Image credit: Matt Van der Velde’s photo of one of my favourite places in Renfrew: a First Nations sacred site and natural lookout atop the Eagle’s Nest. Visit 3rdEye Photo for more images.


I’m really very excited to let you know that our friends from Renfrew County CFDC have officially launched their own version of the N100 startup competition (click here to read the media release)! Dubbed: the RC100, Renfrew has thrown down the gauntlet to technology startups that can have a presence and impact in Renfrew County. As in N100, startups will compete for a $100K convertible note that will vault them onto a venture capital track and get them moving with critical early stage support. Click here to check out the all new RC100.

I have so much to say about this. First, our family tradition has long been to spend a week in late summer on the shores of Calabogie Lake. This article in the Ottawa Business Journal does a great job of explaining why it is also such an fantastic place to launch and grow your business—even a technology company. Here’s a nice excerpt:

“Some people define work-life balance as desperately trying to carve leisure time out of their day-to-day grind. In contrast, many Renfrew County residents spend their weekdays at highly engaging careers where they apply their skills by finding creative solutions to real-world problems. And, once the workday is over, the area’s outdoor lifestyle awaits with activities that include paddling the Ottawa River, cycling on scenic country roads or through forest paths as well as tackling ski hills and trails in the winter months.” So true. Being metro-adjacent along the Ottawa River, close to Canada’s National Capital Region, Renfrew County is 7,645 square kilometres with 900 lakes and 4 major river systems. It is a striking part of Ontario with amazing people and creative industries—some historic and others emerging, like craft bear and eco-tourism. You will find expertise in Aerospace, Wood Products, Renewable Energy, Defense and Security, Metals and Machining, Advanced Manufacturing and Agri-business, as mentioned on RC100’s new website. Last year I met many of the innovative industry and manufacturing leaders through the local EMC chapter. I’ve also visited and learned from the Renfrew Industrial Commission.

More on RC100: I am also proud to report that our N100 software sponsors MathWorks and Budgeto are also supporting the RC100, alongside Invest Ottawa, BDC, SRB Technologies Canada, Algonquin College, Edwards PC Creative Law, and many more who recognize the important of driving innovation and next generation entrepreneurship. Under the leadership of Executive Director Diane McKinnon and her team at Renfrew County CFDC, including Mike Thompson, I have no doubt that RC100 will strengthen the chain of innovation running across Eastern Ontario (and not just in urban centres, but in metro-adjacent, rural and small town communities as well).

On behalf of everyone at Northumberland CFDC, I’d like to wish Renfrew CFDC every best success with the inaugural year of RC100! Looks like I’ll have a frontline view of the action as I was asked to participate as part of the RC100 judging panel for 2018, along with Ryan McCartney (BDC Communitech), R&D technologist, inventor, entrepreneur and angel investor, Kirk Dobbs, and Stephane Levesque (SRB Technologies Canada) who is also a member of Northumberland CFDC’s Collaborative Innovation Panel—a group which played a summative role in recently deploying $6 million in co-investment in innovation capital across rural Eastern Ontario, with the support of FedDev Ontario and the Government of Canada.

Finally, RC100 will run on the previous/usual N100 timeline (March deadline, three competitive rounds, and the winner announced in the summer). Meanwhile, our N100 call for applications this year will go out in May with the deadline in July and the winner announced in November.

You can apply now for RC100.

The rural renaissance is alive in Eastern Ontario!

See you in Renfrew,

~John Hayden, for the N100 Team.