Hamilton’s Innovation Factory held its annual networking event, the Big DiF, to celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation in the community. After a 3 year hiatus, Innovation Factory welcomed more than 200 members from the local business community.
Bestowing the Mark Chamberlain DiFizen of the Year Award was the highlight of the event, recognizing individuals who have demonstrated exceptional commitment to making a positive impact in the community. This year, Innovation Factory celebrated and awarded three individuals, compensating for the years missed during the pandemic.
The award winners were Karen Grant, former Founder of Angel One Investor Network, Alex Ross, Lawyer at Gowling WLG, and Rachel Bartholomew, CEO of Hyivy and founder of Femtech Canada.
Karen Grant was awarded for the year 2020, for her continuous support during Innovation Factory’s biggest pitch event LiONS LAIR, as well as her mentorship and investment in a number of Innovation Factory’s companies. Alex Ross received recognition for the years of 2021-2022 for tirelessly contributing his time to Innovation Factory’s virtual and in-person events, and his mentorship to Innovation Factory clients. Finally, Rachel Bartholomew was awarded the DiFizen of the Year award for this year. Rachel is recognized for her commitment to Women founded companies, specifically, for establishing Femtech Canada in partnership with Innovation Factory. Femtech Canada exists to inspire entrepreneurs to lead in women’s health innovation. The program connects Canadian Femtech companies with the resources and recognition they deserve.
The Big DiF event featured 15 highly innovative companies from diverse sectors, including health tech, digital ICT, social innovation, and integrated mobility, who showcased their products and ideas to attendees.
Innovation Factory has continued to undergo growth. Since the last in-person event in 2019, the company has undergone a significant expansion, adding more that 10 new programs and initiatives and growing from a modest team of 10 to a dynamic 25 full-time and part-time employees.
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