SURGE Funding Panel


When: Wednesday February 8th from 11:30am – 1:30pm

Where: The Collaboratory at 135 Fennell Avenue West, Hamilton, Ontario


Organizer: Mohawk College SURGE (@MohawkSurge)


Note that this event is open to the general public.

Our funding panel members will include representatives from OCE, Futurepreneur, City of Hamilton Small Business Enterprise Centre and First Ontario. Each member will share details about funding and programs available that would be applicable to the SURGE audience and Mohawk student and alumni population. After the panel shares their information we will have some specific questions delivered to the funding panel members and the audience will be welcome to ask their questions as well.

Join us to get all the details on funding that make be a fit for your business! FREE lunch will be provided.


deltaHacks continues to impress


deltaHacks (@deltahacks) took place for the 3rd year running at McMaster University this past weekend! The hackathon again did not fail to impress, with hundreds of students and 19 teams spending 2 days working on “building real world applications that create positive change”.

This “hack for change” aspect of the competition really sets it apart from many other hackathons and similar events. The quality of the work accomplished in what essentially amounts to 24 hours is always mind blowing (check out Holo Body below). Perhaps equally important, volunteers tell me that teams of first year students will show up not knowing how to program on Saturday morning and leave on Sunday with a working Android application and an ability to use GitHub!


Here are the six finalists that demo’d at the closing ceremonies…


Holo Body – an edtech solution that allows students to view 3D augmented reality holographs of the human anatomy using their smartphones.




Lifeline – a hardware solution to detect when a driver is falling asleep and alert them in order to prevent an accident.





Voice of Reason – a mobile application that allows users to check if purchases will keep them within their budget (i.e. is it affordable), meant to prevent poor impulse purchase decisions.




VATS – stands for Very Awesome Tipping Solution, a hardware solution to detect whether an elderly person has fallen over.





Phonetic English – a Google Chrome extension that translates webpage text into an encoding that makes words easier to pronounce for those learning English (the mismatch between spelling and pronunciation can be a barrier to learning).




Cardio Protect – a hardware solution to detect cardiac arrest and report it to allow for earlier treatment.




The final winners were: 3rd place – VATS, 2nd place – Lifeline, and 1st place – HoloBody.

The event is basically a recruiter’s dream. So it’s no surprise the competition was well sponsored and supported from private sector and public sector partners alike, with a ton of give-aways and special category prizes.

It’s wonderful to see what this event has blossomed into, and it’ll be exciting to see where it goes next.

CHCH covered the event in a report on Saturday.



Canadian tech leaders publish open letter


Editor’s note: Originally published on with a list of 150 initial signatures.


The Canadian tech community comprises many different nationalities, religions, sexual orientations, gender identities, mental and physical abilities, and perspectives. We believe that this diversity is a source of strength and opportunity.

On this topic, we are united.

Canadian tech companies understand the power of inclusion and diversity of thought, and that talent and skill know no borders. In choosing to hire, train, and mentor the best people in the world, we can build global companies that grow our economy. By embracing diversity, we can drive innovation to benefit the world.

The 21st century will be driven by pluralistic economies powered by pluralistic societies.

This is a belief founded upon personal experience for many in our community. Many Canadian tech entrepreneurs are immigrants, are the children of immigrants, employ and have been employed by immigrants.

As connected economies, decisions by the United States can directly impact every business north of the border. The recently signed Executive Order to block entry of citizens from seven countries has already impacted several in our community. As a community, we are all affected.

As a community, we stand together in opposition to the marginalization of people based on their birthplace, race, or religion.

The Canadian tech community supports Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s message that Canada will and must remain inclusive to all nationalities. We also stand directly opposed to any and all laws that undermine or attack inclusion, and call on Prime Minister Trudeau and our political leaders to do the same.

The Canadian tech community also calls on the Canadian federal government to institute an immediate and targeted visa providing those currently displaced by the US Executive Order with temporary residency in Canada. This visa would allow these residents to live and work in Canada with access to benefits until such time as they can complete the application process for permanent residency if they so choose. We encourage provincial and municipal governments across Canada to lend support as they can.

Diversity is our strength. We, as Canadians, recognize our privilege as a prosperous nation. We believe providing refuge to people seeking safety should remain our compass.

In the hours following the US decision, many members of our community have privately shared personal stories of their immigrant experience. We ask them now to share those stories publicly so they may be amplified.

This open letter was drafted, revised, and signed by over 150 members of the Canadian tech community. Those wishing to add their names to the list may email:


Learning from startup hiccups with David Carter

When: Wednesday February 1st 2017 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Where: McMaster University – Room ETB 535 – 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton

Organizer: The Forge (@theforgehamont)



There are many reasons why startups experience failure. To celebrate and learn from these inevitable “hiccups”, join The Forge@Mac and David Carter for Failing Forward: How to learn and grow from startup hiccups. David will outline how to fail well and use it to your advantage.

David Carter is the Executive Director of Innovation Factory (iF). iF is Hamilton’s Regional Innovation Centre with the mandate to be a catalyst for innovation in Hamilton. Appropriately, David’s career has been working in innovation since he joined the workforce. It started as a consultant in the burgeoning personal computer industry and then as an International Markets Analyst at the Toronto Stock Exchange in the late 80’s. At Microsoft he worked through the revolution in desktop computing and the internet in the 90s. In 2001, after 11 years at Microsoft he decided to start his own company. From 2001 until 2012 he and his partner took their start-up from a small office in Burlington, to a Boston based firm raising $20 million in venture capital. Carter is thrilled to support today’s entrepreneurs in Hamilton and to be a part of the larger Hamilton ecosystem.


SURGE Tech Startup Bootcamp


I’m on the team for the SURGE program (@mohawksurge) at Mohawk College. The program has been stirring the entrepreneurism pot on campus with educational events for the startup-curious and free mentorship for students actively working on new businesses. One of the objectives is to act as a funnel into the wider ecosystem.

This winter at SURGE we’re trying a new series of events we’ve called Tech Startup Bootcamp. It’s three workshops on market validation, minimum viable products, and sales & marketing. The speakers and content of the workshops, as well as the marketing of the workshops, has been done in a way that’s been oriented and branded towards technical students. Terms familiar to a technical audience were used when possible, for example.

We actually sold out the first workshop due to the fire code limits for the room! The students seemed pretty engaged, and the vast majority of them were technical-subject students, many of whom hadn’t been to a campus entrepreneurism event before. Many indicated they were interested in going further than attending the workshops, and we’ve encouraged them to perform market validation of their ideas as a starting point. I’m hopeful we’ll see some students turn the enthusiasm into action – I know I’d love to see it happen!


Apps For Health 2017 call for speakers


Apps For Health is back in 2017 on April 27th at Mohawk College. Check out the new website, videos of last year’s event and the call for speakers!


What is Apps For Heath?

Apps For Health is one of Ontario’s premier information-sharing, networking and recruiting events for the digital health industries. This interactive, one-day event provides a valuable opportunity for professionals from healthcare, technology, education to come together to discuss current and emerging trends in health, technology, medical education, and entrepreneurship.


Call for Speakers

Share your expertise and ideas with an audience of over 350 digital health professionals.

The Apps for Health organizing committee invites you to answer our call for speakers at this year’s Apps for Health.

Speaker opportunities are available on one of our nine panels and speakers may apply for solo presentations or for group presentations. All speakers receive  two complimentary passes to Apps for Health for themselves and a guest.

Areas of interest at this year’s conference focus on discussions related to Healthcare in Non-traditional Practice Settings and how digital health is making it possible to improve quality of care for anyone, anywhere.

Speakers are invited to speak about their unique clinical, research or tech-focused perspective. Topics could include but are not limited to:

People Places Things
Seniors Homes/Care Homes Open source solutions
Aboriginal populations Low resourced countries/regions New mobile apps
Rural/remote populations Ambulances Wearable devices
Infants/Children/Teenagers Continuity of care  Virtual care tools


Please apply for consideration by February 15, 2017.


Learn IBM Cognos Analytics at Mohawk this winter


Mohawk is offering a brand new analytics course this Winter, Applied IBM Business Intelligence, designed to enhance your analytics skills.

Explore the latest IBM Cognos Analytics (11.0.5) suite of products and underlying architecture. Build drill-through reports, animated infographics, geospatial visualizations, and executive style dashboards through hands-on demos and labs and gain the knowledge to become a report designer.

Network with guest speakers, IBM partners, BI developers and administrators. 36 hours in class, 12 hours online.

Prerequisites: Knowledge of “Database Theory” would be an asset.
Course Number: COMP 10192
Schedule: 6 Saturdays (9:30 am to 3:30 pm)
Start Date: Feb 4th excluding Feb 18th long weekend
Fee: $999

Register here


Editor’s note: full disclaimer – Mohawk College is my employer. It’s a new and interesting course that the regional industry may want to know about though. 🙂


Android Things talk at Internet of Things meetup


When: Wednesday February 1st 2017 at 7:00pm

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

Organizer: Internet of Things Meetup (@hamontiot)



I’m going to do a presentation on Google’s new IoT operating system called Thing. It looks cool and has great promise, but its early days still and Google has been known to pull the plug on popular products before. I’ll try and get it up and running on more than one platform. Specifically the Raspberry Pi 3 and Intel Edison.

I’ll also talk a little bit about the IoT workshop which is happening this weekend. Its sold out but if just want to come and check it out. Feel free to drop by.

We are now 6 months old! Its been fantastic so far. A big thank you to everyone who has presented and helped out. And too our sponsors as well. And of course to everyone who has showed up.

After my presentation I’m hoping we can talk about the future of the IoT meetup. What do want to see in 2017? What did you like/not like in 2016. Or anything else you want to bring up.

Thanks and hope to see you there, Doug


WPTouch acquired by SureSwift Capital


WPTouch has been acquired by Canadian software company SureSwift Capital!

WPTouch is a household name in the WordPress community, appearing on many “must-have” plugin lists, and 8 years after its creation it still ranks among the top WordPress plugins by number of active installs at 300,000+. WPTouch comes in both a free and paid pro version. WPTouch is based out of Hamilton, co-founded by Dale Mugford and Duane Storey.

The founders explained the decision to be acquired in a recent news update:

Some people might not realize, but we’ve been working on WPtouch for over 8 years. We realized early on that, as WPtouch continued to grow, it would eventually outgrow our comfort levels in terms of scale. Don’t get us wrong, this is a great problem to have! But it led us to begin a casual search several years ago for a partner or owner who would be willing to take on WPtouch and continue our work.


Only now have we found the right fit. In SureSwift, we found a great partner and excellent steward for WPtouch. SureSwift’s focus is on acquiring mature, profitable businesses, and their expertise and vision promises to carry WPtouch forward in a way that we can be proud of. We are excited that WPtouch has a bright future.


Hamilton Agile Meetup


When: Thursday January 26th 2017 at 6:00pm

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

Organizer: Hamilton Agile Meetup (@marceloagile)



Join us on our first 2017 meetup!! Come and meet other Agile people, scrum masters, product owners, project managers, developers and more in and around Hamilton area!

Let’s share some time exchanging topics, experiences, doubts, methodologies, questions and all around this amazing Agile journey!!!

Parking beside the pub

PS: Please let me know if you have any questions, suggestions or doubts about this meetup!!