Coffee Briefing, Nov. 16, 2021 – Square Marketing comes to Canada; alliance to increase academic diversity in Canada; initiatives to support Canadian SMBs; and more

Coffee Briefings are timely deliveries of the latest ITWC headlines, interviews, and podcasts. Today’s Coffee Briefing is delivered by IT World Canada reporter Pragya Sehgal, with files from the rest of the editorial team!

Missed last week’s Coffee Briefing? We’ve got you covered.

What’s new this week

Square Marketing Launches in Canada

Source: Square

Square, which builds payments and hardware solution for businesses, today announced the launch of Square Marketing for businesses of all sizes in Canada. The tool allows them to connect with new and existing customers, by enabling them to create, send and even track email marketing campaigns, promotions, discounts and coupons instantly all in one place. The company says with Square Marketing, businesses can create one-time email campaigns as well as personalized automation messages, expand customer reach and gain key business insights using analytics. 

The tool can help businesses drive buyer engagement and ROI; plan ahead and automate emails they send to customers; and measure campaign results using the Square Marketing Dashboard. 

More Canadian universities join the alliance to address ‘atrociously small’ number of Indigenous and Black engineering faculty in Canada

A joint initiative formed in February 2021 to increase academic diversity has expanded from six universities in Ontario to 12 institutions across the country. 

Called the Indigenous and Black Engineering and Technology (IBET) PhD project, it aims to support and build a network for Indigenous and Black graduate students. It has named 16 doctoral fellows and 24 mentors since its inception earlier this year. IBET Momentum Fellowship recipients receive $30,000 per annum for four years as they pursue doctoral degrees and specialized engineering, design, and technology research. Along with the funding, the IBET Ph.D. Project provides a network of peer support with industry and academic mentors who have gone through the doctoral process.

The original partnership included the engineering faculties at the University of Ottawa, McMaster University, the University of Toronto, Queen’s University, Western University and the engineering and math faculties at the University of Waterloo. Joining the project are the University of Alberta, the Schulich School of Engineering at the University of Calgary, McGill University, Ryerson University, the University of Windsor, and the Lassonde School of Engineering at York University.


Universities form alliance to address ‘atrociously small’ number of Indigenous and Black engineering faculty in Ontario

Vancouver company to provide venue management solution for Sammy Hagar’s sold-out shows in Las Vegas  

Screen shot of Fobi’s venue management solution | Source: Fobi

Vancouver-based data intelligence company Fobi yesterday announced it has entered into an agreement to provide its wallet pass-based venue management solution, including digital vaccination and testing verification, for Sammy Hagar’s sold-out shows at The STRAT Hotel, Casino & SkyPod in Las Vegas.

Fobi provides real-time data analytics through artificial intelligence to its clients around the world to help them drive customer activation and engagement. Its IoT device integrates into existing infrastructure to enable data connectivity across online and on-premises platforms to create scalable solutions for clients.

Lenovo launches program to provide relief to female- and BIPOC-owned small businesses in Toronto

LeoPatrizi | Getty Images

Lenovo last week announced the extension of Evolve Small program to women and BIPOC small business owners in Toronto, in partnership with the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT). 

As part of the extended program, Lenovo says it will provide a $10,000 grant to each of the 10 selected Toronto-based small business owners who can demonstrate their small business’ equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives, and who have completed one or more of TRBOT’s Recovery Activation Program (RAP) streams. Interested business owners can confirm their eligibility and apply for the Lenovo Digital Transformation Grant here by January 10, 2022. The company says winners will be announced by the first week of February 2022. 

The program is dedicated to providing relief through $1 million in grant funding to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-owned (BIPOC) small businesses across North America. 

Schneider Electric advances AI strategy with appointment of Chief AI Officer and creation of new AI Hub

Schneider Electric, a French multinational company providing energy and automation digital solutions for efficiency and sustainability, recently announced it is advancing its artificial intelligence (AI) strategy by appointing its first chief AI officer (CAIO), Philippe Rambach, and opening a global AI Hub. 

The AI hub is a global organization that will support global and local business stakeholders across multiple locations where Schneider Electric has a presence, a spokesperson for the company told IT World Canada. Having implemented several flagship AI business cases, it says it will ensure scalability and deliver measurable value to current and future AI projects through the Hub

Rambach, who has over 20 years of experience in strategy, innovation, and business responsibility in many industries, will be based in Paris, France. He will be tasked with driving AI innovation at scale, both internally and for customers, to provide greater overall efficiency and sustainability through data-based insights. Providing the right technology platforms, analytics, process guidance, and expertise, while partnering with all data platform owners to create the right foundations for data federation will be an important step in this digital journey, the company noted. 

TikTok launches ad credit contest to support Canadian small businesses

To support Canadian small businesses thrive and recover, TikTok is giving away $250,000 in ad credits through its #MySmallBusiness contest (entries close November 20, 2021), and hosting workshops to help the participating small business owners grow their business.

Interested small business owners can enter the contest by downloading the TikTok app and posting a video about their small business using #MySmallBusiness. Examples of content that can be part of the video include stories about how they got started, who or what sparked the idea, where the name comes from, how they support their community, or what their biggest challenge has been. They then submit their applications via the website for a chance to win $5,000 in TikTok ad credits by November 20. The company says it will announce 50 winners by December. 

More to explore 

Does artificial intelligence for IT operations pay off?

For overwhelmed IT teams, AIOps holds the promise of automatically heading off potential business impacting outages. But some IT leaders are skeptical about whether it can really deliver results.

Canadian firm, RCMP team to develop AI governance framework, a Canadian tech company focused on the governance of artificial intelligence (AI), last week announced the launch of hosted Machine Trust Platform (MTP) software designed to support ethical and transparent governance and measurement of AI deployments.

Hit the ground running in the emerging next normal

Has your company done all it can to successfully transition into the next normal?

Channel Bytes November 12, 2021 – big deal for Kyndryl; bye-bye BlackBerry email; RingCentral partnership; and more

Staying informed is a constant challenge. There’s so much to do, and so little time. But we have you covered. Grab a coffee and take five while you nibble on these tidbits.

Dialectica to open second Canadian office; will create 500 jobs in Canada over 3 – 5 years

Dialectica, a European information services startup in the expert network market, has announced the opening of an office in Vancouver and plans to hire 100 people there over the next three years, with a focus on new graduates.

Tech Trends For Small Businesses in Canada

To help small businesses predict the smartest ways to invest in technology in Canada in 2022, GetApp surveyed 150 Canadian business leaders about what types of software they plan to invest in. Here are the findings…

Empower your IT group to build your post-pandemic workplace

With the global pandemic on the wane, the future of the new workplace is uncertain. Employers, faced with what is becoming a “war for talent,” can’t afford to get it wrong.

ITWC Podcasts

Listen to the latest episode of Hashtag Trending

Canada’s Liberals are likely to exclude Huawei tech from policy, Epic Games shuts down the Chinese version of Fortnite, and the problem with Twitter Blue.

Listen to the latest episode of Cyber Security Today

This episode looks at an attack on a Canadian health clinic, a misconfiguration error at the FBI, and more


Would you recommend this article?


Thanks for taking the time to let us know what you think of this article!
We'd love to hear your opinion about this or any other story you read in our publication.

Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

Featured Download

Pragya Sehgal
Pragya Sehgal
Her characters are bold and smart, but in real life, Pragya is afraid of going upstairs when it is dark behind her. Born and raised in the capital city of India - Delhi - bounded by the Yamuna River on the west, Pragya has climbed the Himalayas, and survived medical professional stream in high school without becoming a patient or a doctor. Pragya now makes her home in Canada with her husband - a digital/online marketing professional who also prepares beautiful, healthy and delicious meals for her. When she isn’t working or writing around tech, she’s probably watching art films on Netflix, or wondering whether she should cut her hair short or not.

Related Tech News

Featured Tech Jobs


CDN in your inbox

CDN delivers a critical analysis of the competitive landscape detailing both the challenges and opportunities facing solution providers. CDN's email newsletter details the most important news and commentary from the channel.