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Re­cent star­tups in­volve in­spir­ing ball caps, com­mu­nal din­ing and help for health care

The Hamilton Spectator - - HAMILTON BUSINESS - NATALIE PAD­DON Email Natalie: npad­don@thes­pec.com 905-526-2420 | @NatatTheSpec

I Am Awear

Jonathan Hall’s Think­ing Caps aren’t about mak­ing the wearer smarter. They are a re­minder to be­lieve in your­self. “Inside the hat it says, ‘Think pos­i­tive,’” said Hall. “That ac­tu­ally acts as a ser­vice to the per­son who’s wear­ing it. “It’s a lit­tle sug­ges­tion for them.” While the brand with its sta­ple ball cap prod­uct is new, Hall’s pas­sion for self-em­pow­er­ment is not. The 28-year-old Hamil­to­nian launched his brand I Am Awear al­most 10 months ago as a way to en­cour­age peo­ple to feel good about them­selves.

He had run an on­line ser­vice to help stu­dents in the past, and by com­bin­ing that pas­sion with his love for fash­ion, I Am Awear was born.

The hats come in a va­ri­ety of colours, from green to black to beige, with a Vel­cro patch on the front and back that can be cus­tom­ized when I Am Awear part­ners with other com­pa­nies on projects.

In ad­di­tion to work­ing with lo­cal busi­nesses, Hall says he hopes to part­ner with schools and land an in­vestor.

Start­ing the com­pany alone has meant lots of late nights. Hall starts his part-time job at a bak­ery at 6 a.m., but stays up most nights un­til 4 a.m. work­ing with fac­to­ries in China on the de­sign of his prod­uct. “I’m on a very dif­fer­ent sleep cy­cle.” The hats are sold at the Brimz Hat Bou­tique in Toronto, he says, and five per cent of sales are do­nated to the Cana­dian Men­tal Health As­so­ci­a­tion.

His most re­cent project is a red Dream­ers Cap — de­signed with an af­fir­ma­tion to in­spire peo­ple who are chas­ing their dreams.

Chez Dine

A soon-to-be launched app will of­fer a way to con­nect Hamil­to­ni­ans in­ter­ested in break­ing bread to­gether.

Chez Dine, which is ex­pected to be up and run­ning in late Au­gust or Septem­ber af­ter about a year and a half in the works, will be the lat­est ad­di­tion to the shar­ing econ­omy, says its founder, Jen Stokes.

“I think it’s a great way for Hamil­ton to con­nect with each other in a way that is au­then­tic and gen­uine,” said Stokes, who re­turned to the city about two and a half years ago.

The way it will work is sim­i­lar to Airbnb, she says. Hosts, guests and restau­rants will sign up. Hosts might of­fer any­thing from a large din­ner party, to mak­ing or­ganic baby food, to take­out. Restau­rants can pay a sub­scrip­tion fee to be listed on the app.

Guests will scroll through, search for what they’re look­ing for and make their se­lec­tion.

Once the trans­ac­tion is com­plete, guests will be able to rate their pick, and hosts can do the same.

Un­til the app is ready to launch, they are hold­ing a hand­ful of din­ing ex­pe­ri­ences, in­clud­ing one on Aug. 12 called City Lim­its where lo­cal farm­ers will pre­pare a meal with lo­cal pro­duce in a barn on Min­eral Springs Road.

Chez Dine is meant to be a way for peo­ple to break out of their bub­bles, em­brace Hamil­ton’s di­ver­sity and ex­pe­ri­ence all of the ex­cit­ing things go­ing on in the city, says Stokes. She hopes this form of com­mu­nal din­ing might prompt peo­ple to put down their phones, chat with some strangers and learn some­thing new about their neigh­bours.

“I think it’s a great way for Hamil­ton to con­nect with each other in a way that is au­then­tic and gen­uine.”

In­noCare

A Hamil­ton-based health tech­nol­ogy com­pany is billing it­self as a “clinic in a box” for phys­io­ther­a­pists, mas­sage ther­a­pists and chi­ro­prac­tors — and a way to help make health care more ef­fi­cient.

In­noCare Ltd., headed up by CEO Heather Shan­tora, has been of­fer­ing soft­ware to sup­port in­de­pen­dent clinic own­ers out­side of hos­pi­tals and doc­tors’ of­fices since it launched in April 2016.

“We then took it to in­de­pen­dent clin­ics and said, ‘Hey, we can of­fer you all these soft­ware and ser­vices; you treat pa­tients, which is what you do best. You get Cana­di­ans bet­ter faster, and we’ll han­dle all the rest,’” she said.

The idea was born out of Shan­tora’s ex­pe­ri­ence run­ning pt Health, the third largest chain of phys­io­ther­apy clin­ics across Canada. They started build­ing soft­ware and ser­vices, like a chart­ing pro­gram, to use at their clin­ics.

“We then thought if we’re do­ing all of these things, why wouldn’t we pack­age it up and of­fer it to in­de­pen­dent clin­ics,” she said.

In­noCare of­fers its ser­vices to 500 clin­ics across the coun­try. The goal is to free health care prac­ti­tion­ers from ad­min­is­tra­tive tasks, so they can fo­cus on treat­ing pa­tients, says Shan­tora.

The sys­tem also makes it easy to share elec­tronic health records with among health-care prac­ti­tion­ers.

“It’s re­ally a win for ev­ery­one.”

SH­ERYL NADLER, HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR FILE PHOTOS

While the brand with its sta­ple ball cap prod­uct is new, Jonathan Hall’s pas­sion for self-em­pow­er­ment is not. The 28-year-old Hamil­to­nian launched his brand I Am Awear al­most 10 months ago as a way to en­cour­age peo­ple to feel good about them­selves.

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