Emphasizing the need for financial literacy

The AC  and Startup Waterloo Region partnered to help entrepreneurs and small business owners in Waterloo Region increase their financial management skills.

Sponsored by the Accelerator Centre and the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre, the event was held on May 21, 2015 at the Accelerator Centre and featured CPA learning sessions, networking opportunities, keynote speakers, and peer mentorship.

The event connected entrepreneurs and small business owners with keynote speakers including Waterloo Innovation Network’s Michael Wekerle and Brenda Halloran, who spoke about their personal successes and lessons learned. Participants also connected with chartered professional accountants, Waterloo Region Small Business Centre advisors and other mentors including the AC’s Kevin Elop and Michael Peace, business development manager for Futurpreneur and small business advisors from TD Canada Trust.

The initiative is part of a nation-wide financial literacy program presented by Startup Canada, a national, entrepreneur-led movement supporting the development of vibrant startup communities, and Intuit Canada, a leading provider of business, financial and tax management solutions for small & mid-sized businesses. The goal of the program is to close the financial literacy gap for entrepreneurs and empower them to pursue sustainable, scalable businesses opportunities that create value for the local community through job creation and revenue generation.

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Accelerator Centre receives donation from The Cowan Foundation

The Cowan Foundation celebrates 20 years with donations of $20,000 to ten charities


“The Cowan Foundation was started in 1995 in honour of Frank Cowan, the founder of Frank Cowan Company  and Cowan Insurance Group”, said Maureen Cowan, Chairman and Co-CEO Princeton Holdings Limited and Chairman of The Cowan Foundation.  “Although basking in accolades would have gone against his grain, we would be remiss if we didn’t offer him deserved thanks for placing such importance on building community where we do business. This strong focus on our community is an important part of the culture across the Princeton Holdings group of companies.”

“Over the past 20 years, The Cowan Foundation has made a significant impact in Canadian communities, supporting approximately 450 charitable organizations,” explained Terry Reidel, Executive Director, The Cowan Foundation.   “As our Operating Companies, including Cowan Insurance Group (and its subsidiaries: The Williamson Group, Millennium CreditRisk Management, Wentworth Financial Services and Cowan Financial Solutions), Frank Cowan Company, The Guarantee Company of North America, Cowan Asset Management, and Fountain Street Finance continue to grow and evolve, we look forward to continuing to partner with, and support, charities that matter to our employees, business partners, and clients, and that contribute to the well-being of Canadian communities.”

It has been a busy two decades full of partnership and positive impact, however our anniversary is not only about remembering the past, it is also about shaping the future.  To celebrate this important milestone, in addition to the planned 2015 contributions, The Cowan Foundation has donated $20,000 to each of the following ten charitable organizations in Canada:

Please click here to read the full press release that includes detailed information about the ten charities we are supporting.

Apartmint and Planitar announce new partnership

Apartmint logo resizedApartmint and Planitar have announced a new partnership that will take the guesswork out of the home rental process. The digital startup companies will integrate their state-of-the-art technologies to create the most complete online residential rental experience. Expanding in the Greater Toronto Area, Waterloo, and Kitchener, and ultimately nationwide, the new platform will disrupt the home rental market and use emerging technologies to save households time and money.

The Canadian rental market is an $18.2 billion industry, with 13.3 million households renting residential spaces annually. For every transaction, there are a host of potential problems for landlords such as bad tenants and home damages, and for tenants who may face scams, inaccurate, or fake listings. Apartmint offers a solution that helps both tenants and landlords streamline the rental process and mitigate risks. Apartmint’s mobile-friendly software platform features tenant profiles with reviews, references, and credit checks, which also serve as their rental application. Renters can search for homes through the website and apply directly using their profile in just a couple of quick steps.

Apartmint will also integrate Planitar’s groundbreaking iGuide software system in the following weeks. iGuide provides an immersive 360 degree view of a home environment, mapped with an integrated floorplan. The technology combines professional photographic services with Planitar’s laser-equipped camera to capture 3D perspectives of rooms, generate floor plans, and produce accurate measurements. The iGuide tour provides comprehensive views of the home with room images that are crisp and easy to view online.

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As iGuide (continues its North American expansion), Apartmint will offer the technology to Ontario clients who include property mangers and realtors. On top of providing reliable checks of potential tenants, Apartmint now offers landlords the opportunity to create interactive tours of their units for a quick, easy rental.

Current and future clients of iGuide will also now have even more features at their convenience with further integrated technology from this Apartmint partnership. “We are always looking towards new technologies to innovate and become more efficient,” said Ho Tek, partner and vice-president of Domus Student Housing Inc. and a client of iGuide. “Ultimately, this integration and efficiency has translated into saved time and money.”

The AC’s Joani Gerber appointed VP, Operations

team_joaniThere is a lot of exciting change on the horizon for the Accelerator Centre, and as we begin to execute on our strategic growth plans, venturing into new space and expanding our programming, we are also excited to share some updates about the growth and evolution of the AC team.

You may have read about our newest mentor, Steve Fyke, whose emphasis on design strategy has certainly resonated with our Clients. We’ve also had the great fortune to welcome Alan Quarry, who recently joined the AC as Brand Architect.

As we evolve as an organization, we have also found the need to develop the AC team. In that regard, we’re pleased to announce that Joani Gerber has accepted a new role as VP, Operations with the AC. In her new role Joani will be focused on oversight of facilities planning and management, coordination of human resource processes and policies, management of the Stratford Accelerator Centre, and a number of related accountabilities.

Joani brings over 10 years of accounting, entrepreneurship and Government programming experience and has been a highly valued member of the AC team as our Director, Operations at the Stratford AC campus for the last two years.

Joani holds a degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and certificates in Accounting and Human Resource Management from Fanshawe College. She spent over 10 years supporting entrepreneurship in Stratford, St. Marys, and Perth County working with the Stratford-Perth Centre for Business and the Perth Community Futures.

We’re excited to have Joani as part of the AC team in this new role and look forward to sharing more great news with you in the near future!

Alan Quarry joins the Accelerator Centre!

Alan QuarryThe Accelerator Centre is excited to announce that brand strategist and marketing pioneer Alan Quarry has joined the AC as Brand Architect.

Alan will spend every Wednesday working with AC Clients as a sounding board, helping to develop and execute their brand strategy. Alan’s presence is an excellent complement to our team of AC mentors, all of whom are dedicated to helping the brightest startups build and scale their businesses.

Alan will also work with the AC’s leadership team, consulting on our own brand as we execute our strategic growth plans in the coming year.

For those unfamiliar with him, Alan is a gifted brand architect and brings to the AC a formidable level of experience. He serves as the Chairman of a 100 plus person team focused on helping Quarry Integrated Communications clients build their business.

Alan has served as director of the Institute of Canadian Advertising and is a past president (twice) of the Trans Canada Advertising Agency Network. He teaches fourth-year Marketing Communications and MBA courses at Wilfrid Laurier University, was an instructor for three years in University of Windsor’s Executive MBA program, and also the WLU Entrepreneur In Residence in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

We’re thrilled to have Alan as a part of the AC team as we continue to grow and work to develop the next generation of leading Canadian technology companies.

AC Client BioSensive Technologies featured on BNN

BioSensive Technologies CEO Ravinder Saini sat down with BNN to discuss Ear-o-Smart, the company’s wearable tech earring.

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Watch the video on BNN here.

Miovision featured on BNN

Can big data help you avoid traffic?

AC Grad Miovision were featured on BNN’s The Disruptors, presenting their plan to help people get around their cities more easily.

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AC Highlights from OCE Discovery 2015

AC Clients and Grads shine at the annual innovation showcase

Every year OCE Discovery, one of Canada’s leading showcases for cutting-edge technology, brings together over 3000 innovators, partners, and supporters to talk about big ideas, new trends, and the latest advancements in tech entrepreneurship.

The Accelerator Centre had a centre stage footprint as part of the Made in Waterloo Region booth along side our local partners at UW, WLU, Cowan Insurance, Square, TEN, and Communitech.

Particular AC highlights included,

It was also exciting to see so many AC Clients and Graduates showcased at the conference, getting a well-deserved spotlight on their innovations, including:

As well as AC JumpStart Clients NGTronix and Konectera and AC Grad TrustPoint.

Here are a few photos from the conference.