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Raising cash can be the most important activity for a start-up company. But what do you do when you have exhausted the money from friends and family and are not yet ready for angel and VC investment? In our fifth seminar we will explore some creative methods to finance your business including accessing inexpensive resources such as talent and exploring options to go public.

Join us for Creative Financing and Cash Bootstrapping – When Friends, Family and Fools Fail! at our “Growing Your Business” breakfast event series 7:30 to 10 a.m., Wednesday,  January 19 at the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Faculty Club

Our guest speakers include:

Ulrich Krull, Vice-Principal: Research, University of Toronto,  is appointed as Professor of Analytical Chemistry and holds the endowed AstraZeneca Chair in Biotechnology at the University of Toronto. He serves as the Vice-Principal: Research at the University of Toronto Mississauga.

Krull has played key roles in 4 start-up companies that have incorporated work from his research team in the area of diagnostic technologies. He continues to serve on a number of corporate boards for pharma and analytical service companies and associations. Krull led the consortium of industry, government and institutional partners that evolved to form the Research Innovation Commercialization Centre.

John Lombardi, Business Consultant, Mina Mar Group, is a business consultant with the Mina Mar Group where he assists SMEs raise capital, offering M&A, IPO, and investor relations services. He has helped raise over $6 million dollars through his work in real estate marketing and Loblaw Companies. John started trading shares on the stock market independently at the ripe age of 18. His research and understanding of business naturally lead him to Canada’s top business school, the Schulich School of Business.

Chris Skura, CEO, Skura Corporation, is the CEO of Skura Corporation as well as Skura BI Group. His responsibilities for both companies include company vision, business development and building partnerships with leading companies worldwide.

He has established Skura as a global leader in the pharmaceutical technology market and continues to ensure the company is building the solutions necessary to succeed in these times of rapid change. Prior to founding Skura Corporation in 1996, Chris was in sales operations at Bayer Inc.

The Research Innovation Commercialization (RIC) Centre and the Ontario Center for Environmental Technology Advancement (OCETA) jointly host the 10-event series, which runs from September to June 2011.

For a complete schedule visit riccentre.com

Pre-Registration $25, Pay at Event $30 (covers breakfast and parking). To register, visit www.riccentre.com.

For more information, contact Shantanu at shantanu@riccentre.com or at (905) 273-3530.

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 Mary Dytyniak
Social media and search engine optimization have been the buzz words in business in 2010, says Dev Basu, President and CEO of Powered by Search.

Basu, along with panelists Krista LaRiviere, Co-Founder and CEO of gShift Labs and Roy Pereira, President and CEO of Shiny Ads were keynote speakers at the final Growing Your Business session of 2010: Search Engine Optimization and Social Marketing December 9 at the University of Toronto Mississauga Faculty Club.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is currently the leading online tool businesses use to recruit clients and customers on the web.  Google accumulated an astounding 16.4 billion searches worldwide in the month of June 2010, according to Comstar.com, and it’s no wonder page ranking is on business moguls’ lips. But according to Basu, recognized as Canada’s foremost search optimization guru, basic page ranking techniques aren’t enough to drive traffic to a website. Although it is fast, scalable and easy to control, users don’t trust paid page rankings or top results, he says. And 90% of search users zone in on organic and local results.

While people love to buy, they don’t like being sold [to]. Essentially, [they] don’t trust an ad. That’s why people don’t click it,” he said.

Basu suggested that smaller businesses with tight budgets move their websites over to a free content management system such as WordPress, Expression Engine or Drupal to further optimize their sites. Building links and credibility so that suppliers, venders and local directories link back to a company’s website is an important step. So is ensuring that the site operates in a trusted domain and includes the essential components of a search engine friendly website: texts, links and images.

Krista LaRiviere and her company gShift, specializing in offering web presence optimization software, and aspire to make search engine optimization accessible to everyone.

“Our vision is to change the way people think of and perform organic search engine optimization. We want the entire world to be able to do their own organic search engine optimization. We want non-technical marketers to be able to do it and non-technical business people to be able to do it.”

Google Analytics is one solution. It’s a free tool many companies use to enhance search engine optimization. Google Analytics helps aggregate, track, manage and explain how a user’s website is being searched. One important component that businesses often overlook is key word selection. What clients type into search tool bars often does not match the key words businesses insert into their web pages. Tools such as Google Analytics and WordStream list what key words are being used by potential clients, explaining why a company’s page rank is lower than their competitors. Narrowing the choice of key words to indicate a unique product or service offered by a company, filters search users and increases clicks.

What about popular social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, boasting millions of users? Roy Pereira’s advertising technology company Shiny Ads relies on search engine optimization and social media to generate 90% of their inbound revenue. Pereira has moved on from using traditional marketing focused on micro websites and trade shows that he claims are no longer effective.

“Twitter is fantastic. It’s all text and it is all very searchable. It’s a great way to increase an awareness of what you’re up to as well as what your product is. Sending out a press release or [posting] the title of your press release on Twitter is alright, but it’s… a little spammy… [This] is so much more natural,” Pereira commented.

Tools such as Twitter reveal individual voices and personalities of those employees who represent a company, encouraging an open and honest relationship with potential clients, something that has now come to be expected in everyday business practice.

The Research Innovation Commercialization (RIC) Centre and the Ontario Center for Environmental Technology Advancement (OCETA) jointly host the 10-event series, which runs from September to June 2011.  For a complete schedule visit riccentre.com.

Mary Dytyniak will be graduating from the University of Toronto with an Honours Bachelor of Arts this June 2011. She is currently finishing her major in Professional Writing and a double minor in Classics and History. Mary has published works in the fields of non-fiction, creative, journalistic, research and corporate writing. She is currently pursuing a career in the magazine and publishing sector.

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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Being visible is key to having a successful start-up. Customers and investors are relying more heavily on the internet to gain information about your company and product. Optimizing your website for search engines and having an online presence in today’s social media tools can help you gain an edge over your competitors.

Join us for Search Engine Optimization and Social Marketing at our “Growing Your Business” breakfast event series Thursday, December 9 at the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Faculty Club.

Our  guest speakers include:
Dev Basu, President and CEO, Powered by Search, is a leading Toronto-based Internet marketing agency specializing in Search Engine Optimization, Local Search Optimization, and Paid Search- driven marketing solutions for Fortune 1000, and small and medium-sized businesses. In 2010, Powered by Search was ranked amongst the Top 3 Local Search optimization firms in Canada, by independent market research firm, TopSEOs. Dev is also a guest lecturer for upper level information marketing courses at the University of Toronto and Seneca College.

Krista LaRiviere, Co-Founder & CEO, gShift Labs. This is Krista’s third software start up having successfully exited from the previous two. Having been in the Internet marketing space for over ten years, Krista is able to identify trends and gaps in the daily lives of Internet marketers. gShift has web presence optimization software that is demystifying, simplifying and standardizing organic search. Her vision is to change the way people think of and perform organic search optimization.

Roy Pereira, President and Founder, Shiny Ads, an advertising technology company focused on helping online publishers maximize revenue from advertisers of all sizes. Roy has over 15 years of experience in technology companies and has been involved in 5 startups with his first in 1992 which focused on Internet and Email software. He has been a marketing executive at both medium-sized public corporations and VC-funded startups, and also has a highly technical background with several patents and Internet standards to his name.

The Research Innovation Commercialization (RIC) Centre and the Ontario Center for Environmental Technology Advancement (OCETA) jointly host the 10-event series, which runs from September to June 2011.

For a complete schedule visit riccentre.com

Pre-Registration $25, Pay at Event $30 (covers breakfast and parking). To register, visit www.riccentre.com.

For more information, contact Shantanu at shantanu@riccentre.com or at (905) 273-3530.

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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Want to know how to get government funding? Our first session in the Growing Your Business series will help entrepreneurs debunk some of the myths surrounding government programs and offer practical tips on how to access the programs that are right for your business.

Season three of the “Growing Your Business” breakfast event series kicks off with a seminar on “How to Access Government Funding Programs – Leveraging Your ‘$$’” -7:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 15th at the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Faculty Club.

Guest speakers include Bob Waterworth of KPMG LLP, who will offer an overview of government funding programs and tips on how to leverage them; Angelo Del Duca, Director of IRAP Ontario, who will provide an overview of IRAP, examples of successful projects funded by IRAP, and tips on submitting a successful proposal and Jack MacDonnell, Founder/CEO of Enermotion, who will talk about his company’s recent success in obtaining funding from the government of Canada.

The Research Innovation Commercialization (RIC) Centre and the Ontario Center for Environmental Technology Advancement (OCETA) jointly host the 10-event series, which runs from September to June 2011.

For a complete schedule visit riccentre.com

The first event is Sept. 15 from 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Faculty Club.

To register, visit www.riccentre.com.

For more information, contact Shantanu at shantanu@riccentre.com or at (905) 273-3530.

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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Season three of the “Growing Your Business” breakfast event series kicks off with a seminar on “How to Access Government Funding Programs – Leveraging Your ‘$$’” -7:30 a.m. Wednesday, September 15th at the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Faculty Club.

The seminar will help entrepreneurs debunk some of the myths surrounding government programs and offer practical tips on how they can access the programs that are right for their businesses.

Guest speakers include Bob Waterworth of KPMG LLP, who will offer an overview of government funding programs and tips on how to leverage them; Angelo Del Duca, Director of IRAP Ontario, who will provide an overview of IRAP, examples of successful projects funded by IRAP, and tips on submitting a successful proposal and Jack MacDonnell, Founder/CEO of Enermotion, who will talk about his company’s recent success in obtaining funding from the government of Canada.

Bob Waterworth, CA, Associate Partner, KPMG LLP
Bob leads a team of 5 full-time financial professionals in KPMG’s R&D Tax Incentives practice. The practice has extensive contacts within all government agencies and has an excellent track record in R&D incentives obtained. Prior to joining R&D Tax Incentives practice, Bob worked in KPMG’s Industrial & Automotive Products group. Bob’s experience also includes government grants, and an emphasis on all aspects of project management for a diverse set of projects geared at personal and corporate tax savings strategies.

Angelo Del Duca, Director – Ontario, NRC-IRAP
Angelo Del Duca is a Professional Engineer with more than 30 years of industrial experience. As an entrepreneur, he has co-founded his own company focused on providing custom microelectronics expertise to firms across North America. Angelo joined the National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) in 1997. He is a Director of the Ontario Region managing a team of 16 Industrial Technology Advisors that assist SMEs in their R&D Initiatives.

Jack MacDonnell, CEO and Founder, EnerMotion Inc.
EnerMotion Inc. is a cleantech company established in 2007 that has developed a revolutionary hybrid energy system for transportation applications. Jack is an experienced Business Development executive and past president of MACSTON Performance Productions Inc., a sales and marketing firm whose clients included General Motors and many more fortune 500 companies. EnerMotion has recently been awarded a multi-million dollar project grant from the Government of Canada, received funding from the Innovation Research Assistance Program (IRAP), and awarded project support from the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE).

The Research Innovation Commercialization (RIC) Centre and the Ontario Center for Environmental Technology Advancement (OCETA) jointly host the 10-event series, which runs from September to June 2011.

“The series aims to help entrepreneurs fast track commercialization. Attendees will benefit from presentations by an expert panel on various topics related to business growth and commercialization. Every panel has three speakers, each hailing from different backgrounds, including academia, service providers and experienced entrepreneurs”, says Pam Banks, Commercialization Director at RIC.

For a complete schedule visit riccentre.com

The first event is Sept. 15 from 7:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. at the University of Toronto Mississauga’s Faculty Club.

To register, visit www.riccentre.com.

For more information, contact Shantanu at shantanu@riccentre.com or at (905) 273-3530.

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 Reem Aziz

In the final installment of the Keep Growing Your Business Breakfast Session, the RIC Centre and OCETA present the much anticipated Innovator Idol 2! The event will take place on June 16th at the Novotel Hotel in Mississauga from 7:30 – 10:00.

Four emerging companies have been carefully screened and selected to present their pitch to an audience of angel investors and a panel of expert judges. The four lucky companies, who can win $43,000 in prizes are:

Bio-Organic Catalyst Canada

Bio-Organics Catalyst Canada (BOCC) is pioneering organic waste processing improvements through the development of liquid organic catalysts that transform unwanted molecular elements of organic waste into inert gas, increase oxidation within waste treatment processes and accelerate biomass decomposition within Anaerobic Digestion. BOCC’s unique opportunity is to connect leading scientific expertise with a patented breakthrough catalytic technology.

Temporal Power

Temporal Power has developed a proprietary flywheel energy storage system (FES) that can be used to hold energy for over 8 hour time periods or deliver high amounts of power over a short period of time. FES is a clean technology that has no direct emissions and contains no toxic components.

Dx2 Technologies

Dx2EcoSuite is a smart energy technology developed by Dx2 for cost-effectively managing energy consumption through automated and wireless means. Communication to end-devices or smart products is done through serial, Ethernet or wireless connection and provides consumers with a consolidated view of their energy consumption by interfacing with energy subsystems in a building.

Satlogix Inc.

Satlogix Inc. presents MILO, an automated vehicle tracking solution that uses GPS technology to generate a business travel log. Milo keeps track of a driver’s work schedule so it only tracks trips during business hours – this eliminates the guess work and manual labour involved in keeping a vehicle log.

This event will provide investors with the opportunity to listen and compare potential investment opportunities with new and emerging companies. Register here. For questions or for more information contact Shantanu Mittal at shantanu@riccentre.com

Reem Aziz is a University of Toronto student in the Digital Enterprise Management Specialist stream of the Communications, Culture and Information Technology program. She is currently a Writing and Communications intern at the RIC Centre where she is putting her academic knowledge to the test. She has an interest in marketing and event planning and has background experience in creating posters, banners and web ads.

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By Reem Aziz

One of the fastest growing trends for businesses today is the sweeping growth of strategic alliances. Three key speakers addressed this issue at the last Keep Growing Your Business Event: Strategic Alliances, held on May 19th, at the University of Toronto Mississauga faculty club.

The event, which was sponsored by the FRED GROUP, OCETA and the RIC Centre included presentations from industry professionals Hairdoss Sarma, Andrew Horsman and Ali Asaria.

Hairidoss Sarma, who is the sole proprietor of KRIYA Consulting and affiliated with the University of Guelph, emphasized the benefits of industry-academia alliances. Sarma says that a true alliance provides both parties with a win-win only scenario. For instance, in a research alliance between an industry and an educational institution, both organizations can work collaboratively on a project to achieve the best possible results.

Sarma admits that critical issues may arise due to the differences in the structure, mission and values of university institutions and industries. One way around this is for the two parties to collaborate on an outline of the problem definition and the methods to solve the problem.

Andrew Horsman, who is the Executive Director of Ontario Tire Stewardship (OTS) spoke of the Ontario Used Tires Program – a solution for Ontario’s scrap tires. Horsman says that the OTS board is composed of tire manufacturers, tire retailers, mass merchants and vehicle manufacturers who act as a unified central body between organizations that deal with tires.

OTS is working to further its strategic alliances with key companies in the industry as well as the government sector for technology upgrades, equipment purchases, investment and R&D. Horsman says “you want to make sure that the company is able to sustain itself in the current market place.”

Ali Asaria, started his career as a RIM employee but decided to branch out on his own to become the founder and CEO of Well.ca – an online health and beauty supply store that offers free shipping across Canada. Well.ca focuses on providing the highest quality service for its customers.

Asaria was offered funding from Venture Capitalists but instead turned to the Maple Leaf Angels and does not regret it. His main advice is, “say no if it won’t solve your problem.”

Asaria emphasized the importance of personalizing relationships and has formed alliances with Jordan Banks, CEO of Facebook Canada, Colin Webster of Truition and Dave Ceolin of Digital Cement. Asaria says that one of the most important aspects of forming a strategic alliance is to “be clear about your weakness, needs and offerings.”

As emphasized by the speakers, strategic alliances has become an important tool for entrepreneurs who wish to expand the reach of their company without losing individuality or committing to expensive internal expansions.

Join us for our next Growing Your Business session, Innovator Idol, where four emerging companies will pitch to an expert panel for a chance to win big! Feedback will be given by the panellists but the winner will be chosen by the audience.  Details.

Reem Aziz is a University of Toronto student in the Digital Enterprise Management Specialist stream of the Communications, Culture and Information Technology program. She is currently a Writing and Communications intern at the RIC Centre where she is putting her academic knowledge to the test. She has an interest in marketing and event planning and has background experience in creating posters, banners and web ads.

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