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Rural Innovation Challenge

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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Rural Innovation Challenge

​Reimagin​e business continuity for main street businesses in Simcoe County amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Rural Innovation Challenge gives small and medium-sized enterprises incorporated in Canada the opportunity to pilot and scale novel solutions that support business continuity amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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​​*NEW​ ​​​​​County announces winners of Rural Innovation Challenge​

​​If one of these solutions would help support your business during the pandemic, please complete the Expression of Interest​ form by February 28, 2021, and a member of the ventureLAB team will contact you for further information.

 Rural Innovation Challenge - Information Session

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​​​What is the Rural Innovation Challenge?

​​The Rural Innovation Challenge took place in December 2020. The Challenge was hosted by ventureLAB, the County of Simcoe, and Digital Main Street to explore, source, and pilot novel solutions that support Main Street business continuity in Simcoe County amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Our partners are a community of organisations that include the Centre For Business and Economic Development, North Simcoe Community Futures Development Corporation, Nottawasaga Futures, Orillia Area Community Development Corporation, and Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre. Solutions must address one or a combination of the following challenge areas:

                  • Enhance streamlined delivery and order fulfillment services for online purchases made from Main Street businesses
                  • Expand and optimize schedule and ticket management services for Main Street businesses
                  • Enable Main Street businesses to better manage and care for the physical and mental well-being of their staff and employees 

The winning finalist received $10,000; the runner-up received $7,000, and the second runner-up received $4,000 in funding to pilot or scale their solutions. A portion of the funding will be awarded in the form of advisory services during the course of the program.


​2020 Rural Innovation Challenge Winners



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F​​​IRST PLACE: TAKU RETAIL

The TAKU Retail  cloud platform allows established main street retailers to seamlessly move their operation online while making it easier for local shoppers to see what products are available and in-stock nearby.​


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FIRST RUNNER-UP: WRMTH

Wrmth provides the first 100% Canadian designed and manufactured outdoor heated furniture to extend the patio season. Wrmth chairs provide incubating warmth, with three temperature settings, comfortable contours, and multiple safety features, while providing a green energy solution that ad​ds months to the outdoor patio season.​

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​SECOND RUNNER-UP: DELIVEREH.

delivereh. A “new normal" logistics company founded to support small businesses during the pandemic and beyond. End to End digital solution. We deliver, Eh!​





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