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Torstar Digital Empowers Entrepreneurs(February 06, 2012)
TORONTO, ONTARIO -- (Marketwire) -- 02/06/12 -- On Thursday February 9th, 2012 Torstar Digital employees will gather after work to begin the ambitious task of building a new business in just 54 hours. The event is not part of their regular work, but a voluntary activity that provides all employees with the opportunity to make their mark in the organization by pitching an idea for a new venture they want Torstar Digital to pursue. They will form into teams based on their favourite ideas and spend the next two days turning these ideas into real ventures. All the teams will make final presentations and one will win. The event is called Startup Weekend Torstar Digital, modeled after the Startup Weekend global movement.
Startup Weekends are 54-hour events where developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts come together to share ideas, form teams, build products, and launch startups. Torstar Digital is the first company in Canada to do a Startup Weekend as a corporate event. Chris Eben, lead organizer for the Toronto Startup Weekend will help kick off the event and get Torstar Digital employees prepared for the intensive experience. Chris spoke about his enthusiasm for this event: "Startup Weekend events in Toronto and around the world have proven to be one of the most effective ways to motivate and inspire innovation. I've seen people accomplish so much over the course of a single 54 hour period. I've been truly amazed and have become a firm believer in the power of bringing people together, mashing them up, and seeing what they can do. Entrepreneurship can exist in many different forms and is a powerful force wherever it's found. I'm excited to see what Torstar Digital can do with this event and happy to see an organization like this supporting this type of activity across their team."
Torstar Digital has a history of building and growing innovative businesses both through acquisition and incubation across the digital space in Canada. Past acquisitions have involved scaling and growing small entrepreneurial ventures into leading Canadian businesses including WagJag.com, TravelAlerts.ca, Olive Media and EyeReturn Marketing. Torstar Digital has also leveraged its startup culture and business assets to incubate new ventures including TOPS, a content management system, Jaunt.ca, a travel group buying site, and ShopCatch, a mobile shopping app and retail solution. Torstar Digital's future lies in creating a home for great entrepreneurial talent that want to build Canada's leading digital businesses.
Torstar Digital believes that driving further innovation and finding great new ventures can come from tapping into the expertise and entrepreneurial drive of its existing talent. Candice Faktor, VP, New Ventures at Torstar Digital said, "We are very proud to be the first company in Canada to hold such an event. We are focused on creating the next generation of digital businesses in the country and who better to do so than the smart entrepreneurial talent of Torstar Digital. We believe magical things can happen when we give people the opportunity to work together from different functional areas and portfolio companies in an entrepreneurial immersive experience like StartUp Weekend."
On Thursday February 9th, participants will gather at Torstar Digital's King Street offices to be inspired by successful Canadian entrepreneur, Daniel Debow, CEO of Rypple, who recently sold his start up to Salesforce.com. Throughout the next two days, teams will form and work tirelessly to produce innovative new ventures through developing a business model, seeking customer validation and building a product. On Saturday afternoon the teams will present their final pitches to a group of judges, a mix of Torstar Digital senior leadership and prominent Canadian venture capitalists, including Matt Golden and Matthew Leibowitz. While the winning team will walk away with $5000, the real prize will be the opportunity to see their concept further developed and potentially turned into a real Torstar Digital portfolio business.
Torstar Digital Startup Weekend starts at 4:30 PM on Thursday February 9th.
About Torstar Digital:
Leading the charge in Canadian digital innovation and investment, Torstar Digital was founded in 2005 to provide leadership in digital media for Torstar Corporation and is building a portfolio of leading digital businesses that serve both Canadian advertisers and audiences, developing cutting edge technologies, and creating a centre of excellence for digital talent. Torstar Digital's current portfolio of leading digital businesses includes Workopolis.com, eyeReturn Marketing, Olive Media, WagJag.com, TravelAlerts.ca, Jaunt.ca, Tuango.ca, ShopCatch and web2mobile.
About Startup Weekend
Startup Weekend was founded by Andrew Hyde in July of 2007 in Boulder, Colorado. In June 2009, Marc Nager and Clint Nelsen purchased Startup Weekend from Andrew and restructured it as a 501(c)3 Non-Profit. Shortly after, Franck Nouyrigat joined as the third Director. Startup Weekend quickly became a nexus for early stage startup activity in communities across the globe. By the end of 2010, Startup Weekend had built a network of over 25,000 alumni, 150 volunteer organizers and 60 trained facilitators spread across more than 100 cities in 30 countries. In September of 2010, Startup Weekend received a grant from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, allowing Startup Weekend to come closer to reaching its potential in attempting to understand the unpredictable science of successful entrepreneurship.
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