepreneurial momentum and a culture of entrepreneurship, as the voice of Canadian entrepreneurs. Learn more at StartupCan.ca.
About the Startup Canada #EveryEntrepreneur Tour
Startup Canada is traveling the country throughout fall 2015 to provide on-site inspiration, mentorship, training and new opportunities to thousands of Canadian entrepreneurs as they start and grow their companies. The #EveryEntrepreneur Tour will launch Oct. 14 in Halifax, N.S., and land in six Canadian cities before concluding in Toronto on Dec. 14.
Each stop will include a full day of non-stop action with an “unconference” style program where business owners will hear from top entrepreneurs like Second Cup Co-Founder Frank O’Dea and Moxie Trades CEO Marissa McTasney. Entrepreneurs can also participate in bootcamp-style training sessions in areas such as finance, scaling, marketing and going global. Experts will also be on-hand for one-on-one mentorship and support, and organizations that provide training, funding and other opportunities to entrepreneurs will be available to connect entrepreneurs to a wider support network.
Each stop will wrap up with a Startup Launch Party, which will bring together startups, investors, supporters, corporations, government and media to celebrate local entrepreneurship and innovation. For tickets, visit StartupTour.ca.