Home to world-class academic institutions brimming with emerging industry talent, London, Ontario keeps innovation at the core of education.

That’s why when Kabo Fresh Dog Food turned their attention to improving their visibility online, they engaged with Fanshawe College students for in-demand skillsets that could get their brand in front of the right audiences.

For over 20 years, Professor Liz Gray has been practicing, teaching and developing courses on search engine marketing and optimization. Leveraging extensive experience and a well-built relationship with Google to empower Lawrence Kinlin School of Business students with marketable skills and hands-on learning opportunities, individuals enrolled in her courses gain meaningful work experience while creating impact for real companies.

Co-founders Vino and Vijay Jeyapalan recognized that this could become a powerful tool to help Kabo carve out space for their data-driven fresh dog food delivery startup to extend their reach and convert leads into customers.

Partnering with Gray’s Google Analytics class, five students were given the opportunity to execute an independent analysis of Kabo’s data and provide insights. From their recommendations related to SEO, UX, content development and traffic acquisition strategies, the best project was turned over to Kabo for implementation.

“The Google Analytics submissions by Fanshawe students were insightful and action-oriented,” said Vijay. “Having seen strategies and implementations across a wide range of eCommerce clients, I can say that Fanshawe’s students in Liz Gray’s Google Analytics course have a bright future ahead of them.”

A man petting his dog while his dog licks him. The image also contains a kabo box with their company logo.

On the outcomes, Vino said they continue to leverage student insights today. “We are actioning many of the linkback strategies their reports suggested and continue to look to Fanshawe for our growth marketing needs as Kabo grows.”

A former student himself, Kabo’s Director of Food, Dennis Mazajlo sees partnerships like this as necessary to fostering a technology-powered ecosystem that can compete on the global stage.

“Companies are asking the kinds of questions that these students are becoming equipped to answer,” Mazajlo said. “It’s a unique approach that Fanshawe takes, and we need to embrace it as we get serious about creating a digital economy in London — one that has a great variety in the kinds of companies doing digital work.”

As company-building evolves amid rapidly-changing terrain, tech companies need nimble talent. It’s partnerships between promising ventures headed by innovators, and institutions focused on experiential learning, that lead to world-changing results.

“Fanshawe College and the Lawrence Kinlin School of Business are built on community partnerships. We pride ourselves on providing educational opportunities that deliver hands-on experience for our students and we couldn’t do it without the support of local businesses like Kabo,” said Gray. “We are so fortunate to have community support in building and delivering a curriculum that closely matches what students will encounter when they graduate and start working.”

A screenshot of a zoom meeting which features the team that works at Kabo

Mazajlo believes collisions like this will accelerate Kabo’s next phase of scaling-up as a company.

“After a whirlwind year that included appearances on Dragon’s Den and participation in Google for Startups Canada and Western University’s Accelerator, we are confident in the team we’re building and the direction our company is growing in,” he said. Recognizing that regional talent can make a meaningful impact for the growing venture, Mazajlo urged, “If you love seeing dogs living happier and healthier lives, join us at Kabo Fresh Dog Food.”

With the future of work demanding changing competencies, it’s also worth noting the significant opportunity for upskilling existing talent. With programs made for any stage, experiential learning will be vital to keeping our region’s workforce current and competitive.

On harnessing these opportunities to drive economic prosperity, Christina Fox, CEO of TechAlliance remarked, “Leveraging experiential learning and a vibrant community rich with technology leadership, Fanshawe College is doing a remarkable job of aligning student talent with the needs of our innovation economy.”

“As TechAlliance begins our partnership with Fanshawe students, we are confident in the value they drive for promising ventures, and are delighted to give them the opportunity to explore all that a career in technology has to offer them upon graduation.”