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Lion’s Lair: And the winner is…

September 16, 2011 by · 1 Comment
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Yup, our first annual Lion’s Lair event is now over and I watched as did hundreds and hundreds of other Hamiltonians, as $100,000 was handed out to three lucky winners this past Wednesday evening at a huge gala at Carmen’s! And what a wonderful event it was! But who won, you ask?

The contest winners were intoduced by Dr. Nick Bontis of McMaster who used just about every bit of his boundless energy to talk up all the 10 finalists…and when he announced the winners the 500+ of the gala attendants were waiting with bated breath – and here’s the winners!

Weever Apps, the software development company that converts your existing website into a mobile “app” that can be viewed on any touch smartphone. Simply download and install the Weever software on your site. Choose the content you want to display on the visitor’s mobile device, then select the links you want displayed: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and much more…and that was the big #1 winner at our Lion’s Lair! They received $50,000 in prize money and services and the grins on the founders faces proved that damn hard work and a great idea can come together and result in a great new business! A big Kudos to Weever and both Andrew Holden and Robert Porter for this startup winner!

Anivac, the company founded to bring to market, a new consumer device that makes bathing your pet a much easier, greener, efficient system and as they showed just that process on their own black lab, Diesel….you just couldn’t help but smile big time and the infectious passion shown by Dave Hachy the founder made all the gala attendants smile even more! The Lions awarded Anivac, $27,000 in cash and services for their foray into consumer goods and I can offer as a disclaimer, that they also bathed our own family pet a big Golden and yes, Harley came home unstressed, clean and with NO WET DOG SMELL….you pet owners out there will be a-smiling now, eh! So #Kudos to Anivac….I know how my own dog will be bathed from now on, eh!

Gorilla Cheese is the final contest winner from Lion’s Lair and their startup premise is actually simple to understand, and the two founders, Graeme Smith and Scott Austin explain it best by tucking a real live grilled cheese sammy into your grasp and then wait for the smiles that come to all their customers as they bite into what can only be the “poster boy” sandwich of comfort food. They drive the city of Hamilton, park at the curb and then open up for business and a visit to their site or a mobile app on your smartphone can show you where they are and will be next all day long! Dr. Nick noted at the gala that this startup has BIG franchise potential….and wanted us all to remember that it began right here in Hamilton! #Kudos Gorilla Cheese….you are my own favorite sammy supplier for sure!

Further, I wanted to add this…that Bill Kelly our MC for the nite as well as Ron Neumann, the head honcho at the Innovation Factory and David Adames the CEO of the Hamilton Chamber all said it best – that the real winner of the first annual Lions’ Lair – was the city of Hamilton itself! That’s right….the celebration of entrepeneurial spirit is alive and well in our town and from where I sit, there is a whole “new” vibe of startups and entrepeneurs happening locally! Gone is our old image of the “lunch-bucket” town…and what I see as obviously 500+ other gala attendants see, is that Hamilton is in the throes of shaking off that old persona….and moving into a whole new business oriented one….and I couldn’t be happier!

And a special thanks to the BOD of the Hamilton Chamber for getting this whole thing started; to the Lion’s themselves – Nick Bontis (McMaster University), Ron Foxcroft (Fox 40 International Inc.), PJ Mercanti (Carmen’s Inc.), Ed Minich (Edsicor Ltd.), and Connie Smith (CTSTV)…” for their freely giving of their time and expertise to this event; to the folks at our Innovation Factory, Keanin and Stephanie and Tammy….your own hard work and attention to the myriad of details made the Lion’s Lair gala the #1 event of the year; to Peter up at Carmen’s for seeing the city from his own point of view and building Carmen’s into what it is today and finally to all the sponsors of the Lion’s Lair…your help in getting this event started and funded made our city shine! #Kudos one and all….today I’m more than proud to call myself a Hamiltonian!

Oh….one last thing…note that throughout my piece above, I’ve referred to this event as the “first annual” Lion’s Lair? Hope so….cause I’m going to be even more involved to get our second annual Lion’s Lair planning started asap…..this is GOOD for Hamilton…and I can’t wait to see how big this event can be….you with me? Hope so….and to get involved contact our Innovation Factory to ask how you can help!




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