Justin left a major positive mark

I’m very sorry to write that Justin Policarpio passed away last night, having lived graciously and courageously with cancer.

Justin was a key community builder, entrepreneur and leader in the Hamilton startup community.

I first met Justin when he was running Women Entrepreneurship, an event series focused on celebrating female entrepreneurship, and working on his Campus Helper education company. He next co-founded and led edtech robotics startup Roboteurs as CEO.

His work with Women Entrepreneurship and his startups was already impressive enough, but where I feel he left a major positive mark on our community was his work with Spectrum / The Forge.

It wasn’t very long ago at all that people talked about a divide between the McMaster community and the Hamilton startup community. There was a “gap” in the pipeline between innovative McMaster students and the business community in Hamilton. There was also a “gap” in terms of support for student entrepreneurs on campus… there was no Velocity or Ryerson DMZ equivalent, and the existing efforts were more informal, sporadic, grassroots.

Justin was the manager of the new Spectrum program that started in 2014, intended to foster and encourage entrepreneurship on campus, and to act as a pipe into a formal incubator program (“The Forge”). This was a very important job, at a critical time. If the Spectrum program flopped, which was a real possibility given the state of things at the time, I don’t think we’d have the energy and number of startups that you see further up the pipeline today. Justin was the perfect person for this role, and he hit it out of the park. A slew of great events and regular programming, much of it done in partnership with others, made his work a complete success in terms of fostering entrepreneurship on campus and building a bridge from McMaster to the broader Hamilton community.

He was a great community builder in that way. He had an infectious positive energy, was wise beyond his years, kind and always eager to help other people, was a great listener, and knew how to make great things happen fast. I met with him before he took on the Spectrum role, and you could tell he really “got it” in terms of the bigger picture. He was really keen on partnering and working together with everyone. Beyond the programming he developed that supported startups, he would always find time to support various other initiatives happening around the city, whether it was a Startup Weekend or a new healthtech meetup group.

People from other communities have noted a collaborative spirit in Hamilton, they’ll say things like, “in Hamilton, you guys really work together compared to X”. Justin played a major role in creating that spirit and culture. His good work and good spirit will live on.

This is the second time I’ve written an article like this in the last year. I’m upset because Justin was so young. It’s really not fair at all. We should use the time we’ve got to make a positive impact the way Justin was able to do so.

 

And speaking of the time we’ve got, I was reading over some of Justin’s old posts, and I came across this video of life tips he gave to graduating McMaster students. I’ve posted the text of his life advice below, it feels like advice that’s relevant for everyone.

 


I’d like to take this time to talk about just that, time. It’s something we all have a limited amount of, we never get any more of, so in reality it’s our most valuable asset. That said, why would we ever want to waste it?

A lot of you are going to be graduating from McMaster or have graduated, and you’re starting to think, “you know, what do I spend my time on? Do my masters, my PhD? Do I get a job or travel the world?”.

And in reality you got to do whatever you want to do because it’s something that you want to do, and not something that you feel like you ought to do. And you’re going to get a lot of pressures from your friends, your family, your parents and society as a whole.

I look at the time I spend on my stuff, on my startup company, on this new initiative at McMaster that I’m spearheading called Spectrum for McMaster entrepreneurs and startups. I look at the countless hours I put into this stuff, and you know what? I love it.

It’s time that I feel is well spent because it literally makes me happy, and I see all the value I get out of it. So when I think about the time I spent I think of three main things, and I guess these can be my two minute tips for you.

One is have no regrets. Have no regrets on the time that you’re spending on the things that you want to do.

Two, you know, in a nutshell: be fearless. You’re going to come across a lot of obstacles, not just in your school, and not just in work, but also in life. And they’re going to hit you, but you’re going to have to get through them. So be fearless, be strong.

And three, you really just have to start. You have to start doing what you want to do, and that said you also have to finish it and get it done.


 

WordPress meetup on October 4th

 

When: Wednesday October 4th 2017 at 6:30pm

Where: CoMotion on King (3rd floor) at 115 King St East, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: WordPress Hamilton

Register: meetup.com/WPHamOnt/events/243328605

Details:

Join us for our next meetup! Come and meet other WordPress users, developers, bloggers and more in and around Hamilton.

Presentation: Show and Tell!

Have you done something cool with WordPress? Show it off!

Are you working on a project and looking for some feedback on how you can improve? We can help!

Are you stuck on something and can’t figure out where to go from here? We got your back!

If you fit any of these scenarios, we’d love to have you do a quick demo. Post a comment ahead of time so we can organize a lineup for the evening.

Agenda

6:30pm – doors open, networking

7pm-8pm – demos

8:pm-? – Networking

Grab a coffee, tea or soft drink before heading up at one of the nearby cafés.

 

HamOnt JS conference returns September 30th

 

When: Saturday September 30th from 10:00am – 5:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King Street East, Hamilton, ON

Cost: $20 regular, $10 student

Register: hamontjs2017.eventbrite.ca

Details:

HamOnt JS is a JavaScript conference in its 2nd year… low cost and kick ass, featuring experts from within and abroad for a full day of talks… we would love for you to join us on Saturday September 30th! HamOnt JS attendees can also expect morning coffee & snacks, lunch, afternoon drinks & snacks, and an after party!

The speaker line-up includes:

  • Juan Musleh (@juanmusleh) – Partner at Upspark
  • Rohan Nair (@rohan10) – Head of Engineering at Pungle Payments
  • Nael El Shawwa (@naelshawwa) – Software Craftsman at FlashStock
  • Rob Porter (@rgeraldporter) – Chief Innovation Officer at Weever Apps
  • Houssein Djirdeh (@hdjirdeh) – JavaScript Developer at Rangle.io
  • Jennifer Champagne (@JenEChampagne) – JavaScript and IoT Developer
  • James King (@agentultra) – Engineering Manager at Weever Apps

And though we haven’t added them to the ticket page just yet, we’ve finished up the line-up with the recent addition of Ursula Sarracini (@ursulasarracini) – Desktop FireFox Engineer at Mozilla, and Arsham Eslami – Machine Learning Developer at Aiva Labs.

Check out the ticket page for all the talk and event details!

Last year’s event sold out, and this year’s event is 50% sold out after 5 days of ticket sales being open, so we suggest getting a ticket soon!

 

YWCA Women in I.T. Program looking for Paid and Unpaid Placements

YWCA Hamilton offers the Women in IT (Information Technology) program designed to enable women to obtain further training and certification and secure employment in the IT industry. The program prepares women for well-paying employment in the information technology sector, and employers will be able to recruit and retain more skilled workers. It also includes training and certification towards an industry recognized certificate for IT related jobs and work placement. This initiative gives women the practical skills and knowledge as well as gender-sensitive in-class training to prepare them for on the job training and employment in the IT sector.

In this regard, we are asking you to consider supporting this program by providing a work placement (paid or unpaid) to one or more of the program participants for the role of web developers/designers or other IT related roles. The placements are looking to start in September 2017 and run for 12 weeks. Program participants will have completed their We Design & Development Certificate program with Mohawk College and developed the technical skills including but not limited to HTML, CSS, Dreamweaver, Flash and Photoshop.

Please contact Mimi John at mjohn@ywcahamilton.org if you can accommodate placement/s.

DemoCamp27 on October 14th

DemoCamp is an event for the regional technology and startup community to come together and share what they’ve built, give each other feedback, and connect with one another.  The event involves a series of startup topic talks, followed by a series of 5 minute live tech demos + 5 minutes of audience Q&A.

Everyone interested in locally built technology is welcome to attend. Entrepreneurs, makers, developer, students, non-technical and technical, funders, marketers, salespeople, lawyers, accountants – anyone who is interested in regionally built tech and startups!

 

When: Saturday October 14th from 1:00pm – 5:00pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King Street East, Hamilton, ON (3rd floor)

Cost: $10 early bird

Register:

 

Talks

 

Emily Walsh
Vice President at Georgian Partners
Talk: VC funding

Emily Walsh (@emilymwalsh) is Vice President on the Georgian Partners Investment Team. She supports deal sourcing, executes the due diligence process, and helps companies with operational effectiveness and strategy, with a particular focus on people and culture. Emily currently works with Fusionops, WorkFusion, Top Hat, Precision Lender, Signpost and Bluecore on a variety of projects. These span people analytics, benchmarking, org design, and team dynamics and culture. Prior to joining Georgian Partners, Emily worked at McKinsey & Co. as a management consultant, and on the first management team of NYC-based investment firm Archer Gray. Emily holds an MBA in Finance from The Johnson School at Cornell University, is a member of the Cornell Entrepreneurship Advisory Board and provides support for Canada Learning Code.

 

Justin Joseph
Marketing Strategy Consultant
Talk: Startup Marketing Strategy 
Consultant working with startups on M&A’s, software/product development, marketing strategy, design and production.  Recent projects include the most accurate sports projection and analytical platform on the planet, the world’s top SaaS predictive modelling cloud software for asset management, and the fastest growing green-tech company in the country.  Justin was previously Director of Marketing at Construction Specialities Company, Business Development & Operations Manager at LivClean Carbon Offset Solutions, and General Manager at Carmens.  He completed a Bachelor of Science in Pre-Health at the University of Waterloo.

 

Tej Sandhu
Co-founder of Merit Brewing
Talk: Craft Brewery UX 

Tej Sandhu (@merit_tej) is the co-founder of Merit Brewing, a brewery, kitchen and bottle shop located in the heart of downtown Hamilton on 107 James North.  Tej is also co-organizer of the Lower City Runner group.  Tej completed his Bachelor of Commerce degree at McMaster University’s DeGroote School of Business.  Tej’s talk will be followed up with drinks from Merit Brewing during our break before the demos!

 

 

Demos

 

To be announced!

Are you interested in demo-ing?  Fill out the application form to demo at this or a future DemoCamp event!

 

 

Schedule

 

12:30pm – 1:00pm – Arrival

1:00pm – 2:30pm – Talks

2:30pm – 3:00pm – Break with craft beer served by Merit Brewing

3:00pm – 4:30pm – Demos

4:30pm – Networking

 

Drinks for the event will be from Merit Brewing.  We’ll have some good snack food out throughout the event too.

 

Sponsors

 

 

GameDevDrinks featuring talk by Creative Bytes

 

When: Wednesday August 23rd 2017 from 7:30pm – 10:30pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker at 20 Augusta Street (2nd Floor), Hamilton, ON

Organizer: @GameDevDrinks

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/game-dev-drinks-creative-bytes-studios-tickets-36982518709

Details:

We invite all of you within or curious about our game development community to come and join us at the Pheasant Plucker on Wednesday, August 23 for a night of good times and good cheer. This month our guest speakers will be Paul Caporicci and Shawn Jackson of Creative Bytes the studio behind Embers of Mirrim.

From 7:30-10:30 p.m., GameDevDrinks is the place for you to hang out and to hear Paul Caporicci and Shawn Jackson speak about the trials and tribulations of simultaneously launching Embers of Mirrim on PlayStation 4, Xbox One and Steam. Afterwards you can chat with Paul Caporicci and Shawn Jackson, share your game concepts and ideas, tell and trade stories, show off game demos or just network and hang out because at GDD our goal is to create a casual and creative social environment for anyone – student, hobbyist, enthusiast and professional alike – who shares the common interest of game development of any kind.

We look forward to seeing you on the 23th!

 

 

First Ever EhList Coffee Meetup

 

When: Tuesday August 15th from 8:30am – 10:00am

Where: Democracy at 202 Locke Street South, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: Startups in Canada (@StartupsInCan) [local startup leaders @ChrisButtenham and @KrisBorghesan]

Register: bruha.com/event/1676

Details:

SOMETHING GOOD IS BREWING! Come join us for the FIRST EVER monthly coffee meetup for the YHM EhList chapter. If you’re a founder, you’re a fit!

Come chat with like minds and enjoy a delightful cup of joe from Democracy.

 

Lions Lair 2017 top ten finalists announced

 

Original article is on lionslair.ca

 

As part of the seventh annual LiON’S LAIR competition, 15 startup businesses spent their summer with Innovation Factory to develop their pitch and media relations skills.

After a head-to-head mini pitch competition, Innovation Factory and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce are pleased to announce the top 10 companies who will move on to face the Lions with a 15-minute pitch filmed on Cable 14.

Aiva Labs, BridesMade, Dash MD, Dolled Up Desserts, Gene Blueprint, healthypets.io, HiNT Neuro, Lumago, Nanophyll, and Oneiric Hockey will all get that opportunity.

“Our top 10 is truly representative of the economic diversity and growth that Hamilton and the surrounding area has experienced since the competition’s inception,” said David Carter, Executive Director at Innovation Factory. “We can see a wide range of industries and products represented, and for the first time, the majority of our finalist companies are led by female founders and co-founders. It’s exciting to see the competition reflect larger, positive trends in entrepreneurship.”

The 10 finalists will now compete for over $160,000 in cash and in-kind prizes. The winners will be announced live at the LiON’S LAIR gala September 27 at Carmen’s Banquet Centre.

Innovation Factory and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce are pleased to collaborate with local organizations and businesses in providing prizing and event support. The competition would not be possible without the support of these generous partners.

Tickets to the gala will go on sale mid-August and will be available at lionslair.ca. This event sells out every year, so stay tuned for upcoming announcements.

 

Check out the pitch from Aiva Labs below and the rest on YouTube.

 

 

Debris by Moonray arrives October 2nd

 

Moonray Studios (@moonraystudios) has announced the release of Debris for October 2nd, 2017!

Check out the trailer below and check out the game on Steam!

 

 

Description: Debris is an atmospheric single-player/co-op adventure game set in a surreal frozen ocean. Trapped in the depths, you must reach the surface to survive. Power is scarce, your team is lost and unusual creatures lurk in the darkness. Escape together or die alone.

Features:

  • Deep storylines dramatically impacted by the choices you make
  • Single-player and co-op modes
  • A unique underwater setting like nothing you’ve ever seen
  • Stunning graphics with dynamic ice and alien bioluminescence
  • Living creatures with their own domains, desires and attitudes
  • Futuristic weapons and a robotic squid

 

 

Local tech and startup inclusivity initiatives

 

The issue of inclusivity in the tech sector has been a focus in the news lately, as well as a focus of discussions locally. It’s too bad the reasons it’s coming up are sad, but the reasons aren’t surprising (which makes it even more sad…).   I wanted to write this article going over existing initiatives around inclusivity that are already happening in the city around tech and startups, including ways to get involved and help them. I want to write some more articles on this topic, including one highlighting some cool things that women in the local tech sector are doing that maybe some people don’t know about but would find interesting to learn about.

 

Hamilton tech and startup inclusivity initiatives

 

Hamilton Code Clubs (@hamontcodeclub) is a program by IEC Hamilton, led by Beth Gibson (@bethkgibson), to teach elementary school students how to code through lunch-hour and after-school clubs run by community mentors.  The program is focused on priority neighbourhoods and female students, especially in grades 6-8 which are particularly critical years for encouraging career paths, and has reached over 1,600 students in the Hamilton-area at roughly 40 schools.  The program has recently expanded into some weekend workshop and summer activities.  Right now you can help out by volunteering to mentor, helping to promote workshops, and in the future I’ll be posting more opportunities for involvement such as sponsorship.

 

It’s also worth noting that Hamilton Code Clubs is organizing a small working group to provide advice on ensuring the program is inclusive and welcoming to everyone.  As the group evolves over the next year, the intention is that it can also look at sharing best practices to help local firms with inclusivity.  For example, several firms partnered with the program have noticed specific changes they can make to their job postings to appeal to more women applicants; these types of best practices can be packaged together and shared with the community.  When that happens, I’ll be sure to post the results.

 

Ladies Learning Code (@LLCHamOnt) is a non-profit regularly occurring series of workshops where women (and men) learn technologies like HTML/CSS, WordPress, JavaScript, and Python.  They also run occasional workshops for children.  The organization has chapters all over Canada, and the Hamilton chapter is led by Meg Smith (@megthesmith), Abena Asomaning (@wyldbloom), and Erin O’Neil (@erinlauraoneil).  You can help out by volunteering to help facilitate or lead workshops, by sponsoring, and by helping to promote the upcoming Hamilton Chapter events.

 

Black Boys Code (@blackboyscode) is a program founded by Bryan Johnson that introduces boys of colour between the ages of 8 to 17 to computer science through one and two-day; workshops, after-school events and mentoring programs.  The program has recently started running workshops in Hamilton on McMaster University campus.  You can help out by volunteering to mentor and helping to promote their upcoming workshops.

 

Women in Computing Society (WiCS) McMaster is a McMaster University group that runs events for women in the various computing programs on McMaster campus, founded by Alyssia Jovellanos (@alyssiacodes) [who is a rockstar leader in general too].

 

Coding Bootcamp is a new joint project by Mohawk College and IEC Hamilton.  A 12-week free Coding Bootcamp will introduce basic web programming to adults 19+ who are not currently enrolled in post-secondary.  The program will operate out of Hamilton Public Library, and a female only version of the same program will operate out of the Eva Rothwell Centre.  Over the summer some introductory workshops are running as a “try and see if you like it before you commit to 12 weeks”.  You can help out by spreading the word about these upcoming workshops!

 

McMaster Computing and Software Outreach (@maccasoutreach) is a program led by Christopher Anand, focused on computer science outreach, through creating educational software, delivering workshops and other activities such as summer programming.  The program is particularly innovative in its curriculum development, covering computer science and computational thinking rather than the imperative style computer programming covered by most outreach activities.  For example with concepts such as functional programming with the Elm Language.  The program has also had a focus on women and other underrepresented groups in its curriculum development and program delivery.

 

Women Entrepreneurship (@women_ent) is a local event series founded by Justin Policarpio (@Justin_Polic) covering the success of women entrepreneurs (not just tech/startup), and supporting those small businesses in the region.

 

Hamilton Fempreneurs (@hamfempreneurs) is a monthly meetup group for women entrepreneurs and leaders (not just tech/startup), with a talk or discussion at each meeting, founded by Suzanne Zandbergen (@thegeneratorca) [also, if I’m missing other founders, please let me know].