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Mississauga : Innovation + Job News

53 Mississauga Articles | Page: | Show All

"Humanitarian Spirit" makes innovative Getinge one of GTA's top employers

When an earthquake struck Haiti this year, Mississauga's Getinge Canada sprung into action, donating a sterilizer and other medical infection-control supplies to the relief efforts. Technicians from Getinge Canada even traveled to Haiti to install the equipment and provide training to Hatian personnel. 

According to Getinge President Doug Friesen, this "humanitarian spirit" is why his company has been named one of the GTA's best employers and one of the best small- and medium-sized businesses in Canada to work for by AON Consulting and Queen's University. "Our work inspires our employees, supports our customers and impacts our Health Care System and the Life Science Industry in Canada," Friesen said in a statement accepting the honour.

The Mississauga business is the Canadian office of Swedish Health Sciences giant Getinge, an innovative company that is among the world's leaders in infection control and sterilizers. Friesen explains that the offices in Mississauga offices have been operating for over 30 years, previously as MDT Corporation and before that Castle Sterilizer Company. Getinge acquired the Canadian operation in 1996. In the GTA, Getinge now employs 60 staff.

Friesen attributes the company's continued growth to its employees. "Our core business has grown by multiples due to our outstanding employees," he says in response to a question by email. "We have a total of 60 employees today and plan to add positions as we continue to grow."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Doug Friesen, President, Getinge Canada

$750 million in revenue makes Solutions 2 Go's founder Canada's top women entrepreneur

Since its founding in 2004, Mississauga-based Solutions 2 Go has grown into the largest video-game distributor in North America. Last year brought in more than $750 million in revenue (representing 177% growth in the past three years), supplying retailers across the country with products from almost every major gaming manufacture.

Those staggering numbers earned founder, COO and President Gabrielle Chevalier the title of Canada's Top Woman Entrepreneur from Profit magazine last month.  But Chevalier told the magazine she's not prepared to slow down. "I see us as a billion-dollar company. It's a nice, round number." Chevalier said that she expects modest growth as the video game industry continues to expand, but also plans to expand into distribution of other products.

The company has grown from 15 to 180 employees since 2004 (earning it a place on the Profit 100 fastest growing companies list, too).

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Louise Leger, Profit Magazine





Shoplogix secures investment for international growth, to hire 10-15 locally in next 18 months

The manufacturing business, as has been well reported, has spread around the world recently as a globalized economy has developed. As a maker of products designed to increase efficiency on the plant floor, Mississauga's Shoplogix has followed that business. According to company President & CEO Martin Ambrose, Shoplogix had deployed its product to four countries in 2007, a number that has grown to 40 countries today.

New investment in Shoplogix secured through the provincial government's Emerging Technologies Fund will allow Shoplogix to continue to expand its global footprint, Ambrose says, by further augmenting the product for international markets and by "driving out deployment" to those markets through marketing partnerships.

The product is Plantnode, a device similar to a mobile phone that monitors production assets on the plant floor to evaluate efficiency and to communicate immediately across the plant when materials shortages or breakdowns occur. Ambrose claims that Plantnode's value proposition is a 5-35% efficiency gain on each "production asset," which translates for his clients to savings of $1,000 to $35,000 per week on each asset.

Founded in 2002, the company has grown to employ 50 people worldwide, with 38 of those in Canada. Ambrose says the planned expansion will see him hire an additional 10-15 staff locally over the next 18 months.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Martin Ambrose, President & CEO, Shoplogix

Dental innovators CHX Technologies cleared for EU marketing, to seek US approval soon

The innovative dental application Prevora, developed by Mississauga's CHX Technologies Inc., has been shown in trials to reduce cavities in uninsured adults and those using state dental services by 60 per cent. Already approved for sale in Canada and Ireland, the company reached another marketing milestone when Prevora was recently approved for sale in the UK by the European Medicines Agency. The organization also allows for the product to be recognized in other European Union member states.

Prevora is a topical application that coats the tooth and releases high-strength chlorhexidine into the tooth over the long term, inhibiting the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay. The company reports that the UK is a promising market for their product, as tooth decay is among the top three chronic diseases in older adults.

A statement sent by company President Ross Perry says the company will seek US approval for the treatment soon. He says that the recent news is a boon to the company's progress. "Prevora will reduce the burden of tooth decay amongst those high-risk dental patients who experience most of this disease in a family dental practice. This positive opinion by the EMA is an important step to Prevora's approval in European markets."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Ross Perry, President, CHX Technologies Inc.


Chinese-born Toronto chemist earns his 100th patent at Xerox

This month, GTA chemist Nan-Xing Hu reached a research milestone when he earned a U.S. patent for a new book-binding process for colour production printers: it was his 100th patent. For the lab manager with the Mississauga Xerox Research Centre of Canada, the professional achievement carries personal gratification. "Having the ability to create a useful product that makes a difference in people's personal or professional lives gives me a great sense of accomplishment," Hu says.

The Chinese-born Hu, who spent time in Japan before resettling in Canada, says that Xerox's commitment to diversity and to research -- explored by Yonge Street in a profile of company VP Hadi Mahabadi last month -- helped him reach this impressive milestone. "I am constantly driven by technical challenges and external competition. The diversity of Xerox's culture and its people are a great inspiration, as is our management's strong commitment to fostering innovation."

Mahabadi added that Hu's accomplishment is an example of how those policies pay off for both the country and the company. "Nan-XIng is an extremely talented chemist. His talent not only improves Xerox's competitive offerings, but has added to the fabric of Canada's entire scientific landscape."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Laura Mergelas, Xerox Canada

US retail giant expands into the GTA with 3 locations

Hot Topic, the US retail giant that mixes fast fashion with pop culture through inexpensive licensed band, video and television merchandise, has begun its expansion into Canada with three stores in the GTA.

The move is being celebrated today (Aug. 25) with an event at the Scarborough Town Centre location that opened Aug. 13, featuring an appearance by the Grammy-nominated band Disturbed. A location at the Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga also opened Aug. 13, and a further location Mapleview Shopping Centre at in Burlington is set to open in October.

The new locations and the company's stated plan for broader expansion in the GTA and Canada will create jobs, though a representative said that the company is unwilling to discuss specific numbers and corporate strategy at this point.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Winston Ma of Lotus Leaf Communications for Hot Topic

Local innovation, self-sustaining ePole, uses wind and solar, impresses Queen

When the Village of Downers Grove, near Chicago, sought a cost estimate for 25 lampposts for the new subdivision of Prentiss Creek, they were quoted a price around $3 million. Instead of going ahead with it, they found an innovative, environmentally friendly solution from North York company Efston Science -- self-powering hybrid solar-and-wind-fueled streetlights that did not require digging trenches to bury power lines and would cost nothing to operate once they were installed. As a bonus, they would lower the carbon footprint of the village -- and all for a comparatively low cost of $282,500.

The ePole was developed by Efston Science a year ago, according to company owner Nick Efston, and is manufactured in the GTA in partnership with a pole maker in Burlington and a wind turbine company in Mississauga. The poles use a small wind turbine and a small solar panel in conjunction, and can store electricity for days at a time. According to Efsotn, the ePole business supports roughly a dozen jobs in the area.

Efston says that the Chicago-area project was the first major contract for the company -- and now that there's a precedent, he expects orders to start picking up. "We're now being spec-ed into a lot of projects. People are more responsive now that there's a working example to look at," he says. Among those impressed, reportedly, is the Queen, who viewed a pilot installation ePole at Woodbine racetrack on her recent visit.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Nick Efston, owner, Efston Science

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

$1 million licensing deal boosts Mississauga's Amorfix in quest to cure ALS, cancer, Alzheimer's

A licensing deal for a potential treatment for ALS singed last week gives a boost to Amorfix Life Sciences' quest to develop diagnostics and treatments for such diseases as ALS, Alzheimer's and cancer, according to Amorfix CEO Dr. Robert Gundel.

The deal gives global biotech giant Biogen Idec the right to, at its own expense, pursue testing and regulatory approvals for antibodies developed by Amorfix to treat ALS. The Mississauga-based Amorfix gets $1 million up front, as well as potential milestone payments and royalties in the future. "This is excellent news for us because the deal represents the best way forward for developing this treatment," Gundel says. He added that the cash and the commitment by Biogen frees up Amorfix's staff of 16 to pursue other applications of their innovative health sciences technologies.

The company was founded in 2004 by Dr. Neil Cashman, and has an exclusive license on a technology called ProMIS. This innovative computer algorythm maps "misfolded proteins" that are characteristic of such diseases as ALS, Alzheimer's and cancer and identifies specific areas on the misfolded protein which can serve as targets for novel therapeutic intervention. Originally the process was used to develop diagnostic tools, but recently Amorfix has expanded its development into antibodies and vaccines that can attack only misfolded proteins cells (unlike conventional treatments for cancer, for example, which are not specific for tumor cells and have adverse side effects which may threaten the health of patients by attacking all cells in an area). These antibodies hold the potential to cease the progress of and cure the diseases.


Gundel says that licensing agreements with much larger companies such as Biogen Idec are part of the business plan for Amorfix. He says that "realistically" the company's products could bring effective vaccines and cures for such diseases to market within eight to 10 years.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Dr. Robert Gundel, CEO, Amorfix Life Sciences

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

New GTA office of LIPSO introduces TTC streetcar text service, sees adding 3-4 staff this year

On July 8, the TTC introduced a new service on streetcar lines that uses GPS positioning to allow riders to have next-vehicle arrival times sent to their mobile devices by text message.

The technological task of "text-messaging integration" was handled by the new GTA office of Montreal-based LIPSO. The company has, in the past, developed text-messaging innovations for Vancouver's Translink and the boarding-pass bar code scanner for Air Canada. According to LIPSO Director of Business Development Ross Noble, the TTC contract represented a "great opportunity" for the Mississauga office of the company, which was set up last fall.

Noble, currently the only GTA-based employee of the company, says a big part of his job in the immediate future will be to "build out" the Toronto office. He envisions adding at least three to four employees in the coming year, possibly more.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Ross Noble, Director of Business Development, LIPSO

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Mississauga-based CentriLogic signs first US cloud client, growing quickly on both sides of border

In what a company executive calls a "significant milestone" for the evolution of cloud computing, Mississauga-based information systems provider CentriLogic has signed its first customer to its recently-launched US cloud.

That client, Cookie Jar Entertainment, will be familiar to many parents: they are among the world's largest children's television programming companies, creating shows such as The Doodlebops, Arthur and Caillou, and licensing agencies (representing Richard Scarry and Strawberry Shortcake, among others). The company is in the process of moving its consumer websites to CentriLogic's on-demand cloud service.

Launched in 2007, CentriLogic has grown steadily, constructing servers for its cloud, managed hosting and data centre services in Rochester, Buffalo, downtown Toronto and Mississauga. According to CentriLogic VP Jim Latimer, having multiple facilities in both Canada and the US gives the company a competitive edge. Latimer says that with "failover" locations on each side of the border, clients in the US and Canada can be sure their data will stay in its county of origin.

CentriLogic currently has between 30 and 50 employees, Latimer says. As a veteran of the dot-com boom and the industry ups and downs since then, he says he's comfortable with CentriLogic's manageable rate of growth. But he says that the company has the infrastructure to scale up quickly, and the Cookie Jar contract represents a milestone in industry's warming up to cloud computing. "I expect our growth to accelerate rapidly," he says. "A lot of organizations to date haven't been rushing to put their data on the cloud, even with all the hype about cloud computing. It's new and the water still looked pretty chilly. But now the water is warming up and a lot of startups and other businesses are looking to the cloud ... the trepidation is gone, for the most part."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Jim Latimer, Vice President of Client Solutions, CentriLogic

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.



Mississauga fuel innovators Woodland Biofuels gets $4 million for demonstration plant

The Mississauga company Woodland Biofuels has patented a technology it says can produce clean-burning automotive fuel from virtually any type of biomass -- including wood and agricultural waste. The process eliminates the need to burn food products such as corn to create ethanol.

Earlier this month the provincial government gave the company a grant of $4 million to build a demonstration facility, expected to be located at the University of Western Ontario's Sarnia-Lambton Research Park, to prove the efficacy of the groundbreaking innovation in waste disposal and clean energy.

"Thanks to Ontario's support we can build a plant that we anticipate will confirm our ability to successfully produce ethanol from renewable waste with breakthrough efficiency. We expect to be, by a significant margin, the lowest cost producer of automotive fuel in North America," said Greg Nuttall, President and CEO of Woodland, in a statement welcoming the investment. "This will not only put Ontario in the front of the global race to find an alternative to fossil fuels but ultimately will also provide Ontario with significant economic and environmental benefits. We are grateful for the extraordinary level of support provided by the province."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Greg Nuttal, President & CEO, Woodland Biofuels; Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Edward Jones, recognized as among GTAs best employers, hiring 440 new staff by 2013

The financial services firm Edward Jones was named to the top 10 of the Toronto Star's list of the Top 50 employers in the GTA last week. It's a familiar position for the company, who appear on a variety of "Best Employer" lists every year (including, in 2009, the Globe and Mail's Report on Business 50 Best Employers in Canada List (pdf) and the  "Best Workplaces in Canada" list conducted by Great Place to Work Institute Canada (pdf))

According to Edward Jones General Partner Kevin Birch, the job satisfaction comes from a clarity in the firm's employees' mission. "We don't have multiple foci -- we have one focus. That's to serve conservative long-term individual investors. And that focus is galvanizing and exciting," he says.

The firm -- headquartered internationally in Missouri and locally in Mississauga -- came to Toronto in 1995, and has grown since to employ about 600 people in the GTA. Birch, who leads a project within the company focused on growth in the company, says that Edward Jones expects to hire an additional 440 staff in Toronto by the end of 2013. "By then we'll have over 400 branches in the area, and frankly we'll still feel like that's just a good start," he says.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Kevin Birch, General Partner, Edward Jones

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

Nashville-based retailer Journeys opens three GTA locations, creating up to 30 jobs

Journeys, a Nashville-based teen fashion footwear and accessories retailer with 815 stores across the United States, has expanded into Canada, opening three stores in Toronto this spring.

"We are both excited and proud of our first few stores" in Canada, Robert Taylor, the company's senior VP, said by email. The first location, at Mapleview Shopping Centre in Burlington opened May 1, while locations at Square One in Mississauga and Fairview Mall in North York opened June 5. According to Taylor, the stores' staffing levels are still being adjusted, but he anticipates that "each store could employ up to 10 associates, more during peak seasons, including store managers, co-managers, full- and part-time positions, depending on each store's volume."

Taylor says the Journey's brand is "attitude you can wear." The retailer is part of Genesco Inc, owners of more than 2,270 retail stores across the continent.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Robert D. Taylor, Senior Vice President Operations, Journeys

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

As it stages its 100th race, Toronto's City Chase has grown into a 15-country empire

In 2003, City Chase founder Nick Jelinek planned a scavenger-hunt urban adventure race in Toronto. According to the organization's Lauren Habib, he wanted to do something along the lines of The Amazing Race that ordinary people could participate in, and that could explore a city through its operation.

Seven years after the first race was staged in Toronto, the organization is preparing for its 100th race -- back home here in Hogtown. The milestone race will kick off with participants rappelling down Toronto's iconic city hall, perhaps a symbol of the heights to which the company has grown since its founding.

From a one-man organization, City Chase has grown to employ six people full-time in its Mississauga head office, and it contracts others to run races in cities across the country and in more than 14 other countries around the world. The private, for-profit company has also managed to raise $300,000 in the past two years in Canada for it's charitable partner, Right To Play, and has set a goal of raising $200,000 for the charity this year.

According to Habib, the organization continues to grow -- last year it launched "Campus Chase" and it continually sets up test markets and adds new cities around the world to its roster.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Lauren Habib, City Chase

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.

$27.9M expansion will create 100 jobs at Therapure Biopharma

Therapure Biopharma Inc of Mississauga is one of the only Canadian companies to do large-scale protein purification, so their services are in high demand. That demand, according to company President and CEO Tomas Wellner, has led to a $27.9 million retrofitting and expansion of Therapure's Mississauga bio-manufacturing facility that will create 100 new jobs at the company.

"We're adding jobs that are high-value," Wellner said, noting that the company's work is subject to the "highest end of regulatory controls" and that new hires are and will be made up of the cream of the PhD crop and well-trained skilled operators.

Wellner says the expansion will take about 18 months to complete, after which production will be ramped up to serve expected global demand for the protein-based bioproducts the company manufactures. Such products are used to treat illnesses such as infectious diseases, cancer and anemia.

Part of the project will be financed through a $4.2 million grant from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation. The remaining money will be a private investment by the company's owners.

Author: Edward Keenan
Source: Thomas Wellner, President and CEO, Therapure Biopharma Inc.

Got an Innovation & Job News tip? Email edward@yongestreetmedia.ca.
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