Hamilton Economic Development


MacGDA featured on Invest in Hamilton

Check out the great video feature on MacGDA (@MacGDA1) on Invest in Hamilton TV:




Sold out Hacking Health Cafe energizes healthtech community


Hacking Health (@hackinghealthca) started off last year in Montreal in an effort to connect developers and designers with healthcare professionals at a hackathon event in order to reduce the risk for healthcare innovations to develop solutions to healthcare problems. If that sounds a bit familiar, it’s probably because we have an event in Hamilton called AppsForHealth (@AppsForHealth) that recognized the same opportunity to connect developers, designers and healthcare professionals! The Hacking Health hackathon that took place in Montreal was so successful that cities like Toronto and Vancouver have now held Hacking Health events, and Hacking Health Cafe events have started up in cities all over to connect local healthtech communities:

Cafes are informal meetups to discuss and debate digital health in your city. Hacking Health Cafés are where people and ideas mingle.

Cafes were started by a local team in Montreal who wanted a space where people could easily and frequently discover ideas and people in digital health. The first few cafes in Montreal and Toronto filled up within hours of announcing the event so we realized there was a strong demand for a means to connect innovators interested in healthcare.

Cafes are an easy way for organizers and participants to foster a dynamic community. Cafes increase the surface area and diffusion of that reaction between different disciplines, which is the core mission at Hacking Health. If there isn’t one in your area, become a leader and let us help you organize one.

If you are looking to see what is happening locally or want to meet the talent you’re missing to make your vision a reality, find a Hacking Health Cafe near you.




The first ever Hamilton Hacking Health Cafe took place last night at McMaster Innovation Park. The event was sponsored by Innovation Factory, Hamilton Economic Development and the McMaster eHealth graduate program, and the speakers at the event were Dr. Michael Pray (@drmpray) and Duane Bender (@duane_bender).

Dr. Pray is a family doctor, electronic medical record user since 1998, associate lead physician for IT at the Hamilton Family Health Team, and Peer to Peer Leader for Ontario MD. Dr. Pray talked about his role as a family doctor and gave an outline of who’s who in the local system. He presented a brief outline of an example with a clinical problem (telederm referrals), the way thing are set up now, and an example of how new technologies (i.e. smartphones) can make this process easier.

Duane Bender is currently a faculty member and the Principal Investigator for the MEDIC Centre and Applied Research program at Mohawk College which focuses on the application of information and communications technologies to healthcare (“eHealth” and “mhealth”). MEDIC is a centre of excellence in the promotion, use, and testing of international healthcare information standards to achieve healthcare system interoperability as well as incorporating the use of mobile technology into healthcare.




The event was yet another success for the local community! There were about 50-60 attendees total, with a healthy mix of healthcare professionals and software developers. People stayed long after the talks were over to get to know one another. I know at least one healthcare professional with an idea was able to connect with a few developers that night that may be able to help them build the solution.




The best part from my perspective was hearing that Hacking Health is going to keep doing events in Hamilton. Another Hacking Health Cafe is being planned for January 2014, and a full blown Hacking Health Hackathon is being planned for May 2014. You can join their mailing list to be notified when these events are announced.

And that’s not all for upcoming healthtech events. MacGDA (@MacGDA1) is hosting a talk on The Gamification of Medicine & Education – Insights into Psychology on Tuesday November 5th. The AppsForHealth conference that has been hosted at Mohawk College for the last 3 years will also be back for a 4th edition in 2014.



Events that more regularly bringing together and catalyse the local healthtech community are a great sign of things to come for an area long-suspected to be a potential strength for Hamilton. Also, a big hats off to David Kemper (@dkemper) and Erin O’Neil (@erinlauraoneil) for stepping up and organizing this event for the community (Erin’s also the chapter lead for Ladies Learning Code in Hamilton too).

Check out some more pictures from Hamilton’s first ever Hacking Health Cafe:











Asia Pacific Global Export Forum


Discover new export opportunities in the Asia Pacific region!

The Asia Pacific region is one of the fastest growing trade regions in the world, and represents an important export opportunity for Ontario companies.

Ontario is bringing together small- and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) with industry and Asia market experts to learn more about exporting to this region — where Ontario exported over $6 billion in goods and services last year alone!

The Asia Pacific Global Export Forum will be valuable to your business. It will help Ontario exporters and entrepreneurs learn about successful market entry and expansion strategies — how to build effective partnerships  with  companies in the region, and how to develop and expand  your business in the Asia Pacific region; including, China, India, Japan, Korea, Southeast Asia and Australia.

The forum will be held on September 23 2013, at the Westin Prince Hotel, 900 York Mills Rd., Toronto, Ontario. Reserve a spot now by visiting the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment’s registration site.

Why you should attend:

  • Learn about new export opportunities and trends in the Asia Pacific region
  • Discover government export programs and services for accessing export markets
  • Navigate the unique challenges of markets in the Asia Pacific region
  • Discuss business development strategies with market access experts and business leaders
  • Network with peer companies and business organizations to help you succeed as an exporter

Who is coming?
The forum focuses on manufacturers, high-tech firms and companies interested in exploring export opportunities in the Asia Pacific region. The forum will be of particular interest to companies in the advanced manufacturing, automotive, agri-food, clean tech (environment, water), engineering, infrastructure, information and communications technology, smart grid and renewable energy sectors.

The event will feature presentations from leading experts on the Asia Pacific region; including, the Asia Pacific Foundation, the Asian Development Bank, the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan, successful exporters, representatives of trade and business councils and industry associations, incoming buyers, and federal and provincial government trade professionals.

What will take place?
The forum will include plenary sessions, industry specific workshops, country panels, a panel of government programs for SMEs, a networking lunch and reception, and more. Ontario exporters are also invited to apply for one-on-one meetings with incoming buyers from the Asia Pacific region.

Register today and learn how to navigate the challenges, target the opportunities and expand your markets in Asia — one of the world’s fastest growing regions and a key trade and investment partner for Ontario, Canada.

Connecting McMaster students to Hamilton jobs

Last night Software Hamilton (@hamiltonsw) and Hamilton Economic Development (@hamiltonecdev) hosted the inaugural Jobs Night at McMaster University. A big part of the motivation for me to organize Software Hamilton events is the frustration I’ve experienced watching the brian drain occur out of McMaster. Year after year an amazingly talented bunch of people graduate from McMaster University and generally leave Hamilton. I’m told this happens in “University towns” everywhere, but I’m fairly certain it’s worse in Hamilton. An obvious example would be RIM (now Blackberry), which has been great for retaining University of Waterloo graduates in their city. We can’t capture all of the McMaster graduates or even most of them at this point, but with Hamilton software firms now hiring in greater numbers than ever before we should be able to start retaining at least some of them.

McMaster has formal channels for connecting students to jobs that work great; my own experience with the co-op program during my undergraduate years was fantastic. I obviously forward any job opportunities I’m aware of to the right contacts internally (McMaster is my employer, and I’m a graduate student there currently).

But in past years I’ve also run more unofficial informal “networking events” for undergraduate students where I’ve had alumni come in and pitch what their company does and what types of jobs they will be looking to fill over the next 6 months. It ends up being educational for the students if nothing else, they get to see what types of career paths exist and what companies out there are looking for in terms of skills and experience. But a cool thing happened where every time I ran one of these events companies would fill positions with students they interacted with that night. I’ve always wanted to do one of these event focusing on companies from Hamilton specifically, but it wasn’t until the software startup and job surge over the last few years that doing so was really possible.



At Job Night last evening we had Mabel’s Labels, Weever Apps, REfficient, ProSensus, HiFyre and others from the Hamilton-area come in and talk about what positions they’ll be looking to fill over the short term to about 60 students in attendance. I know at least a few of these companies will be conducting interviews with students that they met at the event, and they spoke highly of the McMaster students that they have hired thus far. A representative from the Small Business Enterprise Centre was also there to explain the Summer Company program. Several students indicated they would be using the program to help launch their own software development shops over the summer. There’s a huge opportunity for them there… I get a lot of requests for help with short-term software development projects from companies that are overburdened with work but not yet at a level that they can justify hiring a new employee.

A single event like this isn’t going to stop the brain drain or build a better funnel from McMaster in to Hamilton. In some sectors like healthcare the talent already flows freely and in large numbers from McMaster in to Hamilton. But in others the talent doesn’t flow in to Hamilton, it just flows right out, and the lack of local opportunities can lead to a perception that McMaster is a bit of a wall within Hamilton. Based on feedback from participating companies and students, I suspect Job Night helped put a nice little crack in that wall, with many more to come.


Blais foresees broadband access as ‘basic service’

PUBLISHED: SATURDAY, 12/01/2012 11:24 AM EST
LAST UPDATED: MONDAY, 12/03/2012 2:55 PM EST

OTTAWA—CRTC Chair Jean-Pierre Blais said he expects universal access to broadband Internet to one day be defined and regulated a “basic service,” as home telephone services are now.

“The commission’s mandate and overarching goal is to make sure all Canadians, including vulnerable populations, have access to essential communication services. No debate about that,” Blais said Friday in a speech at a dinner hosted by the Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC).

“Deciding exactly what constitutes a basic service is open to interpretation, of course. Years ago, it meant having a basic telephone line. In light of the growing importance of broadband to all aspects of Canadians’ lives, I can foresee the day when universal access to broadband will form part of the definition.”

Telecommunications services classified as “basic” by the CRTC can involve price and access regulations. The Telecommunications Act says the CRTC can establish a fund to support services it defines as basic to ensure Canadians have access to it at affordable rates.

Basic service regulation ensuring access and price ceilings currently applies to incumbent home phone services in some markets where there is not enough competition.

In its “obligation to serve” decision in 2011 (2011-291), the CRTC said the deployment of broadband Internet access “should continue to rely on market forces and targeted government funding, an approach which encourages private and public partnerships.” The commission said “it would not be appropriate at this time to establish a funding mechanism to subsidize the deployment of broadband Internet access services.”

In that decision, the CRTC set a target for all Canadians to have access to Internet speeds of 5 Mbps or faster for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads by 2015.

In February, a CRTC-commissioned report raised the question of whether Internet connectivity is an essential utility, and what that may mean for monthly bandwidth caps or customer disconnections.

“From these complications concerning the rise of cloud computing in a digital culture of bandwidth capping, arise questions about whether internet service providers should be allowed to cut households and small businesses or organizations off from the web because of overuse, or if internet connectivity is an essential utility or service, like water, electricity, or the telephone,” said the report, by Queen’s University professor Sidneyeve Matrix.

Blais said Friday that CRTC requirements for incumbent telecom companies to offer smaller telcos wholesale access to essential services is “vital to competition” in Canada, adding that the commission “refrains from regulating when we are convinced that market forces are sufficient to produce the desired benefits for Canadians.”


CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly mixed up the definitions for “basic service” and “essential service.” The two are different regulatory terms, with essential services relating to wholesale and basic services relating to universal access.


Ideacia ONE Inc. Opens a New Location within the McMaster Innovation Park

Markham, ON – The Ideacia ONE Inc. group, which includes SR&ED ONE, Strategic Marketing ONE, and M&A ONE continues to grow and expand with the addition of a new office situated within the McMaster Innovation Park (MIP) located in Hamilton, ON. The new office will be open July 2012 serving fellow MIP residents, as well as the greater Hamiltonbusiness community.

“We are not only opening a new office to better serve the greater Hamilton area, but more importantly we are excited to become strategic partners with MIP and the Hamilton Economic Development Department, workingtogether to provide innovation driven businesses with valuable support and expertise, to help them innovate, grow and prosper”, explains Jennifer Powers, Principal and Co-Founder of Ideacia ONE.

The MIP (http://www.mcmasterinnovationpark.ca/welcome-new-tenants) is located at 175 Longwood Road South and is revered as a premier research park that boasts an award winning design, 180,000 square-foot, 4-level office, laboratory and conference facility situated on 37 acres in the west end of Hamilton on Hwy 403 less than 2 kilometers from the internationally acclaimed McMaster University. MIP offers collaborative space for researchers and entrepreneurs alike to co-locate, connect and commercialize, a place to transform ideas from vision to commercial opportunity.

“The addition of Ideacia ONE will enable us to provide tenants with access to SR&ED funding support, strategic business planning and marketing support, and fund raising expertise, we see Ideacia ONE as key strategic partners and look forward to working closely with them on new initiatives”, Mark Stewart, Marketing and Leasing Manager, McMaster Innovation Park.

MIP is also home to the Innovation Factory a not-for-profit Regional Innovation Centre, NRC, CANMET-MTL, McMaster University, among many other high profile public and private sector organizations and companies.


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Ideacia ONE Inc. is comprised of a group of specialized boutique consulting firms, including: SR&ED ONE, Strategic Marketing ONE, and M&A ONE; created to provide business innovators with access to expertise in strategic business modeling& planning, marketing strategy & market research, and SR&ED funding. Ideacia ONE serves clients who leverage innovation and technology as their core competitive differentiator, and helps them to identify their next move in the growth of their business, partnering with them throughout the entire innovation process beginning with the conception of the idea through to market commercialization. Ideacia ONE, your partner in innovation, your partner for Your Next Move.


Contact Information:

Danny Ladouceur, CA, Principal & Co-Founder
Jennifer Powers, MBA, GDM, Ec.D., Principal & Co-Founder

3100 Steeles Avenue East, Suite 802
Markham, ON L3R 8T3
416.485.0005 / 1.877.266.0005