Behind the scenes of an interesting and eclectic collection of local companies
The goal of 12 Squared Diagnostics is to simplify a time-consuming test, which comes at a time when time may be precious.
The company has developed a test for oral anticoagulants — a reagent that confirms the presence of blood-thinning medication using a drop of blood from a finger-prick test.
Company founder Peter Gross, who works as an associate professor in hematology and thromboembolism at McMaster University, says this type of test must be done in special labs at Toronto General Hospital and McMaster. The finger prick test would make the process available to all hospitals.
Gross says this would help doctors determine whether patients are ready for major surgery without the risk of major bleeding. It would also help inform the decision whether or not stroke patients are eligible for clot-busting treatments.
“The cool thing to me is that it’s a Hamilton thing. I wasn’t born here. I’m a Toronto boy and this is truly a Hamilton thing,” he says, noting Hamilton is a world leader in blood clotting and thrombosis study. “This only would have been possible in Hamilton.”
Bobbi-Jo Meyer has been employed since she was two years old. That work ethic has stayed with her over the years. She says she went from being the Hamilton area’s youngest agency-represented model, to having a Hamilton Spectator paper route.
By the time she was 19, she was running her own business. Eventually she and her husband started Hagersville kitchen store, Kitchens N Sync.
Her most recent business, established in 2013, is Sweet Greens.
Located next door to Kitchens N Sync, the market sells organic produce, gluten-free, vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free and egg-free foods, and natural cleaning supplies. The store also sells fresh juices and smoothies.
It’s something Meyer feels strongly about. As a child, she had a bowel condition. She also suffered from asthma, allergies and skin issues. Doctors had no advice for her so Meyer went home and started looking into diet and nutrition on her own. She cut out dairy on the advice of a chiropractor and took up juicing.
She says the difference was incredible. “I had a new lease on life with the energy from juicing,” she says.
That’s what she wants to bring to other people through Sweet Greens.
Work doesn’t feel like work for Suzanne Zandbergen. That’s probably a good thing since she does it all hours of the day.
“I always have my phone out and I’m always tweeting,” says Zandbergen, whose company The Generator, does social media for local businesses. “Because I’m like, ugh, this is so cool and I have to share it, you know?” .”
Zandbergen started the company shortly after leaving a position at The Hamilton Spectator. In 2012 she took a buyout after 16 years of work that included managing Eye on the Area — a digital photo spread.
She parlayed that experience into a position running social media for Green Smoothie Bar, where she worked out of Platform 302, a co-working and shared office space.
At the time, she hadn’t been thinking about starting her own business.
Today she has a team of three working with her.
Zandbergen says it’s about more than just tweeting and drafting Facebook posts. It’s about forging relationships between various local businesses so they have a network where they’re sharing information and gaining strength from each other’s support.
“I kind of feel like there’s this golden era going on right now in Hamilton for small business. … I meet so many really young entrepreneurs that are just like ‘I’m going to start a business’ and they’re just doing it.”
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