Lion’s Lair is an annual event put on by Innovation Factory and the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, it involves 10 Hamilton-area startups battling each other for $150,000 in cash and professional services. It’s been happening since 2011, and local tech/software firms are always well represented, both amongst finalists and the winners.
The actual Lion’s Lair evening at Carmen’s involves watching local business experts quiz the finalists on the viability and potential success of their business, over a nice dinner in a room filled with great people. Check out the top ten finalists below. Tickets are $60 for young professionals and $120 for regular early bird.
It was my pleasure to accept one of the 3 Judges seats for same and our chore as in other years, was to listen to the 12 pitches from the contestants, then help with our own queries to name the final 2 finalists who’d go “head-to-head” in a 2 minute Pitch-off and the crowd would decide on the overall winner.
Yup, it was last night and I am so so pleased to be able to report that the winner of our #HamOnt Innovation Factory Mark Chamberlain BiG DiFIZEN of the Year Award is Carolynn Reid, of the city’s EcDev Department! KUDOS Carolynn!!!
But wait, there’s more…so much more…and let me remind you that I speak from the “lofty” position of being the innaugural winner of that award back in 2012…and it really may “take one to know one” type of argument here….
And just last year, the Innovation Factory presented the 2013 BiG DiFIZEN of the Year award to our own Kevin Browne, who they described by saying “it is truly great to see how many people really want to be a contributing part of Hamilton’s Innovative Community, but with everything he has done, Kevin Browne is truly a grass-roots supporter of innovation in Hamilton.”
Just last Wednesday, November 6th here at our own Hamilton McMaster Innovation Park the Innovation Factory once again held their big quarterly Innovation Night competition and was what can only be called a true successful event! The Innovation Factory has run this event many many times in the past 3 years and yes, I’ve blogged about them all here…
First the Atrium was sold out…not a seat to be had and there was I’m told a waiting list for attendants too so the hubbub was big and the buzz strong and we were all pumped and ready for the whole evening’s ceremonies. Our MC was yes, David Carter the Innovation Factory CEO and he was as surprised as the rest of us “usual attendees” when he asked how many folks were there that night for their very first-ever Innovation Night event when more’n half the audience raised a hand!
If you know the startup ecosystem here in Hamilton, you then know of our own Lion’s Lair Gala competition where startups compete for big money and prizes…and as just last night we celebrated our Lions’ Lair 2013 evening – you know I was there.
As last year, I was actually a contestant in the competition and ended up in the top 10 Finalists, I couldn’t offer up any prizes or sponsorships – but this year my online marketing firm, KKT INTERACTIVE Inc. offered up a full SEO Campaign (a $12k package) to the prize pool as our own contribution to the overall successs of the gala.
So, what is a “Pitch Contest?” you might ask…and it’s really just what it says. Past winners and nominees from within the Innovation Night events held all year, get a two minute timed presentation to pitch their company to a crowd of more than 300 and they do it with style and drive!
It will come to no surprise to those of us who follow closely the goings-on at our #HamOnt Innovation Factory, the the final decision on who will replace our leaving Exec Director, Ron Neumann has just been made – and it’s Dave Carter their in-house CTO in Residence who is stepping up to lead the organization!
As many of us staunch startup supporters know, Ron after being the ExDir of the Innovtion Factory for almost 3 years now, is moving on to head up his own new business (hopefully from right here in #HamOnt, eh!) and those ExDir reins get handed over to Dave in about a week or so….till then both are using their collaboration skills to aid in the transition….and we’re all chuffed about the new vision that Dave will be bringing to our community of startups!
It’s a new day over at our #HamOnt Innovation Factory, and let me be one of the first to announce¸ that Scott Smith, BA LLB is the new replacement COO for our soon-to-depart Keanin Loomis who will move to run the Chamber here in just one week.
For those of you who do not know Scott, I would like to offer the following information to let you know what a great choice this was – and what I think it will mean for the future of our Innovation Factory.
I am so proud today to be adding my own comments to this great news for both our city and our business community! We have a brand new CEO at the Chamber and it’s just been announced that our Innovation Factory COO Keanin Loomis will be taking over those duties soon!
Kudos to the Chamber BOD for this choice and to Keanin too for the new job!
Once again, it was my pleasure to be involved as one of the Mentors for the weekend just past’s big #HamOnt event – our third StartUpWeekend and what a great success it was too!
Held downtown on James St South, at the popular Radius Cafe building, this event was ably led by our Innovation Factory, Software Hamilton, KiteString agency and Vana Workforce and each of same had their top-notch talent there to present and run the whole event.
It was last night and it was a total success, eh!
I loved it – for a whole bunch of reasons….not the least of which was that I got to “hob-nob” with some of our community’s true business leaders, drink some wine with them and yes, totally enjoy myself no end! But to recap same, here’s the “official” word from IF itself –
The Big DiF evening, held by our own Innovation Factory is tomorrow night…and as my Outlook notice popped up today to remind me of that event – it got me thinking…
News is always fun to report on, and today we’re just one day away from the upcoming big LiFT Conference to be held at the McMaster Innovation Centre here in our bustling startup community of #HamOnt!
And while I know some of what the Agenda will be, it’s now even packed with more information for any SME owner.
Here’s how the article today in our Hamilton Spectator says will be an event where Entrepreneurs can get a LiFT at a daylong Session -
Yes after about 2 years and a bit, last night our own Hamilton RIC (Regional Innovation Centre), our Innovation Factory opened up it’s brand new premises at McMaster’s Innovation Park and boy what a great party it was!
Filled up with local and GHTA and regional “movers & shakers” the reception was one of the best I’ve been to in years, with both politicians, angels, startups and the “usual suspects” in our community startup channel too!
It was my extreme pleasure last evening to have been invited to sit on a Panel of #HamOnt local startup entrepreneurs at an event held by Fullerton Media and a great set of Sponsors to follow the first screening of that great entrepreneurs movie “The Startup Kids!” And what a great event it was too!
The screening was open to all established and aspiring entrepreneurs in the Greater Hamilton Area and it was a documentary about young web entrepreneurs in the U.S. and Europe. Founders of Vimeo, SoundCloud, Kiip, InDinero, Dropbox, Foodspotting and many others talk about how they started their company and their lives as an entrepreneur. Innovation Factory, kitestring creative branding studio, Fullerton Media, and Mohawk College all teamed up to Sponsor the screening of The Startup Kids.
All one needs to do, is to contact Tammy of the Innovation Factory to book a seat…and it’s FREE!
Or fomore information and to Register for these totally free Workshops here’s the info you’ll need…