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].

 

GameDevDrinks with Oddbird Studio tomorrow night

 

When: Wednesday July 19th 2017 from 7:30pm to 10:30pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker at 20 Augusta Street, Hamilton, ON

Organizer: @GameDevDrinks

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/gamedevdrinks-oddbird-studio-tickets-35932206196

Details:

Hey GDDers,

We invite all of you within or curious about our game development community to come and join us at the Pheasant Plucker on Wednesday, July 19 for a night of good times and good cheer. This month our guest speaker is Oddbird Studios the studio behind Arrow Heads

From 7:00-10:30 p.m., GameDevDrinks is the place for you to hang out and to hear Oddbird Studios speak about the trials and tribulations of Arrow Heads, as well as get a hands-on experience with their latest game. Afterwards you can chat with Oddbird Studio, 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 19th!

Regards,

OddBird Studio is a collaboration of Sheridan Game Design students operating out of Oakville, Ontario. The team came together to create an engaging and memorable game to submit to the Level Up Showcase in Toronto. Although we are currently laying the groundwork for our debut title Arrow Heads we are passionate about creating games that are not only fun to play, but that push our design capabilities. While OddBird Studio may have started as a game project the team is always focused on moving forward with future developments; including a market release for Arrow Heads.

 

IBM and HHS officially launch Innovation Exchange

 

Last month IBM and Hamilton Health Sciences officially launched the Innovation Exchange, a 7,000 sq. ft health innovation accelerator at 1 King St. W in downtown Hamilton. Check out the announcement below:


Hamilton Health Sciences (HHS) and IBM Canada have continued to build on the IBM/HHS innovation collaborative announced in March 2016 and, on June 26, officially launched a new health innovation accelerator in downtown Hamilton, which will serve as a platform for local entrepreneurs, researchers and healthcare professionals to collaborate on projects that will help improve the delivery of healthcare across the region, the country and the global market.

The HHS Innovation Exchange initiative, within the IBM Innovation Space in Hamilton, gives participants access to an array of IBM Watson cognitive and analytics software, expertise in cloud computing and high-performance computing infrastructure, and a network of global collaborators. Hamilton Health Sciences, with its cadre of more than 1,500 research staff and 15,000 healthcare employees across six facilities, provides practical industry expertise and a “real-world” test environment.

“We’re applying our respective expertise in health and technology to find innovative solutions to today’s most pressing healthcare challenges,” said Rob MacIsaac, president & CEO of HHS. “This centre will serve as a launch pad for work that will change how we provide health care in Ontario, and beyond.”


 

Also check out IBM Canada President Dino Trevisani (@DinoTrevisani) elaborating on the concept in an interview with Bloomberg:

Help greenBYTE with computer donations

 

Editor’s note: Saw this on greenBYTE Hamilton just now and wanted to share – maybe help them out and donate!

 


“It was the right thing to do”- Recently a mom and her 13 year old son Scott came into the store to purchase a computer. When I asked what they needed the computer for, Scott’s mom told me that he was being harassed in the community and she wanted him to have something to do at home where he would be safe. When I heard this I knew what I had to do. I went to the back and got a laptop for Scott and told him it was free. Scott and his mom thanked me profusely and said that I helped them out more than I would ever know. greenBYTE is always looking for end of use computer donations so we can help more kids like Scott. Please visit our web site at www.greenbyte.ca to find out how you can help us.

Mike Marchand


 

Internet of Things conference on Saturday June 24th

 

When: Saturday June 24th

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

Cost: $20 regular, $10 for students

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/hamont-iot-conference-2017-tickets-33104444284

Details:

9:00 a.m. — 10:00 a.m.

Arrival and registration!  We’ll have coffee and snacks available!

10:00 a.m — 12:00 p.m.

Colin Gagich (@colingagich)

Owner, NVC Software Solutions

Talk: HitchBOT, the hitchhiking robot (@HitchBOT)

Bio: Colin Gagich operates NVC Software Solutions, a software company which performs contract design and development work based in Hamilton, Ontario. Through NVC, Colin has worked with clients in the Aircraft Deicing Industry, HVAC Industry and Restaurant Point of Sales Industry. Colin specializes in embedded system design, mobile application development and web application development. Colin has been operating NVC Software Solutions since 2013.

Ian Pilon

Ambient Intelligence Specialist

Talk: Ambient Intelligence: Human-Computer Interaction Design & Smart Environments

Bio: Ian Pilon is an IoT product designer from Kitchener Waterloo Ontario. He studies the relationships between humans and computers and how to interact with physical objects that are evolving into the digital domain. Ian is the Founder and Managing Director of IoT Waterloo Region and IoT GTA, a peer to peer network group of over 2,000+ members who meet-up quarterly for professional networking and learning from industry speakers. He’s also the founder of the “Ambient Intelligence Conference” held annually in the Waterloo Region.

Nick Tomkin

Director of Orbital Studios

Lightning Talk: Creating Carina

Carina is a lightweight, portable structure that takes photos of guests at various public or private events and locations, and uploads them directly to Twitter, Facebook and/or Instagram, complete with captions, photo frames, as well as the event hashtag and branding.

Lightning talks – 10–15m each!

  • Adrian Duyzer of Parallel on Taking Advantage Of The IoT Opportunity

12:00 p.m. — 1:00 p.m.

Fantastic lunch! Gluten free and vegetarian option will be available.

1:00 p.m. — 3:00 p.m.

James Arlen (@myrcurial)

Director of Risk and Advisory Services at Leviathan Security Group

Talk: Avoiding common security issues in novel IoT products

Bio: James Arlen is Leviathan’s Director of Risk and Advisory Services. Over the past twenty plus years, James has been delivering information security solutions to Fortune 500, TSE 100, and major public-sector organizations. James is involved in information security policy, process, and procedure improvements for internationally known manufacturing and financial organizations and has held key contributor roles as CISO of a publicly traded financial institution and as Information Security Coordinator at a large scale power utility.

Best described as: “Infosec geek, hacker, social activist, author, speaker, and parent”, James’ areas of interest include organizational change, social engineering, blinky lights and shiny things. James founded Hamilton’s first makerspace think|haus before the Internet had Things. He is also a contributing analyst with Securosis and has a recurring column on Liquidmatrix Security Digest. James is a frequent speaker at industry conferences and is a prolific contributor to standards bodies and media.

Sam Reid (ioTcan)

Director of Business Development for ioTcan

Talk: Launching a nationwide loRaWAN M2M (machine-to-machine) IoT network

Bio: IoTCAN is a next generation wide area network designed specifically for IoT solutions. Sam’s talk will cover ioTcan’s work to deliver a robust, carrier grade network to enable the reliable bi-directional communication of connected devices and machines. Initially launching in the GTA IoTCAN will quickly expand their network to offer service in other major cities nationally and then full nationwide coverage. This network is being built on a recognized global standard for low power wide area coverage established by the LoRa Alliance. LoRaWAN™ is a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) specification intended for wireless battery operated Things. For more information on LoRa please refer to the following sites: www.lora-alliance.org and Semtech.

Meg Smith (@megthesmith)

Ladies Learning Code Hamilton Chapter Co-Lead

Talk: Opportunities and Challenges for Women in Technology

Bio: Meg Smith is a Senior Designer at Parallel, the Ladies Learning Code Hamilton Chapter Co-Lead, and loves all things DIY. Her work with LLC was featured in Hamilton Business article.

Lightning talks – 10–15m each!

  • Terry George and team on their “FITWIZ” ECE capstone project (McMaster University)

3:00 p.m. — 3:15 p.m. (ish)

Break time with drinks and snacks!

3:15 p.m. — 5:00 p.m.

John Gerryts

IT telecom analyst by day, uber blockchain hacker by night

Talk: Project Oaken – The intersection of blockchain and IoT

Bio: John Gerryts is a Technologist that has been involved in the cryptocurrency space since 2013. Beginning as an active miner, John is the organizer for the Niagara Bitcoin Meetup Group, and has led a few projects surrounding IoT + Blockchain technology (mostly related to Ethereum.org as early as PoC3). For the last 23 years, John has been involved at different levels of technology, with roles such as Network Administrator, Telecommunications Specialist, and Senior Network & Electronics Integrator. His Project Airlock placed 3rd at the “In Crypto We Trust” Hackathon which has since been mentioned in the Canadian Senate and on the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast by Andreas Antonopolous.

Lightning talks – 10–15m each!

  • Lightning talk: Blake Laufer, award-winning investor and entrepreneur on his new IoT parking counter project
  • More speakers to be announced soon!

Q&A Panel: Succeeding as an IoT entpreneur

Ask whatever you like – this is your opportunity to learn from successful entrepreneurs and investors in person!

Panel participants:

  • Blake Laufer: Invester, entrepreneur, and board member of Angel One Investor Network
  • Colin Gagich: McMaster graduate, entrepreneur, hardware and software developer, and creative genius
  • Alex Ross: Lawyer and partner at Gowling WLG in Hamilton specializing in intellectual propert law

5:00 p.m. — 7:00 p.m.

Beer and pizza! Make connections, ask more questions of the presenters, and start great conversations about IoT!

 

Women Working in WordPress Panel this Thursday

When: Thursday May 25th 2017 at 6:30pm

Where: CoMotion on King at 115 King St East, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: WordPress Hamilton Meetup

Register: meetup.com/WPHamOnt/events/238774940

Details:

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

Presentation: Panel – Women Working in WordPress

We’ll be having a panel of women working in the web industry in a variety of roles – who all have a hand in WordPress. We’ll be talking about how they got into the IT field, developing skills and more.

This will be a moderated panel with some time for QA afterwards.

Panelists confirmed:

Donna Peplinskie – JavaScript Wrangler @ Automattic
Olga Kwak – entrepreneurial marketer @ OK Digital Content
+1 TBD

Agenda

6:30pm – doors open, networking

7pm-8pm – panel + Q&A

8:pm-? – Networking

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

GameDevDrinks featuring Third Floor Games

When: Wednesday May 24th 2017 from 7:30pm – 10:30pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker at 20 Augusta Street, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: @GameDevDrnks

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/gamedevdrinks-third-floor-games-tickets-34717674499

Details:

Hey GDDers,

We invite all of you within or curious about our game development community to come and join us at the Pheasant Plucker on Wednesday, May 24th for a night of good times and good cheer. This month our guest speaker is Third Floor Games the winners of this years LeveUP Toronto competition and creators of Disco is Dead.

From 7:30-10:30 p.m., GameDevDrinks is the place for you to hang out and to hear Third Floor Games speak about the trials and tribulations of Disco is Dead, being a student team, and the adventures of LevelUP Toronto, as well as answer your game dev questions during the Q&A portion of their talk. Afterwards you can chat with the team, 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 24nd!

About Third Floor Games
Third Floor Games is a team of Bachelor of Game Design graduates from Sheridan College. Our development team is Nuha Alkadi, Coulter Baker, Jeffrey Barkun, Jennifer Johnson, Kassandra Kadar and Melissa McQuarrie, with music composed by P.j. Tremblay.

CityLAB experiential learning hub launches

Tackling civic problems at the new CityLAB! (Image Source)

 

HAMILTON, ON – The City of Hamilton today announced it is partnering with local academic institutions McMaster University, Mohawk College and Redeemer University College to launch CityLAB, an innovation hub where students, city staff and community stakeholders will co-create solutions that support the city’s strategic priorities.

Following on a worldwide movement to create more meaningful learning experiences to engage young people, CityLAB Hamilton will offer post-secondary students the chance to collaborate, design, launch and test real projects that address issues confronting Hamilton (e.g.: climate change, healthy neighbourhoods, municipal excellence).

Project benefits are numerous for the student participants, the academic institutions, the City of Hamilton and the broader community:

  • Students gain new skills, a tangible connection to their city, and employment opportunities after graduation
  • The schools are able to build new bridges across disciplines and work together for the benefit of the community
  • City staff are exposed to new ideas that support strategic priorities and the overall sustainability and livability of Hamilton

The pilot program will run until December 2019, and the learning environment and innovation lab will be located at the former Canadian Football Hall of Fame building.

Since the formal signing of the CityLAB agreement between the City and institutions at the end of March 2017, next steps will see renovations at the Hall of Fame to meet current building standards and CityLAB space requirements. The innovation hub will have a fully accessible, open concept floor plan allowing for student lectures, project work and innovation workshops.

A CityLAB Project Manager has been hired. Patrick Byrne is currently on leave from his PhD studies in English and Cultural Studies at McMaster. Mr. Byrne brings extensive experience as an innovative experiential and interdisciplinary educator, previously serving at Sheridan College and for three years as the Program Coordinator for the McMaster Discovery Program, a non-credit, university-level course for adults in Hamilton who have experienced barriers to higher education.

Additional Resources

  • Read the General Issues Committee report about CityLAB (item 7.2)
  • Read original CityLAB Motion put forward by Councillor Matthew Green on April 6, 2016 (see pages 21-22 in the attached)
  • The concept of CityLAB Hamilton ignited in the Spring of 2015, when representatives from the City of Hamilton and McMaster University visited CityStudio Vancouver
  • A formal launch and opening of the CityLAB site will take place in fall of 2017 – details to follow

Quotes

“CityLAB Hamilton is a winning collaboration for all partners – ultimately benefitting the community through innovative projects that advance the strategic priorities of the City. I am thrilled that Hamilton is the next City to harness this growing global trend of engaging the brightest post-secondary minds to improve our City.”

Hamilton Mayor Fred Eisenberger

“The challenges of our City are complex and require developing solutions across so many sectors. Just as open-source data is driving technology, open government will drive advances in city building. By capturing the most current and cutting edge minds, CityLAB brings together the best ideas from local government, academia and the private sector.”

Matthew Green, Hamilton City Councillor, Ward 3

“Every day McMaster students, faculty and staff work to make Hamilton a better and more vibrant city. By partnering with the City and our sister institutions, CityLAB provides students with opportunities to tackle real issues and challenges facing Hamiltonians, and to work together towards a healthier, more inclusive and more successful Hamilton for everyone.”

Patrick Deane, President and Vice-Chancellor, McMaster University

“CityLAB extends the classroom into the community for Mohawk students.  We look forward to putting our students to work on community-building projects with our partners at the City, McMaster and Redeemer.”

Ron McKerlie, President, Mohawk College

“CityLAB is another great opportunity for Redeemer University to live out its mission. Through this partnership with the City, McMaster, and Mohawk, we will further position our students to have a tangible positive impact on our city.”

Fred Verwoerd, Interim President, Redeemer University College

-30-

Media contact:

Ann Lamanes
Communications Officer
Planning & Economic Development Department
City of Hamilton
E: Ann.Lamanes@hamilton.ca
P: 905-546-2424 ext. 5541

McMaster University
Gord Arbeau
Director Public and Community Relations
E: arbeaug@mcmaster.ca
P: 905-525-9140 ext. 27305

Mohawk College
Jay Robb
Communications Director
E: jay.robb@mohawkcollege.ca
P: 905.979.8893

Redeemer University College
Bethany Van Lingen
Communications Manager
E: bvanlingen@redeemer.ca
P: 905-648-2139 ext.4326

Electronics Hamilton meetup on Monday

 

When: Monday May 22nd 2017 at 7:30pm

Where: The Pheasant Plucker at 20 Augusta Street, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: Electronics Hamilton Meetup

Register: meetup.com/Electronics-Hamilton-Meetup/events/239991827

Details:

Hey all, hope you are well?

Can you believe its been about a month since the first meetup? I figured we should get together and talk more hardware!

This time I thought we’d do more of an informal night to get to know people and bring/show projects plus it has the advantage of little organisation 🙂

So this time it’s going to be held on Monday 22nd May at the Pheasant Plucker on Augusta at 7:30PM. I know it’s Victoria Day weekend, so if you can make it please RSVP so we get an idea of numbers.

1/2 price wings on Monday. $6 Cdn, Coors Lt, Stockie, and the Pilsner.

This meetup is going to be reliant on you guys bringing the hardware! So bring your favourite/most recent project or the best piece of hardware you own, that way we can see what everyones been up to. Don’t worry no one has to present – that is unless you want to 🙂

Looking forward to it and see you there!

 

Upcoming HTML/CSS workshop for grades 4-8

 

When: Saturday May 27th 2017 from 1:00pm – 4:00pm

Where: Hamilton Public Library – Central Library (circuit 4.0 – zone 3), 55 York Boulevard, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: IEC Hamilton (@IEC Hamilton)

Register: eventbrite.com/e/htmlcss-workshop-tickets-33924938404

Details:

This is a beginner to middle level workshop for local Hamilton students in Grades 4-8.

Have you ever thought of creating your very own website? If you answered ‘yes’, then this is the workshop for you! Note: this workshop provides nutritional snacks and computers. Bus tickets are available to those who require transportation. A parent/guardian must pick up their child at 4:00 pm.

This workshop experience offers local Hamilton students the opportunity to learn how to create their own website, using HTML and CSS, in a hands-on environment. The workshop will focus on the use of Khan Academy, an easy-to-use online platform where participants will learn the basics of website design through guided tutorials.

They will have the opportunity to explore various HTML concepts like inserting text, headers, and tables PLUS CSS so that they can change the colour, font, layout and more! After the session, they will be able to continue to explore to develop their coding skills and even show you their masterpiece!