LEDC_London-Inc_Fuse-Views (1)Every day in the Forest City, local entrepreneurs are proving that #LondonCAN

In recent months, a new campaign surrounding the growth of and opportunity for local entrepreneurship was launched.

#LondonCAN aims to highlight different entrepreneurial endeavours, the struggles entrepreneurs have encountered, the questions they’ve had, and where it is they can go in London, ON for the necessary support.

James Kingsley of rTraction, a digital services agency, was the primary creative director, and provided a framework for the campaign and website. From there, to help tell the stories of businesses and entrepreneurs featured, local film production company web.isod.es, created a promotional video (with another on the way) to animate the campaign and really bring it to life.

London Ontario, LondonCAN
Entrepreneurs confirm that #LondonCAN. Image via findyouranswers.biz

Adam Caplan, owner of web.isod.es, said they were attracted to the campaign since both his business and rTraction, are start-ups themselves. The creators felt they had the proper insight to tell these stories and help others understand what it’s like to start a business in London. Caplan said it’s not simply success stories.

“We wanted to feature people, real people, and the struggles they face being entrepreneurs,” he said. “Whether it’s social enterprise, whether it’s agri-tech, whether it’s digital tech, or arts and culture, we’ve got all these clusters and none of them are the exclusive domain of anybody.”

Across the entire eco-system of business in this city, there are seasoned players, and there are newcomers to the scene. The point of #LondonCAN is – making support readily available for all entrepreneurs, at all levels.

Where can entrepreneurs go when they need help?

To coincide with this campaign, an assemblage of key local organizations have come together for the City of London. They are known as the Entrepreneurial Support Network (ESN), and they do exactly that in their own respective ways. The ESN includes the London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC), TechAlliance, Pillar NonProfit Network, Propel Entrepreneurship, Leap Junction, Small Business CentreService London Business, and Springboard.

Pillar London Ontario
Wise words from ESN member Pillar Nonprofit. Photo via Facebook / @Pillar.Nonprofit.Network

Many of these organizations intertwine to some degree in terms of what they aim to achieve, however they each provide support to small businesses in different ways. According to Caplan, the ESN communicates that there’s no wrong door. “No matter what kind of entrepreneur you are, no matter what centre you’re in, no matter what you believe, when you approach the ESN, that group is dedicated to helping you find the answers.”

A snapshot of local business

For web.isod.es specifically, their job was to find and tell stories in which entrepreneurs have accessed this network in some capacity. Whether they were grand success stories or simply experiences with the ESN, the video below shows the broad range of local business and the different systems of support required on a daily basis.

Some of these diverse businesses include Nuts For Cheese, a vegan cheese retailer, Forest City Records, a new, independent record label, Arcane, an established digital marketing agency, and the Old East Village Grocer, a social enterprise grocery store in the Old East Village… just to name a few!

With this list alone, one can quickly see the diverse business landscape in London, each with unique struggles and specific needs. This campaign demonstrates how these things can be addressed and it’s the ESN that’s doing it, everyday.

Why is this important for London?

What’s so important about #LondonCAN in Caplan’s opinion is that the campaign as well as the website have been built based on entrepreneurs looking into the ESN rather than vice versa. Their intention has been to highlight true hometown heroes as well as those who are just starting out and for that reason, there has been an overwhelmingly positive public response.

Nuts for Cheese London Ontario
Nuts for cheese, one of the many entrepreneurship stories featured in the #LondonCAN campaign. Photo via Facebook / @nutsforcheese

“By changing the point of view, we shifted the conversation away from the ESN itself, and to very honest depictions of everyday entrepreneurs, their challenges, and what they need from their city” he said.

Although challenges and problems are as unique as the individual businesses themselves, Caplan said that, across the board, in London and Canada widely there are three overarching issues small businesses experience. These include access to capital, access to talent, and access to markets. It is in these areas that entrepreneurs struggle most frequently, and it is in these areas that ESN becomes essential to London as a whole.

What’s the big idea?

Are you an entrepreneur? Are you thinking of venturing into unchartered waters? Well, the ESN is exactly what you’re looking for to get started. Head over to findyouranswers.biz for a full list of contacts to determine which support systems and services are right for you.

This post has been powered by London iNC., a division of the London Economic Development Corporation. “London iNC. helps high growth entrepreneurs to raise and find funding, hire and develop talent, expand their markets, and locate business development opportunities.” 

Featured image via YouTube / findyouranswers

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