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Innovation + Job News

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Who's hiring in Toronto? Videogami, Make-A-Wish Canada and Mercy for Animals

Some of the more interesting employment opportunities we've spotted this week include:

Videogami, a Toronto-based live streaming startup, is adding an associate producer to its team. This role involves being a liaison between the company's production team and its clients, ensuring that client needs are met. Videogami says its ideal candidate is someone with at least one year of production crew experience. Additionally, it says they would like someone that has experience creating successful social media campaigns on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram. Those interested in applying for this position should send an email to jobs (at) videogami (dot co).

Make-A-Wish Canada, the organization most famous for finding innovative ways to grant the wishes of very sick children, is hiring an online marketing and communications officer. The role involves managing the organization's national strategy, ensuring that its web and social media presence is maintained and expanded. Make-A-Wish's ideal candidate is someone with three plus years of experience in the public relations or online marketing field. The deadline to apply is April 24.  

Finally, for anyone wanting a drastic career change, Mercy For Animals is hiring multiple undercover animal cruelty investigators. It's important to know what one is getting into when they apply for a job like this, as this is not something that is for everyone: "MFA investigators must make quick, but tough, decisions as to the best courses of action for the animals confined, neglected, tormented, or killed before them, while abiding by all laws, ensuring their personal safety, keeping their cover, and compiling the evidence necessary to hold animal abusers accountable." 

Those still interested in the position after that warning should send their resume and cover letter in an email to Jane Stone at animalinvestigations (at) gmail (dot com). Previous investigative experience is not required. Instead, individuals that posses honesty and integrity, as well as the ability to perform demanding manual labour, will be hired. The latter requirement is presumably there because a lot of the job will involve pretending to be a farm labourer. 

Do you know of a job opportunity with an innovative company or organization? Let us know!

Level Up showcases growing Toronto game development community

It's the Thursday before the Easter long weekend, and King and Bay, usually home to a variety of suits, is host to a different crowd. 

Level Up, a showcase of student-created videogames, is happening at the Design Exchange. Some 80 games are being showcased by students from 16 different universities and colleges. Almost every imaginable genre of game is on display. 

But perhaps for the first time in its history, it's not the number of games that's impressive, but their quality. With a bit more content and polish, the majority of projects on display here could be sold on a digital distribution platform like Steam.     

"We had to develop a different set of expectations this year because we noticed a huge improvement in quality," says Scott Lee, the art director at Ubisoft Toronto, a local game developer, and one of the event's judges. 

The event has grown, and so too have the number of schools attending it. Now in its fifth year, an exhibition that used to take up one floor of the Design Exchange now takes up several.

Game creation has become a serious business in Ontario, and nowhere is that more apparent than in its capital city. According to the Entertainment Software Association of Canada, an industry lobby group, there are 329 video game development companies in Canada, and in 2013 they cumulatively contributed $2.3-billion to the nation's GDP. 

Game development is also one of the few high tech industries keeping young people in province.    

The company Lee works for is just one of the companies at the event on the lookout for local talent. Ubisoft Toronto is set to grow to 800 strong by 2020. To accomplish that target, the company has focused its efforts on recruiting young people coming out of Ontario's game development programs. 

"We need to hire young people and we need to train them," says Lee. "It’s the only way we can match the numbers we've set for ourselves."

According to Lee, several of the students he's hired in the past have gone to become integral to his team.

Not bad for something that started out as a hobby most of the students here had to justify to their parents.  

Photo: Steve Engels

UofT engineering students attempt to solve Toronto's challenges

"It’s great that engineers are being seen as people who not only react to opportunities, but as ones who are proactive and seek them," says Jason Foster, a senior lecturer at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Engineering, with a hint of pride. 

He has good reason to be proud. Three hundred of his first year students are showing off the result of several weeks of hard work at UofT's Hart House. It's all part of the university's Engineering Design program, a project-based course that asks students to apply the skills they're learning to real-world problems. 

"We asked our students to explore what is for many of them a new city, to engage with a community that they themselves are interested and passionate in—or know nothing about—and then to identity an opportunity," says Foster. "We very deliberately asked them for opportunities, not problems, because we want them to be more open and forward looking."

Foster's students identified 65 opportunities. With his help, along with that of his colleagues, the students narrowed down the fields to 11 projects. They then split up into groups and worked on the project they felt most passionate about. One of the more interesting projects saw one of the groups collaborate with the West End Food Co-op to develop a new low-cost delivery system to bring fresh produce to those living in the Parkdale community. 

For the most part, the designs here are still early—after all, most of the students here have less than a year of engineering experience under their belt—but that hasn't stopped students in past years from attempting to realize their ideas. 

According to Foster, a previous year saw one group work on redesigning the City of Toronto's green bin. A representative from the city was present at that year's showcase, and noted the changes the students suggested.  

"We’re still working on closing that loop to get these solutions into the hands of communities," says Foster. "Now that our students have demonstrated that they're really engaged with the community, we’d like to make sure these communities have a channel to take what the students have started and pursue it in greater depth."  

Photo: Roberta Baker

Who's hiring in Toronto? Toronto International Film Festival, Toronto Star and more...

Some of the more interesting employment opportunities we've spotted this week include:

The Toronto Star is looking for a digital designer to join its design team. The role involves helping the paper produce the kind of interactive long-form features that websites like Vox, Fusion and Motherboard are known for. The daily's ideal candidate is someone that has strong programming and design skills, and has a passion and understanding for journalism. The Star's posting on the Ladies Learning Code job board doesn't mention a specific deadline.    

Moving on, the Toronto International Film Festival is hiring for its newly minted community engagement team. They're adding a team leader and multiple team representatives. Both positions are part-time roles that involve a lot of pounding the pavement and engaging with people in a friendly and enthusiastic manner. The deadline to apply for both positions is April 6. 

Also on the culture front, Ontario Culture Days, an organization that pus together several weekend-long cultural events across the province, is hiring a fundraising associate. It goes without saying that much of this role involves helping the organization add to and diversify its fundraising portfolio—though there's also a documentation and reporting aspect to the position, as well. Ontario Culture Days is looking for someone with five plus years in the not-for-profit sector. The deadline to apply for this position is April 10. 

Finally, Ryerson University is hiring an intermediate distributed systems specialist. The person that takes on this role will help develop, design, test and support web and media systems that will enhance the learning of the university's students. Ryerson is looking for someone that has at least three years of experience building and modifying similar systems. Check out the school's positing on the Ladies Learning Code job board to get a better sense of the specific system and programming language knowledge Ryerson is looking for in its candidates.    

Do you know of a job opportunity with an innovative company or organization? Let us know!

BDC sets aside $700 million to fund women-owned businesses

Over the next three years, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will set aside $700 million to fund women-owned businesses as a part of a new initiative.   

The plan was announced by Dr K. Kellie Leitch, Canada's Minister of Labour and Status of Women, at last week's Women Entrepreneurs Forum in Ottawa. 

According to the BDC, the money will help provide loans to some 300 to 400 female-owned businesses. This is in addition to support the BDC already provides with its other programs.  

"The health and long-term success of women-owned businesses is critical to Canada's economic prosperity," said Jean-René Halde, the president and chief executive officer of the BDC. "BDC will ensure that additional financial and ongoing support for this growing market segment is made available."

In 2011, the Royal Bank of Canada estimated that woman-owned businesses contributed some $148 billion to the Canadian economy. According to its forecasts, a 10 per cent increase in the number of women owned business over the next ten years will increase that contribution to $198 billion.  

Source: Government of Canada

Ontario Trillium Foundation helps fund 30 new youth focused projects across Toronto

On March 25, the Ontario Trillium Foundation announced the second round of funding for its Youth Opportunities Fund. 

All told, some 30 Toronto-based community organizations found out that they will receive significant capital investments through the program.    

"The Youth Opportunities Fund invests in innovative initiatives that allow young people to build, and benefit from, secure social networks that include strong and supportive friends and families," said Gabrielle Gallant, a spokesperson for the Ontario Trillium Foundation. "The YOF aims to create and sustain opportunities for youth to be engaged in and lead initiatives that strengthen their communities."

One of the groups to receive funding through the YOF was the East Scarborough Storefront, an organization that is focused on building an ecosystem of youth programs in the Kingston Galloway and Orton Park community.  

The group is set to receive $670,000 over the next three years.  

According to the Ontario Trillium Foundation, East Scarborough Storefront will use the funds to hire youth coordinators whose mission will be to develop and deliver four new projects within the community. 

"We’re investing in the individual youth leaders as well as the amazing impact they can have on their communities and peers," said Gallant. "Our goal at OTF is to build healthy and vibrant communities across the province and that certainly includes Toronto.  Through investments in youth mentorship programs and leadership opportunities, we ensure that marginalized young people in the city have the opportunities to participate." 

Source: Ontario Trillium Foundation 

New pan-Canadian incubator launches with major local partners

On Monday, the federal government announced that it was making new a five year, $10.7 million investment into the creation of new pan-Canadian incubator led by Ryerson University. 

The downtown university will join the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) and Simon Fraser University (SFU) to create so-called Zones of Innovation and Incubation (ZI2).     

"The principle focus of the network will be on leveraging research from all three universities to promote commercialization, creation of new companies and jobs," said Wendy Cukier, Ryerson University's vice president of research and innovation. "But we’re also extremely committed to driving innovation within existing companies and organizations."

According to Cukier, the incubators will be focused on digital technology and gaming.

"When we’re talking about things like gaming, we’re not just talking about games for entertainment: we’re talking about games for education, for enhancing healthcare and for training more broadly," she said. "The potential of the technologies that are being tested, commercialized and spun off to transform a number of sectors—healthcare, financial services, entertainment and manufacturing—is quite significant." 

Cukier believes that the network could have a transformative effect on the city. 

"Toronto has an ambitions to be one the leading centres of innovation in North America, and indeed there is a lot of data that suggests that it already is in terms of startups," said Cukier. "But I think this also strengthens Toronto’s ambition to be an intelligent, digitally-enabled city. This initiative will not only help sharpen the focus on our digital innovation corridor, but also result in the development of new approaches that could potentially be transformative." 

Source: Ryerson University

Who's hiring in Toronto? HarperCollins, Toronto Community Housing, Spoke Club and more...

Book publisher HarperCollins is hiring a publicist on a one year contract. The company is looking for an outgoing individual who has two to three years of experience in the public relations field. Important day-to-day duties include contacting media outlets to secure reviews and interviews, as well as assisting in the planning and execution of any publicity tours the publisher's author may need to embark upon. Interested applicants should apply by emailing dianne(dot)aquilina(at)hapercollins(dot com).  

Toronto Community Housing has a one-year maternity leave position open in its media and public relations department. Responsibilities associated with this director position involve managing all the day-to-day media interactions TCHC and its subsidiaries need to engage in. As this is a senior position, the organization is looking for someone with at least eight years of relevant experience. Applications should be submitted by April 1.  

The Spoke Club is seeking an administrative assistant to help within its membership department. This is an entry-level position that will see the individual that takes on the role assist the club's membership manager with data entry and day-to-day administrative and clerical duties. The club is looking for someone with one to three years of prior administrative experience. Additionally, they would like someone that possesses the usual qualities associated with good administrators—excellent time management skills, strong oral and written skills as well as good research skills. The deadline to apply is March 30.  

Finally, on the tech side of things, retail intelligence startup Askuity is looking to add multiple members to its team. They're hiring an inside sales account director, a technical consultant and a customer success manager. Check out the postings to get an exact feel for each position. The company's office is located near Spadina and Adelaide, and they recently secured a $1.8-million Seed round. The deadline to apply for all three positions is the 31st of this month. 

Do you know of a job opportunity with an innovative company or organization? Let us know!

Provincial government creates new advisory committee for community hubs

The provincial government is attempting to put a new focus on Ontario's communities. 

On Friday, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that she had formed a new Community Hub Framework Advisory Group, and that she had appointed its first advisor. Karen Pitre, a former executive with Metrolinx and the Toronto District School Board, was announced as the committee's chair. Additional advisors will be named to the group over the next couple of weeks, according to the government.   

The mandate of the group is to advise the Liberals on how to turn existing public assets into community hubs.  

The provincial government defines a community hub as a public space that helps deliver educational, health and social services. The government will consult with Ontarians and foster partnerships with community organizations as it tries to find the best way to deliver its services to children, youth and seniors.
 "The work of the advisory group will do so much to inform our government’s approach to establishing community hubs," said Premier Wynne. "We want Ontario to be the best place to work, live and raise a family, and community hubs are a part of that vision.”  

Source: Government of Ontario

Ontario to start issuing new high-tech birth certificates

Ontario's birth certificate is about to enter into the 21st century.

Like Canada's recently-reworked bank notes, the upcoming refresh of the province's birth certificate will take advantage of high-tech polymers and innovative new security features to create a document that is supposed to be both more durable and more difficult to counterfeit. Some of those new security features include print that is raised and colour-shifting images.

According to the provincial government, the new certificate should “last a lifetime” under normal circumstances, which is probably a good thing since the government issues some 200,000 birth certificates each year. Children born on and after April 15, 2015 will be the first to receive the new certificates. For those that are old enough to be able to read this article, there's no need to replace your current birth certificate; all existing birth certificates will continue to be valid.

“I am always looking for ways our government can help make everyday life easier for Ontarians, and these new polymer birth certificates do just that,” said Premier Kathleen Wynne in the press release that followed the annoucement. “Having a safe and durable birth certificate will provide more security and help protect people from fraud and identify theft.”

Source: Government of Ontario

Who's hiring in Toronto? War Child Canada, FreshBooks, OneEleven and more...

Some of the more interesting employment opportunities we've spotted this week include:

Toronto accounting startup Freshbooks is hiring across several positions. They're looking to add a director of business intelligence, a systems administrator, a director of development, a software development team lead, a senior software developer, a creative director and a senior UX designer to their team. The company raised a $30-million Series A round last summer and moved into a fancy new office located at 1655 Dupont St.

OneEleven is hiring a new community manager. According to its posting, the Richmond Street startup accelerator is looking for someone who “cares deeply” about Canada's tech community, is a self-starter and has an entrepreneurial mindset. As for responsibilities, some of the more interesting duties include conducting tours of the its office and putting together events. The deadline to apply is April 4.

War Child Canada is looking for marketing manager. The organization's ideal candidate is someone with three to five years of marketing experience. Additionally, being well-versed in the best practices specific to different social media platforms is important. Responsibilities are split between creating creative content and branding, managing marketing and advertising campaigns, and leading the organization's digital marketing and social media efforts. Applications must be submitted by March 20.

Finally, for all the masochists out there, the Ripley's Aquarium is hiring a birthday and events coordinator. Help the aquarium book birthday parties, weekly weekend parties, assist in training staff, and conducting site tours, all for a modest $13 an hour. The deadline to apply for March 22.

Do you know of a job opportunity with an innovative company or organization? Let us know!

Square Inc. acquires Toronto-based Kili Technology

A Toronto company is joining one of Silicon Valley's hottest startups.

On March 11, mobile-payment startup Square Inc. announced that it had acquired Kili Technology for an undisclosed amount. The North York-based company specializes in creating point-of-sale and payment-processing hardware.

“They have an experienced technology team who, like our sellers, are relentless innovators and never satisfied,” said Jesse Dorogusker, Square's hardware lead, in a press release issued by the company. “Together we’ll continue to lead the way in delivering simple and affordable hardware that gives our sellers a smarter and safer way to do business.”

The Kili team will remain in Toronto; the space they were working from will start to serve as Square's second Canadian office. Square opened its first Canadian office in Kitchener-Waterloo last year.

Square was co-founded by Jim McKelvey and Jack Dorsey in 2009. The latter is best known as the creator of Twitter.

Source: Square

Who's hiring in Toronto? The Drake Hotel, Top Drawer Creative and Automattic...

Some of the more interesting employment opportunities we've spotted this week include:

The Drake Hotel is hiring a public relations manager on a 12-month contract to help the hotel while its current PR manager is away on maternity leave. The person that takes on this role will be responsible for continuing and building upon the Drake's already in place PR initiatives. According to the job positing on its website, three years of publicity experience is required to be considered for the position, and those with public relations experience in the hospitality, food and beverage or nightlight industries will be preferred. The deadline to apply is March 20.  

Top Drawer Creative, a local ad agency that focuses on working with companies that have a social good aspect to their business, is seeking to fill multiple positions. The firm is hiring a content and community manager, an account executive, and a communications manager. The deadline to apply for the first two positions is this Friday; the deadline for the third position is April 5.   

Mobile developers that would like to ply their trade for a slightly different organization are in luck. The Ontario Institute for Cancer Research is looking for a mobile web developer to help create front-end webpages for the organization's researchers. Experience working with the iOS and Android SDKs are required (sorry, Windows Phone evangelists). Additionally, experience working with JavaScript libraries like Mantle and JQuery Mobile is also a must. There's no definitive deadline on this one; the OICR will keep the positing up until it fills the position.  

Lastly, Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, is hiring across multiple positions. All told, they're looking to fill 14 positions. If the prospect of never having to wear another a pair of pants to work is appealing to you, then check out the company's job board; although Automattic was started in San Francisco, its more than 300 current employees all work from home, and are located in 36 different countries.   

Do you know of a job opportunity with an innovative company or organization? Let us know!

Ryerson Digital Media Zone and MasterCard launch Women in Entrepreneurship program

On March 8th, International Women's Day, the Ryerson Digital Media Zone (DMZ), in partnership with MasterCard's YES: Youth in Entrepreneurial Success initiative, started accepting applications to its new Women in Entrepreneurship program. The program will see six female-led startups admitted into the DMZ where they will be able to work on their company. 

Each startup will also receive $5,000 in cash, as well as $5,000 to go toward their stay at the DMZ. According to Valerie Fox, the Digital Media Zone's executive director, the six startups that enter the DMZ through the program will receive all of the services the accelerator has to offer, including the ability to take part in the events and workshops that are held there, as well as access to its network of mentors and investors. 

As for the criteria the DMZ will use to select the startups, Fox says its the same one the accelerator already has in place for other companies. “We’re looking for people that are highly innovative, passionate and that are going to push the envelope," she says. "But we’re also looking for people that are collaborative and that are going to give back to the community as much as they receive from it.” 

Additionally, according to the press release the DMZ sent out to announce the program, the accelerator is particularly interested in startups that specialize in the areas of electronic payments, e-commerce, loyalty points, cyber security or financial security.

The initiative is, of course, aimed at helping address tech longstanding gender issue. "We live in a diverse world. You need women, as well as men," says Fox. "Does it have to be 50/50? I don’t believe so, but I do believe that getting more women involved is important; giving women the opportunity to be entrepreneurial is beneficial to everyone." 

Startups that are interested in the program—and meet its requirements—can apply on the Digital Media Zone's website. The deadline to apply is April 6. 

Source: Digital Media Zone
Photo: Mark Blinch

Led by ChipCare, three Toronto startups secure significant investment

It was a good week for Toronto's startup ecosystem as three of the city's startups announced that they had secured significant outside investment. 

On Wednesday, Pressly, a company that's responsible for a unique content curation and marketing platform, sent out a press release that said it had completed a $2.1 million Series A round. Similarly on the same day, Vanhawks, which wowed the Kickstarter community with its futuristic, smartphone connected Valour bike last year, announced that it had secured a $1.6 million seed round. 

The biggest catch, however, was accomplished by ChipCare, a University of Toronto-based healthcare startup. The company announced last week that it had closed a $5 million Series A round. The company's upcoming product, a portable device that monitors the concentration of t-cells in a HIV patient for a fraction of the cost of traditional diagnostic methods, was so impressive to investors that the company was able to raise more money than it had intended to do so.    

According to James Fraser, ChipCare's CEO, the cash his company has just secured will go towards completing work on their initial HIV scanner and to take the scanner through verification and clinical trails. He says the company hopes to start shipping in the second half of 2016. He also adds that they have plans to build a scanner than can track and monitor other diseases such as malaria.   

"We’re a small UofT startup and, while we’re gaining momentum, we wouldn’t gotten here without the support of Grand Challenges Canada and the Ontario government through the Ontario Centres of Excellence," says Fraser. "Both the federal and provincial government, the University of Toronto and MaRS Innovation are working really hard to help build an ecosystem of innovation here. I think they deserve kudos" 

Source: MaRS
Photo: ChipCare
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