Meetup #97: Blockchain – Changing The World Around Us

“The blockchain is an incorruptible digital ledger of economic transactions that can be programmed to record not just financial transactions but virtually everything of value.” – Don Tapscott.

Blockchain technology has been hailed as everything from the renaissance of money to the new internet. Early adopters are looking for ways to apply the technology, with use cases currently focused on financial services at the industry level, and even in terms of new forms of governance at the discipline level. This meetup aims to present an overview of this fascinating technology. Continue reading

IoT Peer2Peer Planning Session

Shape the future of the Internet of Things Peer2Peer
group by joining the discussion on Friday September 8, 2017
from 9:00 am to 10:30 am. Use the opportunity to discuss the scope
of the group and get your ideas heard!

2017 Halton Futures


Please mark your calendars and save the date to attend the 2017 Halton Futures Innovation Summit on October 17 at the Oakville Conference Centre. The advancement of technology is affecting the delivery of healthcare services and addressing complex problems with innovative solutions. Continue reading

The Rise of Robotics & Automation in the Supply Chain

One of the biggest challenges facing the logistics industry today is labor availability. It’s not easy for companies around the world to find enough high-quality employees to move goods from suppliers to customers.

Two competing factors are making this especially difficult: The first is an increasing need for more logistics workers and this is being driven by the e-commerce revolution and its need for more parcel shipments; the second is a decline in the size of the available workforce. Up until now, robotics technology has not made a large impact in the world of logistics.

Join us on January 19th at 8:00 am and learn about how this is changing as advanced robots enter our warehouses, sorting centers, and even help with final-mile delivery. Logistics workers will benefit from collaborating with robots, while customers will see faster service and higher quality.

Venture 40+: Aspiring Entrepreneurs

Are you, too old to hire…too young to retire, unemployed, under employed or exploring what to do in your next chapter?  Come out and join us for a free seminar Thursday evening titled, Venture 40+: Aspiring Entrepreneurs. Mike Kennedy, positive aging coach and Huffington Post blogger, will be discussing why he believes that entrepreneurial start-ups are the best option for most who find themselves in these circumstances.

 

  • There is no ageism when you are the boss
  • Take back control of your life and career
  • Turn the table on an underfunded retirement

 

Please register in advance as seating is limited.

Why employees stay


Silicon Halton recently held one of their regular monthly meetups at Milton Education Village Education Centre. The evening’s theme was What Large Tech Companies Look For In Candidates Today – Panel Q&A. Ahead of this meetup, Silicon Halton published a 5-question survey. One question was:

Select the top two reasons why you remain with your current employer

The primary reason employees remain with their current employer is due to the type of work they do.

We surveyed 50 people (approx.) and asked them to select the top two reasons why they remain with their current employer. We learned that they find significant personal value in the type of work they do at the company. In far second place is the monetary benefits, followed closed by their Manager; we didn’t expect these last two reasons to trail the Type of Work by a magnitude of order.

In the tech sector, there is a lot of pressure and anxiety on employers to provide ever-increasing retention perks: gym memberships, foosball tables, free meals, Espresso Mondays or remote-working. Clearly however, the driving retention factor is ensuring your staff are doing fulfilling work, work they want to do.

The challenge with a “the type of work” retention strategy is it’s very individualized and doesn’t scale. It requires excellent people managers. Maybe Google has it right with their practice to deliberately take power and authority over employees away from managers. In the book Work Rules, written by the then VP HR, the common attributes by high scoring managers at Google are:

    1. Be a good coach
    2. Empower the Team and do not micromanage
    3. Express interest/concern for team members’ success and personal well-being
    4. Be very productive / results oriented
    5. Be a good communicator – listen and share information
    6. Help the team with career development
    7. Have a clear vision / strategy for the team
    8. Have important technical skills that help advise the team (least important, but  essential)

 

About Silicon Halton: The grassroots high tech community in Halton Region focused on Technology, Community, and Growth. They help tech professionals grow professionally, they help Tech companies grow their businesses. They do this via great meetups, pitch and demo nights, engaged Peer2Peer groups, workshops and a vibrant LinkedIn community. One example is the Sr. Human Resources Roundtable, helping senior HR Managers from large local tech companies make better quality decisions, faster.

 

About the Author: Rick Stomphorst is the President of SearchVelocity. SearchVelocity helps tech companies identify and hire A-players. SearchVelocity’s specialty is complex assignments, roles requiring multiple technologies, skills and/or business vertical knowledge. Rick brings 25+ years of broad experience working at software companies and IT professional consulting firms, more than half of these years as hiring management of technical staff. We can help you find the right people. Rick is also a proud co-founder of Silicon Halton.

 

Don’t Knock Yourself Out Over a Business Plan

As entrepreneurs, you are constantly expected to write business plans. However, there are many successful entrepreneurs who never got around to writing one. Why? Because they were too busy actually building and running the business, or saw it as a hurdle more than something that could strengthen the company, or they were able to engage their banks or investors in other ways.  Starting a company requires action.

 “The business plan simply does not provide a realistic picture of whether the proposed business will be successful.”

There is an alternative approach. For every heading in a conventional business plan, it is possible to take action instead that will take the business further more effectively. See the Full Article for a chart that illustrates this point.

Starting a business is like playing the violin. We cannot learn through reading and writing. We have to play and through continuous practice and trial and error become better and ultimately proficient.

The alternative to the business plan is to start a business, rather than write about it. The key is about focusing on what will actually make a difference to the business – and thereby also to banks and investors. This could include a good sales presentation, a website, media coverage, a good overview of finances, or commissioned client sales and a good team of owners and employees in the company. When these elements are in place, it is completely unnecessary to document what your ideas were.  The work is already done.

Entrepreneurs have always started businesses without a business plan. However, they have never done so without thinking and acting. What characterizes successful entrepreneurs is that they do not just have a good idea and a good plan. They get things done.

This blog condenses some the information and business advice found in an article on “Goodbye, Business Plan! – Starting a company requires action”.  It is taken with permission from a Series of Articles published by GrowthWheel with the goal of providing inspiration and ideas that start-up and growth companies can use.  The MEV Innovation Centre uses GrowthWheel as a visual tool to help companies develop, design and improve their businesses taking a 360 degree perspective.  It works as an alternative to the conventional business plan by helping start-ups and growth companies make decisions and take action.

The MEV Innovation Centre is a certified GrowthWheel business advisor. If you would like a full copy of the article and related worksheets, please send us an email at MEVInnovation@milton.ca. For more information on GrowthWheel or to schedule time with one of our business advisors, again send us an email

 

Don’t Beg – Take Control Of The Relationship With Your Bank

Let’s start with the perspective that the bank needs you as much as you need the bank.

“Banks live by lending money and they are constantly in competition with other banks to win new customers.”

A good place to start with respect to establishing a solid and long-lasting relationship is to understand how your bank manager thinks, feels and acts.  See the Full Article  The chart below shows examples of the questions a banker asks themselves regarding potential customers i.e. you the entrepreneur. These include such questions as: Does this investment make sense? How much capital do they really need? Can we trust the entrepreneur?

Click on the Chart to Enlarge

Click on the Chart to Enlarge

Appreciating the needs or your “partner” will help you to better position yourself and the “ask” of the bank.   Here are a few things that you can do to strengthen that position.

Always think and talk about investment and not expenditure.  A focus on investing will show that your are already expecting to make a return and build the business Also be prepared to discuss future investments so they will not come as a surprise to the bank and as a good way to demonstrate the entrepreneurial vision of the company.

Do a risk analysis of yourself which both identifies the risks that exist in the company, how likely they are to occur and countermeasures in the event that they occur.  By describing ways to handle the risk areas, you will demonstrate that you have a realistic understanding of the company.

Produce a single binder – a bank binder – with all of the information collected and organized that would be of interest to a bank.  This can both provide the bank with a better basis for decision making, greater security and a better impression of the company.  See the full article for a suggest list of binder content.

The bank needs after care.  Just like other important relationships, if your business is to evolve there may soon come a day when we will need an even larger commitment from the bank. Consequently, one must constantly work to increase the bank’s trust in the business and add funds to the “emotional bank account.”

Remember bankers benefit from making loans and debt can be a good thing for a company, when you show that it is created by good investments which will eventually yield a positive return.

This blog condenses some the information and business advice found in an article on “Control your Bank! – How to get the credit you want”.  It is taken with permission from a Series of Articles published by GrowthWheel with the goal of providing inspiration and ideas that start-up and growth companies can use.  The MEV Innovation Centre uses GrowthWheel as a visual tool to help companies develop, design and improve their businesses taking a 360 degree perspective.  It works as an alternative to the conventional business plan by helping start-ups and growth companies make decisions and take action.

The MEV Innovation Centre is a certified GrowthWheel business advisor. If you would like a full copy of the article and related worksheets, please send us an email at MEVInnovation@milton.ca. For more information on GrowthWheel or to schedule time with one of our business advisors, again send us an email