There was no shortage of opportunities for entrepreneurs in London, Ontario this Global Entrepreneurship Week. In a series of events hosted by community organizations throughout London, the city’s entrepreneurs came together for valuable networking, professional development and resource-sharing opportunities under the #LondonCAN campaign.
This year’s key initiative was the inaugural #LondonCAN Exchange, which brought together innovators, founders and industry to celebrate the local success stories that have made a global impact and continue to fuel London’s economic prosperity.
This collaborative event was the first of its kind for London’s network of economic development organizations. With the intent to celebrate all of the resources available to set entrepreneurs up for success, the #LondonCAN Exchange represented a “no wrong door” approach to seeking access to opportunities to start and grow businesses.
Partners in this network include Better Business Bureau of Western Ontario, Futurpreneur Canada, Leap Junction at Fanshawe College, London Economic Development Corporation, Propel Entrepreneurship at Western University, Pillar Nonprofit Network, Société Économique de l’Ontario, London Small Business Centre, TechAlliance and City of London.
“It’s critical that London take part in this global movement, because it gives us an opportunity to recognize Londoners with the grit and tenacity to dream big, launch ventures, see them through, and become players in the global economy,” said TechAlliance CEO, Christina Fox in the welcome remarks of the evening.
The main event of the evening featured Peter Rocca (CEO), Angela Zehr (Director, People & Culture) and Mike Noble (Sales Director) in a live Q&A with TreeTown Media Group founder, Gord Delamont. Providing direction for Start.ca’s immense success, their insights on starting and growing a business in London provided valuable takeaways for an engaged audience of entrepreneurs.
“London became the perfect-sized market for us to be known. It had the density we needed to be successful, as well as all the necessities of a big city – entertainment, quality of life, lots of opportunity,” said Peter Rocca, CEO, Start.ca.
Although Start.ca exemplifies immense achievement that remains hyper-local in their culture and service, Angela Zehr, Director of People & Culture, explained that no matter their size, they still gain value from participating in community groups and professional development activities like TechAlliance’s Peer-2-Peer Groups.
Around the room, growing startups were showcased to celebrate successes in London’s entrepreneurship community. Businesses featured included: FML Adventures, STMNT, Orca Intelligence, Speak, Boho Bars, Franco-Educ and Play Away Indoor Park.
Concluding the evening, the Leads & Needs pitches gave entrepreneurs the opportunity to introduce their business needs to an audience of other founders and industry leaders. The pitchers included AL Media, uMunch, Ascend Applications, MakerBars and Forrat’s Chocolates.
When I joined @TechAlliance, I promised #ldnont that we would seed collaborative thinking often. I’m so proud that for the first time, economic dev partners came together to showcase best-in-class entrepreneurs starting & growing here. ????????#teamworkmakesthedreamwork https://t.co/fX1pYiML1J— Christina Fox (@Christina_Fox) November 22, 2019
“If you’re looking to start or grow your business, London is your launchpad. Providing the right advice at the right time, offering mentoring, and connections to help you skyrocket… There is no wrong door,” said Fox in her closing note.