On Wednesday morning, the TIM and Lead to Win team hopped in the car for a mini road trip and headed to Cornwall. After a rainy car ride, and battling some allergies, we arrived with plenty of time to help set up for the first Venture Demo Day at the Cornwall Innovation Centre.
Everyone was cool, calm, and collected, the projector worked well, the presentations were formatted, everyone found their way through the Nav Centre (which can be a challenge on its own), we could not have asked for the day to run any smoother.
For anyone who does not know the Venture Demo Day/ Opportunity Review process, all ventures and reviewers are gathered in a room early afternoon and provided with some information about Lead To Win, and what to expect from the pitch. After the presentation, the reviewers stay in the room, and companies move elsewhere, waiting for their turn to pitch. One by one, they take a turn in front of the review panel, with 10 minutes to sell themselves before getting grilled with questions. At the end of the day, companies are given general feedback by the reviewers. Companies later receive a personal email with the rating on their pitch (Red, Yellow, and Green are the possible ratings; kind of like a traffic light system) and specific feedback from the reviewers. All companies should have a technical aspect, and be striving towards $1 million in revenue within 3 years of business.
Six companies pitched their business ideas to a panel of reviewers and 3 managed to come out with a Green rating on their first attempt. The Green rating gets the company into the incubator at the Cornwall Innovation Centre. While the pitches took place, we got an opportunity to mingle with everyone anxiously waiting for their turn.
There are many days in my job that I am surrounded by techies, and listening to discussions about open source and proprietary software, different programming language, cybersecurity, and the list goes on. As a non-techie, this can be a challenge, but after 4 years, I have picked up enough knowledge, and can actively participate in the techie talk in most scenarios. On a day like today, while fighting terrible allergies, trying to prove that I can hold a conversation in a room full of technical people, was not successful. I did manage to hold the coughing at bay long enough to speak with the communications team, and provide some insight into how Lead To Win and TIM are connected in Ottawa.
All in all, I think it is safe to say that the first Venture Demo Day at the Cornwall Innovation Centre was a success. Next on my agenda is trying to win the fight against allergies in the midst of year end reporting and admissions for Fall.