StartOff Hamilton: A Brand New Success!
Guest Post by Stephanie Shuster…
STARTOFF Crowns 10 Winners and iF Celebrates 2 Years
STARTOFF Winners are some of over 340 Hamilton Innovators Benefitting from MEDI’s ONE Initiative
Hamilton, ON (November 2, 2012) – Over the past two months, anticipation has been building in the city around STARTOFF Hamilton, the newest competition brought to the community by Regional Innovation Centre (RIC) Innovation Factory (iF). After public outreach campaigns including a fun, start-up themed obstacle course at SUPERCRAWL, an “8-Bit Invasion” of ten stylized sculptures placed throughout the city, and the retro-videogame inspired voting platform hosted at startoff.ca, the contest has come to a close.
This morning at Radius Café (151 James Street South, Hamilton), teams from iF, kitestring creative branding studio, and Orbital (who all partnered to bring STARTOFF Hamilton to life) gathered together with STARTOFF sponsors and community business leaders to announce the winners of the competition. Out of 27 finalists who competed for the most online votes between October 9-31, 2012, ten were awarded identical prize packages, each valued at $16,700. The winning teams included 2Go Energy, iLearnuLearn, Green Pixel, Campus Helper, The BinPad Products, Athelink, Trend Trunk, Ontario Bamboo, Nervu, and Dinnerlicious. More information about each of the ten winners and the remaining 17 finalists is available online at startoff.ca.
Each package included a $5000 FirstOntario Small Business Innovation Loan in addition to $11,700 of in-kind services: Free Business Diagnostic and Consultation with Ideacia ONE, Trademark Application from Ballagh & Edward LLP, appBuilder and Consultation from Weever Apps, Preparation of a Performance Profile from Express Employment Professionals, Online Marketing Seminar from KKT Interactive, Accounting Services from KPMG, Telecom Services from Net@ccess, Meeting Room Space at McMaster Innovation Park, and a 3-Month Membership to iF’s FACTORY FLOOR.
“The popularity of STARTOFF Hamilton surpassed our expectations in every way,” says iF Executive Director Ron Neumann. According to Neumann, the site saw over 160,000 votes from 42,012 site visits and 17,649 unique guests. “The outpouring of support from the community for these local start-ups has been incredibly humbling, and is truly inspiring as we look to help the innovation ecosystem in Hamilton grow to it’s full potential.”
Beyond the success of STARTOFF Hamilton, there was more to celebrate today as iF commemorated their 2nd anniversary. Over the past two years, iF has fostered the growth of innovation in the city, having met with over 340 companies, which has led to the creation of 49 new jobs. iF clients have successfully raised $4.4 million in funding, and have presented at GM Ventures, Honda Ventures, Angel One Investor Network, NYC Innotribe Challenge, CDMN3.0, Backyard Inventors, Social Media Week, Industry Accelerator Fund, and Dreamforce. Since November 2010 launch, iF has held 55 events for clients and over 43 events for the community, engaging ever 6000 people. They have partnered with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce to present the popular LiON’S LAIR event which has sold out 2 years in a row, worked with Software Hamilton to bring 2 Startup Weekend events to the city, and are working to launch a new program geared towards SMEs in the new year.
In addition to funding from the province, iF receives matching support from community partners including the City of Hamilton, KPMG, Gowlings, Grant Thorton, McMaster Innovation Park, McMaster University, Mohawk College, Ridout & Maybee LLP, Royal Bank of Canada, SB Partners, Trivaris, Banko Media, BDC, Ballagh+Edward LLP, CareGo, Dan Lawrie Insurance Brokers, Express Employment Professionals, First Ontario Credit Union, Hamilton International Airport, Horizon Utilities, kitestring creative branding studio, Net@ccess, and Simpson Wigle LLP. As iF grows, it is continuing to seek local private sector and institutional support to retain its momentum.
And in case you missed the StartOff stats…here’s a recap!
- 160,231 # of total votes (goal: 20,000)
- 167,000 $ value of prizes raised (goal: 10 x $10,000 = $100,000)
- 17649 # of unique website visitors (goal: 2500)
- 42,012 # of site visits
- 105,382 # of page views
- 5934 average votes per client
- 6966 average votes per day
And yes, we also sponsored the StartOff contest and will be giving our Online Marketing Seminar later this month to the top ten winners! What a great event and a real winner for both #HamOnt startups and Innovation Factory too! Kudos to IF and their team and Orbital who was the tech partner for running such a great contest!Google