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Aspiring innovators get work-out at intellectual property 'boot camp'

If you’ve ever had a health care worker visit you at home, you may be familiar with the seemingly endless reams of paperwork they need to fill out.

James Hush has a great idea to simplify the whole process, but needs a little business savvy to pull it off. That’s why he went to the Intellectual Property Boot Camp, being held this week at the Ed Lumley Centre for Engineering Innovation.

“I know how to make this work but I don’t have the business side of it,” said Hush, a fourth-year computer science student. “Just about everything I know I’ve picked up on Dragon’s Den.”

Along with partner Andrew Sartori, a recent graduate of the University of Waterloo, Hush is developing a web-based application for health care workers to fill out all their forms on a tablet or phone, rather than write them out by hand. A data base would store previous patient information, thereby eliminating a lot of unnecessary steps.

Ingmar Borgers

Ingmar Borgers.

“Andrew figures out what we’re doing and then I make it happen,” Hush says, just before providing a quick demonstration of how the system works on his iPad. “It’s still in the development stages but we’re getting really close.”

Hush was attending a session on intellectual property led by Ingmar Borgers, VP strategic deals and operations with Oracle Global Business Units, but he was especially interested in a talk to be given on venture capital and tech start-up by Damien Steel, director of OMERS Ventures. Besides meeting with potential users, he and his partner have been applying to start-up accelerators for some cash to launch their business.

Hush’s entrepreneurial spirit is something that local intellectual property lawyer and UWindsor law grad Catherine Ozimek is seeing more of these days.

“There’s a lot of positive energy going into innovation, and there are a lot of young people moving in that direction,” said Ozimek, who practices at the local firm of Mitchell and Associates and was attending the conference. “There are a lot of opportunities for them to explore things that they’re passionate about.”

The sold-out boot camp, being hosted by the Centre for Enterprise and Law, continues for the next three days, with sessions on such subjects as trademarks, patents and commercializing technology.

Borgers said it’s critical for organizations like CEL to promote entrepreneurial thinking in places like Windsor that are ripe for new innovation. He said he’s done a lot of work in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, a region that once depended largely on manufacturing but has developed a great deal in more high-tech sectors.

“It is possible to bridge the two,” he said. “That was a blue collar town, and they still have a lot of industry, but they’re getting a lot of leading edge tech as well. But you need to develop the right infrastructure and community support.”

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