2014 N100 Start-up Funding Award Winner Promotes Women in Technology


Last year, Mentor Works informed its audience of an excellent opportunity for start-ups that takes place in Cobourg, Ontario called “N100.” The competition is run by Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) and offers early-stage start-ups the opportunity to take home $100,000 in funding in return for setting up part of their business in the eastern Ontario town located (just over an hour east of Toronto). Since then the N100 competition has grown in popularity, and improved in terms of the length of the process –while maintaining the review and due diligence, with MIT’s David Shrier joining the review panel again in 2014.

A Dynamic Hub of Creativity with a Small-Town Feel

Cobourg, ON isn’t your average small town.  In fact, Cobourg was rated highest on the “Creativity Index” among comparable communities by the Martin Prosperity Institute.  The index takes in to account levels of talent, technology, and tolerance.  In addition, the town boasts of a friendly small-town atmosphere along with great places to eat, and hiking trails.

This Year’s Winner: A Cool “Social” Toy that Might Just Help Break the Mold for Young Women in Tech

This year’s winner is a company called Linkitz.  The company is named after its innovative new “social” toy; a wearable electronic gadget that has modules which snap together.

“Wearables are the new black, and kids want their own. Linkitz makes smart and modular wearable toys that blink and buzz and will help kids learn programming too,” explains Andrew Macrae, CTO of Linkitz. In a recent press release from N100.

But the company’s founder, Lyssa Neel does not only envision her product reaping commercial success, she also sees it as a tool for helping to tear down barriers for women interested in technology.  “Girls are big on accessories and Linkitz will give them a chance to get programming chops as they make toys of their own,” said Lyssa Neel, CEO of Linkitz in an interview with Northumberland CFDC’s John Hayden.  “Making technology playful at an early age can go a long way,” she added.

Learn More about Funding Opportunities for Early-Stage Start-ups

Find out more about funding opportunities for start-ups by downloading a free Canadian government funding for start-ups checklist.


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