2013

"Huntsville incubator should be business boom" North Country Business News, December 2013

MCN, the Town of Huntsville and the Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment are working together to determine the potential of developing a business accelerator program. The $110,000 investment from FedNor will be used to conduct the feasibility study and project plan for a technology and data centre in Huntsville. The accelerator feasibility and business plan will be conducted by Morley and Associates as selected through a public RFP process held earlier this year.

"Business accelerator moving forward" The Huntsville Forester, November 21, 2013

The proposed business accelerator centre at the Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment is moving forward to the second stage, which will consist of the feasibility study. A FedNor investment of $110,000 will be used to create the study and a business plan for the centre. The business acceleration centre would encourage new businesses to work with local partners, with a focus on clean technology businesses. Project partners include Muskoka Community Network, the Town of Huntsville and the University of Waterloo. The Town of Huntsville has committed $15,000 to the feasibility study and may commit another $15,000 to the business plan. The other partners are expected to contribute the remaining $20,000.

"Muskoka organizations receive more than $440,000" Muskoka Weekender, October 31, 2013

Parry Sound-Muskoka MP Tony Clement announced a $443,730 investment to create both a business incubator and business accelerator in the region. Muskoka Futures will receive $333,730 of the funding to establish the business incubator to assist entrepreneurs The remaining $110,000 will be used by MCN to complete a feasibility study and develop a business plan to create a technology accelerator and data centre in Huntsville.

"Biz-tech centre for Waterloo building" The Huntsville Forester, October 31, 2013

Muskoka Community Network gifted approximately $8,000 of equipment to the Town of Huntsville for a new business and technology centre at the Waterloo Summit Centre for the Environment (WSCE). The used equipment includes an electronic drop-down screen, two televisions, an LCD projector, a webcam, sound equipment, eight wired desks and 16 chairs. The business and technology room will enhance the WSCE building and make it more marketable, according to the executive director of community services and economic development, Kari Lambe. The room will be available to rent by November 1.

"Rural areas may soon have faster Internet speeds" The Huntsville Forester, October 17, 2013

Muskoka Community Network is continuing its work to develop broadband infrastructure in order to increase Internet speeds in the region. In 2006, only 11 per cent of residents had Internet connections. Through MCN's work, this number is greater than 90 per cent. Currently, many residents and businesses in rural Muskoka operate at about 1.5 megabit-per-second speeds because that is what technology afforded at the time. However, the CRTC has since set the target for Internet service providers to deliver five megabit-per-second speeds by 2015 in order to support the use of high-bandwidth applications and multiple devices. In order to increase Internet speeds support from the community for the project will need to be demonstrated before a request for proposals for service improvement can be issued.

"Digital mapping could mean new jobs in Huntsville" The Huntsville Forester, July 4, 2013

MCN's executive director, Rob McPhee, presented a digital mapping project to members of Huntsville's corporate services committee on June 12. The software compiles open data from various sources and loads it into an online map that the public can access. With funding partners such as the Huntsville Lake of Bays Chamber of Commerce already in place, MCN is looking for a $5,000 commitment from the Town of Huntsville. MCN is looking to raise a total of $20,000 from community partners, with the remainder of the project cost applied for through FedNor. The software could make Huntsville a leader in mobile technology, mobile marketing and opening data, while creating ad-based revenue. Additionally, it could provide jobs in the community by utilizing skilled individuals who are able to develop and operate the technology locally. A report on the project was presented and approved at the June 24 town council meeting, recommending a commitment of $10,000 over two years to the project.

2012

"Wealth of resources for small business" North Country Business News, October 2012

Small-business owners in Muskoka have a wealth of resources available to offer them support and information to help them be successful. Muskoka Small Business Centre provides free advice and assistance on starting and growing a business. The staff can assist with registering a business, HST registrations, assessing the business plan, determine how to access funding and WSIB. Muskoka Futures can assist small businesses with financing when starting up or growing. Additionally, they offer a mentorship program, business counselling and advisory services. Contact North is Ontario's distance education and training network located at the Nipissing University Campus in Bracebridge. To assist in finding the right staff, Muskoka Staffing can help and assist in completing the required government paperwork as well. Northern Lights acts as a resource for small business owners with recruitment, training and offers meeting space in their location. Muskoka Community Network has assisted in facilitating the upgrade of towers that has allowed thousands access high-speed Internet.

"The consumers and producers in the new digital economy" North Country Business News, September 2012

There are many products and services to consume in the digital world. In our region, we are also producers of digital products and services that include digital media and health care products. Businesses hire web developers, videographers and writers to market their products and services. Whenever consuming something in the digital world, ask yourself whether we could produce that here in our region.

"Why are intelligent communities important?" North Country Business News, April 2012

Intelligent communities are about business, economics, taxes, health care, education, innovation and social well-being. What makes an intelligent community special is about the integration and collective value of these pursuits. To become an intelligent community, we must work collaboratively to work on this agenda and include intelligent communities as another part of Muskoka's culture. You can learn more about the concept of intelligent communities and how they develop and prosper with technology at www.intelligentcommunity.org.

"Community mentoring for small business" The Huntsville Forester, March 28, 2012

Muskoka Community Network hosted the Pathways to Intelligent Communities, A Vision for the Future of Muskoka and the Technology Achievement Awards on March 23. Muskoka Futures announced the launch of their Innovation Muskoka pilot project this month, which will assist five local businesses by establishing advisory councils. Attendees were challenged to continue the discussion on how Muskoka becomes an intelligent community.

"Program helps businesses boost online presence" The Huntsville Forester, January 4, 2012

Muskoka Community Network is currently accepting applications for its BEAM (Broadband for E-Business and Marketing) program. The BEAM program provides financial assistance to eligible businesses in the area, allowing them to incorporate e-business tools into their business. Eligible businesses are eligible to receive up to 75 per cent of expenses such as web design, development and implementation. The maximum contribution amount is $2,000. MCN has assisted over 100 businesses through the BEAM program and now has the ability to accept new applications.