By Sandra Desrochers
As youngsters, Tobiasz Dankiewicz and Michal Martyniak delivered flyers to homes in their London, Ontario neighbourhood. Sure, they made some decent pocket change, but the best tip they received was finding out how much people loved getting those sales flyers which were packed with weekly deals.
Flash-forward to 2013: Dankiewicz and Martyniak, University of Waterloo Mechatronics Engineering grads, are the masterminds behind Reebee – an app that allows users to browse relevant flyers from their area retail outlets on their smartphone or tablet.
To help make Reebee a reality, the co-founders turned to VentureStart, a program funded by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). FedDev’s Scientists and Engineers in Business (SEB) initiative contributes $7.5 million to VentureStart. The program provides emerging entrepreneurs in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields with training, mentoring and seed financing to develop their ideas, commercialize their products and grow their companies.
“Our Government recognizes that innovative ideas, combined with a culture of entrepreneurship, are the key to Canada’s long-term prosperity,” said Peter Braid, Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Waterloo. “Our investments in innovative start-ups like Reebee will help them grow and succeed, creating high quality jobs in our community, and ensuring a prosperous future for Canada.”
VentureStart, co-ordinated by the RIC (Research, Innovation, Commercialization) Centre in Mississauga, is delivered through 13 provincially funded Regional Innovation Centres in southern Ontario. This includes Waterloo’s Communitech, where the Reebee founders received mentoring from an Entrepreneur-in-Residence (EIR). Through FedDev’s support, VentureStart is helping program participants increase their business and management skills and their capacity to create successful companies and career opportunities.
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