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Archive for January, 2011

By Bryan Watson

Last week, at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), the Year of the Entrepreneur was announced by the Honourable Ted Menzies, Minister of State (Finance) and the Honourable Rob Moore, Minister of State (Small Business and Tourism), CYBF and CFIB. This is a year to celebrate Canada’s entrepreneurial talent and  all that entrepreneurs bring to our economy. Highlighted was the expectation that it will be Canada’s entrepreneurs who will, to a large extent, be responsible for our further economic recovery and future growth.

As leaders in small business in Canada, CYBF and CFIB recognize that the country’s future depends on the continuing contributions of entrepreneurs. Small- to medium-sized businesses account for 98 per cent of all businesses across Canada, and with more than 19 per cent of owners planning to exit their business within the next five years, the Year of the Entrepreneur is a prime opportunity for Canada’s frontrunners to create entrepreneurial initiatives that will help move Canada into more prosperous times.

CFIB president Catherine Swift says, “The success of the small- and medium-sized business sector has contributed greatly to the economic and social success of Canada. As CFIB celebrates 40 years of defending small businesses, designating 2011 as the ‘Year of the Entrepreneur’ is definitely an occasion we should all be proud of.”

“Through this designation, the Federal Government has shone a bright light directly on entrepreneurship – demonstrating that our collaborative efforts to build a more entrepreneurial Canada are paying off,” says Vivian Prokop, CEO of the Canadian Youth Business Foundation. “This year, we will build upon this momentum to show the world that Canada is propelling economic recovery and growth through entrepreneurship.”

The official announcement was made  at Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone (DMZ), a space where creative young entrepreneurs gather to innovate, collaborate and market their services and products. The announcement was followed by a tour of the facility, including an opportunity to meet with entrepreneurs from CFIB, CYBF and the DMZ as well as a pre-budget roundtable discussion with Ministers Menzies and Moore.

It is often said that we, as Canadians, do not celebrate our entrepreneurial successes enough. This is true of the Angel community as well. As such I want to challenge our entrepreneurial and Angel communities to take this year as an opportunity to stand up, thump their chests, and declare their successes this year, be they financings, companies securing new world class customers, or exits!

Reposted from National Angel Capital Organization

Throughout his career, both in Canada and the UK, Bryan J. Watson has been a champion of entrepreneurship as a vector for the commercialization of advanced technologies. Upon his return to Canada in 2004, Bryan established his venture development consulting practice to help emerging-growth companies overcome the barriers to success they face in the Canadian commercialization ecosystem.  Visit Bryan’s blog and the National Angel Capital Organization.


The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Sam Ricchezza

The European Medicines Agency is planning to adopt stricter guidelines on test method validation for technical transfers to CMO’s.  These revisions to Chapter 6 Quality Control, EU Gudilines to GMP were published in September and the EMA is requesting comments to be submitted to it by February 2011.  “Outsourcing-Pharma.com” has a piece about it that you can read here.

According to the article, the EMA is considering changes to Chapter 6 that will include guidance in Annexes 16,19 and 20; ICH Q8, Q9 and Q10; the ICH Q11 draft; on-going changes to Chapters 4,7 and Annex 11; and development of near infrared spectroscopy (NIR) for raw material identification and process analytical technology (PAT).

In this day of increased scrutiny on product submissions by all regulatory agencies, it is surprising to read that test methods are not always being fully validated during a technical transfer from one manufacturing site to another or at contract quality control laboratories.  It is important to consider validating test methods during the technical transfer phase at the new site to account for differences in laboratory factors and the methodologies that must be adapted for the new site’s equipment.  Many times, the test methods being transferred are older and may lack the sensitivity to meet current regulatory requirements.

Reposted from DiTeba Research Laboratories Inc.

Sam Ricchezza, Senior Vice President, Business Development at DiTeba Research Laboratories Inc., brings more than 24 years of pharmaceutical and medical device industry experience to Diteba Research Laboratories Inc. Sam has extensive business development, sales management and marketing experience with some of the leading organizations in contract services.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers pro vide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Marielle Voksepp
Murray Hogarth, CEO of Pioneer PetroleumsMurray Hogarth, CEO of Pioneer Petroleums

“I was not born an entrepreneur, I learned to recognize opportunities to take advantage of and had the courage to act… the rest is history.” – Murray Hogarth

Looking for the main ingredients to becoming a successful entrepreneur?  Learn from those who have done it best.

According to Murray Hogarth, founder and former CEO of Pioneer Petroleums, leadership is the only force that can move ideas from concept to reality. Other driving forces that have lead to his success as a leader in the petroleum industry: always put the customer first, turn off the lights, work hard and save, save, save.  Murray attributes these early Depression-Era habits as becoming an important part of what he did intuitively later in life.

Taking advantage of an opportunity, Pioneer’s first independent venture was located just outside Hamilton city limits – this location allowed the station to stay open 24 hours a day and avoid the city’s early closing by-laws. This took place on November 29, 1956 and Pioneer has never been closed since. 54 yearrs after opening, Pioneer Petroleums has over 300 service stations and sales of almost $2 billion a year.  The business has also spread in other directions: amongst these are real estate, car washes, dry cleaning, Snack Express stores and even swimming pools.

Do you to think you can change the world? Read on to see if you have what it takes to be a leader…

Murray’s 8 secrets for success
1.    Succeed in what you can do
2.    Recognize an opportunity and act on it
3.    Communicate both good news and bad
4.    Accept reasonable risks
5.    Hire & keep only the best people
6.    Stand out from the crowd
7.    Run a flat, lean organization
8.    Instill a sense of urgency

His best piece of advice? On your business card there should be listed three things: founder, CEO and janitor.

Downloads & Resources:

Reposted from MaRS

Marielle works as part of the education team at MaRS. She helps entrepreneurs get access to business resources both online and in-person.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Stephen Rhodes

Explain to me the value proposition in new technology. I am, let me rephrase that, my wife is in the market for a LARGE flat-screen TV. I know, role reversal. We have a 26 inch RCA solid state thingy that has been ticking since about 1990. Works just fine, touch wood.

The flat-screen Plasma/LCD/LED world is argghhh! It’s quicksand out there, and there is a feeding frenzy as prices are dropping faster than Isaac Newton’s apple.

I go looking for help online. I’m thinking ahead – is it possible to add the Internet to this behemoth? Can I surf the web in hi-def on 55 inches of  colourful splendour?

Jeremy Toeman has worked in the field of convergence between computers, the Internet and TV , and recently he posted on Mashable arguing that the biggest challenge smart televisions face in 2011 is overcoming customers’ FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt). That’s me.

Smart televisions? I thought I was just looking for a big television. Some Hi- Def, Blue Ray, big screen for my aging eyes.

He says in the  2000s, buying a new TV was easy. The bigger the screen, the better the television. Some bells and whistles but otherwise pretty straight forward. I am thinking I should have bought 10 years ago. Damn.

“Now enter smart TVs and 3-D TVs. To the industry, these devices represent an opportunity to upsell consumers with added benefits and features. But to consumers, these connected televisions also introduce planned obsolescence into television life cycles. Planned obsolescence is a concept where companies sell products with a limited lifespan or functionality to encourage repeat purchases and upgrades. The result? Consumers are staying away from new TV. Instead of getting excited for new features, they are getting scared. To quote a recent industry article: “Despite all the hype, 3-D sets haven’t been a runaway success, and Internet-capable ones haven’t fared much better.”

Why is this happening? Sure, a slow economy is one reason, but there are others that are more concerning to television makers and the consumer electronics industry as a whole. It’s my opinion that FUD is a major factor in 3-D TV failure as well. Consumers’ questions include: Do I need more glasses? Does it work with my Blu-ray? Will all titles be compatible?

Joe says technology issues – meaning I need an engineering degree to make this work, or worse, how many hours will I have to wait for tech support – are a concern. Obsolescence – or  how long before I need another one, will it be outdated before I actually get it working   – is another concern.

I must admit, I was confused with the just going big part, without the going smart part.

Joe says, most smart TVs are being touted for their technology rather than the benefits they provide people. Instead of telling people that the weather app is on their TV (a feature), the industry should emphasize the personal weather forecasts smart TVs generate that are tailored for individual needs (a benefit). For the average consumer, Facebook on TV sounds like a lot of work (“Where will I type? Do I still “Like” stuff? Does FarmVille work? What else do I need to do?”). Putting Twitter on the television sounds like it is a lot of work. Anything that involves a mouse and a keyboard seems — and is — onerous to the living room context. The value proposition for smart TVs has to be the effortless delivery of content in ways that mirror the ease of standard TV experience.

So, now I got all this other stuff to consider. If you want to sell me the smart television, I need to know the benefits – what’s in it for me, how easy is it to use and how long will it last? Marketing 101.

My 26 inch RCA has been going 20 years. We understand each other. It’s easy to use. Honey?

Reposted from The Marketing Pad

Stephen Rhodes is President of The Marketing PAD, a full-service strategic communications and marketing company. Read Blogpad or visit The Marketing Pad online.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Mark Zimmerman

mapWhere are you going?

When I first meet a new client here at MaRS my first question after hearing the overview of their business idea is often “What does success look like to you?”  I’ve been surprised by how often I get a blank stare or a cliche in response.

At the risk of being cliche myself: If you don’t have at least a general vision of where you want to go how can you make smart decisions on how to get there?

There are lots of factors that make entrepreneurship appealing: the autonomy, the creativity, the excitement and energy, the joy of working with smart people you respect, the reward of building something great from nothing and the possibility of creating wealth.   Understanding the relative weight of these is important both at the start and as you share your vision with others.

It’s particularly important that co-founders, early employees and investors all agree on the destination.  And that you revisit the topic and confirm that alignment regularly as your business evolves.

Mark advises entrepreneurs in the information technology, communications and entertainment practice at MaRS. He specializes in B2B enterprise software, SaaS business models as well as security and privacy.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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By Knowlton Thomas

Real Ventures is a $45-million seed stage venture fund based in Montreal. The fund closed late last year, and has just announced its first two investments: Fabric Technologies and DokDok.

Fabric Technologies

Fabric Technologies delivers computing in the browser; that is, websites and apps become as powerful and flexible as native compiled applications. This allows apps and services to move from the desktop to the browser and from the browser to the smartphone.

Fabric takes advantage CPU and GPU resources to make the full power of a mobile device available to its web browser.

DokDok

DokDok, founded in Montréal by Bruno Morency, is an “email data as a service” platform—DokDok’s email API makes enables app developers to retrieve information from inboxes and leverage it in complementary apps in areas of document management, collaboration, and project management.

The focus of Real Ventures is in web and mobile, software and digital media, and social and casual gaming startups, so these seem like natural investments for the venture capital fund. Investing at the seed level—between conceptualization and validation of the business model—is always a risky undertaking, but it’s a thrill for some. We wish Real Ventures and the startups they invest in good luck.

Reposted from Techvibes Media

Knowlton Thomas is the Associate Editor of Techvibes Media. He is also the Web Editor of The Other Press, a weekly newspaper, and a regular columnist for them as well.

The RIC blog is designed as a showcase for entrepreneurs and innovation. Our guest bloggers provide a wealth of information based on their personal experiences. Visit RIC Centre for more information on how RIC can accelerate your ideas to market.

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