Alternawork Now Open: a Dynamic Cowork Space Designed for Entrepreneurs and Tech Startups

The way we work is changing, and alternawork is providing a new alternative for entrepreneurs and tech companies looking to lease office space.

Over the last few years, there has been a sharp rise in the use of cowork spaces, or facilities that provide an office environment without the commitment of leasing a full office space. And there’s good reason for this trend—coworking offers a number of benefits over traditional offices or working from home.

alternawork’s brand new 6,000 SF Oakville cowork space is now open. The state-of-the-art office is conveniently located within minutes of Bronte GO station, allowing for easy access to the downtown core without the high costs of renting in the big city. The facility features 14 private offices, 12-14 dedicated workstations, and shared boardroom space to hold team meetings or host clients.

Catering to the thriving tech community in the GTA, the office boasts enterprise-class infrastructure and reliable, high-speed internet to meet the network needs of growing tech companies.

Mark Arteaga, founder of software consulting and design company RedBit Development, is already reaping the benefits of coworking. “The fabulous space that we lease from alternawork has allowed our team to creatively grow and thrive. It has brought us all into one room again, making for better collaboration and a much more fun working environment,” he says. “It’s a very collaborative culture. There are other businesses coming into the alternawork building now, which is always exciting to have the opportunity to mingle with like-minded people. It provides the opportunity to share our successes and skills with others.”

Membership comes with its perks, too: no matter which plan they choose, users will enjoy 24 hour access, shared kitchen and lounge space, free coffee, and free parking.

Wondering whether coworking at alternawork is right for your business? Book a tour of the facility or check out alternawork.com for more information.

Stay tuned for details on the next phase starting in the fall by signing up for the newsletter.

Cowork Considerations: Why Location and Network Matter Most

There are plenty of factors to consider when choosing a cowork facility. Things like location and ease of transportation, cost to rent space, technology and infrastructure, and amenities included will probably play into your decision. Here, we highlight why location and network are two of the most important considerations when choosing a cowork facility.

A Convenient Location is Key

Traditionally, tech companies and startups have stationed themselves in the heart of big cities like Toronto and Vancouver. However, that’s all changing — many tech companies are now seeing the value in relocating to the suburbs.

Companies are increasingly attracted to suburban office markets because rents for class-A space there tend to be significantly lower than in urban settings. This is an ideal option for smaller or early-stage tech companies and startups. Offices in suburban areas provide an affordable alternative to the big city and allow for a healthy work-life balance all while maintaining the convenience and amenities that downtown offices offer.

It’s crucial for facilities to be easily accessible via various forms of transportation, whether workers choose to take the train or the highway to work. Being near to transportation hubs also allows for easy access to and from downtown. Whether meeting clients or business partners, it’s handy to be able to invite guests to your space or travel to the city with ease.

A Network to Support Your Needs

Having access to an internet connection simply isn’t enough in today’s work world. According to WiredScore, over 90% of Toronto office workers struggle with connectivity issues, causing productivity to take a big hit. Toronto’s startup scene is thriving, with a 33% increase in the tech workforce between 2011 and 2016—meaning the importance of having a fast, reliable network is only going to grow.

Here are a few questions you can ask to determine whether a cowork facility’s technology will meet your business needs:

  • Is the network secure?
  • Will I be on a public network?
  • What are the network usage restrictions?
  • Does the facility have a dedicated IT person in case of any issues?
  • What is the guarantee for bandwidth?

Some people have more robust network needs than others, so it’s important to consider how you will use the connection. For example, if you’re a web developer, or use video conferencing frequently, you may require a faster internet connection. If you’re thinking about using a shared office space, ask the facility about the network speed, security, and any usage restrictions.

The Bottom Line

There are plenty of reasons why startups and tech companies are thriving in cowork facilities. Just make sure you do your research to ensure that the facility has the infrastructure to support your needs, and a convenient location that will work for your employees and business partners.

alternawork is a dynamic cowork facility serving the thriving tech community in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). To book a tour or discuss your office space needs, contact us today!

Factoring; the key solution that many business are missing…

Liquid Capital will be hosting the next Coffee Grind on Friday July 13th from 10:30-11:30 AM. Stop by to meet the team, enjoy some refreshments and ask any business or funding questions!

 

Factoring, also known as Accounts Receivable financing, is a brilliant solution that can be underestimated by business owners. For many of them, factoring is just a last resource solution, but they are certainly missing out.

Last year, business owners worldwide used factoring solutions worth over 3 trillion dollars, from which 64% were facilities issued in Europe. North America accounted for just 4% of that amount, and most of that occurred in the United States.

Why are Canadian companies missing out on factoring?  The only explanation is prejudice and misinformation. In the modern days of fake news,  factoring is one of its victims. Often times factoring is seen as a last resort solution for their business, but the truth is,  if you are a business owner doing factoring, you are effectively and proactively taking measures to ensuring a healthy cash flow for your company. Most customers today expect that you offer generous terms for paying invoices, and the fact is, unless you are in the banking business, you need to focus your time and efforts on increasing your sales in the most effective way, instead of acting as a bank for your customers.

But what is factoring? It is no more than allowing your business to access the funds tied up in accounts receivables, and using them to your advantage. The factoring company will purchase your invoices and advance payment so that you will faster have access to the proceeds from your sales. That way you have the working capital to pay for your inventory, payroll, and all other expenses that can’t wait to get paid.

Savvy business owners could benefit more from factoring than from a traditional bank line of credit.  Factoring is a very quick and reliable solution to fast growth.  A company such as Liquid Capital, can approve your line of credit very fast, without any covenants, and can give you the possibility to borrow only when you need it. You can draw funds according to your company’s growth. Yes, you understood right, your credit limit will grow parallel to your sales. This can give your company the cash it needs, when you need it, and you could even use it to take advantage of supplier discounts, and shorten your cash cycle.

In addition to all these advantages,  factoring companies, such as Liquid Capital, will take over the collections and management of your accounts receivable, a task that may represent a headcount for your company, or if you are doing it yourself, it will free up time that you can use to grow your business.  Liquid Capital would even perform credit checks on your customers, serving as your credit department, so that you avoid the risk of non-paying customers. In fact, having a factoring facility with Liquid Capital will come hand and hand with credit insurance, which will protect you against non-payment from your customers. In addition to that, factoring is not considered credit, freeing your balance sheet from liabilities and improving the way your books look.

Businesses that qualify for factoring are generally B2B companies that have outstanding sales to dependable, credit-worthy customers. They usually invoice their clients on credit terms and have strong sales opportunities in the pipeline.

Still have doubts if factoring is for you? Feel free to contact Liquid Capital Directly at lrizopulos@liquidcapitalcorp.com, or call at 647 330 0331 for assistance!


Why choose Liquid Capital?

  • North America’s leading factoring specialists
  • We offer a customized, flexible approach with local decision-makers ready to respond quickly with funding
  • Our Liquid Capital Principals are growth strategy and funding experts.
  • Credit coverage can be included to reduce risk, time and overhead expenses
  • Funding is not dependent on your balance sheet, or time-in-business
  • Our 24-hour online reporting system gives you full access to funding status 24-7
  • No long-term contracts, hidden fees or debt
  • Keep in mind: Not all factoring entities are the same. Many are not transparent, having hidden triggers for higher rates, or contracts that make it hard to move away from a funding solution. That’s not us. Our terms are straightforward. We have built our business on building relationships fueled by trust, understanding, and capability. We are proud when our clients evolve into traditional funding relationships with banks.

 

 

Want free advice? Liquid Capital will be hosting the next Coffee Grind on Friday July 13th from 10:30-11:30 AM. Come stop by to meet the team, enjoy some refreshments and ask Liquid Capital any business or funding questions!

Haltech EIR Wayne Maddever recognized by the Canadian Academy of Engineering

Twelve members of the U of T Engineering community have been recognized by the Canadian Academy of Engineering with fellowships and scholarships. The CAE is a national institution through which Canada’s most distinguished and experienced engineers provide strategic advice on matters of critical importance to Canada. Haltech EIR Wayne Maddever (MSE 7T8) is among the CAE’s 59 new Fellows for 2018

Dr. Wayne Maddever has provided exceptional engineering leadership in research and development, production operations and complex engineering projects associated with the growth and development of domestic and international, technology-based companies.  He has been the driving force behind industrial and commercial developments through the formulation of strategies for the processing of advanced materials, precision manufacturing, medical devices, recycling, and transformation of waste into energy. His creative activities are exemplified by patents, conference presentations, publications and awards. He has also given exemplary service as a lecturer and student mentor in areas related to entrepreneurship and innovation.

In addition to his work at Haltech, Wayne is Portfolio Manager at Bioindustrial Innovation Canada and mentors and lectures at McMaster University in the Master of Engineering Entrepreneurship and Innovation Program.

See Full Article Here

A New Chapter at Haltech – Welcoming our New Executive Director!

 

On behalf of the Haltech Board of Directors, I am very pleased to announce the appointment of Shann McGrail as our new Executive Director.

Shann comes to us with deep background in software and technology, built through 17 years at Microsoft and building her own business, focused on innovation and technology entrepreneurship. Shann brings a highly collaborative, strategic and partner-oriented mind-set to Haltech, along with experience in the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) ecosystem as a mentor, strategy facilitator, EIR and board member.

Shann is passionate about innovation in our region and leads various high impact Canadian and International initiatives with respect to women in technology. Shann is a supporter of Oakville Improv Theatre Company doing duty behind the scenes as board member and on stage as a performer!

We are thrilled to have Shann join our exceptional team of staff, EIR’s and mentors, so please join us in welcoming Shann to Haltech!

Thank you for your continued support of innovation in Halton Region.
Jamie Barron, Chair of Board of Directors

 

Are you ready for fast funding approval?

Most businesses can’t self-fund all of their operations and strategies all of the time. So they must turn to lenders to help bridge the gaps. Getting this must-have financing can be a daily concern for many business owners and CFOs, and becoming more “lender friendly” can instantly increase your chances of securing those funds faster and with less frustration.

Your lender is going to be doing a variety of activities when you request financing and if they see a red flag it could cause significant delays. Lenders talk to countless businesses that are trying to secure funding, so if you can set yourself apart by being proactive, coming prepared and demonstrating your professionalism, you’ll take higher priority.

This is true when looking for financing from any type of lender — whether it’s an alternative lender, bank, private investor, leasing company or anyone else looking to advance capital.

Again, the goal is to be “lender friendly” so they will quickly recognize you as a valuable prospective client.

Before you even talk to a lender, you should perform the exact same tasks they will be doing to check that you would be a worthwhile client. If you discover problems, you can fix them in advance — saving you time, reducing frustration and improving your chances of getting financing.

Give your business the best shot at accessing that much-needed cash flow by completing these six crucial tasks.

Read full post here

Download FREE E-Book Here

Haltech Hi5 Pitch Competition 2018

On April 25th, Haltech hosted the spring edition of the Hi5 Pitch Competition, where 5 high-potential clients presented their businesses to a judging panel of industry professionals.
The event took place at The Marquee @ Sheridan College where the startups were able to set up booths and meet with the public before taking the stage. Thank you to all the companies that participated: TempStarsWishe MeKlusster and UR Concierge Services Inc. And a BIG congratulations to InStage for winning first place and taking home a $3000 cash prize presented by event sponsor BDO Canada.
Pitch Winners:
1st Place: Instage
2nd Place: Wish Me
Thank you to our Judging Panel: Jamie Barron, BDO Canada; Tony Gopaul, BDC Canada; Stephanie Mazhari, Halton Region and Cameron Hay, Dispath Integration LTD.

Tax Credits for Innovation: Five Things Businesses Need to Know

Canadian-owned businesses who perform scientific research and experimental development to create new or refine existing products or processes may be missing out on a valuable opportunity. By meeting a few simple criteria, they could take advantage of a valuable federal and provincial tax incentive program which distributes more than $3 billion to more than 20,000 businesses every year.

These are the top five things businesses need to know about the Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) tax credit.

What is SR&ED?

The SR&ED tax credit is a government incentive which encourages Canadian-owned companies of all sizes to innovate by subsidizing their research and development (R&D) costs. The program is available to organizations who perform basic research, applied research or experimental development – including the creation of new technologies or improving the design, function, or durability of existing technologies.

Potential SR&ED rebates can be as high as 66 percent of total qualifying expenditures and therefore a valuable component of a business’s overall innovation strategy. Eligible expenses include employee wages and bonuses, administrative overhead, subcontractor payments and the value of any materials consumed and transformed throughout the R&D process. Importantly, a business need not achieve the specified or intended outcome to qualify for the SR&ED tax credit.

Recent Program Changes

SR&ED has undergone recent changes which organizations will want to be conscious of. These include:

  1. The reduction in the Ontario Innovation Tax Credit (OITC) rate to 8 percent for refundable tax credits and Ontario R&D Tax Credit (ORDTC) rate to 3.5 percent for non-refundable tax credits. This is effective from June 1, 2016 onward and any filings straddling this date will be prorated accordingly.
  2. The removal of capital as an eligible cost category for SR&ED claims. This means claimants cannot include any items that did not form part of the prototype during the R&D process.
  3. The requirement for claim preparers to include information in the SR&ED claim. If the information is missing, incomplete or inaccurate, the filing business could face a penalty of $1,000 per claim – with joint responsibility shared by both the preparer and taxpayer

Required Documentation

Ensuring a business realizes maximal value from any SR&ED claim requires documenting the activities, costs and insights gained throughout the R&D process. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) wants to know when the project was initiated and completed, who was involved and in what capacity, what knowledge the company gained and how it contributes to the public domain.

Required information includes:

  • Technical report for each project describing technological uncertainty, technological advancement and all activities performed
  • Spreadsheet identifying all costs claimed
  • Employee labour rate calculations
  • Logs for employee SR&ED activities
  • Supporting technical documentation

Timelines and Processes

Companies should include their SR&ED claims as part of their annual tax filing with the CRA.

Important to remember – it is easier to track activities, insights and costs as they occur than to work backwards through every receipt, technical report and timesheet when filing a claim. Organizations will want to ensure they have systems in place to capture information as it happens. This could include using specific tracking templates and project management software to store everything in a centralized, easy to locate area.

Businesses should identify and document potential SR&ED projects throughout the year. Steps for incorporating this strategy into an organizational structure could include:

  • Assigning an internal SR&ED champion
  • Creating a central repository (such as a project management system) for information capture
  • Setting up a time tracking and cost tracking system for employees and contractors
  • Discussing SR&ED initiatives and progress during monthly team meetings.

Recent Trends

Subcontractor Costs – Work performed by subcontractors and costs claimed are facing increasing scrutiny. Businesses need to understand how subcontractor payments relate to eligible SR&ED activities and, whenever possible, have those consolidated into a single signed document for their submission.

Employee Workweek – Employee wages and how time worked translates to a SR&ED wage is another growing concern. Businesses must ensure they fair estimates for employee workweeks and whenever possible, document hours worked in timesheets.

Costs Covered Under Proxy Filing Method – The CRA is drawing clear lines between costs for R&D and the incidental costs of running a business. Therefore, SR&ED claims should tie back to organizational charts to demonstrate which employees are directly engaged in the R&D process to differentiate between direct business and arm’s length costs.

To learn more about SR&ED or to discover how MNP can help maximize your claim, contact Chris Chang, P.Eng, Senior Manager, SR&ED at 519-725-7700 or chris.chang@mnp.ca

Launching Your Business with Dave Freeman

When developing the “Start Me Up!” clinics for our HEAT clients, there were a number of possible names bounced around: Launch Me, Catapult My Business, Success Slingshot, Market Rocket, etc.  They all shared the same intent as the “Start Me Up!” name finally chosen, specifying that the clinics would provide entrepreneurs with tools and information required to successfully launch their ideas into well-positioned, growing ventures. Judging from the feedback provided by past clinic participants, we have lift off! Comments have been unanimously positive, including “The clinic was the best session that I have attended since starting my business, and I have been to many.  Thank you!”

The clinics answer three basic questions faced by business founders:  Is there a problem?  Can you solve it?  And can you make money doing so?  And they use three tools to do so: Value Proposition, Minimum Viable Product, and Business Model Canvas.  The clinic instructor uses examples, stories and real-life client situations, to make the concepts come alive.

Clinic #1 focuses on your business’ Value Proposition.  This is a concise and clear statement of your target customers, their problem or need, and the solution (or value) you provide to address it.  Getting your VP right is crucial; it’s your “brand”, and is the promise you are making to your customers.  It will be part of every networking meeting, sales pitch, request for funding, grant application, etc., you are going to make.  The clinic provides tips to ensure your value proposition is strong and effective.

After the first clinic participants are sent away with homework – they need to validate their value propositions with potential customers.  One tool that helps in this validation is Minimal Viable Product.  Basically you use an MVP to expose your idea to customers for their feedback.  To save time and money, and to avoid making costly mistakes, you should use the “minimum” form of your product possible.  This might be as simple as just stating your value proposition, through to a working prototype.  The full range of options is discussed in the clinic.

Finally, Clinic #2 shifts from focusing on your customers, to focusing on you (and your business).  Using a tool called the Business Model Canvas, you’ll develop a plan for your business, including identifying where are you going? How will you get there? And what are your priorities?  Emphasis is placed on not just writing words down, but actually crafting a plan that creates a sense of purpose and generate s momentum.  Again, examples and real-life “how to’s” are provided to help you make your business plan come alive.

Find out all about the Start Me Up! clinics for yourself, and give your business-launch a boost, by signing up today for the two-clinic series. One clinic held a month, on the third Wednesday morning of the month.  See details at http://haltech.ca/events/

#HerHalton First Annual Women’s Breakfast

Halton Region has experienced a significant uptake in women entrepreneurs over the past few years.  In recognition of these new strides, Haltech proudly co-hosted the first annual #HerHalton Women’s Day Breakfast with TechPlace and Angel One Network Inc.

On March 8th we celebrated the many achievements of the Halton women who are shaping the future of business with a special breakfast at TechPlace. Guests of the event were treated to an all-women panelist discussion from accomplished female leaders in the region followed by a Q&A forum. Event panelists included Karen Grant, Executive Director of Angel One Network Inc.; Emily Moore, Managing Director of Innovation for Hatch Ltd. and Haltech Board of Directors; Lily Lam, Senior Director of Portfolio Investments for Ontario Centres of Excellence; Ruta Stauskas, Vice-President of Human Resources of Boehriger Ingelheim and Kimberly Calderbank, Co-Founder and Director Marketing & Communications at Yellow Robot Marketing and Haltech Corporate Member.

With over 70 attendants, the breakfast registration sold out withing 24 hours of its announcement! As a closing to the highly successful breakfast, Haltech  and TechPlace announced that the launch of the new Peer-to-Peer Network for women to connect and share their expertise as a way to provide support, mentorship and exchange of ideas. If you would like to participate in the new Peer-to-Peer network, please email at izabela@haltech.ca

(From L to R : Moderator Claire Green of TechPlace, Panelists: Karen Grant, Emily Moore, Lily Lam, Ruta Stauskas and Kimberly Calderbank)

In the week preceding the breakfast, 12 accomplished female founders and entrepreneurs were showcased via our social media channels. To see their features click here.