YORK LINK TECHNOLOGY INTERVIEW SERIES
This is the first year that Collision, North America’s fastest growing tech conference, is being held in Toronto, Canada. The 3-day event is expected to attract over 25,000 people. The York Link team is excited to bring the #YRtech Experience Pavilion to #CollisionConf 2019 in Toronto! Eight companies and four major innovation partners, plus a few innovation startups from across the Region will be showcasing their technology and even recruiting tech talent along the way. York Region has a thriving tech community with over 4,300 tech companies, the second largest tech cluster in the Toronto area and Canada.
In our lead-up to Collision, we spoke with the York Entrepreneurship Development Institute (YEDI) about their presence at Collision and the startups joining them, what they are looking to accomplish at the conference, plus what it’s like to participate in York Region’s largest collaboration of tech companies and innovation partners. Here’s what they had to say…
Can you talk a little about how YEDI supports the local tech start-up community in York Region? And the type of start-ups and technology you see coming through your programs?
YEDI is a world-ranked university-linked business accelerator, academic institute and charitable organization. Our mission is to provide top-tier business education and mentorship to innovative entrepreneurs from any sector or industry in order to build and accelerate successful businesses and efficient not-for-profit organizations. YEDI is committed to ensuring that ideas with high impact are not lost due to lack of knowledge during the start-up process.
YEDI guides innovators to refine their ideas and create tested proof of concepts that are attractive to investors and will benefit Canadian and global society. Serving York Region, Toronto and internationally-based ventures, YEDI presents programs and guided processes for its participants, including lecture-based learning, seminar training, deliverable milestones, peer workshops, and mentorship by subject matter experts. YEDI offers an array of programs innovators from any sector. For-profit ventures located in Canada have the option of participating in YEDI’s Incubator Program, while not-for-profit organizations have a designated Not-For-Profit Program.
YEDI is also a designated entity under the Government of Canada’s Start-Up Visa Program and is able to provide a path to permanent residency to international entrepreneurs seeking to establish or expand their business in Canada. Once selected entrepreneurs complete their immigration to Canada, YEDI supports their growth and development through its extensive network and resources.
In addition to formal programming, YEDI also offers funding in the form of seed grants and investment through the YEDI VC Fund which helps early stage entrepreneurs fill the crucial funding gap between program graduation and a series A round.
Many of YEDI’s tech startups graduate from both the Incubator and International Start-Up Programs. Graduates of all of YEDI’s programs become a part of the alumni network where they are able to access YEDI’s resources, consult with program advisors and attend YEDI events. For example, in the coming month, YEDI is hosting a Negotiations workshop for alumni in partnership with Clausehound, where participants will sharpen their negotiation and legal skills in relation to the Shareholders’ Agreement. YEDI alumni are continuously supported in their endeavours, and have the ability to connect with YEDI’s diverse and welcoming group of community partners.
This is the first year that Collision Conference – North America’s fastest growing tech conference – is being held in Toronto, Canada. What are YEDI’s main objectives for participating at Collision? Who do you hope to connect with and why?
As a designated entity under the Government of Canada Start-Up Visa Program, YEDI works with entrepreneurs all around the world and we are hoping to connect with entrepreneurs looking to bring or launch their business in Canada. Our goal as an institute is to seek global entrepreneurial talent and prepare them for their transition to the Canadian market. Many of our most most unique tech innovations come from international entrepreneurs.
Likewise, we are hoping to meet innovative Canadian entrepreneurs across industries who are looking to bring their ideas to market or expand an existing business. We have a unique opportunity for attendees to receive a free 15-minute business consultation with our Program Advisors throughout the conference.
Lastly, we are excited to interact with our fellow ecosystem members, develop new partnerships and collaborations to advance the overall ecosystem in Toronto and Canada.
YEDI is bringing a number of exciting startup clients to Collision to help them showcase their technologies. Can you talk about some of your start-up clients participating at Collision and how you are helping them at the conference?
We are proud to have a dedicated start-up island where 8 of our alumni will display their innovation progress. The participating ventures are graduates of various programs including the Incubator program, Youth program and International Start-Up program. Several of the ventures showcased are successful start-up visa recipients who are now permanent residents in Canada.
Sergii Iagniuk of APPTED is a great example of an international entrepreneur who was looking to expand their business into the Canada market and is now a Permanent Resident through the Start-Up Visa Program.
APPTED is an innovative mobile app that saves time and improves efficiency while learning a new language. It allows new immigrants and those learning a new language to use existing materials such as work documents, forms, PDF files etc. to read materials, translate texts as you go while learning new vocabulary by saving unknown phrases along with the context they were met in, to custom user dictionaries and then practice the saved vocabulary in different learning modes.
The commercial value of the offering is the delivery of a relevant and context dependent learning experience, something that is not offered in similar products. Users are able to build subject area specific (business and industry related) or grammar topic-specific dictionaries (e.g. irregular verbs, etc) for the language pairs that are of interest to them.
Learning mode would involve Artificial Intelligence and machine learning to take into account user profiles and their specific Personal Active Vocabulary (PAV) and Personal Passive Vocabulary (PPV). Immigrants are able to quickly and efficiently integrate into the workforce and as a result, increase employment among immigrants and those who are not native speakers.
As previously mentioned, we are also offering exclusive 15-minute consultation sessions with our expert advisors to assist international and local entrepreneurs.
YEDI is one of 15 selected partners within York Region’s #YRtech Experience Pavilion. Why is collective collaboration like this important in supporting the tech local community?
A key piece of advice we always share with entrepreneurs is that collaboration is key and partnership is the best market entry strategy. Since its inception, YEDI has grown tremendously, and collective collaboration with the local tech and start-up community is the backbone of this growth. YEDI’s goal is to support local and global entrepreneurs, but that could not be done without the support of government partners such as York Region, other support organizations and scale-up companies. Supporting one another in business communities is what helps lead to the success of the many amazing and innovative start-ups that originate in York Region and beyond.
YEDI in particular is proud to be able to be an international arm to the collective collaboration within the local tech community. Global entrepreneurial talent is key to the continuing growth and success of our community, and YEDI proudly assists international entrepreneurs alongside our amazing community partners. YEDI hopes to work with the other 14 partners within York Region’s #YRtech Experience Pavilion to support innovative spirit in the community, and to attract and encourage international ventures to become a part of this amazing network.
Haven’t purchased your tickets to Collision Conference yet? Head to our #YRtech Experience Pavilion page to find out how you can save on your ticket purchase!
For more Collision Conference details: www.collisionconf.com