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192 research and innovation Articles | Page: | Show All

Young Entrepreneur Spotlight: North Toronto Baseball Camp

The National Post features the North Toronto Baseball Camp (NTBC) as part of the paper's ongoing "Young Entrepreneur Spotlight" series. Launched in 2007 by five friends--Alex Day (23), Jeremy Weisz (23), Simon Weisz (20), Gabe Diamond (23), and Lee Berger (23)--NTBC offers summer baseball camps, coach's clinics, and private and group lessons for Toronto youth.

"The Main Camp program started in 2007 at Memorial Park, located in the heart of mid-town Toronto. This program was developed as a specialty baseball day camp which caters to all ages and skill levels. After a successful inaugural summer, the camp expanded to include a second summer program at another location – Elite Camp located at Sentinel Park, near Keele & Sheppard.  Elite Camp was developed for more competitive baseball players looking for advanced skill development."

"Enrollment has grown steadily from 140 campers in 2007 to over 400 in 2010. Furthermore, the number of staff has increased from 9 to 25, together with the establishment of a Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program. Our CIT program allows older campers to slowly transition into staff members, and learn the necessary leadership skills to be successful."

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original source National Post

Fit, fast and dependable

The Toronto Star writes on the small Toronto moving company based on simple but savvy business concept--the company is staffed entirely by firefighters. Firemen Movers, founded two years ago by firefighters Lorne Babiuk and Doug Harper, capitalizes on the public's high esteem of the profession and the less than stellar service records of some competing moving operators. With four leased trucks and a revolving crew of active and in-training firefighters, the company estimates it will perform as many as 750 moves in 2011.

"The concept is simple: neatly attired, off-duty firefighters in signature red shirts show up with the speed and precision they are known for and move your stuff."

"Our goal is to offer our clients a stress-free option for their move day," says Babiuk, who is an acting captain, a rank that means he is in charge of a truck at a fire station. "They don't have to worry about who is showing up at their home, or when they will show up. You get a highly motivated crew that shows up. We don't use any day labour, we don't subcontract anything out."

"He acknowledges that the moving industry doesn't have a great reputation. "There are lots of good moving companies, and we are not out here to slag anybody, but the stories are well-documented."

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original source Toronto Star

GTA's best employers announced

The 64 organizations selected as the 2011 winners of Mediacaster's fifth annual GTA's Top Employers contest, may vary widely in industry-type and workforce-size, but, as reported by the Globe & Mail, they all share an impressive commitment to employee engagement and fulfillment.

"With so many national and international head offices in or near Toronto, the 2011 winners of the fifth annual GTA's Top Employers contest faced fierce competition. Size didn't matter. Companies making this year's list range from Newmarket's XE.com Inc., in the Internet publishing and broadcasting sector, with a staff of 19, to Ontario Public Service, with 65,234 employees. Employers were compared with others in their field to determine which offers the most progressive and forward-thinking programs."

see full list of winners here
original source Globe & Mail

UofT scientists build-up brittle bones

University of Toronto scientists have discovered a new and potentially ground-breaking method for preventing the bone-wasting disease osteoporosis. As reported by the Daily Mail, the UofT researchers found that patients who used an ointment made of nitroglycerine (the same chemical used to make dynamite) saw significant increases in their bone density over a two-year period.

"Researchers at the University of Toronto tested the dynamite ointment on 126 women aged 50 or older with osteopenia, a condition where the bone density is lower than normal, but not bad enough to be classed as osteoporosis. Without treatment, most people with osteopenia end up with osteoporosis."

"Each woman rubbed 15mg of ointment - costing less than £1 a day - into their chest or arms at bedtime (the cream can be applied on any area of hairless skin). A separate group was given a dummy ointment. After two years, women using the nitroglycerine ointment had higher bone density in all the major fracture risk sites - such as the spine, femur (thigh bone) and hip".

"Research leader Dr Sophie Jamal said: "I'm pretty excited. The group with nitroglycerine had huge improvements in bone density and strength." Dr Claire Bowring, of the national Osteoporosis Society, says: "The results are very interesting, especially as the treatment is an ointment, rather than injection or tablets. However, a larger trial is needed, looking at improvements in bone density for people with osteoporosis and, ultimately, whether broken bones can be avoided. If the results show the same benefits, it could be exciting news."

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original source Daily Mail

Canadian Innovation Exchange announces 2010 finalists

The Canadian Innovation Exchange (CIX) has released its list of organizations who have made the finals for this year's "Hottest Innovation Companies" awards. CIX--an annual conference celebrating Canada's innovation economy--will take place on December 7th at the MaRS Centre in Toronto. As reported by Media Caster, 11 Toronto companies made the prestigious list.

"CIX, taking place December 7th at the MaRS Centre in Toronto, ON, provides a platform for these companies to showcase their great Canadian innovation while catalyzing strategic relationships and transactions across this dynamic sector."

"Congratulations to all our nominees for showing the best that Canada has to offer the world," said Rick Nathan, Co-Chair of the Canadian Innovation Exchange. "These companies truly reflect what Canadian business innovation means," added Robert Montgomery, Co-Chair of the Canadian Innovation Exchange."

"Finalists will make live presentations in front of leaders of major corporations, entrepreneurs and investors. Winners in each category will be announced at the Canadian Innovation Exchange on December 7, 2010 at the MaRS Discovery Centre, Toronto."

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original source Media Caster

Toronto charity fights bullying with babies

The New York Times writes on Roots of Empathy, a Toronto-based charity that is brightening elementary classrooms across the globe (see our August Yonge Street story on the organization). Launched in 1996 by educator Mary Gordon, Roots brings mothers and their babies into school classrooms with the goal of increasing empathy among students. Researchers studying Gordon's innovative program have concluded that the babies do indeed have positive effect on student behaviour, kind and accepting behaviours increase while negative aggressive behaviours decrease. Roots has now been active in over 2,600 classes across Canada, and has recently expanded to classrooms in the Isle of Man, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and the United States.

"Here's how it works: Roots arranges monthly class visits by a mother and her baby (who must be between two and four months old at the beginning of the school year). Each month, for nine months, a trained instructor guides a classroom using a standard curriculum that involves three 40-minute visits – a pre-visit, a baby visit, and a post-visit. The program runs from kindergarten to seventh grade. During the baby visits, the children sit around the baby and mother (sometimes it's a father) on a green blanket (which represents new life and nature) and they try to understand the baby's feelings. The instructor helps by labeling them. "It's a launch pad for them to understand their own feelings and the feelings of others," explains Gordon. "It carries over to the rest of class."

"The baby seems to act like a heart-softening magnet. No one fully understands why. Kimberly Schonert-Reichl, an applied developmental psychologist who is a professor at the University of British Columbia, has evaluated Roots of Empathy in four studies. "Do kids become more empathic and understanding? Do they become less aggressive and kinder to each other? The answer is yes and yes," she explained. "The question is why."

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original source New York Times

Toronto's Citizen Lab win press freedom award

Toronto's Citizen Lab, the UofT-based digital media research centre, is being recognized by the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CGFE) for its commitment to fee speech and human rights. As reported by CBC News, the Citizen Lab will be presented with the prestigious 2010 Vox Libera Award for "an outstanding commitment to the principles of free expression" at the CGEF annual gala on November the 25th.

"The Citizen Lab's fight for open communication and free expression is making a significant difference for those living in repressed regions of the world," CBC broadcaster Carol Off, who chairs the CJFE gala steering committee, said in a statement Monday announcing the win."

"Their work enables people to share crucial information and exposes those who would try to do them harm."

"Citizen Lab, which runs out of the University of Toronto's Munk Centre for International Studies, gained prominence in 2008 after it uncovered an alleged internet spy network based mostly in China."

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original source CBC News

Reno website sheds light on contractors

The Toronto Star features Homestars, a website launched by Torontonian Nancy Peterson that allows homeowners to post reviews of renovation-related service providers. With over 250,000 Canadian companies listed (including 50,000 in Toronto), Homestars has become an invaluable resource for Canadians needing renovations and repairs.
"Prior to launching the website, Peterson held senior marketing positions at major corporations, including Kraft Foods and Procter & Gamble."

"It was hard to leave a good paying job and start a company where you are not going to make a salary for a long time," she says. But Peterson believed in her idea — a sort of TripAdvisor site for home renovations."

"To fund HomeStars, she used her own savings, took out a loan and then fundraised among friends, family and angel investors.The site broke even in 2008. Since then, profits have been reinvested in the company to fund growth — building new markets and adding new staff. There are now 13 employees, compared to four at the beginning."

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original source Toronto Star

Toronto's Infonaut featured in Popular Science

Infonaut, a Toronto-based IT company that specializes in innovative ways of organizing healthcare data, was recently featured in the November Edition of Popular Science. The magazine looks at Infonaut's "Hospital Watch Live"--a system that tracks the movements of people and devices in hospitals "to record the location of anything that could possibly transport microbes, including the doctors and nurses themselves."

"The fastest way to spread disease is to pack a lot of sick people in one place. That's why hospitals are such a health hazard— equipment and personnel move from patient to patient and carry infectious agents in the process. One solution is to keep better track of every patient, wheelchair and IV stand to locate what's spreading disease and what needs to be sterilized, and one Cana- dian company is the first to deploy a system to do just that. Infonaut's Hospital Watch Live system uses a combination of tracking software and inexpensive radio-frequency ID tags to record the location of anything that could possibly transport microbes, including the doctors and nurses themselves. Wireless receivers throughout the building transmit the position of each tag to a central computer about every three seconds"

read full story here (pg 40)
original source Popular Science

UofT, India join hands to tackle malaria

As reported by the Business Standard, researchers from the University of Toronto have teamed-up with scientists from across India to work on new approaches to fighting malaria. The research, funded by the International Science and Technology Partnerships Canada and the Indian government's Department of Biotechnology, will focus on "slow-release therapies and drug and delivery combination approaches that specifically target a form of malaria that can lay dormant in the liver."

"In addition to developing new therapeutics, we are also bringing together existing technologies developed by the partners and combining them in new ways such that one will have the potential to boost the effectiveness of another," said Lakshmi P Kotra, director at the Centre for Molecular Design and Preformulations at the University Health Network and University of Toronto."

"It was a fascinating process to see different organisations with deep knowledge in their individual fields coming together and combining this knowledge to create innovative and new approaches to the treatment of this disease," said Virander Chauhan, Director, International Centre for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology in New Delhi."

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original source Business Standard

Real-time monitor on radar

The National Post writes on Toronto-based company Star Navigation Systems Group and their attempt to revolutionize aircraft Black Box technology. Rather than traditional black boxes which store data in a physical box, the company's "Terrastar" onboard monitoring system would produce satellite signals to send data to a ground-based monitoring station in real-time.
"Part of the tragedy of Air France flight 447 is the plane's Black Box flight recorders, along with the definitive cause of the crash contained therein, might be lost forever miles beneath the surface of the mid-Atlantic."

"Viraf Kapadia, founder and chief executive of Star Navigation Systems Group Inc., is hoping his company's technology will ensure that is never again happens."

"Billed as "the new Black Box," the Toronto-based firm's Terrastar onboard monitoring system records flight data in much the same way the traditional Black Box does. But instead of storing the data in a physical box on the aircraft where it could be damaged, lost or destroyed, Terrastar encrypts the information and transmits it via satellite to a ground-based monitoring station, where it is decrypted and stored in real time."

"Say you're the vice-president of engineering for Air Canada and you're at an aviation show or conference. Something goes wrong with one of your aircraft of high priority then you will receive an email on your computer with WiFi or your BlackBerry telling you exactly what is wrong in plain English," Mr. Kapadia said."

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original source National Post

Immigrants help boost Canada’s innovation

A new Conference Board of Canada study has confirmed that immigrants to Canada boost the country's innovation and, as a result, improve it's global competitiveness. As reported by the Toronto Star, the study linked Canadian immigrants to innovation in areas such as "research, culture, business and global commerce".

"Guang Jun Liu arrived in Toronto in 1990 with a master's degree in robotic control from China. Today, the Ryerson University professor is the Canada Research Chair in control systems and robotics, specializing in control systems in aircraft and mobile robots, and working with groups such as the Canadian Space Agency. According to a new Conference Board of Canada study, Liu is living proof of how immigrants can help boost Canada's stature in innovation, which ranks 14th out of 17 industrialized countries."

"Productivity and innovation are critical for economic development," said the report, titled Immigrants as Innovators: Boosting Canada's Global Competitiveness."

 "At every level of analysis, immigrants are shown to have an impact on innovation performance that is benefiting Canada."

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original source Toronto Star

Bone specialists to meet in Toronto

The Metro Toronto Convention Centre has been chosen as the site of the The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) 2010 Annual Meeting. According to Business Travel News the confrence, to be held from 15-19 of October, is expected to generate C$13 million in delegate spending

"ASBMR is a truly-international organisation, with nearly half of our membership residing outside the US," said Ann Elderkin, ASBMR's executive director."

"Hosting our meeting in Toronto reflects our commitment to our global membership and our dedication - without boundaries - to bone and mineral research excellence."

"The ASBMR 2010 Annual Meeting scientific program will showcase the latest in bone and mineral research, technology and treatment, including such areas as osteoimmunology, mineral metabolism, genetics, stem cells, osteoporosis, metabolic bone diseases and treatments. During the event, Osteoporosis Canada will release its latest clinical practice guidelines, supporting up-to-date health care management of osteoporosis."

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original source Business Travel News

Microsoft goes to Toronto developer for smart phone apps

Tech giant Microsoft has teamed up with Toronto-based app company Polar Mobile in what is the largest deal ever in Canadian app development history. As reported by the Globe & Mail, Polar Mobile, whose clients include the Toronto Maple Leafs, Time magazine and the Canadian Football League, has signed on to build 350 apps for the Windows Phone--Windows' first foray into the Smart Phone industry.

"The deal means that Polar will build Windows Phone versions of virtually all its existing 350 apps for BlackBerrys, iPhones, phones powered by Google's Android operating system and other smart phones. The firm will also build Windows-compatible apps for other content providers that it signs up in the future."

"For Microsoft, the contract means it can launch its new product with readily-available apps – Polar plans to have at least some of them completed by the time Windows Phone 7 handsets hit the market – as it struggles to compete with its rivals' app stores, which already contain tens or hundreds of thousands of apps."

"What has changed today versus two years ago is that they're not selling phones on hardware and price," said Polar CEO Kunal Gupta. "They realize that people are buying based on apps and content, and they see us as a one-to-many strategy."

"Unlike traditional app development shops of similar size – Polar's staff numbers 40 people – Polar doesn't develop custom applications for clients from scratch. Instead, the company uses a template model. In essence, its customers fill out a digital form listing their requirements, their content feeds and other variables, and the software creates the app automatically."

"That process allows Polar to churn out products at a much faster pace. At the beginning of the year, the company had produced 50 apps. Today, that number is up to 350, and Mr. Gupta expects to hit 500 by the end of the year."

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original source Globe & Mail

SavvyMom names Toronto baby sign language expert "Mom Entrepreneur of the Year"

Torontonian Laura Berg has been declared "Mom Entrepreneur of the Year" by Canadian online webzine SavvyMom. Berg is the founder of My Smart Hands, a Toronto company that teaches parents how to use sign language to communicate with their pre-verbal hearing babies.

"This award and the prizes that go along with it could not have come at a better time," said Berg on winning the national business award from SavvyMom Media, now in its fourth year."

"My business has reached a point where I need to invest some serious money to take it to the next level. The prize money and professional services will definitely be put to good use. I am excited to see the vision I have for My Smart Hands come to fruition and the SavvyMom Mom Entrepreneur Award will play a huge role in getting me even further ahead!"

read full story here
original source TheStreet
192 research and innovation Articles | Page: | Show All
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