Big DiF Open House 2024

Innovation Factory celebrates entrepreneurial excellence and strategic amalgamation at the Big DiF Open House event

Hamilton, ON, May 9, 2024 – In celebration of innovation and entrepreneurship, Innovation Factory (iF) hosted its annual open house event, the Big DiF. The milestone event welcomed more than 300 attendees to meet up-and-coming start-ups, grow their networks and recognize the significant achievements of Innovation Factory’s partners, clients, and mentors.

This year’s event was particularly notable as it followed the recent news of Innovation Factory and Haltech’s amalgamation. This union formed a hub of innovation, positioning Innovation Factory to drive greater entrepreneurial success and economic impact across the regions of Hamilton, Halton, Brant and Norfolk.

The Big DiF open house also showcased 15 disruptive companies from various sectors, including health tech, digital ICT, social innovation, and integrated mobility. These companies presented their cutting-edge products and solutions to attendees, demonstrating the rich diversity of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

Karen Linseman, VP of Operations at Innovation Factory and David Carter, CEO of Innovation Factory presented the 2024 Mark Chamberlain Big DiFizen award to Shann McGrail at The Big DiF Open House event
David Carter, CEO of Innovation Factory (right) and Karen Linseman, VP of Operations at Innovation Factory (left) present the 2024 Mark Chamberlain Big DiFizen Award to Shann McGrail, former CEO of Haltech (middle).

A highlight of the evening was the presentation of the Mark Chamberlain DiFizen of the Year Award, an honor that celebrates an outstanding commitment to innovation and the start-up ecosystem. This year, the award was given to Shann McGrail, in recognition of her exceptional contributions to Innovation Factory and the region’s reputation for entrepreneurship, including mentoring iF’s clients and formerly serving as the CEO of Haltech. Additionally, McGrail was instrumental in the move to amalgamate the two regional innovation centers. 

David Carter, CEO of Innovation Factory, expressed his enthusiasm about this year’s event and the strategic amalgamation, stating, “This year’s Big DiF event was not only a celebration of our vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem but also a landmark moment for our organization. The amalgamation of Innovation Factory and Haltech into a single entity is a testament to our shared vision of sparking innovation across our entire region. Shann McGrail’s contributions have helped move us into this new chapter. We are thrilled about the expanded support and opportunities now available as we work towards fostering a more cohesive and impactful innovation ecosystem.”

About Innovation Factory

Innovation Factory is a not-for-profit business accelerator, serving as the catalyst for technology innovation in the Hamilton, Halton, Brant and Norfolk regions since 2010. Innovation Factory provides business services, training, mentorship, and strategic connections to drive market adoption, leverage intellectual property, and increase revenues, investment, and jobs. Innovators can also access sector-specific resources including exclusive smart transportation test environments and data; and a formal life science and health innovation ecosystem.

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Celebrate BIG ideas that make a bigger impact at The Big DiF, Innovation Factory’s annual open house and client showcase. Join 250+ people from the Hamilton-Halton community to celebrate entrepreneurship and innovation.

Join Innovation Factory's Annual Open House - The Big DiF!

Network with 250+ industry professionals, discover emerging solutions from our innovators, and celebrate entrepreneurship within the Hamilton-Halton ecosystem.

May 9, 2024 | 4:00pm – 8:00pm | Hamilton, Ontario