Innovation is thriving around Ontario, with great companies emerging all over the province. This post is part of a monthly series featuring the up-and-coming companies of MaRS’ partners across Ontario.
Peter Drucker once rightly said that “Innovation is the specific instrument of entrepreneurship… the act that endows resources with a new capacity to create wealth.” This is exactly what the RIC Centre in the Peel Region does—it fosters innovation, supports research and helps technology entrepreneurs commercialize their products and services. The question is: “HOW?”
As a member of the Ontario Network of Excellence, the RIC Centre offers a wide range of support services for entrepreneurs, including one-on-one coaching, practical training and networking events. A team of entrepreneurs-in-residence coaches startups, helps accelerate commercialization and guides new entrepreneurs in navigating their business challenges. Some of the RIC Centre’s best events and programs include:
The next Innovate Forward session is on September 27, 2012, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., featuring Paul Smith from Xerox Research Centre.
I love exploring success stories, the result of hard, collaborative effort. Here are a few promising startups that are emerging from the Peel Region.
SMARTeacher is the first software game that uses biometrics like facial recognition to respond and adjust the gaming to each child’s emotions – in real time. The company officially beta-launched an educational math game called Prodigy in mid-June.
SMARTeacher was awarded a Market Readiness Grant by the Ontario Centres of Excellence and also received a $15,000 VentureStart Grant. SMARTeacher has been a client of the RIC Centre, working with the entrepreneurs-in-residence to solidify their business plan, revenue model and pro-forma financials. This is one growing company that needs to be watched for sure.
Openaxyz is a collaborative, enterprise-wide software toolset that links ideas and strategies with execution, performance measurement, collaboration and knowledge management. The openaxyz method and toolset were developed and applied at organizations such as the Deloitte iZone, Barclays, Xstrata and Sasol, as well as the Development Bank of Southern Africa.
The RIC Centre provided openaxyz with beta-client opportunities that not only provided valuable user feedback, but also created a foundation and references to onboard future clients. The feedback from RIC Centre advisors and entrepreneurs-in-residence created a very focused go-to-market strategy, resulting in the appointment of the first strategic partner for the African region (CXO Advisors, an Ovum partner), representing a pipeline of 400 enterprise-sized clients.
Rivalries has created disruptive technology that solves the problem of “difficult to recycle” plastics or “uncyclables.” The Rivalries solution converts plastics that are currently crowding landfills into useful materials. After working with the RIC Centre’s entrepreneurs-in-residence to fine-tune their business model and plan, the company received $5,000 from the Regions Alliance Service Fund, enough to move forward with their intellectual property.
While I’ve only listed three companies here, there are many more startups coming out of the Peel Region. I can firmly say that the RIC Centre is indeed Peel Region’s hub for innovation and entrepreneurship.