WHO THEY ARE: Two women from Kitchener are the duo behind a subscription-based app designed to make communication easier for construction workers. Bridgit connects contractors and skilled labourers to a single platform to keep everyone updated on each step — and every hiccup — in a construction project. The app integrates text communications, images and other tools.WHERE THEY’LL GO: Bridgit is already being used on condo projects in Toronto, Vancouver and Calgary. A beta launch in New York is leading up to a broader U.S. expansion in the new year.WHY THEY’LL GROW: The construction industry can be a complex beast and communication has been one of its greatest challenges. Earlier this month, the founders won the top prize at Google’s Entrepreneurs Demo Day for Women in San Francisco, a competition of 11 startups from around the globe, creating more buzz for what could an industry-wide solution.THE HURDLES: Developers pay Bridgit a flat rate on a project-by-project basis, which means the founders will have to ensure there aren’t any snags in its rollout that sour customers.———HootsuiteHO-Hootsuite/The Canadian Press TORONTO — Canada’s technology sector was a hotbed of activity this year as investors circled a new generation of startups in hopes of getting in early for the next rising star. The steep decline in crude oil prices has offered extra incentive to get behind a different sector in 2016 in the hunt for the next Shopify success story.Here are four growing Canadian tech companies that have the potential to grab plenty of attention next year, from both investors and consumers:ZootlyScreenshot/Zootly.com WHO THEY ARE: With a Canadian at the helm of this New York-based company, and half of its 22 employees in Kitchener, Ont., Zootly is making noise on both sides of the border. The startup wants to deliver a shot in the arm to the moving industry with an on-demand app much like Uber. Zootly works as a logistics operator, connecting reputable moving companies — which generally lack a strong online presence — with people looking to use their services.WHERE THEY’LL GO: Zootly works in New York and the company plans to roll out across the United States and Canada starting in 2016.WHY THEY’LL GROW: Unlike Airbnb and Uber, Zootly partners with movers rather than working against the existing industry, which means pushback should be minimal. So far, they have about 25 moving companies on their side in New York representing about 250 moving trucks.THE HURDLES: Zootly planned to launch as a public company this year but hit a snag when its reverse takeover of Ethos Gold, a gold miner listed on the TSX Venture Exchange, fell apart in the final hours. The move would have sped up Zootly’s IPO process and given the company an ability to use Ethos’ former tax losses to its advantage. At this point, Zootly is looking at alternatives and still aims to go public next year.Canadian startup Shoes.com eyes fall IPO after raising $45 million in funding roundCanada’s tech sector is so hot investors are going to boot camp to get a piece of it———BridgitHandout/Bridgit WHO THEY ARE: Founder Roger Hardy shifted his attention from heads to toes, selling off successful eye-care web business ClearlyContacts.ca and shovelling some of the money into shoes. He paired with a number of financiers to merge two e-commerce shoe retailers — ShoeMe.ca in Vancouver and OnlineShoes.com in Seattle — into a larger business that could trample the competition.WHERE THEY’LL GO: Shoes.com is taking a page from traditional retail by opening physical stores in major cities across Canada. The company wants to mimic pop-up stores by stocking only one brand of shoes each month. Shoes.com is also expanding into new product lines through its acquisition of socks and underwear company Richer Poorer.WHY THEY’LL GROW: Shoes are big business and Shoes.com prides itself in offering 450 brands, about double the selection of its major competitors.THE HURDLES: Retailers who have expanded product lines too quickly often end up overwhelmed by complications. If Shoes.com strays too far from its business model, it might learn that lesson the hard way. WHO THEY ARE: The Vancouver-based social media management developer has built a business on its computer “dashboard” software that links outlets like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn under one profile, making it easier to manage posts across various platforms. Consumers can use a free version of the dashboard while more serious users can upgrade to a premium account for a monthly subscription fee.WHERE THEY’LL GO: Hootsuite is forging more partnerships, most recently with Microsoft’s suite of business tools like SharePoint, Yammer and Dynamics CRM to enhance marketing on social media, offering new insights into consumer activity.WHY THEY’LL GROW: The company is chasing business clients willing to fork out big bucks for the support of account managers and analytics data.THE HURDLES: In early December, Hootsuite laid off about 20 employees in Vancouver, part of its international staff of about 1,000 people, sparking questions about whether the company was tweaking its business to look more attractive for an expected IPO. The company has 1,000 employees across North America. Chief executive Ryan Holmes has spoken about speeding up plans to go public, but so far that hasn’t come to fruition, and representatives for HootSuite declined to talk about its future.———Shoes.comBen Nelms for National Post
It is understood the trusts affected may have to store their own waste at hospitals in bespoke trailers under a contingency plan agreed by Government. Among those on standby, are Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospitals Trust, Calderdale and Huddersfield Foundation Trust, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole FT, Leeds Teaching Hospitals Trust, and East and North Hertfordshire Trust, the HSJ reported. An Environment Agency spokeswoman said: “The Environment Agency has found Health Environmental Services to be in breach of its environmental permits at five sites which deal with clinical waste.”We are taking enforcement action against the operator, which includes clearance of the excess waste, and have launched a criminal investigation.”We are supporting the Government and the NHS to ensure there is no disruption to public services and for alternative plans to be put in place for hospitals affected to dispose of their waste safely.”The leaked documents showed HES’ Normanton site reached excess waste levels of 350 tonnes in September – five times its limit of 70 tonnes. In an attempt to deal with the situation, it is said body parts being kept in fridges and the company is attempting to export 750 tonnes of pharmaceutical waste to Holland.A Government spokesman said last week: “We are monitoring the situation closely and have made sure that public services – including NHS Trusts – have contingency plans in place. There is absolutely no risk to the health of patients or the wider public. A company contracted by the NHS to dispose of waste has been stripped of its contract after stockpiling hundreds of tonnes of human body parts, a leaked document has revealed. NHS England memos obtained by the Health Service Journal show that Healthcare Environment Services Ltd – attached to up to 50 NHS trusts – has allowed amputated limbs, infectious liquids, refuse linked to cancer treatment and other hazardous materials to build up at its five waste handling sites. On Tuesday, Health Minister Stephen Barclay announced the health service had severed ties with the company.In a statement to Parliament, Mr Barclay said NHS Improvement concluded that HES “failed to demonstrate that they were operating within their contractual limits.”Consequently, 15 NHS Trusts served termination notices to HES formally to terminate their contracts at 4pm on Sunday,” he said.New arrangements have been made with Mitie to “step in and replace this service” and “NHS services continue to operate as normal”, Mr Barclay told MPs.The original discovery sparked health and social care secretary Matt Hancock to chair a COBRA meeting last month, during which he ordered £1million to be set aside to help solve the problem, according to the journal. Last week, the Environment Agency revealed a criminal investigation has now been launched. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. “Our priority is to prevent disruption to the NHS and other vital public services and work is under way to ensure organisations can continue to dispose of their waste safely and efficiently.”Reacting to the leak, a spokesman for Healthcare Environmental Services said: “Healthcare Environmental has highlighted the reduction in the UK’s high-temperature incineration capacity for the last few years.”This is down to the ageing infrastructure, prolonged breakdowns and the reliance on zero waste to landfill policies, taking up the limited high-temperature incineration capacity in the market.”Over the last year, this reduced incineration capacity has been evident across all of the industry and has affected all companies.”It added that it had “consistently highlighted” the issue to environmental regulators, and there has been no disruption to services to customers.