By Stuart Green
Every year, Discovery features a showcase of the best Ontario’s and Canada’s innovators and entrepreneurs have to offer. Every year the show expands bringing new features and attractions to attendees and exhibitors.
And 2015, Discovery’s tenth edition, is no different.
“Discovery is the biggest event on our calendar every year,” says Dr. Tom Corr, President and CEO of OCE. “We look forward to being able to bring industry, academia, investors and many more together under one roof for two days to network, make deals and learn what’s new and exciting in the innovation community.”
Named Canada’s Best Trade Show 2010 and 2011, Discovery attracts more than 2,600 attendees and 425 exhibitors with interest in such areas as energy, the environment, advanced health, ag-tech, digital media, information and communication technologies, social enterprise and advanced manufacturing. It also plays host to hundreds of young entrepreneurs and investors.
This year, Discovery welcomes back tried and true features like engaging panels, world renowned speakers, career advice, mentoring, competitions and a show floor buzzing with some of the newest made-in-Ontario gadgets and gizmos. In addition, this year will mark our largest-ever contingent of the next generation of businesses with nearly 200 young entrepreneurs present. As well, through partnerships with the Keiretsu Forum and the Government of Ontario, hundreds of investors will be attending Discovery many from outside Canada.
Once again, Discovery’s show floor is packed with exhibitors, panels and interactive sessions.
Featured panels this year are:
- Virtual Care, Patient Engagement, and Ontario’s Health System Priorities: This panel discussion will focus on the emerging development and use of technologies which enable Virtual Care and Patient Engagement with the aim to transfer some services from hospital to home.
- Healthcare’s Next Frontier - Exploring Exponential Medicine - Telesurgery & Robotic Surgery: This panel will explore how telesurgery and robotic surgery innovation have been integrated into the scope of surgical work being performed in Ontario hospitals and how they will serve to benefit people in developing countries where medical professionals, especially surgeons, are hard to access.
- AgTech - The Valley’s new “It” sector: What do Google and Kleiner Perkins know that we don’t know? This panel will examine agtech start-up success stories, highlight the deep need for talent and challenge innovators to help advance agricultural technology.
- What’s New in Aerospace: Hear industry representatives talk about some exciting new R&D projects underway and the innovative partnership approach that was taken to bring academic researchers and industry together to identify opportunities to collaborate on some of the next generation of globally competitive, technological advances.
- Aerospace Industry Challenges: This panel will shed light on the challenges the industry faces and charge the Ontario research community to meet those challenges through their work. Researchers will gain insight into industry trends and challenges and how to be part of innovative solutions.
- Clean water for all; not a drop too soon: This panel will engage Ontario companies with creative solutions for continuing to improve Ontario’s water infrastructure and those that have succeeded in breaking into international markets or aspire to. The discussion will include the challenges posed by drought and water scarcity while keeping economic and environmental sustainability front of mind.
- The Future of Computing: Hear from a panel of experts who are exploring the frontiers of advanced research computing for finding answers to some of society’s toughest questions.
- Disruptive Technologies - A Case Study: This panel explores the impact of government regulation on emerging game-changing companies and shares the experience of those who are currently paving the way for the next generation of disruptive companies.
For students, job seekers and young entrepreneurs and startups seeking investment, there are opportunities to interact with experts, and investors in a few ways.
- The Ask an Expert event allows you to connect with experts in the areas of investing, entrepreneurship, innovation support, professional services and corporate leadership. This event is intended to foster business connections between experienced captains of industry and small- to medium-sized businesses looking to expand their companies, launch their idea/product or individuals seeking corporate advice.
- The Career Zone is an exclusive opportunity for students and new graduates to meet with top employers, learn about current and future job opportunities, and get expert tips on networking and preparing for an interview.
- Meet an Employer – Be part of intimate round-table meetings with leading employers discussing current and emerging careers and the skills needed to fill them.
- Career Coaching– Learn how to perfect your interviewing skills, networking, and job hunting techniques with noted career coach Lucy Keating in 10-minute, one-on-one meetings.
- As part of Discovery 2015, over 100 members of the Keiretsu Forum will be on-site interacting with Discovery attendees through the Ask an Expert zone as well as taking part in both the development and judging of the Investor Pitch Competition.
Discovery is also the place to see the finals of our popular student and investor competitions that are designed to inspire and reward young entrepreneurs from high school through post grad.
- The Investor Pitch Competition offers investment-ready companies an invaluable opportunity to present to a panel of leading venture capitalists.
- The David McFadden Energy Entrepreneur Challenge, named in honour of a past OCE board chair, invites university and college students from across Ontario’s academic institutions to address challenges facing the energy sector.
- This year marks the third edition of Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch, an entrepreneurship competition for Ontario high school students presented in collaboration with the Government of Ontario and Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) as part of the Youth Jobs Strategy.
- And new this year, Discovery’s Fintech Investor Pitch Competition offers entrepreneurs of any age an invaluable opportunity for a face-to-face with financial institutions and investors to deliver a compelling overview of your investment-ready company with a focus on big data, cybersecurity, and customer experience.
Discovery has it all. The show facilitates the exchange of ideas and encourages new ways to collaborate and push the boundaries of research and innovation through to demonstration and development. It’s the best place to see how bright the future of Ontario’s innovation community really is.