OSTN – Back to School Newsletter

Hey Everyone,

My kids aren’t in school yet so no relief of sending them off for the day here but I hope some of you are enjoying some “kids at school” time.

In late August I attended a meeting at Georgian College organized by Grey County to discuss “The Case for a Dedicated Community Hub: Skills Training, Trades and Innovation Centre”.  This meeting brought together government and private sector from the area to discuss the current skills gap in today’s workforce and the potential of creating a Community Hub: Skills Training, Trades and Innovation Centre.  Dave Barrett of Ontario Youth Apprenticeship Program who led the workshop was very good at pointing out that creating a community hub is easy, sustaining it is the hard part and that is what they wanted feedback on from this group. After a presentation on the case for a community hub and the objectives of the meeting we were sat in groups for a round table exercise focused on the programs needed to bridge the skills gap and how to sustain a community hub.  I was excited by this meeting and thought that our network could lend some ideas on the sustainability of a Community Hub: Skills Training, Trades and Innovation Centre.

With Georgian College looking to address the skills gap with new course offerings as well as be a partner in the community hub and Grey County looking for input into the community hub initiative I thought what better than to get us all together and have a chat.  With our next meeting already scheduled with Lise Mollon, Georgian College Owen Sound Business Manager, to talk about technology courses at Georgian I reached out to Savanna Myers, Grey County Economic Development Manager, and asked if she would like to add the community hub to our discussion.  Savanna, a network member, was excited at the opportunity.  So just in time for back to school our next meeting will be Tuesday October 3rd, 7pm at Georgian College where we will discussion technology courses, skills gap and the community hub concept.  I hope to see lots of you out for this exciting opportunity to assist both Georgian and Grey County in shaping the future of technology in our area.

A number of other things are on tap for the next few months.

The Owen Sound and North Grey Library has reached out and asked for a meeting to discuss its new technology and makerspace.

I’ve been invited to participate in a workshop on community growth with the City of Owen Sound on October 18th look for a report in the next newsletter.

Owen Sound’s “Are You Most” campaign is in full swing.  Reports are that the response has been very positive with over 50 inquiries and 10 potential candidates so far.  https://www.areyoumost.com/

Grey County is hosting a creative mixer which you may be interested in attending.  Details below.

WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 8, 2017 – 6:30pm to 9:00pm, Thornbury Village Cider House, 90 King St. E. Thornbury ON

Hear from the leaders and champions behind cluster development. Guest speakers include Bluewater Wood Alliance and Incubator North.

A free business networking event for those interested in learning about, joining or starting an industry cluster. This event is ideal for entrepreneurs, business owners, community organizations, developers and real estate agents. Limited spaces available. Refreshments provided. Interested parties please RSVP to Mary Jane Hills ecdev@grey.ca or 519-376-3365 ext 6108

Cheers, Mike

OSTN – Summer Newsletter

Summer is here, for the most part.  Although the weather has been dodgy there is always lots to do, here’s hoping you all had time to get out and get some fun in.  We took in several of Owen Sound’s summer festivities.  There is something going on every weekend throughout the summer! The whole Maawanji’iding: Festival Canadiana Owen Sound – June 30 to July 9, 2017 was great.  The first weekend we went to Imagination Day.  It was great to see our friends at LaunchPad there with technology driven content for kids.  We hit the street festival one day where my daughter got to see snakes and reptiles. The following weekend we took in the Big Rubber Duck and some live entertainment.

On July 25 we had a meet up featuring Stan Didzbalis from the Bluewater Angel Investor Group http://www.bluewaterangels.ca/ , as well as Paulette Peirol City of Owen Sound https://www.owensound.ca/ and Chris Hughes of BC Hughes http://www.bchughes.ca/ . Stan provided us with details about the Bluewater Angels and their efforts to grow the local economy through investing.  Paulette and Chris gave us the skinny on the Millennipreneurs Recruitment Campaign.

If you are familiar with Dragon Dens then you will likely be familiar with what the Bluewater Angels are looking for when approaching a potential investment. First the angels want equity, it’s not a loan. Each Angel decides whether or not to invest their own money.  A candidate may have one or more Angels make offers.  The Angels are looking for candidates with a strong business plan and if possible an existing customer base.  Any candidate must have a product/service that is scalable and being on the leading edge or providing a disruptive technology is an asset.  Stan said over 40 applications have been received but no funds handed out yet.  The Angels provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates so that they can sharpen their proposal.

The Millennipreneurs Recruitment Campaign is launching this month and is going to be a very unique marketing initiative from the City. Presenting the city’s challenges as opportunities to eager Millennipreneurs is a differentiator from other live/work/play campaigns.  A website will ask a series of filter questions to determine fit.  The questions will be bold and a bit cheeky an example Chris gave off the cuff was   “Do you like snow?” if the person answered no they would be linked to a site for Windsor economic development.  Successful applicants will be provided a weekend stay and be toured by ambassadors that are matched to the applicant.  Any of OSTN members interested in being an ambassador contact Paulette Peirol ppeirol@owensound.ca .  The more ambassadors we have the better matching can be done.  Whatever time commitment you can make will help.

I was excited to hear more about the Downtown River Precinct Plan. We will keep our eyes on this as it develops. https://www.facebook.com/CityofOwenSound/videos/1570825836272371/

We are going to have a Summer Social on Thursday August 31, 7pm at Leith Beach.  Come enjoy hopefully nice weather and beautiful views.  Check out https://www.facebook.com/greybruceexplorer/  to see what the view looks like when the sun goes down.  Bring a lawn chair, your favorite beverage and snack, chat tech or not with other members.

In the fall look for a meet up at Georgian College and maybe one at an exciting new tech spot downtown 🙂

Cheers, Mike

City Launches Millennipreneurs Recruitment Campaign

Hi Everyone,

I think this is a great idea by the city.  I have signed up to be an ambassador.

Cheers, Mike

Owen Sound, Ontario – Monday, June 12, 2017 – The City of Owen Sound is launching a new recruitment program to attract “Millennipreneurs” – Millennials who have an entrepreneurial spirit.
The campaign will leverage local ambassadors and community champions as hosts, offering qualified candidates the chance to “test drive” the city for a weekend.
The goal is to create a campaign that stands out and reaches a very targeted audience – young entrepreneurs looking to build a business in a community that is affordable, authentic and engaging, with cultural assets and outstanding outdoor recreation.
It’s a very competitive field, with numerous communities clamoring to attract people from the GTA and outlying areas who have been priced out of the housing market. The Owen Sound campaign is the only one that’s matching prospective candidates with local hosts and framing challenges as opportunities.
“We wanted to do something different,” said City Manager Wayne Ritchie. “This is certainly a new approach for us, but one that we are excited to embark on.”
The campaign is set to run from August to October 2017, and measurables will include website and social media traffic, the number of ambassadors, applicants, and people test driving the program, plus conversions to actual relocation. Once built, the recruitment structure can be used in consecutive years.
The City has retained BC Hughes Inc, Tourism Development, Management and Marketing, to assist with the program. “The goal for this campaign is to attract determined, strong people who will bring value to the Owen Sound community,” says Chris Hughes of BC Hughes.

For more information, please contact Paulette Peirol, Tourism Marketing Co-ordinator, at 519-376-4440 ext. 1245 or email to ppeirol@owensound.ca
The temporary Owen Sound City Hall location is 945 3rd Avenue East, Suite 230 (Second floor), Owen Sound, Ontario, N4K 2K8. The Owen Sound Visitor Centre is located at 1155 1st Ave. West.

OSTN – May Newsletter

Owen Sound Technology Network – Newsletter

Launch Pad

The Network took to the road on May 23rd holding our meeting at Launch Pad – Youth Activity and Technology Centre in Hanover, ON.   http://www.yatc.ca/ Bernie Blakeney, Manager of Programs and Innovation, provided the group with a tour of the facility which was transformed from an old auto dealership.  The main building has a collaboration art space, computer lab, commercial kitchen, high bay open area and a new welding area.  There is another annex building for automotive and small engine programs. Bernie is pretty passionate about Raspberry PI and has helped the youth design console video games in one of the tech programs.   The commercial kitchen is a great space. Not only do they run classes there but they rent the space to local food producers so they can produce in a facility that lets them sell to retailers. Bernie told us a 12 year old started a local cookie company and is selling to the local coffee shop. What a nice boast to local entrepreneurship.  The welding area got me excited. Not because I am a big welder but because it was a space for learning a skilled trade.  There is a lot of work out there for skilled trades but there are limited avenues for youth to get engaged in them early.  Welding is an art in the nuclear industry and there is a prime employer in the neighbourhood. Bernie then told us of the social benefits of the centre.  The youth crime rate in Hanover has dropped considerably since the centre opened.  Launch Pad was also a component to Grey County’s bid for the Intelligent Community Forum prize.

We finished up our meeting at Launch Pad with some MacLean’s beer locally crafted in Hanover.  If you haven’t tried MacLean’s you really should! http://macleansales.ca/

Big Data in Owen Sound

I met with the dean Dale Schenk and business manager Lise Mollon at Georgian College a few weeks back for a brief introduction.  I brought up to them our first meeting and the fact that the group felt that the college would be a difficult partner in developing content that would encourage technology growth in the area.  The dean indicated that 2 changes in the Owen Sound campus would help.  First a full dean not an associate dean has been added to the college.  Previously the campus was always run by an associate dean which had less autonomy from the Barrie “mothership”.  Second a business manager position was created and filled.  I spoke of my idea around private industry, the municipality and college being the catalyst for technology growth along the same lines as the Waterloo model.  The dean indicated the campus would like to be a participant.  The college offered to host a meeting and continue our discussions.

A day or two after my meeting I read in the paper about Rolls Royce opening an office in Port Elgin to support Bruce Power.  I found out that Rolls Royce has a large presence in the nuclear industry.  One of the services they will provide Bruce Power is a data and analytics package that allows better maintenance and obsolescence planning.  This fits with the data analytics Rolls Royce does on aircraft engines, and could have an application in the marine industry as well.  I started connecting dots between Rolls Royce, Marine Industry, the marine simulator data, the electronic records of the hospital, the manufacturing data we collect at 10in6, basically “Big Data”.  I fired off an email to Lise suggesting these connections and a potential course offering.  I was greeted by a reply that indicated a Data Analytics program has just started to be offered in Barrie.


Could this be a program that Owen Sound offers, or even better becomes a leader in, I’d like to see it happen.

May 23 Meeting Notes

  • We had 10 people out to the meeting in Hanover. 3 new faces!  2 from Hanover
  • Discussed new ways of promoting the area and technology
    • Profiles on the website of members
    • Website improvements, pictures
    • Russ is interested in building some video content around technology and the area.
    • Guest bloggers to add relevant content
    • Video conferencing meetings – we are prompting technology and ability to be connected anywhere, this would be a good demonstration
  • Discussed meeting frequency
    • October – May monthly meetings alternating between a social networking meeting and a guest/topic focused meeting
    • June – September – meeting every other month topic or social
  • Discussed network and direction
    • Continue to evolve the network but focus on promoting/encouraging technology individuals and business to come to the area will be a core mandate

Next Meeting – July 25 – Bluewater Angel Investor Group – Stan Didzbalis

Upcoming meeting – September – Georgian College


Bluewater Angel Investor Group Looks to Invest in Technology Locally

The Bluewater Angel Investor Group recently launched and is looking for entrepreneurs that need assistance (funding / mentoring) to grow their businesses.

Here is a recent Sun Times article with more details about the angels.


Stan Didzbalis spokesman for the group will be speaking at our next meeting in late June / early July.  Stayed tuned for the date.


Cheers, Mike

Panel Discussion at the Home Show

Russ from CTRE Productions is live broadcasting from the Home Show this weekend.

At 2pm on Saturday myself, Steve Furness Senior Economic Development Officer at Grey County and Greg from Sunfish Solar will be participating in a panel discussion on encouraging local business growth.

Watch live here:


Cheers, Mike


CRTC – Internet Providers – Competitor Quality of Service

Many of our members are customers of small internet service providers.  These providers currently have no choice but to use the existing infrastructure of the big guys.  These providers strive to provide a high level of service that meets or exceeds that of the big guys. Here is a chance for you to voice your opinion about new rules about to be set out by the CRTC.

Thanks to Iain for bringing this to my attention.

Cheers, Mike

As you know, we care a lot about our customers. And we spend a lot of time troubleshooting and improving our customer service. It’s at the core of what we do. But some of that lies beyond what we can do ourselves: it depends on rules set by the CRTC.

Well, we’re writing to ask for your help about issues we know matter to you — because we believe that sharing your story with the CRTC will make a real difference.

What’s this all about?

As you know, TekSavvy serves most of its customers over leased last-mile facilities. It goes like this. We pay incumbents a rental fee to use their line into your home. We interconnect that line with our Internet and phone networks. And we provide Internet or phone service to you over the combined system.

Most of the time, that works out. On rare occasions, it doesn’t. Now — as in, right now — the CRTC is asking for the public’s views about fixing two problems:

  • Renting the incumbent’s last-mile means renting their install and repair services for that last mile, too.  But the CRTC has few rules about how many no-shows or how fast those installs & repairs happen.  Shouldn’t it?
  • When the last mile is fibre in a new building or development, we still can’t lease it.  There’s a plan for that to change once a long list of technical questions is worked through.  Eventually.  But what happens in the meantime?

If either of these has ever affected you, frustrated you, or moved you, it’s time to tell the CRTC about it. Here’s how.

By end of this Monday (April 24): installs, repairs et al.

Until 8 p.m. Ottawa time this Monday, April 24, the CRTC wants to know what it should do about what it calls “Competitor Quality of Service” – rules on things like how many install visits are missed, how many repairs are delayed, how long last-mile service delays can last, and so on.

We know how often issues like these frustrate our customers. Well, this weekend, or Monday, are the time to tell that story to the CRTC.

They’ve boiled down what they’re looking for into a series of questions, and are looking for folks to type answers into an online form.

We’re asking you to click to that form Here are some of the main questions and our takes on them (all of which are posted at the bottom of this document, known as Telecom Notice of Consultation CRTC 2017-49):

Q2. Are market forces sufficient to ensure a high level of service or are Q of S regulatory measures required?

Market forces are the status quo — no rules. If those have meant frustration for you, here’s where you tell your story. How many times did you wait? Did you have to take the day off work? Why did it suck? Specify that you’re answering question 2.

Q3. If a competitor Q of S regime is required, what should its objectives be?

We don’t see why a TekSavvy customer should have to wait any longer than an incumbent customer for an install, for a repair, or for service. If you agree, say so — identifying that as your answer to Q3.

Q10. What specific services should be subject to the regime?

We think the last-mile lines we lease should be — it’s the link that we flow your Internet and phone services over. We call that “Wholesale Network Access”, if you’re looking for a term. Don’t forget to note you’re answering Q10.

It’s clunky. But it could make a huge difference. Consider stepping up.

By end of next Monday (May 1): fibre me up?

Is fibre the only Internet access option where you live? But you want your ISP to be an independent, like TekSavvy?

If you’re moving to a new building or development, we can’t lease the last-mile fibre there. Eventually, we will. But it’s taking an awfully long time. How much longer? To be honest, noone quite knows.

Well, until 8 p.m. Ottawa time next Monday, May 1, the CRTC is asking for comments that either support, or oppose an application by our industry association, the Canadian Network Operators Consortium (CNOC) to expedite wholesale access to fibre where there are no other options, so we can quickly fill service gaps in vigorous competition.

Tell the CRTC that competition matters to you, and that you want them to break down the fibre wall, not eventually, but soonest. The fill-in form to that is here.

Gang, we wouldn’t ask if it wasn’t important. This time, it really is. The CRTC’s asking, so if you’re answering, now’s the time.