2011 was a great year for software in Hamilton!
The success of WeeverApps was one of the bigger stories of the year, especially after winning Lion’s Lair. In building a product based around the unfulfilled need of their clients at CartaNova to get on to the mobile web affordably, they may have demonstrated a path to creating a startup for other Hamilton entrepreneurs to follow. It wasn’t just Weever Apps though, a multitude of area startups received attention such as Athelink, Quant Interpretations, SnapPay, Verdant Analysis and more. Hamilton’s new RIC Innovation Factory helped to drive startup activity in Hamilton with their client services and events.
Mohawk College pulled off a very successful AppsForHealth conference and its IdeaWorks Lab continued to blend industry with academics. McMaster University’s Computing and Software outreach program and Gr8 Designs for Gr8 Girls event brought the fun and empowerment of understanding computer science to a new generation, a new software entrepreneurship course helped to foster a stronger startup culture, the computer science club was more active than in anytime since the 90s, and the Don Pether Incubation Centre was launched.
An exciting Open Data citizens group Open Hamilton held the first ever Random Hacks of Kindness in the city, and produced cool apps like Skate Hamilton. Hamilton’s hackerspace ThinkHaus re-opened after a move to 25 Dundurn Street North, and thanks to them we now have retro awesome lazzored key chains. Other groups like the Joomla! User Group South Western Ontario, Hamilton Linux User Group and CIPS-GH continued to meet regularly to learn, share and build connections.
At our first Startup Weekend in Hamilton, 20 of the 22 ideas pitched were dependent upon web or mobile software development. Software startups such as Sochi, GeoFresh and Caltrakr came out of the weekend. DemoCampHamilton took place regularly with demos from startups, students, an inventor, and established companies like Factor[e] and FluidMedia; offshoot pubnight StartupDrinks now occurs monthly.
Looking forward into 2012, we’ve got another exciting year ahead.
For starters we’ve got DemoCampHamilton5 on February 9th, the #TechTalk4HamOnt web series covering the community is set to launch February 14th, #Hack4HamOnt2 is taking place March 2nd-4th, StartupWeekend is taking place April 27th-29th, and AppsForHealth is taking place May 10th-11th. And that’s not including StartupDrinks, Innovation Nights, Lunch ‘n Learns and various other regular gatherings.
If we work together we can make 2012 even better for the community. We can talk about it, we can tweet, facebook, linkedin and blog about it, we can bring friends into it, individuals can organize more events to benefit it, and we can help each other without expecting anything in return.
If you go to AppsForHealth this year, or even if you don’t, you can help to create a storm of tweets about the conference so Hamilton and the entire eHealth world knows about it. If you go to Hack4HamOnt, you can bring an interested friend with you too. If you see local events on linkedin, you can share them with your network too. If you see a local startup with a cool product, you can blog about it. If you think that somebody could benefit from a connection, you can make it. If you can offer experience or advice to someone, you can have that coffee or beer with them. If you have the time to organize an event for the community, there are many different events other communities do that we do not.