Step on the Gas! Grow Your Idea, Startup, Business: BC Venture Acceleration Program

BC Venture Accelerator Program

The BC Venture Acceleration Program is a huge stomp on the gas pedal of your business, designed to launch and grow your technology idea, start-up or business venture – faster and more successfully.

On the heels of the abundance of inspiration the MIDAS and KAST teams enjoyed at the recent #BCTECH Summit, we thought it a good idea to remind the growing number of local aspiring entrepreneurs and new businesses about what’s available to them to grow your idea or startup and take it to the next level.

A structured program, BC Venture Acceleration Program (BCVAP) is designed to guide, coach and grow ambitious early‐stage technology entrepreneurs and effectively grow their technology ventures. The program helps entrepreneurs accelerate the process of defining a proven business model based on a set methodology and set of best practices for growing technology companies.

In short, BCVAP offers participants dedicated attention from an experienced Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR), a “been there, done it” technology and business professional.

The goal of the program is to drive economic development and job creation in the province of BC by accelerating the commercialization of technology, resulting in the rapid growth of technology ventures.

The Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (KAST) has been delivering the BCVAP program for several years and is proud of the roster of companies that has taken advantage of the program and its resources, successfully making huge strides growing their businesses.

Each of these local companies is growing rapidly, developing their innovations and businesses not only in the region, but well beyond!

The Venture Acceleration Program is delivered by a team of Entrepreneurs in Residence (EIRs) and supported by a province‐wide network of partners and entrepreneurs. Together, they make up the BC Acceleration Network, an alliance of regional partners, EIRs and executive-level mentors.

Find out more HERE!

#madeatMIDAS #makersgonnamake

Don’t forget that our specialized team here at MIDAS, and the state-of-the-art equipment and associated training are here to support your entrepreneurial and startup endeavours!

So much to help you launch the idea or business you’ve been dreaming of!

Fun Friday: MIDAS Fab Lab & SMRT1 Taking #BCTECH By Storm!

Tracy Connery Photography - #BCTECHSummit - MIDAS - SMRT1

The MIDAS & SMRT1 Technologies teams had a tremendous time networking, connecting and promoting at the 2018 #BCTECH Summit this past week.  First off, a ton of fun was had sharing space, time and laughs with the rest of the Koots contingent, KAST, Metal Tech Alley, Austin Engineering, and Imagine Kootenay and seeing a whole bunch of familiar Koots faces over the course of two days.

This year’s was a biggie, record-breaking, in fact.   Bigger than ever, this year’s Summit hosted an estimated 9,000 participants for approximately a dozen conference-related events over three days.  A whopping 3,000 delegates connected with over 270 exhibitors and watched more than 200 speakers highlighting the transformations technology is driving across all industries in British Columbia and beyond.

“There is no better indication of the robust and dynamic state of B.C.’s tech industry than this event—which has touched a record number of people for a third straight year,” said Shirley Vickers, President & CEO of Innovate BC, which delivered the event in partnership with the Government of B.C. “The #BCTECH Summit is where industry meets innovation, and the significant involvement of technology leaders, investors, senior government officials, students, researchers and business executives in every industry shows an unquenched thirst for innovation and collaboration in this province.”

Tracy Connery Photography - #BCTECHSummit - MIDAS - SMRT1

MIDAS Fab Lab Director and tech-savvy-innovator-in-chief-teddy-bear-biker, Brad Pommen, was THE man!  With tremendous skill and his usual warmth, he inspired, excited and charmed just about everyone who stopped by the booth with his range of knowledge, his expertise and his unstoppable enthusiasm.

Innovation is clearly Brad’s passion and it exuded in every conversation he had.  Whether it was the MIDAS Fab Lab or the business that was borne from it, SMRT1 Technologies and the incredible Brain STEM Toolbox vending machine, he made the booth a highlight of the conference.

Tracy Connery Photography - #BCTECHSummit - MIDAS - SMRT1

MIDAS Fab Lab Director, Brad Pommen, addressing the #BCTECH Summit press

 

KAST Executive Director at the MIDAS booth #BCTECH Summit

KAST Executive Director, Don Freschi, playing with the Hololens and Selkirk College’s Jason Taylor, at the MIDAS booth at #BCTECH Summit 2018.

In addition to the MIDAS/SMRT1 fun, attendees enjoyed thought-provoking sessions, panels and keynotes by global thought leaders featured highly among many other conference highlights:

  • 150 investors that represent $225B in capital watched 45 of B.C.’s most promising startups pitch in the Investment Showcase.
  • Approximately 2,000 high school students participated in Youth Innovation Day to learn about the jobs of the future and a career in tech.
  • Over 220 B2B Meetings were matched between 38 technology buyers with 98 local technology solution providers.
  • Delegates from 16 countries and four continents complemented a strong international presence of companies including Title Sponsor Microsoft, Google Cloud, Lululemon, Amazon, Blue Origin, Lyft, Lockheed Martin, Sage, WeWork, LinkedIn, Salesforce, IBM and RBC.
  • Premier John Horgan announced tech and innovation investments including over $102.6 million in funding for 75 research projects in B.C. and $10.5 million for entrepreneurial training for post-secondary students.

If you weren’t able to attend, make sure you check out some videos from this year’s crop of speakers HERE.

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Fun Friday: #BCTECH Summit – Youth Innovation Day!

BCTECH Summit Youth Innovation Day

All of us at MIDAS are getting excited about the upcoming Selkirk College GLOWS RoboGames!  As advocates for technology and innovation education, we want to draw your attention, too, to the #BCTECH Summit and their efforts towards nurturing tech & innovation in our next generation.

This year’s #BCTECH Summit Youth Innovation Day will be held on Wednesday, May 16th.  The theme is Breakthroughs: The Power of Curiosity and Ambition.

There will be a ton going on, and so much to see and explore, to encourage and engage, supporting innovative thinking in the youth who attend.  From cool science to state-of-the-art cars to meeting young entrepreneurs there will be no shortage of inspiration!

This will be a full day designed for high school students in grades 10 to 12.  They can visit with local researchers demonstrating innovative technologies in the Marketplace and Technology Showcase, listen to inspiring speakers share the ways they are changing the world around us through technology, and gather practical information from post-secondary institutions and companies seeking the next generation of talent.

There will be winning Science Fair projects and an epic battle of the robots in the VEX Robotics tourney.  Mentor tables will offer opportunities to meet with leaders in BC tech, where kids can get some insight into what it takes to embark on a career in technology.

Post-Secondary institutions will be on hand to help guide prospective students in the right direction to pursue the various avenues in tech education and careers.

For Secondary School educators:   The Solution Room offers the teacher chaperones an invaluable opportunity to meet and collaborate on how they are addressing the new secondary curriculum.

Find out more HERE!

Take a look at how it all went down last year:

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High Speed Fibre Internet at MIDAS

Earlier this fall, the BC Government announced the recipients of the new BC Rural Dividend Funds, totalling over 8 million dollars.

73 local governments, First Nations and non profit organizations now have a chance to use the funding for current and planned projects.  The City of Trail will receive over 79-thousand dollars and Trail Mayor, Mike Martin, says the city will use the funding to advance their broadband capabilities to businesses in Glenmerry.

MIDAS is excited to be one of the beneficiaries of this funding and is excited to announce that high speed fibre internet is available to our clients.  Previously, the max speed supported for client connections at the Fabrication Lab was 1Gbps. The new connection to the CBBC Fibre network will now allow for capacity to run at a whopping 100Gbps.

We thank the City of Trail, Community Futures Greater Trail and the BC Rural Dividend fund for their support!

BCIC Ignite

Apply for BCIC Ignite | January 2018 Deadline

BCIC IgniteBCIC Ignite provides funding to accelerate commercialization of new technologies and innovations in the natural resources and applied sciences in British Columbia. The program provides awards of up to $300,000 to consortia that are conducting research projects that address a significant demonstrated problem faced by industry and will commercialize a proposed innovation within a 3-year timeframe.

BCIC Ignite:  Bring your innovation to market faster with funding!

  • BCIC Ignite provides funding to accelerate commercialization of new technologies and innovations in the natural resources and applied sciences in British Columbia.
  • The program provides awards of up to $300,000 to consortia that are conducting research projects that address a significant demonstrated problem faced by industry and will commercialize a proposed innovation within a 3-year timeframe.
  • Apply for and learn more about BCIC Ignite HERE.

Program Overview

  • Focus: Proposals must involve the areas of natural resources, applied science and/or engineering, and must provide a clearly articulated solution to an existing problem.
  • Teams: Applicants must be a BC-based consortium comprised of two or more companies, organizations and academic researchers. All consortia must include an academic member and an industry partner.
  • Matching funds: Projects must secure matching funds from industry or government sources at a ratio of 2:1 matching dollars to Ignite dollars.
  • Timing: Projects must plan to move a proposed innovation to market within a 3-year timeframe.

The BCIC Ignite Awards on February 7, 2017 awarded a total of $873,475 to the top three BC research projects in natural resources and applied sciences:

  1. UBC’s Dr. Steven Rogak, working with Hydra Energy to develop innovations in Hydrogen Internal Combustion Engine (HICE) technology: Awarded $300,000
  2. UVIC’s Dr. Frank Van Veggel, working with Axine Water Technologies to develop novel electro-catalyst materials that will enhance ammonia removal: Awarded $300,000
  3. UBC’s Dr. Jonathan Holzman, working with ExcelSense Technology  to create self-cleaning camera technology for forestry and mining applications: Awarded $273,475

This brings the total amount of BCIC Ignite funding awarded to over $1.7M since the first Ignite Awards in 2016.
Apply for and learn more about BCIC Ignite HERE.

Deadlines

  • Winter-Spring 2018 Competition: Letters of Intent due January 2018
  • Summer-Fall 2018 Competition: Letters of Intent due June 2018

Potential applicants are encouraged to first contact Program Manager, Kailyn Skuban at 604-602-5205 or kskuban@bcic.ca to discuss their project and the program eligibility requirements prior to submitting a Letter of Intent.

Apply for Canada’s Oil Sands Innovation Alliance – COSIA Challenges

In order to help mobilize the minds and resources of external stakeholders and global solutions providers, COSIA has identified a number of COSIA Challenges that explicitly state the innovation requirements to fill the identified gaps in knowledge and technology within each of COSIA’s EPAs.

If filled, these Gaps will ultimately support the achievement of COSIA’s Aspirations and Performance Goals.

  • COSIA is an alliance of oil sands producers focused on accelerating the pace of improvement in environmental performance in Canada’s oil sands.
  • The alliance works in five focus areas: water, greenhouse gas, land, tailings, and monitoring.

COSIA is keen to hear from anyone who believes they have a solution to one or more of the COSIA Challenges highlighted  – whether they be external companies (small or large), academic researchers, other research institutes, consultants, entrepreneurs or inventors.

What are COSIA challenges?

COSIA Challenges provide focused, actionable descriptions of the current state of certain Gaps as well as the desired outcomes without prescribing the means for reaching the outcomes, as this could limit potential solutions.

Evaluation

COSIA will evaluate the received proposals for funding through criteria that includes:

  • Overall scientific and technical merit of the proposed approach
  • Approach to proof of concept or performance
  • Economic potential of concept
  • Respondent’s capabilities and related experience
  • Realism of the proposed plan and cost estimates

How to submit a proposal

Non-members should submit their request through the COSIA E-TAP process. This process is both an easy means of responding to this request, and a safe framework for best presenting your response to COSIA.

Submit Your Ideas

#madeAtMIDAS Cory Hein

#madeatMIDAS: Domestic Storage System by Cory Hein

#madeAtMIDAS Cory Hein

MIDAS makes recent advances in manufacturing technology, which includes 3D Printing, accessible to West Kootenay companies, entrepreneurs and students.

This is #madeatMIDAS where we showcase the variety of incredible applications possible with products created here at the MIDAS fabrication lab.

MIDAS supports the expansion and development of local small and medium-sized companies’ strengths in collaborating, adopting technology, and creating new and marketable products while promoting skills training opportunities in digital fabrication and metallurgical technology for entrepreneurs, company personnel and students.

Fernie’s Cory Hein, formerly an Engineer with Teck, has created a novel storage system for homes and condos through the MIDAS Fab Lab.  He’s holding his idea and his prototype close to the vest, but had this to say about his experience with MIDAS.

“My experience at MIDAS was awesome! Brad was extremely helpful with running equipment and training. Having all of the materials there was a huge bonus since I had to travel from Fernie. It was really cool to see that the Tech club was integrated so kids in the area are learning.

It opens up a lot of possibilities for designing my different ideas.”

Bring your idea, big or small, and let MIDAS help you make it come to life!

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#madeatMIDAS: Stereo Speakers by John Lake

MIDAS makes recent advances in manufacturing technology, which includes 3D Printing, accessible to West Kootenay companies, entrepreneurs and students.

This is #madeatMIDAS where we showcase the variety of incredible applications possible with products created here at the MIDAS fabrication lab.

MIDAS supports the expansion and development of local small and medium-sized companies’ strengths in collaborating, adopting technology, and creating new and marketable products while promoting skills training opportunities in digital fabrication and metallurgical technology for entrepreneurs, company personnel and students.

Music enthusiast and maker, John Lake, developed and prototyped his custom speakers – he also builds incredible turntables – through the MIDAS Fab Lab.  A beautiful combination of form, function and exceptional sound quality.

“I’ve been involved with Midas since its inception both as a volunteer and participant.

As a volunteer, I am happy to pass on whatever skills and knowledge I’ve amassed
over my working career but I’m equally pleased to be able to use the Midas equipment
to make my own projects happen.
It’s brilliant to be able to go to a local shop where all types of machines
and tech equipment is available to help a person complete projects that may otherwise be difficult
if not impossible for the average person. Midas has a very important place in our community.”
Bring your idea and let MIDAS help you make it come to life!

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#MadeAtMIDAS weaver Karen Grieves' yarn winder

#madeatMIDAS: Karen Grieves Yarn Winder

#MadeAtMIDAS weaver Karen Grieves' yarn winder

MIDAS makes recent advances in manufacturing technology, which includes 3D Printing, accessible to West Kootenay companies, entrepreneurs and students.

This is #madeatMIDAS where we showcase the variety of incredible applications possible with products created here at the MIDAS fabrication lab.

MIDAS supports the expansion and development of local small and medium-sized companies’ strengths in collaborating, adopting technology, and creating new and marketable products while promoting skills training opportunities in digital fabrication and metallurgical technology for entrepreneurs, company personnel and students.

Weaver, Karen Grieves, was looking for a more efficient way to prepare her yarns for her textile projects.  An avid do-it-yourselfer, Karen was intrigued with the possibilities that MIDAS presented in bringing an idea she’d been tossing around to reality.  With the help of  MIDAS Lab Director, Brad Pommen, she became familiar with new technologies and after much experimentation, Karen found success in her working prototype.

“The meeting was great. Love the interest in my product.  I will be onto the next proto type soon”

Bring your idea and let MIDAS help you make it come to life!

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Wobbler Conveyor Prototype

#madeatMIDAS: I/O Designs Wobbler Conveyor Prototype

#MadeAtMIDAS-IO Designs Wobbler Conveyor Prototype
MIDAS makes recent advances in manufacturing technology, which includes 3D Printing, accessible to West Kootenay companies, entrepreneurs and students.

This is #madeatMIDAS where we showcase the variety of incredible applications possible with products created here at the MIDAS fabrication lab.

MIDAS supports the expansion and development of local small and medium-sized companies’ strengths in collaborating, adopting technology, and creating new and marketable products while promoting skills training opportunities in digital fabrication and metallurgical technology for entrepreneurs, company personnel and students.

I/O Design was presented with a challenging materials handling problem by one of our industrial clients. A flow of process material required lumps to be separated from the dust that forms the majority of the process stream. The existing equipment used was not capable of consistently removing the lumps which would become caught in the screening equipment causing it to block, leading to both process problems and fugitive dust emissions. Any replacement equipment needs to be located in a restricted design envelope between existing equipment and connect to existing screw conveyors and chutework.

After a brainstorming session to identify alternative methods to separate the process stream, I/O Design settled on a wobbler conveyor as a likely candidate for reliable separating the lumps from the dust. To prove the feasibility to our client we utilized the Midas facility to build a full size model from wood. The critical equipment provided by Midas was the Shopbot CNC Router which allowed us to utilize DXF files created during our 3D design process to cut irregular shapes from 4’x8’ sheets of MDF. This allowed a prototype to be built, tested and refined for approximately 10% of the cost of building the actual equipment from steel.

I/O Design was able to build, test and refine the design prior to conducting a live demonstration of the wobbler conveyor to our client. The demonstration and explanation of how the actual equipment will operate provided the client the reassurance required to proceed with the building of the actual equipment.

Bring your idea and let MIDAS help you make it come to life!

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