Hamilton named in top 7 Intelligent Communities


(New York– 8 February 2018) – The Intelligent Community Forum (ICF) named the world’s Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2018 today.  This is the think tank’s 16th annual Top7 list of regions, cities or towns that have gone, in ICF’s words, “from Smart City to Intelligent Community.”  This year’s list includes communities from four nations, with Taiwan contributing three, Canada two communities and Australia and Finland one each. The seven will travel to London in June where one will go on to be named the Intelligent Community of the Year, succeeding Melbourne, Australia, the reigning community.  The announcement will take place as the culminating event at the ICF Global Summit from 4-6 June at Siemens’ Crystal Facility and other sites around London. (



In alphabetical order, the Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2018 are:

  • Chiayi City, Taiwan
  • Espoo, Finland
  • Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
  • Ipswich, Queensland, Australia
  • Tainan City, Taiwan
  • Taoyuan, Taiwan
  • Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada

Three of the Top7 are making their first appearance on the list: Espoo, Hamilton and Tainan City. Another three make their third appearance: Ipswich, Taoyuan and Winnipeg.  Chiayi City is making its second.  The Awards program drives communities to make substantial progress from year to year, so it is not unusual for a community to continue to enter the program.  There is no cost to enter.

As part of the announcement, ICF released a video announcing the new Top7.  See the video at: or on ICF’s YouTube page at A high-resolution download of the video is available by request.

“The successor to Melbourne will come from one of four countries this year,” said ICF co-founder Louis Zacharilla. “Even though these places are diverse and spread across the world, they share an emphatic effort to use broadband, open data and other digital tools to humanize policy and remove anxiety from daily life. Even though technology is a key driver of growth and public service and infrastructure management, people today sense that their dignity and our true development comes when it is put in service of every individual citizen. These seven long ago dared to stake that claim for their future. The results are wonderful.”

The ICF Top7 Intelligent Communities of 2018 will be featured throughout the ICF Global Summit on 4-6 June in London. Representatives from the Top7 will take part in Economic Development Matchmaking sessions, workshops and roundtables, special conversations detailing their stories, receptions honoring the Top7 and a dinner to name the Intelligent Community of the Year. For more information visit

Following are brief profiles for this year’s 2018 Top7 Intelligent Communities. More complete profiles are found online on ICF’s Website.

Chiayi City, Taiwan: Chiayi is a provincial city of 270,000 in southcentral Taiwan, midway between Taichung and Tainan. Ninety-five percent of its economy is in the services sector – wholesale and retail, transportation and warehousing, and accommodation and food – which employs three-quarters of the workforce. After Chiayi was ranked as having the worst air quality in Taiwan in 2014, Mayor Twu Shiing-jer, a physician, dedicated his administration to improving life in the city in this and many other areas.  What followed was a clean air initiative, a rollout of a broadband network with over 1,000 Wi-Fi hotspots throughout the city, a new focus on digital education, and more. Read more

Espoo, Finland: In the far northern nations of the world, people tend to cluster southward. Espoo, Finland’s second largest city, lies on the border of its biggest city and national capital, Helsinki. In 1950, Espoo was a regional municipality of 22,000, which drew its name from the Swedish words for the aspen tree and for river. Today, Espoo is still a place on a river bordered by aspen trees. While it is an industrial city of 270,000, it retains its dispersed, regional nature, however, being made of up of seven population hubs arrayed along the border with Helsinki, where many of its citizens work. Read more

Hamilton, Ontario, Canada: The Golden Horseshoe is the region that bends around the westernmost end of Lake Ontario in Canada. At the center of the horseshoe’s curve is Hamilton, a city of 520,000 known for industry, education and cultural diversity, having the third-largest foreign-born population in Canada. Located 70 kilometers southwest of Toronto (the 2014 Intelligent Community of the Year), Hamilton was once known as the Steel Capital of Canada, producing 60% of the nation’s steel. It is also a successful lake port city and operates an airport that saw passenger traffic grow tenfold from 1996 to 2002. A 30-year economic development plan begun in 2003 set the goal of creating a massive aerotropolis industrial park around that airport to capitalize on its success.  Read more

Ipswich, Queensland, Australia: In 2011, the city of Ipswich published a 20-year economic development plan for its population of 195,000. It forecast the addition of 292,000 new residents, who will require an additional 120,000 jobs, and will live in a network of distinct communities interwoven with centers of employment, recreational facilities and green space. Because Ipswich offered affordable housing and an attractive lifestyle, its population has grown rapidly in the booming economy of 21st Century Australia. Read more

Tainan City, Taiwan: If you have ever eaten a bowl of instant noodles, you owe a debt to Momofuku Ando, founder of Nissin Foods and inventor of this staple of Asian fast food, who was born and raised in Tainan City. This city of 1.9 million was the historic capital of Taiwan and the cultural heritage of centuries remains one of Tainan’s most important assets that drives a thriving tourist industry. Tainan today, however, is about much more than the past. It is home to multiple science and technology parks including the Southern Taiwan Science Park, Tainan Technology Park and Shugu LCD Park. The tenant rolls are dominated by optoelectronics, integrated circuits, green energy and biotech companies, which together with more traditional manufacturing generate more than half of the city’s economic activity. Read more

Taoyuan, Taiwan: From the Taoyuan International Airport on its northwest corner to its mountainous and thinly populated southeast, Taoyuan is home to 2 million people and 47,000 companies including one-third of the nation’s top 500 manufacturers. By nourishing local innovation, attracting international entrepreneurs, and building an ever-growing infrastructure for clean energy production, Taoyuan is preparing its people, organizations and environment for global competition. Read more

Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada: Located midway between the two coasts of Canada, Winnipeg is the capital of a province rich in agricultural and natural resources. In the 21st Century, the city is pursuing economic growth by better connecting industry and education, while better equipping its large aboriginal population for opportunity. The city has pursued economic growth by connecting industry and education more systematically, and leveraging its indigenous geographical and cultural assets. A public-private R&D organization develops technologies and supply chains for high-performance composites based on agricultural materials, while there has been a programmatic attempt to equip its large aboriginal population with digital tools. Read more

More about the ICF Intelligent Community Awards Program
Before being selected as a Top7 Intelligent Community, these cities were among those named to ICF’s list of the Smart21 Communities of the Year. The Smart21 were named in October 2017 during Silicon Harlem’s “Community Forward” conference in New York City.

Candidates are evaluated based on seven criteria: six Intelligent Community Indicators, which provide the conceptual framework for understanding all of the factors that determine a community’s competitiveness and point to its success in what the Intelligent Community Forum calls, “The Broadband Economy,” and an annual theme. The 2018 theme is Humanizing Data, which explores the intersection between big data and open data, and the impacts of a data-driven economy on communities. Click here for more information on the 2018 theme.

The Intelligent Community Forum Awards Program concludes in London on 6 June 2018 during the Intelligent Community Forum’s Annual Summit, when one of the Top7 Intelligent Communities succeeds Melbourne, Victoria, Australia as 2018 Intelligent Community of the Year. The announcement will be made live at a dinner for delegations from cities and communities around the world, as well as the international media, which will cover the awards announcement. For more information or to register for the ICF Summit, click here:

About Intelligent Community Forum
The Intelligent Community Forum (, headquartered in New York, is a global movement of 170 cities, metro regions and counties with a think tank at its heart and a mission to make everyone’s “hometown” at great place. ICF studies and promotes the best practices of the world’s Intelligent Communities as they adapt to the new demands and seize the opportunities presented by information and communications technology (ICT). To help cities and regions build prosperous economies, solve social problems and enrich local cultures, the Intelligent Community Forum conducts research, hosts events around the globe, publishes books, and produces its high-profile annual international awards program. The Forum sponsors research Institutes in North America dedicated to the study of the movement, and national organizations in Canada and Taiwan, both home to many Intelligent Communities. In 2012 ICF was invited to participate at the Nobel Peace Prize conference in Oslo and in 2014, its model and work was recognized by the U.S. Department of Commerce under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which, according to the American government, was “aimed at creating a more flexible and responsive system of workforce development to meet the needs of employers looking to fill 21st century jobs.” The Forum’s membership is made up of 170 designated Intelligent Communities worldwide. For more information, go to For more details on the Intelligent Community Forum’s recent publications and programs,

Intelligent Community Forum Contacts
Matthew Owen
Director of Operations, Intelligent Community Forum
Phone: 001-646-291-6166 x105

Louis Zacharilla
Co-Founder, Intelligent Community Forum
Phone: (M) 001-917-715-0711 (O) 001-212-249-0624


The Art of the Fail podcast


Kristian Borghesan (@KrisBorghesan) at Bruha and Chris Buttenham (@chrisbuttenham) at recently launched a new podcast called The Art of the Fail:

“We chat with startups and entrepreneurs about their f*ck ups, hardships and failures, in hopes to uncover great lessons and remove the stigma from failure today.”

They’ve interviewed founders like Hongwie Liu (@thehongwei) at MappedIn and more locally, Amir Kendick at Coosha Calendar.

Check out the podcast webpage or listen in on Soundcloud!


Justin left a major positive mark

I’m very sorry to write that Justin Policarpio passed away last night, having lived graciously and courageously with cancer.

Justin was a key community builder, entrepreneur and leader in the Hamilton startup community.

I first met Justin when he was running Women Entrepreneurship, an event series focused on celebrating female entrepreneurship, and working on his Campus Helper education company. He next co-founded and led edtech robotics startup Roboteurs as CEO.

His work with Women Entrepreneurship and his startups was already impressive enough, but where I feel he left a major positive mark on our community was his work with Spectrum / The Forge.

It wasn’t very long ago at all that people talked about a divide between the McMaster community and the Hamilton startup community. There was a “gap” in the pipeline between innovative McMaster students and the business community in Hamilton. There was also a “gap” in terms of support for student entrepreneurs on campus… there was no Velocity or Ryerson DMZ equivalent, and the existing efforts were more informal, sporadic, grassroots.

Justin was the manager of the new Spectrum program that started in 2014, intended to foster and encourage entrepreneurship on campus, and to act as a pipe into a formal incubator program (“The Forge”). This was a very important job, at a critical time. If the Spectrum program flopped, which was a real possibility given the state of things at the time, I don’t think we’d have the energy and number of startups that you see further up the pipeline today. Justin was the perfect person for this role, and he hit it out of the park. A slew of great events and regular programming, much of it done in partnership with others, made his work a complete success in terms of fostering entrepreneurship on campus and building a bridge from McMaster to the broader Hamilton community.

He was a great community builder in that way. He had an infectious positive energy, was wise beyond his years, kind and always eager to help other people, was a great listener, and knew how to make great things happen fast. I met with him before he took on the Spectrum role, and you could tell he really “got it” in terms of the bigger picture. He was really keen on partnering and working together with everyone. Beyond the programming he developed that supported startups, he would always find time to support various other initiatives happening around the city, whether it was a Startup Weekend or a new healthtech meetup group.

People from other communities have noted a collaborative spirit in Hamilton, they’ll say things like, “in Hamilton, you guys really work together compared to X”. Justin played a major role in creating that spirit and culture. His good work and good spirit will live on.

This is the second time I’ve written an article like this in the last year. I’m upset because Justin was so young. It’s really not fair at all. We should use the time we’ve got to make a positive impact the way Justin was able to do so.


And speaking of the time we’ve got, I was reading over some of Justin’s old posts, and I came across this video of life tips he gave to graduating McMaster students. I’ve posted the text of his life advice below, it feels like advice that’s relevant for everyone.


I’d like to take this time to talk about just that, time. It’s something we all have a limited amount of, we never get any more of, so in reality it’s our most valuable asset. That said, why would we ever want to waste it?

A lot of you are going to be graduating from McMaster or have graduated, and you’re starting to think, “you know, what do I spend my time on? Do my masters, my PhD? Do I get a job or travel the world?”.

And in reality you got to do whatever you want to do because it’s something that you want to do, and not something that you feel like you ought to do. And you’re going to get a lot of pressures from your friends, your family, your parents and society as a whole.

I look at the time I spend on my stuff, on my startup company, on this new initiative at McMaster that I’m spearheading called Spectrum for McMaster entrepreneurs and startups. I look at the countless hours I put into this stuff, and you know what? I love it.

It’s time that I feel is well spent because it literally makes me happy, and I see all the value I get out of it. So when I think about the time I spent I think of three main things, and I guess these can be my two minute tips for you.

One is have no regrets. Have no regrets on the time that you’re spending on the things that you want to do.

Two, you know, in a nutshell: be fearless. You’re going to come across a lot of obstacles, not just in your school, and not just in work, but also in life. And they’re going to hit you, but you’re going to have to get through them. So be fearless, be strong.

And three, you really just have to start. You have to start doing what you want to do, and that said you also have to finish it and get it done.


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 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



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



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)



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!