Inside TECTERRA’s Investing in Innovation Event!
Hello GIS, Geomatics, and Remote Sensing Friends! In February, I was given the opportunity to attend TECTERRA’s Investing in Innovation: Geomatics Growth & New Opportunities for Canadian Companies event held in Ottawa, Ontario.
After graduating from Ryerson University with a Master in Spatial Analysis, I have been thinking of starting a consulting business and when I heard of this event that I decided that attending might be a good way to network and see what TECTERRA was offering in terms of programs for someone just starting out like myself.
Previously, I had read the GoGeomatics interview of Dr. Mohamed Abousalem, and I was thoroughly impressed with the work done by TECTERRA and what he and his team were doing to support the Canadian geomatics industry. I was a little nervous about attending the event mainly because I am someone new to the industry and thinking about starting a business – but the event was warm and welcoming and that nervous feeling vanished right away! TECTERRA is not just about helping established companies grow and innovate, but they are also about helping us, the little guys! To learn more about this event and my thoughts please continue reading this post….Enjoy! – Steph Murphy
What is TECTERRA?
TECTERRA’s mission is to help contribute to the economic growth across Canada by investing in and supporting the development/commercialization of Geomatics technology. They do this by providing a wide range of programs to companies and researchers. Each of their programs is unique and provides different support systems to Canadian entrepreneurs, small, medium, and large enterprises and start-ups. The difference between each program varies in the funding they offer, duration of the program, whether you are required to reimburse or not but you can be sure of one thing, giving up IP or equity is never required.
To be helpful – I’ve put some links to their programs below:
The event was held in the Adam Room at Chateau Laurier – it was really classy. TECTERRA really knows how to impress. The venue was the nicest I’ve been too. The set-up of the room made it easy for me to chat with the other guests and interact with the presenters. The AV was top notch. They had two screens, and everyone could see everything that was going on.
I have to say something about the food. Lunch was served during the event in a buffet style. The chefs prepared an amazing meal. There was a large variety of choices to select from, such as salads, vegetables, potatoes, rice, soup, chicken, and fish. Personally, I thought the best part of the food during the event was the dessert. Delicious!
TECTERRA brought with them a lot of their lab equipment. They’ve got some really amazing equipment there. They make all the equipment available to companies who want to use them to commercialize ideas or test products. They even brought their unmanned aerial vehicle!
Some of the other gear TECTERRA provides include a multi-system GNSS simulator (GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, inertial systems, wireless location), laser scanners, gravimeters, and multiple ground-penetrating radars. Proper training in the use of their equipment is offered at the lab in Calgary. They offer lab hours at their main office throughout the year and are able to ship their equipment across Canada.
I was able to speak with several Professionals from GIS/Geomatics companies such as Esper, Geographic Design, effigis, and KIM Geomatics Corporation. One GIS Professional in particular truly caught my interest, and her name is Caitlin Blundell. I found her background fascinating in how she already had her own company, Geographic Design. This was done before she had convocated from the University of Toronto. Her business is located in Toronto, Ontario, and offers spatial analysis and cartographic designing for the urban planning industry.
After hearing what TECTERRA has to offer, it made me feel more comfortable in the possibility of starting up my own business. The program that caught my interest was the Geomatics Commercialization Kickoff (GECKO). The benefits of this program include a funding of up to $25K with no payback, IP, or equity required. It offers initial funding for the development of a comprehensive business plan for entrepreneurs such as me. There is one foremost question; how do you build the trust of your clients when you are a new consultant? In this sense, I am contending with the limited years of experience.
Let’s talk about the keynote speakers.
Ed Parsons is responsible for evangelizing Google’s mission to organize the world’s information using geospatial tools including Google Each, Google Maps, and Google Maps for Mobile. The material Parsons covered during his presentation that I found interesting was how Google continuously updates and improves their Mapping services by conducting a number of split tests and then monitors the behaviour of their users. Parsons also spoke on how Google is trying to encourage the public to share and make data on Google Earth/Map more accessible over the web. They believe by making the data available to the public will help prove the value of GIS.
General Rick Hillier (Ret) was the last speaker of the day. Hillier delivered an exceptional presentation regarding leadership and team building. During Hillier’s presentation, he shared many of his life experiences while he was in the Canadian Forces which I believed made it easy for the audience to connect to him and his stories. Hillier provided many pointers and suggestions on how to be a great leader. There was two pieces of advice he offered which I believe everyone should take into consideration: “in order to be a great leader, you need to make the people your centre of gravity” and “you must keep the people inspired and they will work and want to work for you”. I enjoyed Hillier’s presentation, and if you would like to know more on what Hillier said about leadership, he wrote a book that was released in October 2010 titled “Leadership: 50 Points of Wisdom for Today’s Leaders”.
I left the TECTERRA event satisfied and impressed. Great event! From start to finish, it was very worthwhile. There are too few opportunities to attend events of this calibre with a focus on business and networking. I would have liked to have seen maybe a second day with workshops on business-related courses or seminars from industry. But overall, I am very glad I attended this event!
Upcoming TECTERRA Events
Ottawa: June 11-14, 2012 | 33rd Canadian Symposium on Remote Sensing
Calgary: June 21, 2012 | TECTERRA Showcase