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TheCodeFactory: ‘A place for innovation to grow’

By Leo Valiquette

Now we’ve got it, let’s put it to good use.

Last night was the official launch of TheCodeFactory, a private business accelerator/incubator intended to help fill the gap between a great idea and a commercial product gaining traction in the marketplace. It’s the cherished baby of business consultant Ian Graham and its launch attracted plenty of interest from the local business community, including remarks from Denny Doyle, the “Don Cherry of Ottawa’s tech sector,” Mike Milinkovich, executive director of the Eclipse Foundation, and Scott Lake, founding partner of both Jaded Pixel and Shopify and blogger on Startup Ottawa.

First up, I’ll freely admit inmedia‘s support of TheCodeFactory and my role as PR flack for its launch. But my personal interest and support for this project goes right back to my previous incarnation as editor of the OBJ and my favourite hot-button topics. We need to foster a culture of true entrepreneurship in this town defined by people who want to build a successful company versus those in search of a paycheque who are just trying to give themselves a job. Problem is, having that mindset is only half the battle. You need the means to get from the idea stage to the cash-flow stage. Plenty of great ideas with talented, committed people behind them wither and die thanks to a lack of support for the earliest stages of the start-up lifecycle.

That’s where TheCodeFactory comes in.

What Ian is offering up is a combination of office space for start-ups looking for a desk without all the administrative and costly aggravation of setting up their own office. That’s the fourth floor. What’s truly unique is what’s on the second floor. There he offers co-working space with the relaxed atmosphere of a coffee bar (with full connectivity, of course) where entrepreneurs at every stage and code warriors from local schools can network, collaborate, troubleshoot and refine their ideas, even connect for potential employment opportunities.

It’s this unique community approach, the emphasis on creating a “vital, vibrant, ecosystem” that truly sets TheCodeFactory apart from other venues that fit into the business accelerator category. And Ottawa couldn’t need it more. We’ve seen a host of anchor tech tenants of one stripe or another downsize, pull up stakes or get bought out over the past while. There’s plenty of volatility and uncertainty our there, the perfect breeding ground for startups as people decide it’s time take hold of their destiny and go into business for themselves. It’s been referred to as the “supernova effect,” as experienced and savvy individuals disperse their knowledge and expertise throughout the tech community like seeds cast to the winds.

In this environment, TheCodeFactory is just the kind of place we need for those seeds to sprout into new ventures or for that kind of experience to be made available to others. As Scott said in his remarks last night, it’s “a place for innovation to grow.”

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