Recently, London was listed as one of the top emerging tech markets in North America in CBRE’s Annual Scoring Tech Talent Report. While this win was attributed to several economic changes, a key factor was the recent monumental growth seen in London’s tech sector. More ventures and entrepreneurs came forward with innovative ideas that revolutionized and challenged the norm, supporting the Forest City in effectively recovering from the pandemic and further bolstering the Canadian economy through job creation, creating an influx of skilled workers and thereby a generation of national wealth. All of this goes a long way to show that entrepreneurship is fundamental to a growing economy. New technologies and innovation not only help us in mitigating crises, but also improves the standard of living, addresses social issues and leads the way for economic growth.
In recognition of the impact that entrepreneurs create, every second week of November is observed as Global Entrepreneurship Week. During this time, innovators, change-makers and trailblazers come together to promote entrepreneurship, build connections, raise awareness and celebrate a vibrant ecosystem. Being the Regional Innovation Center for the Southwestern Ontario region, this week encourages us to reevaluate our contribution in supporting and advocating for ventures while promoting progressive work environments and facilitating inclusivity.
While we continue to observe, reflect and act, this year, we will be celebrating Global Entrepreneurship Week by highlighting some of the region’s boldest and most promising startups that are creating an impact and fueling growth in the ecosystem:
A leading North American payments and software company, Paystone offers an integrated all-in-one suite of products including automated payment solutions, customer loyalty, gift cards and reputation management to help merchants effectively engage with their customers and grow their businesses. Co-founded by Tarique Al-Ansari and Abdullah Saab, Paystone now serves over 30,000 locations across Canada and US, collectively processing over 10 billion dollars a year in bankcard volume. The company’s success lead to Paystone being added to the Team True North List as one of the highest-potential companies with the probability of reaching $1 billion in revenue. With strategic acquisitions and funding, Paystone is bringing in a new wave of innovation and recognition to the Forest City.
Leaders in cannabis extraction, purification and formulation, Motif Labs leverages unique technology, expertise and one-of-a-kind extraction process to support clients in discovering the true potential of cannabis. Providing services ranging from processing, wholesaling, labelling and fulfilment, Motif Labs is based out of Alymer, Ontario, boasting of approximately 200 employees. Co-founded by Mario Naric and TechAlliance’s Board Member Ian Hasse, Motif Labs achieved a milestone of getting 100 listings last year, recently added CBN production to widen their portfolio of services and products and aggressively expanded their team to meet their increasing demand and serve more customers effectively.
Canada’s first women-driving-women ride hailing membership, Wilma was co-founded by two friends Terri Phipps and Mary Morisson with the goal of creating a safe space for women and LGBTQ2S+ folks while they travel and work. Following a subscription-based model with monthly, quarterly and annual payment plans enables Wilma to provide flexibility and affordable ride rates for everyone. A recipient of the i.d.e.a. Fund, supported by the Government of Canada through the Federal Economic Development Agency of Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), Phipps and Morisson further plan on expanding their service to offer in the cities of Toronto and Mississauga after launching the app in London, ON. With the constant search for new drivers and riders, Wilma aims to develop a safe, sisterly travelling community in the future.
Bringing in a new approach to indoor growing and farming, Food Security Structures Canada develops and provides cutting edge technology to support communities in growing fresh, healthy and nutritious food regardless of the land or time of the year. With the broader vision of abolishing world hunger and food insecurity, President and CEO, Kim Parker aims to share her learnings and encourage communities to grow their own food. Being the recipient of various grants such as the UPS Global Impact Grant, Food Security Structures Canada plans to further expand their offerings and get closer to their goal of creating accessibility of resources.
Revolutionizing the online learning world even before it gained momentum, Online and Digital Education Academy (ODEA) focus on making learning fun and accessible for children through gamification, gamified-training and stimulation. With a team of experts including animators, curriculum designers, programmers and more, President of ODEA and TechAlliance’s Board Member, Brian Maxfield works with the vision of improving retention rate and making learning fun! Offering the course, Foundations of Business, on the OntarioLearn platform, ODEA also supports educational institutions in developing a customized gamified-learning program from scratch to help modernize the current curriculum for students.
Needless to say, this list is never-ending with multiple ventures growing, scaling and innovating every single day in the Southwestern Ontario region to accelerate the vibrant technology community. Throughout this week, we encourage you to keep an eye out on our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram pages as we continue to spotlight and amplify the work of our region’s innovators and ventures.
Happy Global Entrepreneurship Week!