Change log: Startup briefs

ChangeLog is a summary of the latest news from the Ottawa startup community

Tea company helps with Syrian refugee settlement

SuraiTea, a B Corp social startup founded by University of Ottawa MBA student Kevin Smiley this spring, aims to “use the power of the markets to create positive social change” by creating jobs for newly arrived Syrian refugees in Canada and by donating funds to non-profit groups helping with their resettlement. The company, which sells traditional Syrian jasmine tea, hired 20 Syrian refugees for a day to produce its initial batch of 1,000 units, generating $2,500 in wages. SuraiTea plans to donate $5,000 from the first batch of sales to the Salvation Army to help with its refugee resettlement efforts. The company reported $2,000 in sales in the first two days.

Four Ottawa entrepreneurs among finalists for EY award

EY has named the 50 finalists for its Ontario Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and four local entrepreneurs have made the cut. Jason Flick of You.i TV and David Ross of Ross Video are nominated in the media and entertainment category, while Tracey Clark of Bridgehead Coffee and Craig Betts of Solace Systems round out Ottawa’s finalists. The professional services firm will choose winners in each of the 10 categories as well as an overall winner for Ontario. That winner will go on to the national awards and then, if successful again, continue on to represent Canada at the international awards.

Go Give-Back wins Capital Angels pitch contest

After nine entrepreneurs competed in the Capital Angel Network’s three-minute pitch contest last month, mobile-app startup Go Give-Back won the affection of the judges, along with $7,500 in startup consulting services and prizes that co-founder Liora Raitblat says will help the young company gain exposure and make connections with potential partners and clients. The firm develops an app that lets philanthropists collect instant “in-the-moment” donations for charitable causes and events. This spring, it was chosen as one of the top five startups from the University of Ottawa and is part of this summer’s Startup Garage incubator program.

Shelf Exchange pairs makers with retailers

Ottawa startup Shelf Exchange is an online marketplace that product makers can use to book space in independent retail stores in order to help sell their products. The Invest Ottawa portfolio company made its first booking this month, as independent handmade jewelry maker Birch Jewellery can now be found in the Wellington West women’s wear shop Twiss & Weber. The firm expects to have five stores available for short-term rentals by mid-fall, offering local makers a brick-and-mortar alternative to online marketplaces such as Etsy.

Nominations open for Startup Canada Awards

Entrepreneurs from Ottawa and across Canada are invited to nominate themselves or someone else for the Startup Canada Awards. There are 16 awards in four categories, and winners are presented with their awards at a ceremony in Toronto before an audience of Canada’s top business journalists, investors and leading anchor companies. Among last year’s winners was Jason Flick of Ottawa-based You.i, who was named a regional winner for entrepreneur of the year in Ontario. Nominations are due July 20 by 11:59 p.m. at startupaward.ca.