In 2013, Northumberland CFDC launched the open invitational N100: an annual business competition for technology startups. We developed the idea to test a new strategy for startup attraction and acceleration, and to position Northumberland as a place of opportunity for innovative, early-stage entrepreneurs. With the dedicated help of volunteers and experts from the entrepreneurial ecosystem, with our premiere software sponsors and with the support of FedDev Ontario, we successfully delivered what would be the first five years of N100.
- We had five successive winners (UCIC, Qoints, Linkitz, PinPress and Ambience Data) each coming away with a $100,000 N100 convertible note, and a ton of well-deserved recognition.
- With the support of FedDev Ontario, we provided a total of $569,500 in non-repayable performance-based matching funding contributions to 21 startups that were pre-qualified for our N1M initiative by reaching the N100 Finals (including startups from SEB, the pilot version of the program).
- Each year, N100 Finalists benefited from free software licenses, thanks to our amazing sponsors: MathWorks and Budgeto.
- Blake Witkin from AIO, David Pamenter from NACO and UOIT, Paul Godin from Two Rings Media DeltaV, Shirley Speakman from Cycle Capital, Doug Armstrong and Pauline Walsh from NRC-IRAP, Jodi Glover from Real Tech, David Shrier from MIT, all volunteered their valuable time and expertise (from one to five years) as members of the N100 Power Panel.
- With over 25 volunteer experts and advisors, we held 15 full-day workshops (including the intensive 3-day N100 Pitch School series with Two Rings Media DeltaV and the Impact Centre), 5 pitch competitions, 10 board room skills workshops and investment proposal simulations, 25 follow-up one-on-one mentoring sessions with the N100 Power Panel, and we gave detailed feedback, brokered industry connections and provided venture catalyst support to over 50 of Southern Ontario’s most promising up-and-coming technology startups. Huge thanks to: Alison Burgess, Joe Miller and Kamiel Gabriel from UOIT, Brittany Ugolini from Sampler, Tony Orsi from Bereskin & Parr, Astrum Nanji from LUX Equity, Richard McAloney and the team from The Impact Centre at the U of T, Sherry Colbourne and the team from Spark Centre, Szanne McNutt from the Province of Ontario (MEDG, MRIS) and Jim Moskos and the guys from Two Rings Media.
- N100 has appeared in the pages of major tech and startup publications including BetaKit and TechCrunch.
- The Qoints N100 Startup BBQ has become the major tech social event in Northumberland.
- Youth in Northumberland have benefitted from new opportunities to gain experience in the startup world: N100 winners have hired 4 young people locally, while 6 post-secondary students from Northumberland have completed the N100 Venture Analyst internship, gaining valuable experience in entrepreneurial finance. They have gone on to positions at the Ontario Securities Commission, KPMG, Reckitt Benckiser, Qoints, and Gardiner Roberts LLP. We are looking forward to building on this momentum as we expand our job creation and business impacts at Venture13 next year.
- Our extended team for N100 programming over the first five years included support from: John Charlton Web Design, Jeannette Breward, Willow Publishing, Northumberland Manufacturers’ Association, Pixelnomial Studios, Thomas Efraim LLP, CCO Productions, Tromley Computer Services, Cameco Capital Arts Centre, The Concert Hall at Victoria Hall, Ganaraska Forest Centre, Port Hope Chamber of Commerce, Sugar Dust Bakery, Sper Foods, Bonnie Mactavish, Kate Hunter, Maciej Bartosz Łącki, Bob Stratton, and many more. Thank you, all.
We are now gearing up for the next five years and beyond, and significant changes are coming. N100 will emerge bigger and better than ever. All of the exciting details will be released on May 17, 2018, which will be one year since the fifth annual N100 Pitch Contest was held at Victoria Hall in Cobourg—the day our MP for Northumberland-Peterborough South, Kim Rudd, announced funding from the Government of Canada for the creation of a 30,000 sq. ft. technology and entrepreneurship centre. Once construction of the Venture13 facility is complete, it will become N100’s permanent home. We are looking forward to the next stage of development of N100 at V13.
Many of you have been emailing me and asking why the timeline for N100 2018 was pushed forward this year. Normally the call for applications goes out in January, with applications due in March. This year, quite simply, we pushed the timeline forward because we wanted to hold all of our N100 workshops and events at Venture13.
Venture13 addresses an element that was missing from our initial attraction strategy. We needed a strong locational value proposition and immediate soft landing for technology startups that wanted to establish operations with us, and specifically, to co-locate with Northumberland CFDC in a dynamic, innovation-oriented space. Further, we wanted that offering to be unique in the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Southern Ontario. This vision took shape in V13 and its strong combination of a MakerLab for prototyping, engineering and microfactory production, an Innovation Commons, 24/7 secure access, fibre connection, a web-based, automated platform and a flexible co-working space alongside Northumberland CFDC and our innovation partners: the Town of Cobourg, Northumberland Manufacturers’ Association, Fleming College, Northumberland Makers, The Impact Centre at the U of T, UOIT, Spark Centre, OCE, BDC, and many more.
In short, we are excited to have you with us for the evolution of our startup competition. The countdown to N100 2018 is officially on.
Nil volentibus arduum.
~John Hayden, for the N100 team.