CABI’s 21st Annual Conference on Business Incubation was held at the Radisson Hotel in Saskatoon, Canada from September 30th to October 2nd, 2012. “Incubation by Design – A World of Possibilities” focused on the diversity of incubation programs in Canada and celebrated our remarkable incubation successes.
This year’s conference featured a one-day pre-conference boot-camp and two days packed full of workshops, incubator tours, receptions and innovative experiences. Attendees shared the best of best practices, learned about some of Canada’s hottest incubation programs and had plenty of time to network with old colleagues and meet with new friends.
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This year's conference featured our popular all-day informative pre-conference Boot Camp held in the Davinci Ballroom of the Radisson Hotel. Attendees walked away with tool kits full of templates, contacts and best practices. The boot camp started out with an informative fireside chat (sans-fire) with incubation experts David McNameara and Jim Greenwood. The duo brought their 50+ years of combined experience to life in their ’10 Things You Absolutely Need to Know’ kick-off session. The day ended with a Bear Pit session allowing attendees to throw any of their day’s outstanding questions to all of the day’s speakers and experts. All this and the conference hadn’t even officially started. We kicked off the conference in style at the Opening Reception on a beautiful Sunday evening overlooking the Meewasin Valley. Registrants received welcome packages stuffed with local goodies including pickled snap peas, smoked bison, chocolate covered Saskatoon berries and more. Seven of Canada’s provinces and one of its territories were represented at the conference. CABI also welcomed guests from the US and other international visitors. All were pleased to see that Saskatoon was living up to its title of ‘Sunny Saskatoon’ with temperatures reaching up to 19 degrees.
The two-day conference kicked-off the month of October with a full program. Our complete conference program can be downloaded here. In addition to great speakers, keynotes and panelists, attendees were spoiled with Saskatonian hospitality and delicious local foods. Every meal featured some deliciously crafted arrangement. The highly anticipated CABI Awards Luncheon recognizing contributions to, and achievements in, the field of business incubation. The 2012 Incubator of the Year was awarded to Innovate Calgary – Alastair Ross Technology Centre (ARTC) and the 2012 Distinguished Partner Award went to GrowthWheel. Congratulations to the 2012 winners More ». The afternoon ended with everyone connecting on LinkedIn and tweeting up a storm with the Social Media 201session. The perfect way to end a fantastic day was to celebrate at the Conference Gala hosted at the magnificent Boffins Club, Innovation Place. Guests were treated to live entertainment, over-the-top food stations featuring mashed-potato-tinis (picture mashed potatoes with gravy in a martini glass). Special guests to the elegant evening included Saskatoon’s Mayor. The second day was as bursting with information and sessions as the first. Regardless, attendees ensured to take advantage of the WaterWorks Recreation Completed located inside the hotel, boasting a three-story waterslide, pool and whirlpool. The final day wrapped with a networking break paired with refreshing wine where the Conference organizers drew prizes – including a free CABI membership for 2013-2014. The conference organizers were given a big round of applause for their achievement. It’s unbelievable what can be accomplished by a dedicated group of volunteers. The CABI conference wouldn’t be complete without an incubator tour. The group first stopped off at TwoTwenty for a look at their facility and meet with some of their tenants. The second stop was at the home of the CABI Conference Chair’s home turf: Ideas Inc. As the tradition goes, the location for next year’s conference was announced. The 2013 CABI Conference will be held in (drum roll please) Toronto! We look forward to seeing you in the Big Smoke!