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Church & Wellesley - Yorkville - Annex : Innovation + Job News

99 Church & Wellesley - Yorkville - Annex Articles | Page: | Show All

Toronto intranet experts Prescient release Intranet 2.0 study, hiring 2 now

A study presented this week by Prescient Digital Media President and CEO Toby Ward shows that social media tools are "exploding" on internal corporate intranets. Among the key findings is that 87% of intranets feature at least one social media tool; 52% of intranets feature discussion forums, 51% feature instant messaging and 49% feature wikis.

"The results are exciting because they confirm Prescient's belief that we are entering the age of the Social Intranet," Ward says of the study of 525 organizations from around the world. "While most organizations are still in the early days of deploying or experimenting with social media, many executives and employees alike are eager to see greater use and adoption of these tools."

Prescient, an internet and intranet consulting firm in Toronto that serves large clients such as CBC, CIBC and Mastercard, has made developing intranets that can boost sales and productivity its calling card. The recent study is just one of many initiatives the company has undertaken to drive understanding of the social tools available to company intranets -- Ward, for example, publishes a blog focused largely on the topic.

And as the industry grows, so is the company -- Prescient is hiring two senior staff right now.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Toby Ward, President and CEO, Prescient Digital Media

Toronto startup BuzzBuzzHome grows from two to 12 staff in one year, sees more expansion

According to BuzzBuzzHome Founder and President Matthew Slutsky, his company was born of frustration. As a developer and consultant to the new homes industry, he found that there was no way to search for properties under development. "If you're looking for resale homes, there's MLS," he says, "but, even though most people start their searches online, there was no central database like that for the new home development industry." So he and his business partner Clifford Peskin started one.
BuzzBuzzHome launched in June 2009 as a listing of all the condo and new home construction projects in Toronto -- and throughout Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia. According to Slutsky, by the end of last summer, they were receiving about 5,000 hits per month, "and I thought that was pretty good." After that start, however, growth has been surging. This month, the company is on target to receive 60,000 visitors.

BuzzBuzzHome has grown its staff accordingly -- from the two founders, they've grown to now employ eight full-time staff and four full-time equivalent contractors. Slutsky sees more hiring on the horizon, especially if the right designer or social media marketer comes to their attention.

Slutsky says the company expects to grow in two ways: by attracting even more visitors to the site for its existing services as people learn that BuzzBuzzHome is available, and by expanding the areas they serve. He sees adding more provinces in the near future and, potentially, expanding into the US market.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Matthew Slutsky, President, BuzzBuzzHome

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

Carlton Cinemas set to reopen under Magic Lantern Theatres June 30 with staff of 24

Cinema fans lamented the loss of the art house multiplex Carlton Cinema when it closed last November, and rejoiced when Edmonton-based Magic lantern cinemas announced they'd reopen it.

Those fans will be treated to a weekend of free movies June 30 and July 1, as the promised reopening finally occurs. According to Magic Lantern President Tom Hutchinson, the renovation cost in the neighbourhood of $1.5 million, an update on a multiplex that many said was too cramped for current moviegoing trends. But that's par for the course for his company in Toronto. "We've been kind of dealing with other people's castoffs, which is a little more fun for me," he says. He doesn't much care for "the big-screen experience" that gets so much of the emphasis in the cinemas built today by major chains -- large big-box outlets usually in the suburbs. "When I go to the movies, I like to see a story. At the Carlton, the screens are small -- its not 50-foot screens, but its a different experience, an art house."

Since quietly arriving in the GTA in 2001 under the banner Rainbow Cinemas, the chain has converted four former mall multiplexes in the GTA into first-run neighbourhood movie houses that offer prices that are often less than half what the major chains charge. According to Hutchinson, its been a successful business strategy so far.

Hutchinson says the newly reopened Carlton will employ four full-time staff and is in the process of hiring 20 part-timers.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Tom Hutchinson, President, Magic Lantern Theatres

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

Hill & Knowlton adds 2 experts to growing health branch

Canadian public relations and communications giant Hill & Knowlton has announced significant growth in its health communications operation in Toronto, with the hiring of two new senior staff and a revised mandate for one of its executives.

In a statement, company president and CEO Michael Coates said that the moves are in response to significant growth in the company's business with health, medical and pharmaceutical companies. Francine Beck brings a background as a kinesiologist and journalist and 18 years of health marketing experience to her role as vice-president and national director, consumer health and pharmaceutical marketing. Gina DeBenedetti, the company's new vice president and national director, medical communications, is a certified public health inspector and has worked in both the communications and healthcare industries. Meanwhile, Toronto public affairs manager Jason Grier has been reassigned to the role of vice president and national director, health policy.

According to Ann-Marie Koumettou of Hill & Knowlton, responding to questions by email, the new additions to the company's staff bring the number of new hires in the past six months to 17. She says a number of factors have led to the growth: "We are very fortunate that we were not severely impacted by the recession in 2009, but we were cautious about expansion. To that end, now that we are into 2010 and in some strong, stable client relationships, we were well positioned to add the capability to both serve our clients' growing needs, but also to help us continue that expansion through new business activities."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Ann-Marie Koumettou, Hill & Knowlton Canada

Munk Centre at U of T expands, gets $25 million more for global affairs research, will hire

Last month, a $35 million gift from philanthropist Peter Munk -- the largest in the history of the University of Toronto -- was added to $25 million from the province of Ontario to set up the Munk School of Global Affairs at U of T. This week Prime Minister announced that his government would be chipping in an additional $25 million to create a centre for global security at the school.

According to the federal government's website, Prime Minister Stephen Harper says, "This new Centre will help us develop deeper expertise in addressing global security concerns."

The new school is expected to employ top researchers from around the world at a newly constructed downtown facility to study issues around terrorism and global security. In a separate statement, school director Janice Gross Stein said the Munk School of Global Affairs is in an excellent position to tackle the mandate. "Issues of global security will be a defining framework for our country over the next decade and beyond, and Canada needs a strong publicly supported research centre to put the Canadian voice on the international stage," said Stein. "Given our strengths, the Munk School is the natural place to house this new Centre.

Although numbers were not immediately available, there are significant employment implications to the recent announcements, as the total of $85 million in funding will, according to University of Toronto representatives, construct new facilities and hire new faculty and administrators.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Sources: Janice Gross Stein, Munk School of Global Affairs; Office of the Prime Minister of Canada; University of Toronto Media Relations; Glob and Mail

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

Toronto-based website Mygazines launches mobile interface, plans more growth this year

Everyone in the media world, it seems is obsessed with the future of magazines in an online world. Yorkville-based Mygazines thinks they have at least part of that problem figured out.

The online newsstand was originally launched in June 2008 as a YouTube-inspired portal for consumers to upload magazines they read. But after running into copyright problems, the company was taken over in November of that year by FlypTech to, as CEO Yoav Schwartz says, "offer the same technology scaled to meet publishers demands.

Since then, the company has grown to employ a staff of seven and represent over 100 direct publishers from countries including the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand on its digital newsstand, and 400-500 titles through resales. Last week, the company announced the launch of an interface for mobile devices -- the same system will work for all major handheld gadgets, including the iPhone and Google Android.

"This technology is revolutionary in that it's device-independent," Schwartz said in a news release, explaining why the company did not opt to build an app for a specific device. "With so many devices entering the market, the only consistent element that we can count on lasting the test of time is the internet browser. That's why we've created this interface to adapt to mobile browsers across different devices."

The company also plans to soon formally launch an e-commerce program (already soft-launched on the site) that Schwartz expects to be "a real game-changer." Plans are also afoot to launch Flipbook 3.0, a vector-based reader for PC, Mac, netbooks, laptops and other flash devices.

Author: Edward Keenan
Source: Yoav Schwartz, CEO of Mygazines

U of T study says GTA manufacturers need more academic R&D support

A new study [pdf] for the Toronto Region Research Alliance from the Munk Centre at U of T says that Golden Horseshoe manufacturers need more research and development support from academia.

While noting that Southern Ontario manufacturers often enjoy a competitive advantage globally because of infrastructure and proximity to the U.S. market, the study's consultation of 76 industry players concluded that "Similar regions in Japan and Germany were consistently mentioned as being more advanced in research ... and, if Ontario is to compete on quality, this is an area that needs to be addressed."

The study goes on to suggest that deeper contacts need to be developed between universities and manufacturers. According to Ruth Lewkowicz, a spokesperson for the Toronto Region Research Alliance, they have formed a partnership with Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters and "are now exploring how the two organizations can partner to further engage the Southern Ontario manufacturing sector to address some of the issues raised."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Ruth Lewkowicz, Director of Marketing and Communications, Toronto Region Research Alliance

New think tank Mowat Centre will make Ontario's case to the Feds

For as long as anyone can remember, provincial politicians have made the case that what's needed is more -- or smarter -- investment from Ottawa. Starting this week, Premier Dalton McGuinty can expect firepower for his demands to Ottawa from a new University of Toronto think tank. His government provided $5 million in seed money to launch the new research centre, and he was to speak at its official launch Jan. 25.

The Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation, according to its website, "is an independent non-partisan think tank. Our research focuses on those federal policy frameworks and strategies that will most strongly affect Ontario's prosperity and quality of life in the next century."

The centre's materials emphasize collaboration with private and non-profit sector partners as an important governance tool, and seem -- like so many provincial and municipal politicians -- to begin with the assumption that current federal policy is broken, an outdated, jerry-rigged relic of a bygone era. "Many of the key elements of Canada's social contract and institutional infrastructure have broken down," Mowat Centre director Matthew Mendelsohn writes in his Director's Message introducing the think tank. "In some cases our public policies are based on assumptions that are no longer valid; in others, the assumptions are valid but the programs that gave them life have been tinkered with so much that they no longer achieve their intended purpose."

The centre's first major project will be to form a commission to modernize support for the unemployed, scheduled to launch in February 2010.

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: Mowat Centre for Policy Innovation

Toronto universities score $3.43 million to fund research, retain talent, create jobs

In a largely unheralded announcement just before Christmas, the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) indicated it will invest over $3.43 million in research grants to Toronto universities.

The money from the arms-length federal government agency is intended to fund infrastructure that allows universities to attract and retain top talent, create and sustain jobs and foster innovation. According to the CFI, the investment should yield more than $24 million in economic benefits to Toronto, including jobs, due to the multiplier effect of the capital projects it funds.

The University of Toronto will receive $3,168,321 to support 19 different projects, including "Infrastructure for Molecular Genetics and Therapeutics in Sarcoma," "Establishment of a Live-Cell Imaging and Biochemistry Laboratory for Research in Organelle Biogenesis and Degradation" and "Pharmacogenetics in Psychiatry: a New Era of Personalized Medicine."

Ryerson University, meanwhile, will receive $264,401 to fund a "Combined X-Ray Diffraction and Differential Scanning Calorimetry Facility for the Evaluation of Phase Changes in Foods and other Materials."

The grants, given under the CFI's "Leadership Opportunities Fund," were among those awarded to 40 institutions across Canada totaling $59.39 million. The CFI said in its announcement that in addition to jobs created that are associated with capital construction, the awards will fund the work of "351 of the country's brightest minds."

Writer: Edward Keenan
Source: CFI

99 Church & Wellesley - Yorkville - Annex Articles | Page: | Show All
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