Spark Centre will support Durham Region and Northumberland County to become a globally recognized technology and innovation ecosystem developing competitive, world-class businesses.
Spark Centre serves technology and innovation entrepreneurs who require knowledge and support to launch, develop and grow. We are dedicated to economic growth and sustainability in Durham Region and Northumberland County. Through collaboration with funders and stakeholders we are building a world-class innovation centre.
Innovate, Exude passion, Be collaborative, Foster teamwork, Be transparent, Live diversity, Stay curious, Persevere, Deliver amazing service
At Spark Centre, we recognize three levels of responsibility:
Primarily, we work to improve Durham Region and Northumberland County’s competitiveness and visibility as a world-class innovation cluster. We elevate key industry sectors including Energy, Health, Manufacturing and High Tech.
As a member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs, Spark Centre functions as the implementation arm of the Province of Ontario’s commercialization and economic development. We work closely with many organizations such as MaRS, Ontario Centres of Excellence, Ministry of Research and Innovation, Durham College and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
Spark Centre is a proud supporter of Canada 3.0 and the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN), and we celebrate our Federal Governments’ strategy to make Canada a world leader in innovation. We work closely with the National Research Council and Federal Economic Development Agency.
History of Spark Centre
In December of 2010 the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation announced the funding and opening of Innovation Durham Northumberland (IDN). This new Regional Innovation Centre was part of a province-wide network providing resources for on-the-ground commercialization and services to innovative and technology based entrepreneurs and businesses in Durham Region and Northumberland County. The formation of IDN was the culmination of a five-year visionary process and funding support driven by the Durham Strategic Energy Alliance (DSEA) in conjunction with the Region of Durham and the Northumberland Manufacturer’s Association.
In September of 2011, Martin Croteau was brought on to provide leadership and strategic direction for this innovation centre. Within the first few months IDN had a new look and feel under a revised brand Spark Centre. The idea was for Spark Centre to work cooperatively with local entrepreneurs and organizations to cultivate and support a strong entrepreneurship culture within Durham Region and Northumberland County.
In 2013 Spark moved its office to one of Durham’s newest collaborative working spaces for entrepreneurs and small businesses at Core 21 in downtown Oshawa and brought on a new Executive Director, Dennis Croft. Under Dennis’ leadership, in 2014, Spark Centre incorporated as its own organization, separating from DSEA and establishing Spark Commercialization and Innovation Centre. One year later in 2015, Spark Centre opened The Loft, Durham Region’s first startup eco-system and incubator on the second floor of Core21 with 92 seats for local entrepreneurs.
in 2017, Spark Centre welcomed a new President & CEO. Sherry Colbourne is a Canadian entrepreneur who has recently returned to Ontario from a four-year entrepreneurial sabbatical in the Middle East. During her time there she co-founded Startup Oman, which has become the hub of Oman’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, focused specifically on high-impact entrepreneurs.
In culmination, Spark Centre now has six employees and has helped over 1,000 clients. The organization is continuing to foster entrepreneurship and prove that our region is a world-class innovation hub.