Friday, November 23, 2007

Winning the Space Race

Congrats to Encelium Technologies Inc., winner of the 2007 “Markham Space Race.”

And congratulations to the organizers – Town of Markham, Innovation Synergy Centre in Markham (ISCM), Great West Life Realty Advisors, FIT by Design, and Jim Brown of Colliers International – for creating a contest that promotes small business and actually helps promising companies achieve their potential.

Markham-based Encelium develops energy-management systems that help building managers control lighting and other building loads to dramatically reduce energy costs. Last March Encelium made the papers for selling its ECS system to Toronto’s Rogers Centre (SkyDome), which was expecting the system to save it $300,000 a year.

A panel of judges selected Encelium as the Ontario small business “most likely to grow” over the next year. The company wins a $63,100 prize package that includes use of a furnished, 1,000-square-foot Class A office space for a year in the Town of Markham, a telecommunications package from Telus Business Solutions, thousands of dollars in business, legal, accounting, financial and HR consulting services, and printing and furniture moving services.

Maple Lake Ltd. of Markham and Maxxian Integration Inc. of Thornhill placed second and third.

Telus was the contest's Title Sponsor, with Creechurch International Underwriters, Cushman & Wakefield LePage and PowerStream Inc. as gold sponsors.

The Markham Space Race was open to export-focused, entrepreneurial companies in Ontario that have been in business for at least two years and have at least three full-time employees. Participants submitted a growth plan demonstrating how their company is positioned for rapid growth.

This blog rarely quotes press releases, but this next paragraph from the official announcement rings true to me:
"[Innovation Synergy Centre CEO Bob] Glandfield emphasizes that every company that participated in the Markham Space Race comes out a winner, just by developing a growth plan – something many small businesses neglect. “Developing a plan that must face the scrutiny of a third party forces a sense of realism into the process. Entrepreneurs tend to overstate the opportunity, and understate the challenges and timelines, when moving to market. Creating and implementing a realistic plan for growth goes a long way in ensuring the future success of a small business,” he said.

Amen to that. And kudos to the winners and the sponsors for a rare win-win.

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