Based in Oakville, Ont., Haltech supports entrepreneurs and tech startups in Ontario’s Halton Region west of Toronto with free business advice and mentorship to help them monetize their technological innovations, raise investment capital and accelerate the growth of their businesses.
“How do you get a product in the marketplace? It may be important for science and technology, but can you make it important for a consumer?” These are the kind of questions Carlini helps her clients figure out the answers to.
Haltech: Regional tech innovation
A member of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs, Haltech is one of 17 such non-profit centres that support entrepreneurs and tech companies in the province.
Haltech is run by a staff of six including Carlini, as well as six part-time Entrepreneurs-in-Residence who also have their own successful businesses, and a network of volunteer mentors who come from companies like Microsoft and Bell.
“These people are like coaches who want to pay it forward,” says Carlini. “They take part out of interest to share advice about their entrepreneurial experience; they like what we do and want to be a part of it.”
Haltech isn’t operating alone. “Every institution that’s part of the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs is working to build one of the best startup ecosystems in the world,” she says. “Silicon Valley is paying attention to this part of the world.”
Carlini knows she’s doing her job right when she hears back from her clients with success stories: “‘We won entrepreneur of the year!’ they write to me. How spectacular is that? Whatever we can do to contribute to their success, I’m thrilled.”
Concordia Co-op experience
The quality of service Haltech provides is inspired by Carlini’s time at Concordia.
“The kind of personalized attention I give my clients is what I first experienced myself at Concordia’s Co-op program in chemistry,” she says. “Haltech’s service is a big part of our success. You attract quality clients if you give quality personalized service.”
Although it was extremely demanding, Carlini thrived in the chemistry Co-op program. In addition to maintaining an A average, students had to complete four work terms.
“Working cemented the chemistry subject matter in my head,” she says. “I could practice what I had just learned in class in real life — you just can’t learn it any better than that.”
Through her work terms, she built a professional network made up of scientists, engineers and business leaders who, alongside her professors, helped her determine the right career path.
“The program was well structured and we were tremendously supported,” says Carlini. “Professors called you by name from year one at Concordia.”
Carlini’s professors obviously appreciated her early research skills. After working on an undergraduate research project with Ann English, professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Concordia University Research Chair, English nominated Carlini for the 2017 NSERC (Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada) Centennial Scholarship for Doctoral Studies.
Carlini was one of four students at Concordia — from a total of 55 in Canada that year — who received the NSERC scholarship in 1993.
With the scholarship, Carlini could get into any PhD program she wanted, including in the United States or abroad. Ultimately, she chose to study synthetic organic chemistry at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.
“The scholarship changed everything,” says Carlini. “Had the university not chosen to nominate me, I might not have continued to pursue this career path.”