15th July 2011

BMO Business Coach Podcast Turns 100

bmoBMO recently launched its 100th Business Coach Podcast, in conjunction with PROFIT Magazine, offering tips to Canada’s entrepreneurs and small business owners with special guests Robert Herjavec of Dragon’s Den, Global Sustainability leader Bruce Poon Tip and Canadian billionaire Michael Lee-Chin.

“BMO takes pride in the quality of advice and services it gives to Canada’s entrepreneurs,” said Cathy Pin, Vice-President, Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal. “Using new media to better communicate with this demographic is a natural extension of the services we already provide to our customers, at our branches and online.”

The milestone 100th podcast focuses on some notable ’100s’ that small businesses must prepare for, including the first 100 days of operation, the hiring of the 100th employee and the 100 first investments.

“Across the country, the outlook among business owners is increasingly positive,” said Ms. Pin. “We are encouraged by the increasing number of firms willing and able to invest in their operations and we are glad to provide these business owners the tips and tools they need to continue to grow.”

Noteworthy tips from BMO’s business experts for the big 100s:

First 100 Days: Make sure the doors stay open. At the beginning, it’s tough: in order to ensure your business survives, you have to pass one hurdle, then another one and another one. Make sure you don’t have too long term a view.

First 100 Employees: Too many entrepreneurs hire people that they want to have a beer with or that they can be friends with. But coincidently, those people often have the same skills as you. Don’t stretch your budget without diversifying your employee base.

First 100 Investments: Make sure you are entering into a business that you understand in an industry that you understand. Make sure the industry has long term growth prospects, where the product cycle is long and the cash flow relatively predictable.

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15th July 2011

Ubisoft Adopts Uplay Passport Codes

ubisoftUbisoft has revealed Uplay Passport, a new program designed to provide players with access to bonus content, exclusive offers, and online multiplayer play. Uplay Passport is an adjunct to Uplay, an in-game service that offers gamers extra value, including a bevy of rewards and community features, just for playing Ubisoft games. The Uplay Passport program will begin in the coming months and will be included in many of Ubisoft’s popular core games.

In each new copy of a Uplay Passport-enhanced game will be a one-time use registration code that, when redeemed, provides access to Uplay Passport content and features. The code can be found on the insert card inside the game box. Gamers can identify Uplay Passport-enhanced games by looking for the logo on the back of the box.

Uplay Passports will also be available for purchase on PlayStation®Store for $9.99 and on Xbox LIVE® Marketplace for the Xbox 360® video game and entertainment system from Microsoft for 800 Microsoft Points. Customers that rent, borrow or purchase a pre-owned game can also purchase a new Uplay Passport online for $9.99 and automatically unlock the game’s online content and features. Starting with the upcoming DRIVER® San Francisco release, games featuring the new Uplay Passport will offer gamers exclusive bonus content plus access to online features.

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15th July 2011

D-Box Nears The Centurion Mark

D-BoxD-BOX Technologies Inc. is now offering its immersive motion technology in more than 90 theatres worldwide with the release of the highly anticipated Warner Bros. Pictures’ franchise finale, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

Harry Potter fans across the continent (well, most of it) can expect to be transported back to Hogwarts with Harry and friends while experiencing incredibly realistic motion effects all along the way. Scenes of intense battle and exhilarating flight now come to life as D-BOX MFX Seats pitch, roll and heave in perfect sync with the action taking place onscreen.

This final act is the third film in the series to offer D-BOX motion effects. Locations introducing the D-BOX experience for the first time with Harry Potter, include these theatres:

  • Cobb Theatres Hollywood 16 in Tuscaloosa, Ala.
  • Cobb Theatres Dolphin 19 at Dolphin Mall in Miami, Fla.
  • Cobb Theatres Lakeside 18 in Lakeland, Fla.
  • Regency Theatres Plan 16 in Van Nuys, Calif.
  • ShowBiz Cinemas 12 in Waxahachie, Texas
  • Zurich Cinemas Rotterdam Square Cinema 7 in Schenectady, NY

For a complete list of theatres offering the D-BOX experience with Harry Potter, check out the location map on the D-Box site – sadly, there are only 9 currently-equipped locations across Canada, with none in BC.

Also, for those totally unfamiliar with the D-Box products (because it occurred to me that some of you may not know exactly what D-Box does & as a disclaimer, no, this is not a “promoted post”), they make very special gamer chairs as well, which offer a similar type of gaming experience for titles enhanced with the D-Box MFX technology. Oh and yes, you can get Home Theatre D-Box seating to enhance your own movie nights.

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15th July 2011

Serebra Learning Corporation Reverse Takeover Update

serebraVancouver-based Serebra Learning Corporation has engaged MNP LLP of Vancouver to prepare a valuation report on Blue Drop Inc., to be filed with the TSX Venture Exchange in connection with the proposed business combination between Serebra and Bluedrop. Trading in the company’s shares will remain halted pending engagement of a sponsor and completion of a preliminary review of the proposed transaction by the Exchange.BlueDrop

Earlier this year, Serebra and Blue Drop had announced the creation of a reseller agreement between the two companies, which would see a portion of Serebra’s sales team offering Bluedrop’s Coursepark product to customers. Coursepark is an online learning site that offers individuals access to skills that promote career development, and small businesses a training solution that allows them to build and/or buy courses, and implement, track and manage users’ completion of courses.

“We are very excited about the opportunity to expand our suite of products on offer to current and future clients,” said Taleeb Noormohamed, President and CEO of Serebra. “Coursepark is rapidly becoming a leading global learning site and we are thrilled at the opportunity to help expand its ever-growing user base. It is an excellent complement to Serebra Campus, allowing our sales team a different target market to pursue.”

In addition, Serebra and Bluedrop have negotiated a separate service agreement to have select members of Serebra’s development team provide specialized technical assistance to support Bluedrop’s roadmap for the Coursepark product.

“As we continue to negotiate the terms of a reverse takeover, these reseller and service agreements provide an opportunity to expand our mutual understanding of our products and business models,” added Taleeb.

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15th July 2011

Branding Conference With A Twist Coming To Toronto

she's connectedThe She’s Connected Conference is taking place in Toronto this September 29th and 30th – but you can’t just buy tickets to attend. Instead, attendees are chosen for their digital reach and influence. Last year, 100 women were hand-picked to attend She’s Connected, which is for women who want to work with brands. This year, 200 women will be given tickets and the chance to meet with the people behind the brands.

In a quote on the event’s web site, Founder and CEO Donna Marie Antoniadis explained the philosophy behind She’s Connected, stating “we created the She’s Connected Network four-and-a-half years ago to help you connect with other women and organize your busy life. Now, we’re giving you an opportunity to increase your influence by building relationships with Brands face-to-face.”

The requirements for getting tickets is quite simple, with the basics being that  you are active across all major social networks and have established relationships with other influential women. In addition, you must also meet the following conditions:

  • You are a member of She’s Connected
  • You are Canadian
  • You are extremely active across all social media (Blogs, Twitter, Facebook, etc.)
  • You post frequently on Blogs, Twitter and Facebook
  • You post high quality content
  • You are eager to work with Brands
  • You fit the target demographic our sponsors are looking for

The conference highlights the following opportunities for learning and networking:

  • How to work with digitally connected women: Approaches to maximize your relationships for social reach and benefit
  • Proper disclosure policies: Ensuring that you’re following best practices online to protect your brand
  • The best way to execute product posts and giveaways: Tips and tricks that digital women and brands can benefit from
  • Great interactive sessions with Brands & Women: A chance to get product information out there
  • Lots of networking: Building relationships that will move past the conference
  • Product display in exhibition area: Get products into women’s hands
  • Live tweeting and promotions: Your brand message will be included
  • Foursquare promotions: Drive traffic to your booth

Note that while those chosen to attend the conference are given free admittance, attendees are required to pay their own travel and hotel costs.

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15th July 2011

Incredible Photo Wins CNIB Contest For Tara Miller

cnibThe Canadian National Institute for the Blind has announced that Winnipeg resident Tara Miller is the winner of the organization’s national Eye Remember photo contest. Miller’s stunning photo, entitled “Fortuitous Twilight,” captured the attention of CNIB’s celebrity photographer judges, who were not aware the entrant had any vision problem whatsoever, let alone having only 10 per cent vision in her left eye.

Fortuitous Twilight by Tara Miller

Fortuitous Twilight by Tara Miller

Miller’s photo, which was voted to win by more than 2,000 Canadian users on the contest’s website, was one of 128 submissions by people who are sighted, partially-sighted and blind across the country.
Miller, who began to lose her vision to glaucoma in childhood, says she takes photos by using what little sight she has to plan and frame the shot. Once shooting is complete, she hooks her camera up to a large 27-inch monitor and blows the image up to 200 per cent so she can see the results.

“People with vision loss can do the same things as sighted people, but just in a different way,” says Miller.

As the contest winner, Miller and a guest will be heading to Quebec City, Quebec, later this year for a free weekend hotel stay and an opportunity to explore and photograph the historic city.Tara Miller Photo: CNIB

As a CNIB client who has taken advantage of many of the charity’s rehabilitation services for Canadians with vision loss, Miller says she has learned the skills she needs to live independently despite her blindness. Working one-on-one with CNIB’s specialists, Miller learned to travel on the bus independently, use a computer, and take care of her home and family .

“I am so proud of myself for my abilities and I thank the staff at CNIB for helping me,” says Miller.

Supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Pfizer, CNIB’s Eye Remember photo contest is designed to educate Canadians about the importance of detecting glaucoma early in life and to remember to be proactive about their vision health.

Otherwise known as the “silent thief,” glaucoma usually progresses slowly and painlessly; therefore, it’s possible to have glaucoma without noticing any symptoms or major changes to your eyesight. Glaucoma is the second most common case of irreversible vision loss in seniors and affects more than 250,000 Canadians.

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15th July 2011

Federal Support Renewed for Just For Laughs Festival

The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister of Transport, Infrastructure and Communities and Minister of the Economic Development Agency of Canada for the Regions of Quebec, has announced the renewal of the agency’s partnership agreement with the Just for Laughs festival. The popular Montréal festival will thus receive $1,400,000 in non-repayable financial assistance over the next two years.Just For Laughs

“The Government of Canada is pleased to renew its support of Just for Laughs because of the exceptional international exposure and major economic spinoffs this festival brings to the greater Montréal area,” commented Minister Lebel.

Montréal is recognized world-wide for its large-scale cultural events. Every year, the Just for Laughs festival alone draws hundreds of thousands of visitors to the area, generating considerable tourism revenue for the city.

Granted through the Community Diversification program, this financial assistance will serve for the 2011 and 2012 promotion and commercialization of the festival on domestic and foreign markets. This support will allow the cultural event to further consolidate the enviable position it already occupies on the international stage.


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15th July 2011

Federal Government Is Looking for More Canadian Innovations

Government of CanadaThe Honourable Rona Ambrose, Minister of Public Works and Government Services and Minister for Status of Women, announced in Calgary that the Government of Canada is once again accepting applications from local businesses to help kickstart their innovative ideas by moving their products and services from the lab to the marketplace.

“In Canada, we have enormous entrepreneurial talent and through this program, we’re giving Canadian businesses an opportunity to move their ideas into action,” said Minister Ambrose. “Our Government is committed to delivering results for hard-working Canadians by staying focused on what matters most to them—jobs and the economy.”

Launched in 2010, the Canadian Innovation Commercialization Program/Kickstart initiative (CICP) is a $40-million pilot program created to help Canadian businesses by testing their innovative products and services within the Government of Canada before taking them to the marketplace. Federal departments will test innovations that fall within four key areas: environment; health; safety and security; and technology.

The second call for proposals is now available on MERX, the Government of Canada’s electronic tendering service. Successful bidders will see their pre-commercial innovative products and services tested within government departments, and will be given valuable feedback from users participating in the pilot program.

In March, 19 innovations were announced as part of the first round of the CICP. Today, the Minister announced an additional eight pre-qualified Canadian innovations that government departments will be able to buy. These additional innovations were submitted under the first call for proposals.

The following eight additional businesses have pre-qualified for the first round of the CICP:

  • Breviro Caviar Inc.(formerly Supreme Sturgeon and Caviar Ltd) – Pennfield
  • Amika Mobile Corporation – Ottawa
  • Edgewater Computer Systems Inc. – Ottawa
  • Fluvial Systems Research Inc. – White Rock
  • blutip Power Technologies Inc. (formerly Hy-Drive Technologies Ltd.) – Mississauga
  • S5 Systems – Ottawa
  • Synodon Inc. – Edmonton
  • Trusted Positioning Inc. – Calgary

There are now 27 pre-qualified innovations from Canadian companies that form a part of the CICP’s first round. Public Works and Government Services Canada (PWGSC) is working with government departments to match innovations with the right test departments, and will be entering into negotiations with the selected companies to put contracts in place to test their innovations, should the right department be found. This will facilitate Canadian companies in moving their innovations into domestic and international markets.

The CICP is managed by PWGSC’s Office of Small and Medium Enterprises, whose mandate is to improve accessibility to government procurement opportunities for small and medium enterprises. Launched as part of the Government of Canada’s Budget 2010, the CICP is a new initiative to promote Canada’s economic growth.

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15th July 2011

Vancouver Career College Open House

Vancouver Career CollegeThose wanting to head back to school to train for a new career are invited to visit the nearest Vancouver Career College campus on Wednesday, July 27th, when the college hosts a province-wide open house at each of its six campuses.

Each open house will showcase the types of career training available at Vancouver Career College. Attendees will learn how the college develops its market-driven curriculum, which is based on input from industry professionals to ensure that graduates meet the demands of the business, healthcare, education, hospitality, legal administration and skilled trades sectors. They’ll also have a chance to tour the campus and meet with instructors and staff.

Whether they’re hoping to change careers or just looking to get started, attendees will learn how Vancouver Career College programs combine classroom learning with practical training from industry-experienced instructors to help students master the tools and techniques they’ll use on the job. The programs include practicum placements that allow students to put their training into practice in a job setting and gain hands-on experience in the field.

Vancouver Career College will host open house events at its campuses in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Coquitlam, Surrey, Kelowna and Vancouver on Wednesday, July 27, 2011 from 4:00 – 7:00 PM. Guests are asked to check in at 3:45 PM.

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15th July 2011

World Youth and Student Travel Conference Opens App Yap Contest

app yap contestThe World Youth & Student Travel Conference and its 2011 marketing partner Internet Advantage are organizing the first annual App Yap Contest to find the best travel app in the youth travel industry.

They are looking for apps that help young travellers in their journeys, from inspiration to planning to saving memories. The winning app will enhance the traveller’s experience and stand out from other travel apps with its original, youthful design, easy to use navigation, user-centric focus and hopefully,a bit of fun.

The contest is open to developers around the globe, however only one app submission is permitted per company.The winning app must be suitable to use before, during or after travelling. The app should be aimed at young individuals (under 35 years old), a group of young travellers, or those who organize or provide travel services for young travellers.

Conference Director Michael Palmer enthused, “We are all very energised by the launch of the App Yap Contest. The benefits for the winning company are tenfold. Not only will they receive valuable exposure and increased usage of their app, they will also be able to interact with other youth travel mobile app creators. And of course, the winner will gain recognition as a technology savvy company by earning the title ‘The provider of the best in youth travel mobile applications,’ which they can use to further market their app.”

In line with young traveller’s heavy use of social media, the App Yap Contest is being promoted on social media channels such as the new WYSTC Facebook page, the WYSTC Twitter account and WYSE Travel Confederation’s Linkedin Group.

The Top 10 Finalists will have the chance to present their app at the World Youth & Student Travel Conference being held in Barcelona September 20th through 23rd 2011, in front of 800 delegates looking to find new features for their travel companies. WYSTC attendees are decision makers, holding senior-level positions in youth travel companies from over 80 countries around the world: CEOs, owners, partners, presidents and directors.

The winner of the App Yap Contest will receive a prize worth over 5000 EUR:

  •     Two free registrations to WYSTC 2012 (worth 3200 EUR)
  •     Online marketing services provided by Internet Advantage (to a value of 2000 EUR)
  •     The winner will present the app in a live webinar for the WYSE Travel Confederation community
  •     Plenty of free publicity and recognition for being the best app in the youth travel industry

Voting will begin online in mid-July and run until midnight CET 22 September 2011. Entries must be received by midnight CET 31 August 2011. The winner will be announced at the Industry Awards Luncheon on Friday 23 September, the closing day of WYSTC.


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