The region’s largest technology festival, YQG Tech Week, will launch Monday in virtual form for the second straight year with an eye to the future as well as re-introducing some Windsor-born tech stars to their former hometown.
Featured speakers this year include Deloitte’s Duncan Stewart on future trends, Spellbound founder and former Windsor resident Christina York on women in tech, and one of Canada’s most successful founders, Anthony Di Iorio (Ethereum, Decentral), on growing your business.
In addition, other speakers with area connections, Joel Paglione (founder of Picks, OakBottle), Jenny do Forno (OMERS Ventures), Matt Lucid (Wrap Book), and Jasen Sames (Rocket Innovation Studio) will headline Homecoming Day.
To register to participate or for more information visit: https://www.wetech-alliance.com/techweekyqg.
“Tech Week is a celebration of technology, innovation and entrepreneurship,” said WEtech Alliance president and CEO Yvonne Pilon, who was named one of Canada’s emerging tech leaders in 2022 by the business publication The Peak.
“It’s become an on-ramp into technology for the community. We need the opportunity for individuals to collide with established talent and companies. That’s what this week provides.”
In addition to days focused on the future, women in tech, founders and Windsor natives who have succeeded, Thursday is dedicated to Tech Mobility while Friday and Saturday feature Tech Talent involved in mobility hackathons.
Announcements of this year’s 22 tech awards will be sprinkled through the week.
Pilon said Homecoming Day is particularly important for the community given the influx of students and the talent being produced at Windsor’s two post-secondary institutions.
“It’s an opportunity for us to shine and show off,” said Pilon noting Windsor’s new chief administrative officer Jason Reynar also got an introduction to the area as part of a Tech Week before being hired by the city.
“We want our alumni to see what’s happening in their hometown, maybe come back — but to reach out to help grow our tech community here. We want to make those connections, but also to sell and tell our story.”
This year’s alumni speakers have a diverse background.
Paglione is the founder of OakBottle, a miniature oak-aging form for drinks, and the Picks app. The Picks app is one of the top U.S. online spirits and wine retailers and crowd review communities.
Do Forno is the head of talent recruitment for the giant pension fund company OMERS.
Sams is a newcomer to Windsor and as vice-president of the Rocket Innovation Studio has overseen the company’s rapid growth while Ridgetown’s Lucid is senior product manager for Wrap Book, a fintech (financial technology) startup in the entertainment sector.
“Rocket Innovation is one of the most important companies to come to this community,” Pilon said.
“They’re a rapidly growing fintech company with such a strong culture. We need companies like this so our graduates have reasons to stay in the city.”
For the many local firms now engaged in automobility, Thursday’s Mobility Day will offer a glimpse into the future of Detroit’s growing Michigan Central Mobility District anchored by the iconic Michigan Central Station.
Victoria Prouse, transportation planning lead for the district, will outline the plans for Michigan Central that include founding members Ford Motor Company and Google.
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