Innovation Week 2016 Excites Growing Technology Sector in Newfoundland and Labrador

Last Friday, May 13, the third annual Newfoundland and Labrador Innovation Week drew to a close with an event at the same location it started, Common Ground Co-Working Space. The week saw over 10 organizations host 18 events across St. John's (and Grand Falls-Windsor), with many local tech companies and thousands of people participating. Let's take a look back on what we saw throughout this amazing week.

The week officially began with a kick-off event hosted by our friends down at Common Ground, and huge number of influential people and exciting companies were in attendance. Speakers such as Ron Taylor, CEO of NATI, and Chris Mitchelmore, Provincial Minister of Business, Tourism, Culture, and Rural Development spoke about their excitement for the coming week of activities as well as the province's tech industry as a whole.

Tuesday started off with a bang, as Genesis attended the Youth in Technology Conference at the College of the North Atlantic, where nearly 400 Grade 9 students from across the city were entertained and educated by local tech companies, including former (Solace PowerSubC Imaging) and current Genesis companies (HeyOrca & Seamatica). Also in attendance was Mark Kennedy of Celtx. These amazing speakers, paired with free pizza, made for an enlightening, engaging day for all.

That same morning also saw Genesis' own Venture Lead Dana Parsons deliver a Value Proposition Model Workshop to some members of NLOWE. Three events so far, and this was only the second day!

Dana Parsons - Value Prop Model Presentation - NLOWE.jpg

Wednesday began with another Genesis-hosted event, a talk from TSX's Director of Global Business Development, Robert Peterman, on the benefits of going public as a startup. This event took place at the Delta, and provided excellent insight into a not-often-thought-about growth option for new companies.

Wednesday continued with one of the marquee events of the week, the NATI Knowledge Summit also taking place at the Delta. This full-day event saw several speakers from a variety of organizations, such as MIT Technology Review, Deloitte, and Memorial University School of Business, spread their wisdom, as well as a panel discussion on Innovating in an Evolving Environment.

Thursday saw the first event take place at the Genesis Centre itself, Pitch Camp. This Pitch Camp saw nine entrepreneurs practice their pitches, receive world-class advice from MIT Technology Review president Kathleen Kennedy, and work toward perfecting their best 30 second speech about their company. Discussing everything from value propositions to hand motions, Ms. Kennedy provided the participating entrepreneurs with incredible insight, and valuable lessons to create truly engaging pitches.

The final day of Innovation Week 2016 was Friday, May 13, and the Genesis Centre hosted its final event, Tales from Entrepreneurs on Tap at Bitters Pub on MUN Campus. This event saw three seasoned entrepreneurs, Karl Kenny, CEO of Kraken Sonar; Carol Leaman, CEO of Axonify; and last-minute addition Sam Bromley of Whitecap Scientific Corporation, discuss their experiences as business founders in Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond. The event was a huge success, with the nearly 90 people in attendance all soaking in the knowledge of the veteran entrepreneurs. Drinks were drank, food was eaten, tweets were tweeted and a swear jar was filled making it all-in-all a fantastic event to cap off the Genesis-hosted events of Innovation Week 2016.

The absolute final event of Innovation Week 2016 was the Innovate x Conversate event hosted by the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship at Common Ground. This event was a games night of sorts, allowing 8 teams to compete in activities resembling pitching, product development, overall collaboration. This event was also a great success, and ended Innovation Week splendidly.

This Innovation Week was full of amazing speakers, stellar events, and top-notch collaboration from all areas of the technology sector in Newfoundland and Labrador. We hope next year's week, and the weeks of years to come, is just as exciting and rewarding as this week was!