The 2012 SME4SME Program Launches to a Full House at the University of Ottawa

It was standing room only at the University of Ottawa when Sean Flanigan, of the OTTN and University of Ottawa launched the 2012 round of the popular SME4SME program. Participants from the University of Ottawa research community, and Ottawa’s business community learned how they could access up to $100,000 in funding to work on research projects that will help grow Ontario’s economy.

Sean Flanigan launches the 2012 SME4SME program to a packed house

Last year, the SME4SME program provided funding to 15 research labs at the University of Ottawa to help small and medium sized enterprises of less than 1,000 employees solve a technical problem that was core to the enterprise. Projects in the past included developing a device that improves productivity for an infrastructure rehabilitation company, computer algorithms that improve telecommunication equipment, and chemicals with potential to extend the use of a medical research product  for new market applications. These project werte designed to help the partnering companies work to improve competitiveness in the global economy. Many of the projects are leading to further collaborations between the university and the industry partner.     Read more of this post

Students in the Start-up Garage Program discuss Operations and Business Development with Peter O’Blenis

Setting goals and implementing a system to help achieve those goals is key to building a successful business. This is a critical part of the Start-up Garage, the OTTN program that helps students build their own companies. On Wednesday January 18, 2012, Peter O’Blenis, the VP Business Development and COO of Flick Software gave students practical advice to help students vying for one of 8 spots in the 2012 Start-Garage.

Wednesday’s event was the third of four events designed to help students develop a proposal to the 2012 Start-up Garage which runs annually from June 1st to August 31st. Over thirty students took advantage of this opportunity to learn from Peter, an experienced entrepreneur with over 18 years in the software industry.

Students get one on one time with experienced entrepreneur, Peter O'Blenis

Peter stressed to students the importance of making concrete and measurable goals and objectives, and then setting up a system to ensure everyone in the venture has ownership of specific tasks, and is working towards their achievement. He is a big fan of detailed planning in short term segments (such as 90 days like Start-up Garage), and having team meetings on a daily basis, whether in person or by phone.

This active management of the venture helps teams drive towards success, and makes sure the team members are performing up to the demands required by a start up company. He stressed the importance of good employment agreements and practices that recognise the importance of each member in a small team to the success or failure of the venture. Lucky for the students, our final event this winter is on employment issues with Melanie Polowin, partner at Gowlings Wednesday February 15, 2012, 5:00 pm to  6:30, University of Ottawa. Students can register online at

 Start-up Garage is looking for student entrepreneurs who want to build their own business. It offers $20,000 in funding and other support through the summer of 2012. Visit to learn how to participate. Submissions into the 2012 program are due February 22, 2012.

uOttawa Professor Illimar Altosaar helps students learn about intellectual property

OTTN would like to recognise Dr. Ilimar Altosaar, of the University of Ottawa’s Department of Biochemistry, Microbiology, and Immunology, for his efforts over the years in helping students understand intellectual property. His biotechnology class challenges students to write a patent application, and then think about how to commercialise it. Over the years, his class has won cash prizes for their work in competitions such as the Ottawa based Technology Venture Challenge, and the global open innovations company, Innocentive. Dr. Altosaar’s efforts have recently been highlighted in a recent University Affairs article, which can be viewed at