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Ontario Tech acknowledges the lands and people of the Mississaugas of Scugog Island First Nation.

We are thankful to be welcome on these lands in friendship. The lands we are situated on are covered by the Williams Treaties and are the traditional territory of the Mississaugas, a branch of the greater Anishinaabeg Nation, including Algonquin, Ojibway, Odawa and Pottawatomi. These lands remain home to many Indigenous nations and peoples.

We acknowledge this land out of respect for the Indigenous nations who have cared for Turtle Island, also called North America, from before the arrival of settler peoples until this day. Most importantly, we acknowledge that the history of these lands has been tainted by poor treatment and a lack of friendship with the First Nations who call them home.

This history is something we are all affected by because we are all treaty people in Canada. We all have a shared history to reflect on, and each of us is affected by this history in different ways. Our past defines our present, but if we move forward as friends and allies, then it does not have to define our future.

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UOIT alumni and current student shine in Ignite Durham entrepreneurial competition

Above: Squabble Studios Inc. (from left): Matthew Stephan, Aaron DeChamplain, Eric Rosendale, Ian McCabe and Veronica Cole. Right: Martin Croteau, Executive Director, Spark Centre (left) and third-year UOIT BCom student Joshua Tibdano, Moxie Retail Solutions (right). Photos courtesy: Jason Chow Photography
Above: Squabble Studios Inc. (from left): Matthew Stephan, Aaron DeChamplain, Eric Rosendale, Ian McCabe and Veronica Cole. Right: Martin Croteau, Executive Director, Spark Centre (left) and third-year UOIT BCom student Joshua Tibdano, Moxie Retail Solutions (right). Photos courtesy: Jason Chow Photography

Five graduates and one current student from the University of Ontario Institute of Technology’s (UOIT) Faculty of Business and Information Technology (FBIT) have emerged from a pool of more than 100 applicants to make the exclusive list of five entrepreneurs in the final group of Ignite Durham, a competition designed to lead new companies on the path to success.

“This success of UOIT graduates as well as a current student in Ignite Durham speaks to the overall depth and strength of FBIT programs,” said Dr. Pamela Ritchie, Dean, Faculty of Business and Information Technology. “Our students are emerging highly skilled and talented, with the knowledge to create, lead and succeed in the workplace, even before graduation.”

One of the Ignite Durham finalists is Squabble Studios Ltd., a game development studio that focuses on the creation of original serious games, simulations and training applications. Squabble Studios is led by Faculty of Business and Information Technology (FBIT) Game Development and Entrepreneurship program 2012 graduates Veronica Cole, Aaron DeChamplain, Ian McCabe, Eric Rosendale and Matthew Stephan.

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Also making Ignite Durham’s final five is Moxie Retail Solutions Inc., headed by Joshua Tibdano, a third-year Bachelor of Commerce student at UOIT. Moxie’s service offerings combine insights gathered from customer mapping, point-of-sale and loyalty data to create distinct communications and in-store environments to boost customer engagement.

Ignite Durham invited more than 100 participants to a five-night entrepreneurial Pitch School boot camp where they learned how to write a business summary, build best practices for pitching, develop anxiety-management strategies and how to a cultivate strategic vision for their company. At the end of Pitch School, the top 30 groups were chosen to present before a panel and 250 community members, with Squabble and Moxie ultimately making the final five. Two overall winners will be selected on March 1. The Ignite Durham finale will be held June 25 at the Regent Theatre in downtown Oshawa.

Ignite Durham is presented by Spark Centre, a not-for-profit organization that offers services and support to local entrepreneurs, the Regional Municipality of Durham, and VentureStart, a program that helps technology entrepreneurs in Southern Ontario.