Supporting Tech Entrepreneurs in Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent

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2018 Tech Award Winners Perspective Windsor Essex Globe and Mail
2018 Tech Award Winners:Tech Company of theYear – Aphria;Tech CEO of theYear – Janice Kaffer, Hotel-Dieu Grace Healthcare;Tech Researcher of the Year – Dr. Tricia Carmichael, University of Windsor;Tech Professional of the Year – Renee Pare, Next Dimension;Young Tech Professional of the Year – Noah Campbell;Tech Teacher of the Year – Fouada Hamzeh, Greater Essex County District School Board;Tech Mentor of the Year – Sheri Lynn Koscielski;TechnologyAdoption – Orangeline Farms;Technology Innovation – Scribendi;Tech Startup of theYear – Deliverbae; WEtech Choice Award (Individual) – Paul Riser, TechTown Detroit;WEtech Choice Award (Organization/Company) Libro Credit Union
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WE are all in!

Windsor-Essex knows how to build things, and as the home for over one-thousand manufacturing companies generating $3.3 billion worth of goods we’ve gotten good at it.

But if you want to know our secret – how we help our companies attain global reach – you have to start by taking a look at how we treat our smallest start-ups. Innovation and entrepreneurship is a community affair in Windsor-Essex.

It’s one reason our organization – WEtech Alliance – was able to call together a Venture Success Team of seasoned entrepreneurs and global subject matter experts who are available at the drop- of-a-hat to help start-ups find targeted solutions to specific business challenges.

Where else can an entrepreneur dial up one of our twenty-four business champions that includes the founders of local tech companies like Splice Digital, IT directors of global manufacturers Ground Effects, successful entrepreneur investor Mike Labiak, and boutique designers and developers Spotvin and Blab Media?

The low cost of accessing office space is a great competitive advantage for start-ups locating in our region – but it is the low barrier to accessing tried-and- true advice from seasoned entrepreneurs who are personally invested in your venture that sets Windsor-Essex apart.

When our growth-stage start-ups asked for business coaching tailored specifically to help them scale, community-focused Libro Credit Union stepped forward and with support from the Ontario Trillium Foundation helped fund
the launch of ScaleUP – the first tech accelerator in Windsor-Essex geared towards helping companies to scale.

As a member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs and one of seventeen Regional Innovation Centres funded by the Government of Ontario, WEtech Alliance is also able to pull in the vast network of resources, investors and partners to support entrepreneurs.

Networking in the Tech Corridor

This vast network is a two-way highway and we know the word is spreading because more and more exciting tech companies are connecting with us from outside our region.

Randall Schwartzentruber is the co-founder of BinSentry, a tech start-up based in New Hamburg, Ontario that designs smart technology solutions to feed mill operators.

He reached out to WEtech’s Adam Castle, Director of Venture Services, who came highly recommended after several years building up his skills and networks at the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation.

“I was impressed with the number of programs and resources Adam passed along,” says Schwartzentruber.  “Especially in the early stages, he was incredible.

You can see that spirit of collaboration during our Nerd Olympics, which pits sixteen tech companies – large and small – against each other in an Olympic style competition, featuring events such as go-kart racing, archery, rock climbing, bubble soccer and escape room.

It’s one more thread that builds camaraderie within companies and between companies.

Your Windsor-Essex

Noting that every region is in a fierce competition to attract talent, executives and co-founders of three local companies – CenterLine, Next Dimension and Brave Controls – recently banded together to co- produce a #yourWindsor series of videos aimed at attracting young professionals.

The videos were unbranded – meaning no-one felt the need to affix their names to it.  The videos belonged to the community, and people could share them.  Whatever helped get the word out.

“You kind of take your ego and throw it in the river,” says Yvonne Pilon, the President and CEO of WEtech Alliance. “The tech companies compete, for sure, but everyone is rooting for each other here.”

That was the vision of the tech entrepreneurs who propelled WEtech Alliance ten years ago – Stuart Sutton (Sylectus), Adam Davis (Next Dimension), Frank Abbruzzese (AlphaKOR Group), Rakesh Naidu, Saverio Rinaldi (HP), Ross Rawlings and Shelley Fellows (Radix Inc.), and Rob Courteaux (Progressive Software).

In Windsor-Essex we build great things, because we build together.   When it comes to the success of your tech start-up, WE are all in.

Learn more about WEtech Alliance please visit wetech-alliance.com