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TheCodeFactory launches G2S incubator program

By Alexandra Reid

Ottawa’s startup ecosystem received some much-needed support this month as TheCodeFactory launched Government to Startup (G2S), an incubator program developed by the learning centre’s founder and president Ian Graham to address the challenges faced by displaced government workers in Ottawa.

For those of you who have been ignoring the news lately, the Government of Canada has set in motion austerity plans that will see the reduction of 19,200 federal public service jobs over the next three years.

To encourage displaced workers to remain in Ottawa rather than uproot and seek employment elsewhere, the program will provide them with the skills and knowledge to start their own businesses. The program promises, “No startup will be left behind,” with the goal that participants will have fully functional and profitable businesses on exit.

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7 ways to stay sane and productive

By Leo Valiquette

There’s an old joke about the easy-going work-life balance that results from being an entrepreneur. “I can work for only half the day,” says the entrepreneur. “And I get to decide which 12 hours that will be.”

There is certainly something to be said for being your own boss without any commitment to regular office hours beyond making damned sure your deliverables are done on time and clients or customers feel well-served. But in my experience, being self-employed, which invariably means you are working remotely from whoever has agreed to pay your outrageous fee, requires that you impose upon yourself the same obligations as any teleworker with a traditional J.O.B. and a boss.

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New OCRI CEO shares his vision: Part 1

By Francis Moran and Leo Valiquette

It’s fairly safe to say that I struck a loud chord with my post of a few weeks ago that took Ottawa’s major economic development agency to task for preferring cheerleading from the sidelines to playmaking that would actually move the ball down the field. It wasn’t quite the best-read post of all time; it ran on American Thanksgiving, a day that saw our blog lose most of our south-of-the-border readers who typically account for about one-third of our daily visitors. But it did garner one of the highest PostRank scores of all time, a yardstick that measures levels of engagement — comments, tweets and the like — around posts. With the exception of comments from the new OCRI CEO and from the head of OCRI’s marketing agency of record — neither of whom is exactly what you might call a dispassionate observer — every comment, tweet and other reaction I received applauded my characterisation and concurred with it. Some went even further with my analogy, with, for example, one widely involved local angel investor telling me yesterday that far from simply standing on the sidelines cheering, OCRI has often stepped onto the field to take the ball away and out of play from entrepreneurs and others who are trying to score real goals for the technology sector in this community.

In a long telephone chat the day after my post ran, new OCRI CEO Bruce Lazenby didn’t argue with much of what I had written. Indeed, he told me, in the two weeks between the time he knew he was taking on the job and the time it was publicly announced, he conducted what he called some “mystery shopping,” asking people far and wide in the community what they thought of OCRI. “You must have been just appalled by what you heard,” I said, and he didn’t disagree. Nor did he disagree with my statement that OCRI was “a terribly tarnished brand.”

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Entrepreneurs hunger for education

By Francis Moran

If last night’s standing-room-only three hours of drinking-from-a-firehose delivery of hard-core business education was anything to go on, Ottawa’s entrepreneurs are hungry to learn from experienced veterans just how to manage, finance and market their companies.

Entrepreneur’s Edge, or e2, is a professional-development program that the Ottawa Centre for Research and Innovation has offered for four years. In an inspired cross between effective promotion and community outreach, program manager Peter Fillmore decided to offer a stripped-down version of the five-day curriculum. That gave rise to last night’s staging at TheCodeFactory of e2-Lite, an intensely concentrated introduction to the joys and perils of founding and managing a technology startup.

More than 50 people took up every available seat in the room, and all but a very few stayed right through to the end of a trio of presentations by Jim Roche, Rick O’Connor and Rick Norland. While the condensed nature of the content meant that bits of it were somewhat fractured and the presentation slides were densely packed, the staying power of the audience was testament to both the quality of the material being delivered and the ready appetite for it.

Kudos to TheCodeFactory

By Leo Valiquette

Kudos to Ian Graham and TheCodeFactory for renting out the entire fourth floor of the premises at 246 Queen St. in downtown Ottawa.

I had the honour of being among a select group of friends, family and supporters that celebrated the milestone last night over wine and cheese.

With the fourth floor fully rented, the facility now has a firm foundation on which to proceed as it works to drive up the volume of users for its informal co-working space on the second floor. With the start of the school year, Ian says the amount of foot traffic is rising steadily, as word gets out that this is the place to come for collaborative work, complete with full Internet access and a coffee bar as well as a Wii and a foosball table to let the steam off.

Ian launched TheCodeFactory in May to serve as a private business accelerator and incubator intended to help fill the gap between a great idea and a commercial product gaining traction in the marketplace.

TheCodeFactory’s fourth floor is the incubator space, offering office space for startups looking for a desk without all the administrative and costly aggravation of setting up their own offices. The co-working space on the second floor is intended to serve as a proving ground for entrepreneurship and innovation, for entrepreneurs at every stage and code warriors from local schools to network, collaborate, troubleshoot and refine their ideas, even connect for potential employment opportunities.

It’s a great addition to the local tech scene and Ian should be commended for his dogged persistance to get TheCodeFactory off of the ground. To say it’s been a labour of love is a gross understatement.

Congrats, Ian.

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Recent Comments

  • Francis Moran : I'm so glad to see you warming to this idea, Luc. Not that you were ever one of those mindless critics who automatically opposed the proposal; you were properly skeptical and demanding that it contain more of what folks like you and I believed was necessary for success. Looks like the city is listening.

  • Luc Lalande : Hi Francis, thank you for the steady and keen eye on the development of this important project for the City. I share your view that open spaces in the building’s design will be critical components for encouraging spontaneous interactions between people. Integrating such spaces in the Innovation Complex sends the right signals to the community-at-large and not just the local startup ecosystem: everyone is welcomed! With respect to Patti’s comments about the arts sector, it would be worth bringing back to light that the Hintonburg-Mechanicsville area has emerged as the first Arts District in the City of Ottawa, housing many artist studios, performing arts studios, and media groups. While the 7 Bayview located Innovation Complex may cater to the entrepreneurial set, there is still considerable property on these lands that could, one day, be developed and capitalize on the area’s sizable artistic community. But perhaps the open spaces at the Innovation Complex can be equally accommodating for anyone who embraces creativity and entrepreneurship: artists and innovators alike.

  • How can we foster culture of entrepreneurship? | Waterloo Innovation Summit : [...] Velocity also provides hands-on workshops for anyone at the University to learn about becoming a successful entrepreneur, and awards over $300,000 per year through the Velocity Fund to promising early startups, to help launch their success financially. We keep finding really good problems that are worthy of solving and that we think we’d be good at solving. - Mike Kirkup, Director of Velocity and Student Innovation Waterloo’s Velocity accelerator is 5, and growing fast [...]

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