After almost two months of anticipation, the winners of the sixth annual LiON’S LAIR Competition were announced tonight at a gala attended by over 550 members of the business community!

Nix Sensor Ltd. was named the grand-prize winner, taking home a prize of $65,000 in cash and in-kind resources, for their pocket-sized colour measurement tool.

Matthew Sheridan created the tool after watching his mother, a designer, struggle to carry around heavy, expensive fan decks from paint companies for years. He knew there had to be a better way.

The Nix team’s prizes include: $15,000 in cash from: Cogeco, Mohawk College, McMaster University, RBC, McMaster Innovation Park and Meridian Financial Credit Union; $10,000 from VA Partners for Sales/Lead Generation consulting; $10,000 from Marketing CoPilot for SEO/Content Marketing assistance; $10,000 from Fresh Insights for market research; $10,000 from Biz Clip for photography and video development and an additional $10,000 from Communica for business coaching.

Second place was awarded to Margaret Coons, founder of Nuts for Cheese, a company that makes dairy-free, cashew-based cheeses targeted at vegans, dairy intolerant, or environmentally conscious consumers.

Nuts for Cheese took home $50,750 in prizes including: $10,000 cash from: Cogeco, Mohawk College, McMaster University, RBC, McMaster Innovation Park and Meridian Financial Credit Union; a $12,500 KPMG Accounting, Tax and Consulting Package; a $12,500 Gowling WLG Legal Package; $10,000 in Marketing Strategy, Design and Planning from Albanese Branding; and two All Access Passes for CoMotion Working Space valued at $5750.

$45,750 in cash and in-kind services was awarded to the third place winner, Zippy Jamz by Laifa Baby. Founder Nicole Mortimer, created an innovative baby sleeper with two zippers – the second one along the inseam making night-time diaper changes easier for parents and more comfortable for babies.

Zippy Jamz by Laifa Baby took home $45,750 in prizes including $5,000 Cash from: Cogeco, Mohawk College, McMaster University, RBC, McMaster Innovation Park and Meridian Financial Credit Union; a $12,500 KPMG Accounting, tax and consulting package; a $12,500 Gowling WLG legal package; a $10,000 Fluid Media Web Design package; and two All Access Passes for CoMotion Working space valued at $5750.

A new prize category was added to the competition for 2016 – The Hamilton Award – a $2000 cash prize provided by Meridian Financial Credit Union to honour the local company the Lions felt is already exemplifying a spirit of growth and renewal in the city. The first ever winner of this award is 180 Drums. Co-founder Jake Nicolle received the award for his company that hopes to revolutionize music lessons, allowing more people to access professional drum instructors online.

This year’s winners were selected by the 2016 Lions: Cheri Chevalier (Microsoft Canada), Tonia Jahshan (Steeped Tea), Michael Macaluso (CARSTAR Canada), Julie Ellis (Mabel’s Labels co- founder), and Mario Paron (KPMG). The Lions viewed each finalist’s 25-minute pitch at the Cable 14 studios back in August to determine the winners.

The gala audience was shown pre-recorded five-minute clips of each of pitch, and were then asked to vote for the People’s Choice Award Winner.

After tallying the votes, Nix Sensor Ltd. was named the 2016 People’s Choice Award winner! The company took home $1,500 in cash provided by Meridian Financial Credit Union.

The event was hosted by Master of Ceremonies, Nick Bontis. Keanin Loomis (President and CEO, Hamilton Chamber of Commerce), and David Carter (Executive Director, Innovation Factory) welcomed guests and showed an amusing video highlighting the many supports available for entrepreneurs in the Hamilton innovation ecosystem. The video can be seen here! 

For those unable to attend, the gala was aired live on Cable 14. The Gala Special will also be available on Cable 14’s new Cable14NOW video on demand platform now through October 29.

Lion’s Lair would not be possible without the support of all our partners including: the Small Business Enterprise Centre, The City of Hamilton, Hamilton Economic Development, Canadian Business Ontario, and the Ministry of Research and Innovation – thank you for your support!


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