Lead Story: Canopy ramps up expansion to Beijing and Lisbon
With spring in the air, Canopy City is branching out into exciting new territory: Beijing and Lisbon.
In April, Canopy Cofounder Matthew Hoey inked a significant partnership with Gongxin Zhichuang Technology Industry Development Co. to open up a new Canopy location in Beijing.
Gongxin Zhichuang was established under the guidance of the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China with the mission of creating a vibrant information technology industry ecosystem. It serves as an incubator for new technologies, a source of finance investment and an accelerator for bringing products to market.
Gongxin Zhichuang focuses on intelligent information systems, which cover a broad range of fields, including cloud computing, big data, Internet of Things, integrated circuits, network equipment, electronic information equipment and energy and power equipment.
Its vision is to bring together universities, researchers, industry professionals and investors to foster a dynamic entrepreneurial community focused on solving our most pressing global and technological challenges.
"Our hope is that through educating young entrepreneurs and leveraging our network in support of their talents that we can create together a win-win model," said Gongxin Zhichuang Vice President Fengyan Zhang. "We will always be adhering to the 'work with intelligence, value the credibility' concept which means that we intend to provide an industrial ecosystem to the outstanding high-tech enterprises we work with by integrating resources, complementing each other’s advantages and collaborating for rapid growth and a shared future."
In April, Canopy also set anchor in Lisbon, occupying the second floor of a building adjacent to the ETIC School of Innovation and Creation Technologies. Canopy City Cofounder and International Voice Stewart Noakes is the driving force behind Canopy Lisbon. "Lisbon is undoubtedly emerging as one of the most vibrant startup communities in the world," said Noakes. "I have lived here for almost a year now and have chosen Lisbon as our third city to climb." Canopy also has a location in the British city of Exeter that Noakes launched.
Canopy Lisbon hosted a series of events leading up to its grand opening, including tech demo nights and community socials.
Startup Session: The New Green Economy
Last month's Startup Session at Canopy Somerville focused on the "new green economy" that has recently cropped up after Massachusetts residents voted to legalize the sale and recreational use of marijuana. The event featured startups and government officials who are pioneering this uncharted territory by writing new policies to ensure that the marketplace is inclusive to innovators of all backgrounds, and by creating technologies that ensure that the drug is distributed safely.
Speakers included the founder of CannaKorp, which just raised $4.1 million for developing world's first single-use, pod-based cannabis vaporizing system, and the legislative director and general counsel for Somerville Sen. Pat Jehlen, who leads the senate side of the state's joint committee on marijuana policy.
Producer and director Jen Myronuk (second from right) launched the Kickstarter kickoff for her new film Humanity Needs Dreamers about the life of Marie Curie with a special screening at Canopy Somerville. The event also included a talk with a scientist from MIT.
Myronuk leveraged technology to facilitate a fascinating discussion between audience members and the actress who plays Marie Curie in the film.
Each month, Canopy hosts the Hustlers & Hackers meetup.
Hustlers & Hackers brings together software engineers, coders, hardware experts, designers, architects, and/or general tech geeks who are looking to meet business-minded partners.
Who this meetup is NOT for: Close-minded thinkers.
The Boston Hassle, an arts and music organization, met at Canopy Somerville to brainstorm their latest edition of Boston Compass, a curated list of happenings in the local arts scene.
MuckRock, a nonprofit, collaborative news site that aims to make politics more transparent and democracies more informed led a workshop at Canopy Somerville on filing public record requests.
When worlds collide: An incubee of Canopy's youth entrepreneurship program provided a spontaneous pitch for some Turnup Tuesday guests as he was waiting to be picked up by his mom.
Filmmaker and Guggenheim Fellow Kenneth Eng, whose film My Life in China was broadcast nationally on PBS, dropped in for Turn Up Tuesday while he was visiting from Los Angeles.
Check out the video Athena Wang, Canopy's Director of Communications, captured of this special night when the Groundwork community cleans off the dirt to get dressed up, eat, drink, and dance!
Our partnership with the City of Somerville: Spurring innovation with youth entrepreneurship
Canopy City is proud to collaborate with the the City of Somerville and its FabLab at Somerville High School in the creation and implementation of a youth entrepreneurship program in its space. Since February, Canopy Somerville has been incubating two teams of local young innovators, ages 7 to 14, as they launch their own startups.
Students have been working in small teams to create a “startup” that will lay the groundwork for making meaningful connections within the local community, learning technical skills, and applying the skills needed to solve real-world problems.
"The BuildCorps Incubator at Canopy is an important part of Somerville's growing economy," said Ben Sommer, an economic development specialist with the City of Somerville, who is working with Canopy to implement this cutting edge program. "These young people are learning the business, technology, and most importantly, creative problem solving skills that will make them leaders in Somerville, not just in the tech industry but in community life as well."
Canopy community members have enjoyed mentoring our BuildCorps incubees on topics such as visioning, marketing, social enterprise, writing a business plan and coding. Throughout the process, our young entrepreneurs have engaged authentically in many aspects of #startuplife, such as creating logos and branding kits for their companies, establishing a social media following and eating copious amounts of pizza.
One of the startups, Tidy Earth, is a mobile app that is described as "like Pokemon GO but for trash" by its founders. The other startup, Voting School, is a web-based platform with the mission of amplifying the voices of those who do not have the right to vote by engaging policy makers and kids in two-way communication about issues that matter. You can follow them on Twitter @VotingSchool.
Our incubees visited the Somerville-based 3D printing company Formlabs for a field trip. More field trips are planned, including to Pilot Studio in Boston, which designs the packaging for the Star Wars franchise. Eliza Margolin, Formlabs product marketer, also visited Canopy to help prototype the hardware component to Tidy Earth's concept.
The incubees not only learn entrepreneurial and technical skills, but also how to collaborate as a team. They are using MIT's App Inventor to code their mobile apps. They also have been conducting research and engaging in analysis about their competition and their target markets.
All of this work will culminate in a pitch event in June, where students will showcase their ideas.