Windsor Entrepreneurs get National Spotlight

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Windsor will showcase its entrepreneurial and innovation side this week when it hosts Startup Canada's National Tour on May 22-23. The two-day blitz through Windsor will feature a myriad of exhibitions, keynote events, and a community-wide Town Hall.

Windsor is one of seven Ontario cities taking part in the tour that launched in March and will crisscross Canada to highlight entrepreneurship, discuss challenges facing small businesses and startups, and find solutions as communities.

"Startup Canada highlights the fact that entrepreneurs drive our economy and, just as important, that communities have a role in supporting an entrepreneurial culture," says Karen Behune Plunkett, President and CEO of WEtech Alliance. "The tech industry in Windsor-Essex is delighted to work with Startup Canada to foster more startup success in our region. I encourage you to join the party!"

The stop kicks off Tuesday morning with breakfast at the Odette School of Business featuring a keynote address by University of Windsor alumni, Rick Spence, the former editor and publisher of PROFIT ? The Magazine for Canadian Entrepreneurs.Spence will share 20 years of experience studying and writing about Canada's most successful entrepreneurs in an address titled, "Growth Secrets of Canada's Top Entrepreneurs".

Following that event is Lunch with a Guru in the VU Bar at Caesars Windsor featuring Saul Colt, who has been called one of Canada's best community builders and innovators, and was recently named one of the iMEDIA25: Internet Marketing Leaders & Innovators.

Next on tap is the main event, the Startup Canada Town Hall, held at the Walkerville Brewery where the region's entrepreneurs and stakeholders will brainstorm and develop solutions to pressing challenges facing Canadian entrepreneurs.The Town Hall action plans that are developed in each city will form the basis of future discussions across Canada. Each Town Hall is building upon the others contribute to a final White Paper that will be presented to the Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

"This is great exposure for entrepreneurs in Windsor-Essex to have Startup Canada here" says Sabrina DeMarco, Executive Director of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Development at the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation. "This is a unique opportunity to not only identify key challenges facing local entrepreneurs, but will bring them together in a way they never have been before. It's the beginning of a critical conversation, one that we should be having more often."

The following day, the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator will host a one-of-a-kind Entrepreneur Show-and-Tell event, featuring Windsor-Essex's most talented entrepreneurs and their innovative products and services. Attendees will get the chance to touch, taste, and test-drive some of the coolest local innovations.

The event will showcase more than 30 local entrepreneurs and Droid, a robot designed by Sandwich High School students who recently took part in the robotics world championships after winning a regional tournament in the United States.

"The Downtown Business Accelerator is the perfect venue to talk about a supportive, collaborative entrepreneurial culture and community," says Arthur Barbut, Director of the Downtown Windsor Business Accelerator. "The more people we include in that conversation, the stronger and more successful we become. That's what this is all about."

From Windsor, the Tour will move to York, Sudbury, Kingston and Ottawa.After Ontario, Startup Canada will visit New Brunswick and head across the prairies. Canadians will be able to follow the tour online through Startup Canada's interactive website and live broadcasts streamed online as well as through social media.