GBTN Winter / 2018 Year In Review Newsletter

As we enter Year 3 of GBTN I am excited to build on the momentum of the last 2 years.  Our mission has always been and continues to be to promote and encourage the growth of not only technology but the economy as a whole in the region and to be a resource to people to looking at our region as a place to live, work and play.  For 2019 I will continue to be our voice on the Owen Sound Economic Development and Tourism Advisory Committee.  Also, I have been asked to be a founding board member for the privately funded business accelerator being established in the new Grey County Skills and Innovation Centre.  We look forward to bringing exciting content to our meetings and giving all the opportunity to network and connect with a wide variety of individuals from our community.  Thank you to all of you who come and support the meetings I look forward to reconnecting with you at our next event.

Now let’s take a trip down memory lane and recap 2018 – Year 2 for GBTN and the successful year it was.  Our new home in the beautiful offices of KP9 in the heart of downtown Owen Sound provided the perfect space for our meetings.  We had a total of 8 meetings over the course of the year. 

Meeting 14 – Mark Stovel CPA and part time CFO detailed how segmented financial data can assist companies in each stage of their life cycle. At each stage segmenting your financial data can provide insight into where and how you should invest in your business. There is a lot of technology available to help analyze the data and keep it meaningful during each stage of a business life cycle. The meeting featured a small crowd but some great networking opportunities.

Whiteboard

Meeting 13 – SWOT Analysis of running a business in Grey Bruce.  Key strengths include cost of living and quality of life. One aspect I found interesting was that location could fall in each category. It was noted as a strength given the ability to reach into the perimeter of the GTA better than some companies inside the GTA.  A weakness due to weather and distance to markets. An opportunity for growth in a new area.  A threat to growth and reaching additional markets.  A big turnout thanks to a number of members from Entrepreneurs Anonymous from Hanover.

Meeting 12 – The “cattle rager”.  Informal patio get together at Mudtown Station. Reconnecting with our friend Chris Hebert from Silicon Halton

Meeting 11- The Serial Entrepreneur Bill Van Wyck – Bill’s span of businesses and boards provided a great deal of intriguing material for his presentation.  Bill’s keys to success: Know your own limits, trust and empower your employees, and embrace technology.

Great Turnout

Meeting 10 – User Experience Testing with Lynda Chiotti – One of the best attended meetings of the year.  Many of us working in the software industry were excited to learn tips on how to test a user interface.  I certainly came away from this meeting looking at our user front end differently and we implemented a number of usability changes as a result.

Meeting 9 – Owen Sound Library Tech Presentation – The library staff showed us some of their newest technology including a 3D printer and a cricut paper cutter.  Each are available to use and staff can assist.  The library now has Ozobots and continues to add technology that can be accessed by anyone.  It’s great to see how much is available at the library.  They are always looking for tech savvy volunteers to assist.

Meeting 8 – The Tech Showcase – Eric Busch introduced us to his company Datafeedr a WordPress plugin that enables the sale of 450,000,000+ products through some quick configuration. Once setup, the connection to Datafeedr automatically updates the product and pricing information in the store.  Aaron Mader gave us a firsthand look at his AI driven “Memories Project”.  The “Memories Project” is a service that records live audio interactions as users view pictures to create a story and tag photos with meaningful content. 

Meeting 7 – CTRE – Russ Ellis and team provided us with a tour of the CTRE Production offices in downtown Owen Sound.  Complete with the only green room in the county there are lots of cool toys in the CTRE offices.  At the time Russ and team were working on their first Alpine event.  CTRE now has a number of alpine, cycling and adventure events that they live stream.  I had a blast watching my wife at the Bruce Peninsula Multi Sport Race thanks to the CTRE team.  We also connected with Chris Hebert of Silicon Halton at this meeting. 

A few other positive randoms from 2018.  Our friends and wonderful meeting hosts April and Wil of KP9 realized all tech statups dreams and were acquired by MetaVrse in late 2018.  A huge accomplishment and a testament of their hard work and dedication.  Proving that technology businesses can exist and thrive in our region. Helping convince my colleague and our lead developer to relocate to Grey County (having 2 kids living here may have helped too) J Hosting as part of the AreYouMost campaign which has generated a great connection with Mat Dwyer who will be presenting at our next meeting and with any luck soon a resident of our area. Working with the County on the future Skills and Innovation Centre.  Connecting members with each other to drive business and employment opportunities, this includes our connection with Silicon Halton.  Watching our downtown core add new businesses and continuing the momentum of growth. Participating in a number of roundtable working groups as the voice of technology in the area.

Lots of great things coming up. Our next meeting is February 12th, 7pm @ KP9.  Mat Dwyer will be presenting about Experience Grey Bruce. Experience Grey Bruce will be a new way to see all of the wonderful attractions in our region using the latest in technology.  Remember you can have your own profile page on our website by becoming a GBTN member for $10 per year.  This year meetings will be “pay what you can”.  Both initiative are solely to offset costs associated with web hosting and meetings.

I now start the 7 day countdown to moving into our new family home.  Wish us luck!

Cheers, Mike

One thought on “GBTN Winter / 2018 Year In Review Newsletter”

  1. Thanks Mike,
    for all your groups’ hard work , and yours in particular. It is refreshing and encouraging to realize there are many people who believe in the Grey- Bruce area, and all it offers, as more than a vacation destination or retirement community ( altho both are important anchors in the area).

    As you know I have enjoyed decent success in establishing, and operating our business in the niche market of commercial foodservice equipment repair. When I arrived in December 1985, and took my first walk up windswept, frigid Second Avenue East, I wondered just what in the world I was doing here. Having come from Guelph, I didn’t own winter boots or gloves, and that changed quickly.
    Upon arrival, we realized there was a big, untapped market for our specialized services. And no resources to help . There was a big learning curve to conquer .

    We serve a specialized market and our clients span Grey and Bruce in every facet of foodservice equipment markets- fast food, grocery, convenience store, restaurant, resort, healthcare, retirement homes, institutions- jails, schools, churches, hospitals, arenas, municipalities, utilities, , even lake freighters ! We have a solid client base, including many large corporations, steady sales and enjoy relationships , mostly on a first name basis. Our sales have grown and stabilized over the decades we’ve been here, and we enjoy serving our wonderful communities, and being a part of them in other aspects, such as entertainment and sports ( Go Attack , Go !).

    We have enjoyed a great lifestyle living in the area and look forward to retiring here in the next few years .

    Keep up the great work, one can only imagine the growth and positive change you will bring to the community over the next decades while promoting growth in the tech sector. It must be welcoming for potential new businesses to know there is a group like yours here now, with expertise, enthusiasm and contacts to help them transition to the area and achieve success and happiness. There’s room and demand for it here, and your efforts have certainly accelerated it’s profile .

    Pete Miller

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