Welcome to The Spark business and innovation magazine, and a special issue at that. This has certainly been a year to remember and one we are very anxious to put behind us, but I encourage you to read on and be inspired by the incredible technologies, innovations and leadership helping us get back some sense of comfort and normalcy.

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This is an issue centered around positive change, pivots and growth. I remember when The Spark was in its infancy — pagination sketches and editorial lineups scribbled on a whiteboard five years ago. We’ve certainly come a long way in our mission to help cultivate a culture of innovation in our ecosystem. What came out of a love for the incredible entrepreneurial spirit in Durham Region is now a full-fledged publication, brimming with editorial content from across the Greater Toronto Area and eastern Ontario. Now, as we reflect back on 2020, it’s truly amazing how we’ve all adapted to this year of change. If you’re like me, you’ve been bouncing between the “kitchen office” and the “bedroom office,” all while making sure the cat doesn’t spill coffee as he saunters across the keyboard. These challenges seem monumental as we adapt to colliding our work and home lives, but I assure you, these are minor annoyances. Let’s take solace in knowing we are safe in our homes.

“This is community supporting community. This is innovation.”

Just like the businesses you’ll meet in this issue, we’ve all had to pivot in some respect. I admire the determination of entrepreneurs like Asif Khan, CEO of GroundLevel Insights (story on page 12). He pivoted operations to help business owners survive and stay compliant by offering his contact-tracing platform free of charge. The incredible mechanical engineering team at Durham College quickly put their 3D printers into action back in March to create PPE for frontline workers facing COVID-19. Telemedicine solutions like VirtualClinic+ are rolling out to actively support safe at-home consultations, limiting unnecessary exposure in clinics. This is community supporting community. This is innovation.

Let’s put a cap on an unfavourable year with a celebration of technology and innovation. If there are any positive takeaways from 2020, let it be the inspiring companies and leaders in this issue.
Stay safe and stay healthy,
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