By Bradley Andrews – Metroland
A chance for Durham to show its innovative side
Ignite competition returns for second year with new focus on technology
DURHAM — Ignite is seeking out the best and brightest of Durham’s start-ups, those with new, innovative ideas and the technology to make them work.
Ignite is returning for its second year. Put on by the local non-profit Spark Centre and Durham Region, the competition features entrepreneurs making Dragon’s Den-style pitches to expert panels for a chance at winning industry contacts, work space and thousands of dollars in prizes.
Andy Bruce is the CEO and cofounder of MobileXCo, the Oshawa-based company which beat out more than 100 other startups to take home a top prize in 2013. For him, Ignite had a defining role on his company, which was a small venture when they started the competition.
“We were a startup for sure,” laughed Mr. Bruce. “At the time we started we only had three employees.”
Since then that number has doubled to six and MobileXCo has increased its client base from under 10 customers before Ignite to 25 currently.
Mr. Bruce said their company wanted to fill a gap between businesses, modern technology and their consumers. It was a gap he’d witnessed first hand at his previous jobs, one in sales where he watched a lot of money spent on advertising that he didn’t think was necessarily spent well. Another job had him installing touch screen kiosks in retail stores which he thought ignored the roll of smart phones in consumers lives.