Innovation Cluster and Futurpreneur Announce Groundbreaking Partnership to Propel Entrepreneurship

October 3, 2023PETERBOROUGH, ON – The Innovation Cluster is delighted to announce a partnership with Futurpreneur, a renowned entrepreneurship support organization in Canada. This strategic alliance solidifies a long-standing relationship already marked by fruitful collaboration.

A highlight of this partnership is a referral collaboration centered on Futurpreneur’s “Rock My Business” series of workshops. The Innovation Cluster will refer clients to the program, presented by Futurpreneur and RBC Future Launch, which includes workshops ranging from idea development and business plan creation to cash flow projection and more. This series equips participants with the tools to transform ideas into thriving businesses, formalize business plans, and establish viable cash flow.

Futurpreneur also plans to provide office hours once a month at the Innovation Cluster during Regional Cube lunches. These exclusive gatherings represent a remarkable opportunity for clients to exchange ideas, share expertise, and motivate one another.

Andrew Ko, Business Development Manager, Ontario, at Futurpreneur, is optimistic about the partnership with the Innovation Cluster. He says, “We chose to partner with the Innovation Cluster due to their competitive, transparent application process and dedication to supporting startups through scheduled events and intensive mentoring. Their method struck us as particularly beneficial for fostering entrepreneurship. As we solidify our partnership, we are thrilled by our shared mission to nurture entrepreneurial talent and encourage innovation. This formal alliance will empower us to engage more entrepreneurs and equip them with the requisite support to accelerate their success.”

Camila Duarte, Executive Director of the Innovation Cluster, added, “Our alliance with Futurpreneur furthers our mission to support clients through unparalleled access to industry partners and funding sources. This new partnership, including specific opportunity for Cube Program clients, underscores our mutual commitment to fostering innovation-focused economic growth.”

Clients of the Innovation Cluster’s Regional Cube Program undergo rigorous vetting and receive intensive mentorship with clearly defined milestones. Because of this, a fast-track stream has also been developed and will enable existing and eligible clients of the Cluster’s Regional Cube Program to accelerate through Futurpreneur’s traditional loan review process for access to a $20k loan.

This alliance emphasizes the essential role of collaboration for both organizations, leading to a more robust support ecosystem for young entrepreneurs in the region. It will enable them to transform their innovative business concepts into reality much faster and with a broader impact.

Andrew Ko adds, “We anticipate this referral partnership, coupled with office hours and the ‘Fast Track’ initiative, will construct an essential platform for entrepreneurs. By eliminating obstacles and accelerating access to vital funding, we are confident we’ll witness a notable rise in entrepreneurial activity and success in the region.  

The Innovation Cluster and Futurpreneur are optimistic about this promising alliance and anticipate nurturing a new wave of innovative, resilient, and successful entrepreneurs. 

About the Innovation Cluster 

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their businesses. They help entrepreneurs reach their business goals so that our local community, job market, and economy continue to grow.

The ICPK supports startup businesses by providing dynamic programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs through three core programs.

STARTUP INCUBATOR – a full-service Startup Incubator Program

STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program

Student Entrepreneurship Program

The Innovation Cluster operates across multiple locations, one of which includes LAUNCH Kawartha, a dedicated space for incubation programming situated in Lindsay, Kawartha Lakes. For additional information, please visit www.innovationcluster.ca.

Core Funding is provided by The City of Peterborough, Trent University, Fleming College, The City of Kawartha Lakes, OMAFRA, Feddev Ontario, and Franklin Empire. 

About Futurpreneur

Futurpreneur has been fostering the entrepreneurial passions of enterprising diverse young entrepreneurs across Canada since 1996.

We are the only national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentorship and resources to aspiring business owners aged 18-39.

More than 17,700 young entrepreneurs, spanning every province and territory, have successfully launched their business with Futurpreneur’s support. Their main street businesses help drive Canada’s inclusive economic prosperity in communities from coast to coast to coast.

Futurpreneur is a founding member of the G20 Young Entrepreneurs’ Alliance, the Canadian member of Youth Business International, and the Canadian host of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

For more information, please visit futurpreneur.ca or follow us across social media @futurpreneur.

Media Contact

Camila Duarte

Executive Director

cduarte@innovationcluster.ca

Applications are Now Open for Pitch IT! 2023 Trent and Fleming students to compete for entrepreneurial glory and cash prizes

September 11, 2023 – PETERBOROUGH, ON – Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (“Innovation Cluster”) are thrilled to announce that applications are now open for the Pitch IT! 2023. This exciting student entrepreneurial competition will take place on Thursday, October 19th, 2023.

Hosted by Slingshot, the student’s path to innovative entrepreneurship, Pitch IT! offers Trent University and Fleming College students the opportunity to pitch their groundbreaking business ideas to a panel of influential investors and community leaders. Winners will receive a $1,000 prize (1st place), a $500 prize (runner-up), and extensive exposure for their business idea.

Pitch IT! is more than just a competition; it’s a pathway to success. All participants will engage in a workshop to sharpen their business pitch skills and network with business professionals, investors, and fellow entrepreneurs.

Last year’s Pitch IT! winner, Trent Business student Safiya Khaki, impressed the judges with her innovative business idea, BioStraw, a creator of plant-based fiber beverage straws. Her victory in the competition was more than just a triumph; it was a launchpad for her entrepreneurial journey. In Safiya’s words, “Winning Pitch IT! has been a turning point for me. The connections, mentorship, and exposure I gained have been crucial in transforming my startup. It’s not just about the prize; it’s about the vibrant community that continues to keep me motivated and growing.”

Slingshot, powered by the Innovation Cluster, is a FREE student entrepreneurship pathway designed to enhance entrepreneurial skills and launch ideas into successful ventures. From unique workshops to networking events, boot camps, and pitch contests, Slingshot provides the tools needed to climb the path of entrepreneurship.

Slingshot Program Coordinator Nonnie Dube stated: “The Pitch IT! Competition is an essential part of our Slingshot program. We are seeking students with innovative ideas and a passion for entrepreneurship. This competition is a stepping stone towards building successful entrepreneurs in our community.”

APPLY NOW! https://www.innovationcluster.ca/programs/pitch-it/

Applications close on September 25th at 11:59 p.m. 

Accepted applicants will be announced on September 29th.

 

About the Innovation Cluster 

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their businesses. They help entrepreneurs reach their business goals so that our local community, job market, and economy continue to grow.

The ICPK supports startup businesses by providing dynamic programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs through three core programs.

STARTUP INCUBATOR – a full-service Startup Incubator Program

STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program

Slingshot – Student Entrepreneurship Program

The Innovation Cluster operates across multiple locations, one of which includes LAUNCH Kawartha, a dedicated space for incubation programming situated in Lindsay, Kawartha Lakes. For additional information, please visit www.innovationcluster.ca.

Core Funding is provided by The City of Peterborough, Trent University, Fleming College, The City of Kawartha Lakes, OMAFRA, Feddev Ontario, and Franklin Empire. 

 

Media Contact

Innovation Cluster

Camila Duarte

Executive Director

cduarte@innovationcluster.ca





Camila Duarte Appointed as New Executive Director of the Innovation Cluster

September 6, 2023 – PETERBOROUGH, ON – The board of directors of the Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas is delighted to announce Camila Duarte as the organization’s new Executive Director. With her background as the Innovation Cluster’s Programs Director and Business Advisor coupled with her drive for innovation, Ms. Duarte is poised to lead the organization forward as a vibrant centre for economic development in the Region.

Ms. Duarte has spent nine-years in tech innovation, non-profit, and customer-facing industries, coaching, relationship-building and developing strategic initiatives across international centres in Melbourne, Australia; and Montreal and Toronto, Canada. During her tenure at the Innovation Cluster, she pioneered initiatives that generated over $1 million in revenue growth, mentored more than 100 companies, and fostered pivotal partnerships internationally as well as across Canada, including hubs in Manitoba, Vancouver, Guelph, and Cape Breton.

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to understand the Innovation Cluster from its grassroots,” shares Ms. Duarte. “This provides me with a unique understanding of the entrepreneurial landscape in the regions we serve and what the organization needs to continue its history of driving growth and innovation.”

Nicole Stephenson, Chair of the Board of Directors, shares why the board chose Ms. Duarte. “Camila’s impressive track record, together with her entrepreneurial spirit and proven leadership skills, makes her the right candidate to lead the organization as a prominent and vibrant centre for the incubation of innovation. Her dedication, resilience, and transformative vision are the skills that we require in a leader to achieve our ambitious goal to be a catalyst for building, attracting, nurturing, and retaining companies in the region.”

About the Innovation Cluster

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their businesses. They help entrepreneurs reach their business goals so that our local community, job market, and economy continue to grow.

The ICPK supports startup businesses by providing dynamic programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs through three core programs.

STARTUP INCUBATOR – a full-service Startup Incubator Program

STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program

Student Entrepreneurship Program

The Innovation Cluster operates across multiple locations, one of which includes LAUNCH Kawartha, a dedicated space for incubation programming situated in Lindsay, Kawartha Lakes. For additional information, please visit www.innovationcluster.ca.

Core Funding is provided by The City of Peterborough, Trent University, Fleming College, The City of Kawartha Lakes, OMAFRA, Feddev Ontario, and Franklin Empire.

 

Media Contact

Innovation Cluster

Nicole Stephenson

Chair, Board of Directors

nstephenson@innovationcluster.ca



Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Visits Innovation Cluster Incubator to Fuel Growth in Rural Ontario

September 5, 2023 – PETERBOROUGH, ON – The Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is honoured to report a significant visit from the Ministry of Agriculture. This visit fortifies a burgeoning partnership to invigorate the agricultural sector through innovation and entrepreneurship. The event gains additional importance as ICPK has recently been approved for funding under the Rural Economic Development Program (OMAFRA), set to commence this October.

The day’s agenda was both insightful and action-packed. It began with a heartfelt welcome to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), Lisa Thompson, and MPP David Smith, signaling an era of meaningful collaboration between the Ministry and ICPK.

Dave Smith, Member of Provincial Parliament for Peterborough-Kawartha, emphasized the importance of this collaboration. “The Agri-food industry has been a key innovator in so many technologies that we take for granted in our everyday lives,” said Smith. “Today’s announcement is another example of Minister Thompson’s recognition that good things grow in Ontario when we nurture those local entrepreneurs and give them the tools they need to collaborate and innovate.”

Lisa Thompson, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, also highlighted the government’s commitment. “Our government values rural communities throughout the province, and this program provides municipalities, Indigenous communities, and not-for-profits with the funding they need for projects that contribute to local economic vitality,” she said. “The Rural Economic Development program is another example of how our government is ensuring small towns and communities across Ontario continue to share in the province’s growth and economic prosperity.”

The visit featured a guided tour of the ICPK facilities, aimed to showcase the innovative ecosystem that supports burgeoning agricultural startups like Metaboly and Commoner Cider Company. The guided tour wasn’t merely a walk-through of the facility but an opportunity to delve into the unique capabilities that ICPK offers. It provided a first-hand look at the resources and environment that enable startups to take innovative steps in the agricultural sector. The day also showcased some of ICPK’s standout startups, further emphasizing the Cluster’s ability to help startups reach the next level in their business.

Metaboly, an agricultural startup, offered compelling insights into the benefits of being an Innovation Cluster client. “Joining the ICPK community has been transformative for Metaboly,” shared Daniel Palberg, Co-Founder & CEO. “Their ecosystem provides us rapid access to a network of seasoned professionals and industry-specific expertise. This accelerates our business development strategy, freeing up invaluable time to zero in on our core research objectives. Additionally, through ICPK, we’ve established partnerships with other startups, government agencies, and vendors, which has been vital in driving our innovation forward. The impact is not just on us; the collaborative environment at ICPK amplifies everyone’s effectiveness in achieving their goals.”

Zachary McCue, founder of REPWR, a startup focused on sustainable operations, added, “As a founder deeply invested in sustainable operations through REPWR, I’m thrilled to see the Ministry of Agriculture engage actively with the Innovation Cluster. It’s a powerful endorsement for all who believe that innovation can be a powerful force for sustainability. The new Rural Economic Development Program creates exciting avenues for greener, more efficient practices. It’s a step that aligns perfectly with REPWR’s broader mission of powering a sustainable future. Collaborations like this are crucial for sustainable startups, as they can lead to real, impactful advancements.”

In a statement, Nicole Stephenson, Interim CEO of the Innovation Cluster, mentioned, “We are incredibly thankful for the Ministry’s support, particularly for the RED funding, which aligns so well with our mission to drive innovation-focused, entrepreneur-led economic growth. This visit serves as a remarkable platform to demonstrate how startups incubated at ICPK will make significant contributions to the Peterborough region and the agricultural sector at large.”

The visit from the Ministry of Agriculture establishes a promising foundation for deeper and more effective collaborations in the future. Both ICPK and the Ministry are committed to leveraging each other’s strengths, especially with the forthcoming Rural Economic Development Program. This joint endeavor is expected to catalyze significant advancements in the agricultural industry.

About the Innovation Cluster

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their businesses. They help entrepreneurs reach their business goals so that our local community, job market, and economy continue to grow.

The ICPK supports startup businesses by providing dynamic programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs through three core programs.

STARTUP INCUBATOR – a full-service Startup Incubator Program

STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program

Student Entrepreneurship Program

The Innovation Cluster operates across multiple locations, one of which includes LAUNCH Kawartha, a dedicated space for incubation programming situated in Lindsay, Kawartha Lakes. For additional information, please visit www.innovationcluster.ca.

Core Funding is provided by The City of Peterborough, Trent University, Fleming College, The City of Kawartha Lakes, OMAFRA, Feddev Ontario, and Franklin Empire.

 

Media Contact

Innovation Cluster

Nicole Stephenson

Interim CEO

nstephenson@innovationcluster.ca



Innovation Cluster and Cape Breton University Announce Groundbreaking Partnership for Social Innovation Microcredential

August 23, 2023 – PETERBOROUGH, ON  The Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (“ICPK”) is thrilled to announce a formal partnership with Cape Breton University’s Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. This collaboration will launch the Social Innovation microcredential, focusing on creativity, design thinking, innovation, and social business models.

This unique 4-week course will be held on Thursdays from 4-6 pm ET, starting September 7, 2023, and continuing on the 14th, 21st, and 28th. Participants will have the opportunity to learn alongside Jasmine Alam, a renowned expert with a Ph.D. focused on Social Innovation in a sector that is currently experiencing tremendous growth.

The course is being offered at a cost of $500 per participant and at a discounted rate of $250 to ICPK clients. This pricing reflects the Innovation Cluster’s commitment to making top-tier education in the booming field of social innovation accessible to a broader audience. By focusing on creativity, design thinking, innovation, and social business models, this course is aligned with the demands and opportunities of today’s dynamic landscape in social innovation.

Jasmine Alam, the Centre director and Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship & Strategy at Cape Breton University, is optimistic about the collaboration. She states, “Our partnership with the Innovation Cluster is an exciting step towards fostering social entrepreneurship in Canada. The course reflects our shared mission to engage and equip innovators to create social impact while also being profitable.”

Nicole Stephenson, Interim CEO of the Innovation Cluster, added, “The alliance between the Innovation Cluster and Cape Breton University further fosters our commitment to build a prominent and vibrant centre for the incubation of innovation. Their exceptional program in social innovation aligns seamlessly with our goal to drive innovation-focused economic growth and continuously provide new opportunities for our clients.”

The program offers four modules, culminating in a pitch competition, where participants can obtain funding for their idea. Current Trent and Fleming College students, alumni, and aspiring entrepreneurs interested in social innovation enterprises are invited to participate.

Registration for this groundbreaking course is now open, and those interested can enroll via the application link here. Upon successful completion, a badge will be issued by Cape Breton University in partnership with the Innovation Cluster.

Jasmine Alam adds, “This partnership is about more than a course; it’s about building a community of innovators. By working together, we are confident we’ll witness a significant rise in social entrepreneurial activity.”

The Innovation Cluster and Cape Breton University are excited about this promising alliance and look forward to nurturing a new wave of innovative and impactful entrepreneurs.

 

About the Innovation Cluster 

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their businesses. They help entrepreneurs reach their business goals so that our local community, job market, and economy continue to grow.

The ICPK supports startup businesses by providing dynamic programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs through three core programs.

STARTUP INCUBATOR – a full-service Startup Incubator Program

STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program

Student Entrepreneurship Program

The Innovation Cluster operates across multiple locations, one of which includes LAUNCH Kawartha, a dedicated space for incubation programming situated in Lindsay, Kawartha Lakes. For additional information, please visit www.innovationcluster.ca.

Core Funding is provided by The City of Peterborough, Trent University, Fleming College, The City of Kawartha Lakes, OMAFRA, Feddev Ontario, and Franklin Empire. 

 

About Cape Breton University (CBU)

Located in Sydney, Nova Scotia, CBU is renowned for its commitment to excellence in teaching and research. With a unique blend of degree, diploma, and certificate programs, CBU offers a comprehensive range of educational opportunities in fields such as arts, sciences, health, business, and engineering technology.

CBU is dedicated to fostering a culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, and social responsibility. Through collaborative partnerships, community engagement, and a focus on experiential learning, CBU prepares its students to become leaders in their fields and agents of positive change in their communities.

For more information about Cape Breton University and its programs, please visit: https://www.cbu.ca/

 

Media Contact

Innovation Cluster

Nicole Stephenson

Interim CEO

nstephenson@innovationcluster.ca



Cybersecurity Startup Platform Offers Free Lifetime Membership Opportunity for Founding Members

July 25, 2023 – KAWARTHA LAKES, ON – As part of our Success Stories series, we are thrilled to spotlight Graeme Barrie, an innovative entrepreneur, and client of the Innovation Cluster since 2018. Graeme operates from the Innovation Cluster space in Kawartha Lakes and is gearing up for the launch of TryberSecurity, a revolutionary cybersecurity platform tailored to the unique needs of startups and small businesses.

Motivated by his career progression from the technical aspects of cybersecurity to understanding its business implications, Graeme recognized the vital need for businesses to understand and defend against cybersecurity risks. He saw the challenges businesses face in achieving compliance and formed TryberSecurity as a solution.

TryberSecurity aims to fill the void in the fast-expanding cybersecurity market, which is predicted to reach $345.4 billion by 2026. In today’s digital landscape, cybersecurity has become a paramount concern for small businesses and startups as they face increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. Recognizing this challenge, this platform is an all-in-one solution to empower entrepreneurs to protect their businesses from potential cyber-attacks, safeguard sensitive data, and ensure business continuity. An important element of the platform is a secure and collaborative space where members can discuss, ask questions, and share insights about their security and privacy challenges. It is also equipped with informative videos, policy templates, and practical playbooks that are offered in a non-technical manner.

With a focus on fostering a culture of cybersecurity, TryberSecurity is designed to create a secure environment that promotes open dialogue around security and privacy.  In the initial launch phase, Graeme invites applications from entrepreneurs over the next 60 days to become founding members.  “We’re looking for serious entrepreneurs committed to enhancing their businesses’ security,” explained Graeme. These founding members will benefit from a lifetime membership at no cost. This provides a golden opportunity to utilize an invaluable tool as they scale their operations.

As Graeme puts it, “We aim to be a trusted source for reliable information where business owners and startup founders can begin their entrepreneurial journey securely.”

The Innovation Cluster has played a pivotal role in supporting Graeme’s venture. Graeme affirmed, “The Innovation Cluster has been the catalyst for TryberSecurity’s evolution from an idea to a real venture. Here, I found a vibrant community of fellow innovators ready to brainstorm, share insights, and offer guidance. The Innovation Cluster is a hub for connection, collaboration, and unwavering support from the dedicated Cluster staff.” 

Graeme plays a pivotal role in the Kawartha Lakes client community at The Innovation Cluster, currently operating from the Lindsay-based workspace, LAUNCH Kawartha. As a client, Graeme represents those benefiting from the robust collaboration between KLCFDC, the City of Kawartha Lakes, and The Innovation Cluster. This alliance has demonstrated its effectiveness as a significant catalyst for growth and success for individuals like Graeme, by encouraging innovation and establishing a vibrant, supportive ecosystem.

Nicole Stephenson, Interim CEO at the Innovation Cluster, applauded Graeme’s inventive approach, “Graeme’s initiative embodies the progressive, entrepreneurial spirit that the Innovation Cluster is proud to foster. TryberSecurity is set to become an essential tool for entrepreneurs keen on incorporating robust security principles in their growing businesses.”

Entrepreneurs interested in applying for the lifetime membership opportunity and leveraging the advantages of this platform can visit https://www.trybersecurity.com

 

About the Innovation Cluster 

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their businesses. They help entrepreneurs reach their business goals so that our local community, job market, and economy continue to grow.

The ICPK supports startup businesses by providing dynamic programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs through three core programs.

STARTUP INCUBATOR – a full-service Startup Incubator Program

STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program

Student Entrepreneurship Program

LAUNCH Kawartha – The Innovation Cluster operates across multiple locations, one of which includes LAUNCH Kawartha, a dedicated space for incubation programming situated in Lindsay, Kawartha Lakes. For additional information, please visit www.innovationcluster.ca

Core Funding is provided by The City of Peterborough, Trent University, Fleming College, The City of Kawartha Lakes, OMAFRA, Feddev Ontario, and Franklin Empire. 

 

About TryberSecurity:

TryberSecurity is a cybersecurity platform designed for startups and small businesses. The platform enables members to collaboratively navigate security and privacy challenges and find solutions to secure their businesses. TryberSecurity is currently accepting applications for founding members, who will receive a lifetime free membership. https://www.trybersecurity.com

 

About KLCFDC

The KLCFDC is an innovation focused, entrepreneurial and economic development ecosystem organization that provides funding, business advisory, and support, incubation, and acceleration services to entrepreneurs. We are a key economic development and strategic partner to multiple NFP and NGO’s in the City of Kawartha Lakes and beyond. The KLCFDC and KLBCDC, along with multiple strategic partners, including the Innovation Cluster (Kawartha Lakes Cube), are headquartered at Launch Kawartha, in Lindsay, ON.

Located west of Peterborough and only 75 km from Durham Region and the GTA, Launch Kawartha is eastern Ontario’s newest hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. 

For more information about our centre, visit Launch Kawartha 

For more information on the KLCFDC, visit their website here.

 

City of Kawartha Lakes

 The City of Kawartha Lakes is Southern Ontario’s largest geographic municipality and home to vibrant downtowns, abundant green spaces and diverse opportunities. Kawartha Lakes collaborates with the Kawartha Lakes CFDC, Innovation Cluster and regional partners to support economic vibrancy in the community. Kawartha Lakes is home to the Kawartha Lakes Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre, a program that guides entrepreneurs through the process of planning, starting and growing a small business. 

For more information, visit www.kawarthalakes.ca 

For more information on the Kawartha Lakes Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre, visit www.klsbec.ca 

 

Media Contact

Innovation Cluster

Nicole Stephenson

Interim CEO

nstephenson@innovationcluster.ca

Graeme Barrie, Founder

https://trybersecurity.com/

gbarrie@netmechanics.ca



 

Innovation Cluster Introduces Barry Payne as Expert in Residence to Propel Indigenous Entrepreneurship

July 12, 2023 – PETERBOROUGH, ON – The Innovation Cluster proudly welcomes Barry Payne, a seasoned entrepreneur and champion of Indigenous business development, as its latest Expert in Residence (ExIR). Barry’s appointment is a testament to the Innovation Cluster’s commitment to fostering an inclusive innovation ecosystem, particularly extending the reach of its entrepreneurship program to Indigenous communities.

Barry comes with a wealth of entrepreneurial experience with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous owned businesses. A proud member of Hiawatha First Nation, he started his journey with Adirondack Technologies Furniture Inc., transforming it from a basement startup to a nationally recognized organization. He is also currently the Indigenous procurement ambassador at Procurement Assistance Canada, where he has the opportunity to work with both Indigenous and non-Indigenous owned companies to help them consider the federal government as a client.

On his new role, Barry commented, “I am excited to take on this new role at the Innovation Cluster, which has demonstrated a sincere commitment to inclusion and Indigenous business growth. As a member of Hiawatha First Nation and an entrepreneur, I understand the potential within our communities. I look forward to extending the reach of the entrepreneurship program and supporting the growth of Indigenous owned businesses.”

As the Innovation Cluster’s new ExIR, Barry will provide mentoring to clients, helping them navigate government funding, optimize networking, and offering invaluable business advice. His involvement aims to bridge the gap between Indigenous communities and the entrepreneurship landscape, tapping into the Indigenous peoples’ growing business creation rate, which is currently nine times that of the average Canadian.

The Innovation Cluster understands the power of partnerships and the exponential benefits strong alliances with Indigenous communities can bring to the nation. The organization looks forward to Barry’s guidance in fostering these relationships. His dedication to promoting collaboration and mutual respect aligns seamlessly with the Innovation Cluster’s vision for socio-economic growth.

Nicole Stephenson, Interim CEO at Innovation Cluster, spoke highly of the new addition to their team, “We are honoured to have Barry Payne join us as an Expert in Residence. His unique perspective and experience will undoubtedly provide invaluable guidance for our clients and further our mission to drive innovation-focused, entrepreneur-led economic growth in the region, which must include Indigenous communities. At the Innovation Cluster, we understand the importance of Indigenous owned businesses in Canada’s economy, and we’re excited about our part in shaping the future.”

Stephenson further emphasized the organization’s dedication to fostering a diverse, purpose-driven workplace. “We’re proud to not only talk about diversity but to make it part of our operational fabric. Partnerships like the one with Barry are critical to an inclusive and diverse community of entrepreneurs. It’s an exciting time at the Innovation Cluster, and we can’t wait to see the growth and development that will stem from this partnership.”

In this new partnership, Barry’s commitment to working with Aboriginal companies and his expertise will significantly benefit all clients at the Innovation Cluster. His learned lessons will be a critical guide to both Indigenous and non-Indigenous entrepreneurs.

 

About the Innovation Cluster 

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their businesses. They help entrepreneurs reach their business goals so that our local community, job market, and economy continue to grow.

The ICPK supports startup businesses by providing dynamic programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs through three core programs.

STARTUP INCUBATOR – a full-service Startup Incubator Program

STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program

Student Entrepreneurship Program

The Innovation Cluster operates across multiple locations, one of which includes LAUNCH Kawartha, a dedicated space for incubation programming situated in Lindsey, Kawartha Lakes. For additional information, please visit www.innovationcluster.ca

Core Funding is provided by The City of Peterborough, Trent University, Fleming College, The City of Kawartha Lakes, OMAFRA, Feddev Ontario, and Franklin Empire. 

 

Media Contact

Innovation Cluster

Nicole Stephenson

Interim CEO

nstephenson@innovationcluster.ca



Successful Funding Forum empowers business growth in Peterborough and the Kawarthas

June 14, 2023 – PETERBOROUGH, ON – Yesterday, the Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (“ICPK”) and Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (“PKED”) successfully hosted their annual Peterborough & the Kawarthas Funding Forum at The Venue, Peterborough. The forum, an exciting mix of networking, panel discussions, and keynote speech, has been hailed as a major success in empowering the regional business community.

“Our goal today is to connect entrepreneurs to the various funding programs available,” said Nicole Stephenson, Interim CEO of the Innovation Cluster, during her opening remarks. “Understanding the processes of getting funding, determining how much is needed, and finding the right avenues is crucial for the growth and success of any business venture.”

A highlight of the event was an insightful panel discussion on funding for startups and emerging growth companies facilitated by Madeleine Hurrell, Manager of the Business Advisory Centre, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development. The discussion involved representatives from Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII), Futurpreneur, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), and Community Futures Peterborough. The panel answered critical questions from the audience on topics ranging from funding sources, application preparedness, the application process, and funding eligibility.

“Entrepreneurs should start by exploring low-interest funding sources like banks and personal contacts,” said the representative from SOFII. “Moreover, having a solid business plan and a two-year sales projection is essential for securing funding,” added the representative from Futurpreneur. The panel also emphasized the importance of timeliness, completeness of applications, and the understanding of each organization’s funding mandate.

The event concluded with a powerful keynote address by Charlie Atkinson, a successful executive, and entrepreneur with over four decades of leading business initiatives at global powerhouses such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP, Xerox, Kodak, and Sharp Electronics. “I’ve learned over the years that it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of stakeholders, work effectively in teams, and be patient and prepared,” said Atkinson. He stressed four key areas for entrepreneurs: people, partnerships, profitability, and productivity, and shared important strategies for business success.

Rhonda Keenan, President & CEO of Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development expressed her satisfaction with the event: “Helping small businesses better access funding and understand how to find and apply for it is vital. This forum served as an important platform to facilitate that understanding.”

The Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas thanks all participants and exhibitors for making the Peterborough & The Kawarthas Funding Forum 2023 an empowering and successful event.

About the Innovation Cluster 

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their businesses. They help entrepreneurs reach their business goals so that our local community, job market, and economy continue to grow.

The ICPK supports startup businesses by providing dynamic programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs through three core programs.

STARTUP INCUBATOR – a full-service Startup Incubator Program

STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program

FastStart – Student Entrepreneurship Program

LAUNCH Kawartha –  a space for Innovation Cluster Incubation Programming located in Lindsey, Kawartha Lakes. For more information, visit www.innovationcluster.ca

Core Funding is provided by The City of Peterborough, Trent University, Fleming College, The City of Kawartha Lakes, OMAFRA, Feddev Ontario, and Franklin Empire.

About Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development

Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development is the lead regional economic development agency for the City and County of Peterborough. Working collaboratively with local stakeholders, we attract, retain and support businesses, investors, entrepreneurs and visitors in order to nurture growth opportunities and foster the continued development of a vibrant, prosperous community with quality and sustainable jobs throughout the region.

We promote and position Peterborough & the Kawarthas as a place to live, work, invest and visit. We also operate Peterborough & the Kawarthas Business Advisory Centre (one of the Government of Ontario’s 54 small business enterprise centres) and Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism (the official destination marketing organization for the Peterborough & the Kawarthas region). Visit investptbo.ca to learn more!

Media Contact

Innovation Cluster

Nicole Stephenson, Interim CEO

nstephenson@innovationcluster.ca

Carrot Bacon brings home the “bacon.” The Peterborough Plant-Based Startup Secures $100k Grant and Broadens Horizons to US Market

May 31, 2023PETERBOROUGH, ON – Carrot Bacon, a Peterborough-based startup and client of the Innovation Cluster, is set to revolutionize the plant-based snack industry. With the introduction of two new products – Beet Jerky and Onion Cracklings – to its successful line of Crispy Whole-Plant Jerky, Carrot Bacon has garnered international attention, secured a $100k grant, and made its first deliveries to both coasts of the USA.

This wave of success was catalyzed by the crucial support and resources provided by the Innovation Cluster. It was the Cluster’s guidance that enabled Carrot Bacon to apply for Venture13’s thriveFORWARD grant program, resulting in the receipt of a generous $100k grant. This funding, made available through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), is aimed at fueling innovation-driven job creation and growth across southern Ontario.

“The support from the Venture13 team has been an incredible boost for our company,” remarked Tyler Steeves, Founder of Carrot Bacon. “This grant has added momentum to our progress, and I extend my gratitude to John Haydn for his valuable advice and to the team at Northumberland CFDC for believing in our mission.”

Steeves made significant progress in penetrating the US market, largely due to his participation in the Canadian Taste Makers Accelerator 2.0 program. This opportunity introduced him to the Trade Commissioner and eventually allowed him to secure a US distribution deal. Reflecting on this success, he stated, “Our trade missions to Detroit and Buffalo were game-changing experiences, leading to our exciting new partnership with Wegmans.”

The Canadian Taste Makers Accelerator 2.0 program is committed to spotlighting innovative businesses in the food and beverage sector. “We’re thrilled with the positive reception of our new products and are eager to build on our previous successes,” said Steeves. “Our mission is to create ‘Future Food’: delicious, sustainable, nutrient-dense alternatives, and we’re confident that our Beet Jerky and Onion Cracklings will impact the plant-based snack market positively.”

Carrot Bacon’s commitment to innovation and sustainability, supported by the Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas startup incubator program, has reaped significant rewards. This has included accolades such as the “Small Business Innovator Award” at Chicago’s Sweets and Snacks Expo and the $20,000 GoodSpark Grant for Innovation from Desjardins. As a result of Carrot Bacon’s success, Peterborough’s economy, job market, and community are all benefitting.

Nicole Stephenson, Interim CEO at the Innovation Cluster, lauded Carrot Bacon’s achievements, stating, “Their accomplishments underscore the power of collaboration and the impact of the support provided by the Innovation Cluster. We are incredibly proud of Carrot Bacon’s commitment to producing innovative, sustainable, and cruelty-free snack alternatives.”

For more information about Carrot Bacon and their innovative plant-based products, visit www.carrotbacon.org

About the Innovation Cluster 

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their businesses. They help entrepreneurs reach their business goals so that our local community, job market, and economy continue to grow.

The ICPK supports startup businesses by providing dynamic programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs through three core programs.

STARTUP INCUBATOR – a full-service Startup Incubator Program

STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program

FastStart – Student Entrepreneurship Program

For more information on the ICPK, visit Innovation Cluster at www.innovationcluster.ca

Core Funding is provided by The City of Peterborough, Trent University, Fleming College, The City of Kawartha Lakes, OMAFRA, Feddev Ontario, and Franklin Empire.

 

About Carrot Bacon

Founded by Tyler Steeves, Carrot Bacon is a Peterborough-based startup dedicated to creating innovative plant-based snack alternatives that are both delicious and sustainable. Their award-winning Carrot Bacon jerky is joined by their latest offerings, Beet Jerky and Onion Cracklings, in providing consumers with cruelty-free, nutrient-rich options. Carrot Bacon products are available at select retailers across North America, including Jo Anne’s Place Health Foods, The Food Shop, Sobey’s, Walmart, London Drugs, and Whole Foods West.

Media Contacts

Innovation Cluster

Nicole Stephenson

Interim CEO

nstephenson@innovationcluster.ca

 

Tyler Steeves, Founder

https://www.carrotbacon.org/

hi@carrotbacon.com

Innovation Cluster and Peruvian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce Announce Partnership to Support Peruvian Entrepreneurs through STARTup Visa Program

May 23, 2023 – PETERBOROUGH, ON – The Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (“ICPK”) and the Peruvian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (“PCCC”) are delighted to announce a new partnership aimed at supporting Peruvian entrepreneurs. This collaboration will help introduce the Startup Visa Program to Peruvian entrepreneurs and connect Innovation Cluster clients to the PCCC network.

The STARTup Visa Program is a unique 15-month initiative backed by the Canadian federal government. It is designed to help entrepreneurs from other countries establish and grow their businesses in Canada, creating jobs and fostering economic prosperity. With three program intakes each year, in February, June, and October, the STARTup Visa Program offers a comprehensive, tailored experience that includes a 3-month virtual accelerator, milestone review, letter of support for immigration, and a 12-month incubation program in Peterborough, Ontario.

Participants in the program will benefit from startup acceleration services and individualized mentorship and coaching opportunities. The program focuses on three key areas: one-on-one mentorship, knowledge and skills training, and networking opportunities.

To further inform the PCCC members about the STARTup Visa Program, the Innovation Cluster and PCCC are hosting a joint webinar on May 25th, from 12-1 pm. The webinar will provide insights into the program, explain the application process, and discuss the benefits of participating. Interested members are encouraged to join the webinar to learn more about this unique opportunity and get their questions answered by the experts.

Camila Durate, Senior Innovation Specialist & Programs Director at Innovation Cluster, said, “We’re thrilled to partner with the PCCC to support Peruvian entrepreneurs in their journey to establish their businesses in Canada. This collaboration will help us provide invaluable resources and opportunities to Peruvian entrepreneurs.”

Ana Maria Villaran, Membership & Sponsorship Director at the Peruvian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce, added, “This partnership with the Innovation Cluster is a significant step towards strengthening the entrepreneurial ecosystem between Peru and Canada. By working together, we can create a robust support network for our entrepreneurs and contribute to the growth and innovation of both countries.”

For more information about the upcoming webinar, please visit https://startupvisacanadaperu.eventbrite.ca

 

About the Innovation Cluster 

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their businesses. They help entrepreneurs reach their business goals so that our local community, job market, and economy continue to grow.

The ICPK supports startup businesses by providing dynamic programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs through three core programs.

STARTUP INCUBATOR – a full-service Startup Incubator Program

STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program

FastStart – Student Entrepreneurship Program

For more information on the ICPK, visit Innovation Cluster at www.innovationcluster.ca 

Core Funding is provided by The City of Peterborough, Trent University, Fleming College, The City of Kawartha Lakes, OMAFRA, Feddev Ontario, and Franklin Empire. 

 

About Peruvian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (PCCC)

The Peruvian-Canadian Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to promoting and strengthening trade and investment relationships between Peru and Canada. Through networking events, seminars, and other initiatives, PCCC connects businesses and entrepreneurs from both countries to foster collaboration and growth.

Website: https://perucanadacc.ca/

Media Contact

Innovation Cluster

Nicole Stephenson

Interim CEO

nstephenson@innovationcluster.ca



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