Community

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].

 

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


 

WTF Are We Building

 

When: Wednesday May 3rd 2017 from 6:00pm – 9:00pm

Where: Location has moved, see the registration link!

Organizer: Shopify Plus / Thalmic Labs / Vidyard

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/wtf-are-we-building-tickets-33534172613

Details:

You’re invited to join Canada’s hottest tech companies for a candid conversation about the challenges of building product, and how to ship it! We’ll talk product; from an engineering, UX and product management perspective.

What to expect:

  • Lightning talks with teams from Shopify Plus, Vidyard and Thalmic
  • Moderated Q&A
  • Test & Try – Product demos from the coolest Canadian Tech companies
  • Meet new people from various tech companies and cities

Need another reason to join us? We’ll have tastings from some of Waterloo Region’s amazing craft breweries, and great food to match. This event is by registration only, feel free to share the invite with your colleagues and fellow product builders.

Learn, Mingle, Eat, Drink, all for FREE! But space is limited so register now to reserve your spot. #KWTECHTOUR

 

Charles Mire talk on building a hardware startup

 

When: Thursday April 27th 2017 from 6:00pm – 9:30pm

Where: McMaster University, 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario

Cost: $30

Organizer: @ACTIONConf2017

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/the-art-of-building-a-hardware-company-the-basics-strategies-pitfalls-tickets-33440946772

Details:

You have a hardware idea and want to build a startup around it. You know some of the initial steps you need to take, but surely there are more details you might not be aware of. What are the things to prioritize in the beginning versus later on? When is the right time to grow your team? Are patents right for you? What should you expect when it comes to fundraising vs. bootstrapping? How do you define success? This workshop is designed to intimately discuss all the gory details of building a hardware-focused startup, pitfalls to avoid, strategies to pursue, how to assess the growth metrics, and much more. The topic segments will include Legal & IP, Finance & Fundraising, HR, Sales, Manufacturing, Regulations, Logistics, Marketing, and Expectations.

 

HamiltonSeen to showcase history of women in computing

 

Local film studio HamiltonSeen (@HamiltonSeen) has launched a crowdfunding campaign for their newest film: Women’s Work – A History of Women in Coding.

Women’s Work (@womensworkfilm) aims to inspire the future of women in computing by showcasing the history of women in computing:

“From the first program, to sending humanity to the moon, the work done by women in the field of computing has pushed us all forward into the now and into the future. Given the immense disparity in numbers between men and women active in and entering the field of computing (and STEM fields in general), we believe it is imperative to create a mainstream documentary film that showcases the breadth and depth of the IMMENSE FEMALE CONTRIBUTION to the world of computer programming.”

Check out the video below and visit their crowdfunding page for more details!

 

 

canCode conference for high school students this weekend

 

When: Saturday March 18th from 10:00am – 5:00pm

Where: McMaster University at 1280 Main Street West, Hamilton, Ontario

Organizer: canCode (@cancodecanada)

Register: eventbrite.ca/e/cancode-2017-recode-tickets-31268917173

Details:

Conference aimed at high school students who are interested in learning more about Computer Sciences. The conference will be full of various activities including guest speakers, a pathways seminar, and various workshops and presentations led by Computer Science students. The conference is FREE to attend for high school and university students.

Some of the workshops:

-Introduction to functional programming in Elm
-Beginner and Intermediate Arduino Activities
-Post-Secondary Pathways Seminar/Panel
-User Interface Panel

 

VEX Robotics Expo

 

Hamilton Community Robotics (@hcrvex) is a not-for-profit organization that offers Hamilton youth the opportunity to enrich themselves through competitive robotics programs, specifically VEX.

Last Sunday Hamilton Community Robotics held the the VEX Robotics Expo for teams of high-school students at McMaster Innovation Park. The teams will represent Hamilton in the world championships next month. Check out the video coverage of the event below!

 

 

Jim had everybody’s back

I’m very sorry to say that Jim Rudnick passed away last week.

Jim was an important community builder in Hamilton’s startup community. Back in 2010-11 when institutions like Innovation Factory were first getting off the ground, Jim was the number one networker and community cheerleader in this area. They gave him the first DiFizen award for making a difference in the community. Jim had everybody’s back, and people loved him for it.

Some of us will be getting together this Friday March 10th from 5pm-7pm at SERVE Ping Pong bar to have a pint in honour of Jim and tell some of our favourite stories.

Corrected update: this article was briefly updated to mention that Jim’s memorial service had been made public. This was a miscommunication. That memorial service will need to remain private for his family, due to space restrictions it may not be able to accommodate everyone. The Friday drinks will go on as planned though.

 

I’m not sure it’s my place, I’m not so good at these things, but I’ll tell a quick story.

DemoCampHamilton1 was the first big community event I had ever planned. Until then my life was a more like a typical computer science grad student… sitting behind a desk, working away on math problems that had nothing to do with people.

I was way out of my element at the time doing something social and business oriented, and to be honest totally scared out of mind. I was worried sick things would go off the rails. The day of that first DemoCamp I actually hadn’t slept a wink for the prior two nights.

But this guy Jim Rudnick who had been e-mailing me since announcing the event really wanted to go out to lunch the day of the DemoCamp. He listened, gave advice, shared his own experiences, and put me at ease. You kinda had to know him, but he had a way of delivering advice that was fine-tuned to his listener in a way that let them know what they needed to know without causing them to put their guard up. I think it’s because you got the sense he really wanted you to succeed.

When we were done our lunch he made a small gesture that I’ll never forget. As we were about to leave the restaurant he turned to me and said, “I’m behind you” and patted me on the back, and then let me walk ahead of him. I know it’s such a little thing, but it meant a lot.

 

I think that’s what Jim did for a lot of people too – he had their backs. There was a bunch of us that were young and/or new to Hamilton. Maybe not as secure in themselves or their abilities just yet, let alone secure in their careers, or startup, or family life. And at the same time all these people were “trying really hard to make it in life”. They were stressed out from running the rat race, working long hours, and dealing with competition. And though a lot of these people were learners and hard workers with goals they wanted to achieve, due to their stage of life and career, they were understandably tense, anxious and unsure.

Where as Jim was our Obi-Wan Kenobi. He had the wisdom of seeing it before, and coming at things from the end of his career, he could be more relaxed and detached than the rest of us. He modelled a lot of behaviours that the rest of us followed… like the importance of “opening up the rolodex”, supporting people, leadership, sharing good ideas even if it meant others would implement them instead of you, and seeing the best in others (I’ve never met anyone better than him at that in particular).

 

Over the years Jim kinda became an informal mentor for me. We would meetup for lunch and beers every so often and talk about business, life and family. He retired not very long ago and wrote a lot of SciFi books, which was great to see him get to do something he loved. He had the best sense of humour, and always expressed love for his family and friends.

I’ll miss you buddy.

 

Real stories by real entrepreneurs next week

When: Wednesday February 15th from 6:00pm – 8:00pm

Where: Thode Library Makerspace at McMaster University

Organizer: The Forge @ Mac (@theforgehamont)

Register: bruha.com/event/582

Details:

 

Join The Forge@Mac team and our panelists for Real Stories by Real Entrepreneurs.

Real Stories by Real Entrepreneurs is a live storytelling discussion where (as you guessed it), Real Stories will be told by Real (& local) Entrepreneurs. Our panelists will engage with you by telling you their personal stories and experiences of things such as: managing the early days of starting up, building a winning team, biggest failures and learning from them, experiences with their first customer, etc..

Each panelist will have approx 15-20 minutes to share with us their personal experiences. At the end of the sotrytelling presentations, we’ll be hosting a casual/ networking-style question period, giving you the chance to personally introduce yourself and ask each panelist any questions you might have about theirs or your own experiences.

PANELISTS include:

Graeme Davis (Bruha Inc), Co-Founder & CEO. 

Graeme Davis Bruha CEO

Graeme is a driven and passionate leader with prior experience as the founder and president of Showdom Inc. Graeme’s previous experience as a project manager, coupled with his entrepreneurial instincts, have allowed him to gain familiarity with managing teams and building a software-based business. Graeme remains responsible for contributing and overseeing duties with Brüha including server and backend design, and oversees product development, branding, marketing, sales, and the financial standing of the company.

 

Peter Mokrycke (Architect Hair Design), Owner Operator 

Peter Mokcrycke Owner AHD

Peter Mokrycke is the Owner Operator of Architect Hair Design located on Hamilton’s James Street North. After completing his studies from the University of Western Ontario’s Ivey Program, Peter joined Target as an Executive Team Leader. He is a natural leader with strengths in operations, marketing and business development.

 

Dan Johnston (Collective Arts Brewing), Business Development Manager

Dan Johnston Collective Arts

Dan Johnston is the Business Development Manager for Collective Arts Brewing. He cut his teeth in the industry opening and managing some of the largest craft beer bars across Australia before returning home to Toronto. Recent projects with Collective Arts include securing distribution channels into Spain, Australia and the North East of US. Outside of the beer world Dan is an active volunteer in his hometown community, loves his Blue Jays and is always spreading the good word of craft beer!

 

Bruha interview with Urbanicity

 

Ubanicity (@urbanicityyhm) recently had an interview with local event ticketing startup Bruha (@BruhaExclusive) about their platform, their experience in Hamilton and thoughts on the ecosystem.

Q: Where did this idea for Brüha come from?

A: The idea came from a simple problem that all of us [partners] had in common; finding out about all the cool local things happening. It wasn’t just something we were experiencing in Hamilton, everywhere we went the same problem kept coming up.

Check out the full interview on urbanicity.ca, and the infographic below documenting their growth.