Monday, December 07, 2009

Start-Up Holiday Guide 2009

Still gift shopping? Here are our recommendations for the entrepreneurs in your life, gifts that not only show that you care, but also show your support for the Canadian innovation scene:

1. A Very Beta Xmas

Toronto's Cignias has launched its music station line of products - iPod- and iPhone-ready speaker systems with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless features. The Nao Symphony ($299) includes support for stereo Bluetooth streaming, plus traditional wired connections through an iPod-charging dock and an auxiliary input on back.

I tech news notes; "The novelty here is the Wi-Fi: an Infrared remote control is included to control the docked iPod, but if you prefer to have full library navigation access, you can use an iPod touch or iPhone from afar to control whatever's in the dock; a free MusicNao application can be downloaded from the App Store for wireless remote control purposes."

2. Mereadesso - Because Even Innovators Need to Exfoliate

MAC has turned out to be the Nortel of cosmetics; its alumni continue to spin out new and innovative beauty start-ups,and the latest, Mereadesso, will deliver just in time for Xmas if you act now. Mereadesso's first products comprise one of the best skin care lines I've ever seen. As well it should; its founder (a MAC alumni) has degrees in chemistry and botany, and past stints that include product development and senior roles at Estee Lauder.

3. Pre-HOHOTO: Support Canada's Social Philanthropy Pioneers

NONIA knits was established in the 1920s to raise funds for paying the salaries of public health nurses who provide health care to Newfoundland's remote communities. It's one of the earliest examples of Canadian social philanthropy: women providing products which in turn support other women. A non-profit, NONIA still works today with 175 knitters and weavers in Newfoundland producing all manner of handknit items.

My favourite? The trigger mitters, which are not only good for hunting, but also for attending to cell phones and blackberries in Canadian winters.

4. . Because You haven't Hugged Your Lawyer Today

I want one for our meeting room, I can't even describe for you how much. Captain James T. Kirk's chair comes with all the buttons and controls you could ask for, plus sound effects (photon torpedoes!) and even pre-taped commands ("Mr. Spock! Report!"). Only 1700 or so are being made, and one of them should be mine. Do me a favour, and send one to a lawyer who's helped your business so at least someone can live out my dream.