Thriving Tech Innovation was the Scene at the 1st Halton FUTURES Innovation Summit & Awards

By Stephanie Lem, contributing writer, Haltech News

You might have never thought to ask yourself, “What do sports and business have in common?” The truth is, they share the same values and hard work required to succeed. Legendary professional baseball player Babe Ruth once said, “never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” Easily, this holds true to many aspects of life including entrepreneurship, and was an overarching theme at the inaugural Halton FUTURES Tech Innovation Summit & Awards held on June 2, 2016 and presented by Haltech.

Over 200 entrepreneurs, innovators and business professionals gathered at the Oakville Conference Centre to connect and celebrate new technologies and products emerging from Halton region. There was no shortage of talent as the lineup of corporate speakers included Hatch, Siemens, Microsoft Canada, Geotab, ScribbleLive, Javelin Technologies, Cinemasuite, Aethon Technologies, Sheridan College, and several others who were all impressive leaders of technology innovation and business.

Michele Romanow

The day started off with a bang as famed Canadian entrepreneur, engineer, and the youngest investor of CBC’s hit show Dragon’s Den, Michele Romanow graced the stage with personal stories of her entrepreneurial journey. She started with her first business venture as a student at Queen’s University when she founded The Tea Room, an environmentally friendly and socially conscious café, to later partnering with classmates to develop a Canadian caviar company, then and Snap By Groupon. Exploration throughout the unknown (the lifecycle of a start-up business) has taught her many lessons: to be scrappy, be brave, and get stuff done.

She shared a few key take-away messages that helped to settle those uneasy feelings in the gut of every aspiring entrepreneur:

  • There’s always a dominant feeling of fear. Stop telling yourself to wait for the right time because all the planning in the world won’t save you – action will, however.
  • Don’t be afraid of competitors because that just means something has been fleshed out in the business model, and that there’s money to be made.
  • Building a business is messy, there are many moving parts that are constantly evolving and require you to adapt and push forward.

The speaker sessions at the FUTURES summit were focused on themes about how advances in manufacturing innovation, smart devices and digital technologies integrate together to build our connected cities of the future. Keynote speakers included Vincent Mifsud, CEO of ScribbleLive, Santiago Faucher, Global Director of Technology Development at HATCH, and Lucy Casacia, Vice-President of Cities and Infrastructure Projects at Siemens Canada, had amazed the crowded audience with their vision of smart technologies. The Summit also featured 5-minute pitches from several early-stage tech startups, including: Active M2M (intelligent systems, machine learning), Enable Education (software for Augmented Reality high-skills training), Tech4Life Enterprises (telemedecine and point-of-care medical diagnostics) and Daniel Christian Tang (mass-customizable 3D printed luxury jewelry).

The Summit concluded with the 1st Halton Innovation Awards reception in the evening. Four outstanding companies from the Halton region were recognized for their excellence in technology or product innovation, commercial viability, novelty, sustainability or social benefit, and product development plan. Congratulations to the very first award winners Adlib Software, Advanced Test & Automation, Geotab, and Enable Education, the latter who was recognized as the “One to Watch!” award.

With the success of the 1st Halton FUTURES Tech Innovation Summit and Awards now behind us, it was astounding to witness the magnitude of innovation and creativity made in Halton region. From the sought-after waterfront area in the south to the hiking trails of escarpment country in the north, the natural beauty of the region’s terrain somehow shrouds the amazing innovation that takes place within. Haltech CEO Rina Carlini pointed out that tech innovation in Halton is thriving, and now is the time to help entrepreneurs scale their business to global markets. Halton FUTURES Innovation Summit is precisely about that – connecting with innovation champions who are working hard to build future prospects in our region, and beyond.

Thank you to all those who attended, and to our special speakers for sharing their visions and realities – we look forward to seeing you at the next summit in 2017.