InnovationNight2: Another Success for Hamilton!
It was my great pleasure to be invited last week to help out with the Innovation Factory’s Workshop for candidates for their Innovation Night Startup presentation judging….and was I impressed along with the other mentors there too!
Our Workshop turnout was full of startup founders that brought passion and drive from everything from a new business referral service (www.enthuzr.com) to a patented material separation/bi-product recycling machine systems too (www.airconveyance.com)! There was an invention to help keep costs down on hotwater tanks, an Eco-curtain (www.kajotec.com) that can sit in your window and generate electricity, an online site where you post pictures of your recent fender-bender and autobody shops compete to do the fixing for you. There was a great new method of delivering coaching (www.pivotcoaching.ca) to businesses who find the rate of change in their channel to be stressful, to a new community startup for indie movie makers, crews, producers et al (www.indieoption.com) in all a varied and innovative group! And there were many more of the most innovative and new ideas I’d seen in a long time!
My job that night was to get these founders to focus on putting their ideas on the “itch” that they could “scratch” to be the solution that would work…and to cram all of that into a single minute long pitchdeck to the audience. And that’s tough. Very tough and difficult as some struggled to cut/edit/revise their pitch down to that time limitation yet still pass along the “meat” of their idea.
But I so enjoyed myself that I made sure I let the kind folks at the Innovation Factory who asked me to help that I’d be up for this kind of Workshop aid every time they ask!
You see, I found many many of the founders to be ready and capable of learning what’s needed in a presentation; how to plan the delivery of the short “itch and scratch solution” type of needs that such a presentation must cover and then to make their specific “call-to-action” to tell the listeners what they’re looking for….the Workshop was a success I believe for one and all! A large part of the “fun” of mentoring is just that….that the founders see the sense/wisdom in the offered advice and use same. And last night proved that out for me big time!
But that was just the Workshop where we helped the founders get their presentations in order via their pitchdeck — the event itself, Innovation Night offers up this short intro to the actual full presentation evening….
“Innovation Night is Hamilton’s key event for innovators and entrepreneurs to share and develop their ideas, practice and perfect their pitch, and present to their peers and the local innovation community. Tonight you will observe eleven 1-minute pitches and five 3-minute pitches selected from a workshop held on July 7, 2011. Hosted by Master of Ceremonies Dave Carter (Awareness, Inc.), tonight’s presenters will be competing against each other for one of two eMachine ultra-mobile netbooks…”
And the Judges for this competition were all great to work with too and brought varying skills and rationales to the whole judging process too!
Chris Farias (kitestring creative branding studio)
Karen Grant (Angel One Investor Network)
Kristen Huigenbos (City of Hamilton Small Business Enterprise Centre)
Elsie Quaite-Randall (McMaster Industry Liaison Office)
Mark Chamberlin (Trivaris)
And a quick look at the hundreds who attended, shows a real cross-section of Hamiltonians who came to learn, to watch and even perhaps to offer up some help by passing along a business card and mentoring or investing or even just to show support for the entrepreneurs who took the plunge to speak to them about their startup passion!
And last night, I was more than pleasantly surprised as the dozen or so founders met their task goals and were widely applauded for just that – letting the audience know what it is they had to offer and what it is they’d like in return! This works – it really does work and from what I saw last night, it will continue to grow and surpass even my own expectations….this is a definite “generator” of more momentum as Hamilton moves away from our “product manufacturing” type of personna into a true community of innovation! I’m “chuffed” by this change….and from what I saw last night, so are hundreds of others too!
After the presentations and the awards, it was even more fun for me to just walk around and listen to these founders chatting with smaller circles of supporters, as they tried to expound even further on their startups and yes, I did see many of same holding a handful of cards from the audience members….again, vetting the whole Innovation Night paradigm for me!
So KUDOs to Innovation Factory and their team for this leadership here too, eh! A big congrats to them all!
And the winners?
Well as noted above, Pete Simpson who’s the founder and inventor of the recycling system (www.airconveyance.com) won one of those cool eMachine netbooks and the other was Scott Gilbert of the Hamilton Medical Marijuana Centre (www.hamiltonmm.ca) who took home the other eMachine netbook too! Both were top quality, well presented pitchdecks that hit the “itch/scratch” rationale along with great “call-to-actions” too! Well done Pete and Scott…a big congrats and I can’t wait for the next Innovation Night too!Google