Wii – a platform for innovative product development …a Cool Idea with Loads of Microbusiness Potential

The Nintendo Wii and it’s accessories represent a new platform with a lot of new opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop derivative products from.  

A case in point, Johny Lee at Carnegie Mellon University has developed and posted working designs and software for a low-cost interactive whiteboard based on the WiiRemote and a PC.   You have to see it to believe it –

Software for the Wiimote Whiteboard is freely available

Links to this and other Wii related projects he is working on is available at this location.


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Join Lead to Win: Drive Massive Innovation in Canada’s Capital Region

Join Lead to Win:

Drive Massive Innovation in Canada’s Capital Region

If you are serious about starting a profitable technology based business in the National Capital Region during the current economic situation, we invite you to apply to Lead to Win (LTW).

LTW is a proven program for talented technology individuals who wish to establish and grow successful businesses in Canada’s Capital Region.  Past program participants have come from a wide range of backgrounds, including – sales, business development, product managers, design engineers, systems analysts, and management.  LTW previously ran during the 2002 economic downturn.  Out of the 29 participants in 2002 – over half launched a new business.  Collectively those businesses created over 300 new jobs and attracted over $90M in investment.

The first 2009 LTW training session starts May 19, 2009. If you have what it takes, we encourage you to apply immediately.  Applications are now being accepted online at http://www.leadtowin.ca.

The LTW program is free to qualified applicants – no strings attached, no small print, no surprises.  Our region is investing to make LTW participants successful for the benefit of the individual and the community.

LTW has three phases. In the first phase, you apply online.  Qualified applicants will then be invited to meet with LTW leadership.  Participants will be selected based on their experience, commitment, and opportunity profile. In the second phase, you participate in an intense six day training program where you will learn how to lever business ecosystems, profitably serve attractive vertical markets, and the key factors that contribute to the ultimate success of a fledgling technology company. Upon completion of this second phase, you will be well equipped, and encouraged, to launch your new technology businesses in the National Capital Region.  In the third phase, LTW connects you to strategic customers, revenue opportunities, and individuals, companies and organizations that can provide requisite resources, including capital.

LTW is supported by The City of Ottawa, The Talent First Network, alumni from the 2002 Lead to Win program, community expertise, and faculty members and graduate students of Carleton University’s Technology Innovation Management program (www.carleton.ca/tim).

To apply to LTW, please contact: Press and program, please contact:

Ottawa Tony Bailetti:

Bailetti@sce.carleton.ca

613 829 8885

Tony Bailetti Bailetti@sce.carleton.ca

613-829-8885

Rowland Few rfew@sce.carleton.ca

613-222-4394

Ian Graham Ian@thecodefactory.com

613-321.3831

Gatineau
Serge Lafontaine slafontaine@arrow.com

613-884-8965

Lead-to-Win Turns Economic Downturn into Opportunity for Laid-Off Technology Workers in Canada’s Capital Region

April 16, 2009 – Press Release

Ottawa, Ontario

Lead-to-Win Turns Economic Downturn into Opportunity for Laid-Off Technology Workers in Canada’s Capital Region

In the tech meltdown of 2002, four out of five laid-off tech workers did not find work in high tech, and in Ottawa-Gatineau two out of five laid-off tech workers left the region.   In 2009, Canada’s Capital Region high tech sector faces a significantly greater challenge.

Today, Ontario’s Talent First Network is pleased to announce the launch of the Lead To Win  program for laid-off tech workers.  The program is based upon a program of the same name that was delivered during the last economic downturn in 2002. Over half of the participants in the 2002 Lead to Win program created a new business in Canada’s Capital Region.  These new businesses collectively created over 300 jobs and attracted over $90M in investment.

“Lead to Win is a great initiative for our region and we are pleased to support the program,” stated Larry O’Brien, Mayor of the City of Ottawa.  There is a proven recipe here. This is precisely the sort of innovative action that takes the current economic situation and turns it into a compelling opportunity for growth.”

Professor Tony Bailetti of Carleton University stated “We have a real opportunity to drive massive innovation in Canada’s Capital Region. Lead to Win will equip the next wave of technology entrepreneurs to launch new businesses that target the right market spaces. We did this in 2002 and we are going to do it again.”

David Vicary, founder of Weyeseyes and previously President and founder of Nakina Systems was also a 2002 Lead to Win participant. Vicary statedThe Lead to Win program was developed to help entrepreneurs in tough times. The lessons learned in Lead to Win were critical to my success in founding and growing Nakina Systems.”

The program is intended for talented individuals who want to launch a new technology business.  The program is free to qualified applicants.  Applications are currently being solicited for the program.  Space is limited and interested individuals are encouraged to apply online at http://www.leadtowin.ca.

Lead to Win is sponsored by the City of Ottawa, Talent First Network and Carleton University.  Lead to Win associates include alumni from the 2002 Lead To Win program, local businesses, and faculty members and graduate students of Carleton University’s Technology Innovation Management program (http://www.carleton.ca/tim).

About the Talent First Network

The Talent First Network is a successful Ontario-wide initiative funded by the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation and Carleton University.  The Talent First Network enables the commercialization of market offers that rely on open source projects and global ecosystems for their revenue.

Contact: Tony Bailetti, Bailetti@sce.carleton.ca, 613 829 8885

13% Increase in Individuals Using Ottawa Emergency Shelters in 2008

The Ottawa Alliance to End Homelessness released it’s report for 2008.  The report showed a 13% increase in 2008 compared to 2007, of the number of individuals and families using local Ottawa emergency shelters for increasingly longer periods.

2008homeless

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters See Increasing Challenges in 2009

The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) Association released a report in late February, that summarized survey results from Canadian manufacturers and exporters on their perceptions of business conditions.  

Key trends from the survey include:

  • A majority of manufacturers and exporters expect the value of new orders to fall over the next three months – 56 per cent say that orders are likely to decrease between February and May. This is a less optimistic outlook than in January when only 43 per cent of companies were expecting new orders to drop in the coming three months.
  • 45 per cent of companies say that employment levels are likely to fall. This is slightly higher than the 42 per cent of companies that expected their employment levels to fall in the January survey.
  • The credit crunch is affecting smaller companies the most, but larger companies are now reporting difficulty accessing financing. 60 per cent of manufacturers and exporters report difficulties accessing adequate levels of financing including obtaining working capital, extending lines of credit, accessing financing for new technologies and product development.

US, Canada and European Governments Actively Preparing for Widescale Civil Unrest?

This blog entry noted european think tank forecasts of civil unrest in the US as a consequence of the economic crisis.

It was reported back in September 2008 that –

U.S. troops returning from duty in Iraq will be carrying out homeland patrols in America from October 1st in complete violation of Posse Comitatus for the purposes of helping with “civil unrest and crowd control” – which could include dealing with unruly Americans after a complete economic collapse.

In February 2009, news reports have highlighted that the US Army is purchasing a significant ($6M) amount of riot gear.

Another article published in February highlighted increased urban warfare training drills by the US Army in cities around the US.

Other news reports have highlighted past “behind the scenes” preparation by the US government relative to even a modest level of anticipated civil unrest, such as the advance preparation of massive prisoner holding pens which were put in place for expected mass arrests during the Denver Democratic National Convention in 2008.

Denver
Denver

Recently, a bill entitled the National Emergency Centers Establishment Act (HR 645) was introduced in the US Congress in January. It calls for the establishment of six national emergency centers in major regions in the US to be located on existing military installations.  The stated purpose of  the “national emergency centers” is to provide “temporary housing, medical, and humanitarian assistance to individuals and families dislocated due to an emergency or major disaster.”   Some pundits say that this bill is in reality establishing domestic internment camps since HR 645 explicitly states that the camps can be used to “meet other appropriate needs, as determined by the Secretary of Homeland Security.”

In Canada, the RCMP is actively recruiting for 2,000 new officers.

Also interesting is that in 2008, the Canadian and US Government signed an agreement to use each other’s troops in civil emergencies.

UK newspapers have reported that European leaders fear civil unrest over the worsening economy, and that:

Europe’s top politicians are so rattled by the prospect of growing protests that they have arranged an emergency leaders’ summit in March to deal with growing tensions.

Canada’s Petrochemical Industry in Trouble?

According to a new Stats Canada report, petrochemical feedstock production in Canada in January 2009 was down 54% compared to January 2008.

Petrochemical feedstocks, are used by the petrochemical industry to produce chemicals, synthetic rubber and a variety of plastics.

According to a speech 2005 speech by a key Dow Chemical executive. Dr. Ramesh Ramachandran, President of Dow Chemical Canada Inc. (North American Petrochemicals: Walking a Tight Rope) –

..the petrochemicals industry is Canada’s third largest within the manufacturing sector and Alberta’s second-largest industry. Petrochemicals are a nexus in Canadian industry that bridges the resource sector with manufacturing, retail, transportation and others.

Stats Canada reports that in 2008 the petrochemical industry (which uses petrochemical feedstock) was responsible for shipping product valued at $6.6B, and employing approximately 1,280 people.

A 54% reduction in petrochemical feedstock production is likely to reflect heavily on the health of this industry – anyone seen any news on this?