6 Great Resources For New & Upcoming Entrepreneurs in London, Ontario

If you have a business idea or simply believe you could use some advice, or direction you are not alone. When I first started as an entrepreneur, I was a somewhat shy and insecure college student. I didn’t ask for help or advice, and that was a mistake that set me back years as I tried to figure out everything on my own. While a lot of these resources didn’t exist when I first started, we’ve come a long way as far as available resources for entrepreneurs go. Below are some resources I think every London Ontario entrepreneur should be aware of.

Small Business Centre – The small business centre is a great starting point for most entrepreneurs. They will give you a free consultation on your business idea, and will help give you some direction. They have a lot of free resources but they also have classes, seminars & workshops which you might choose to pay a nominal fee to attend. They also offer networking opportunities, including Networking Wednesday which occurs on the first Wednesday of every month, excluding July & August.

I have personally received business consultations from the Small Business Centre. In addition to that, they helped me spruce up my existing business plan and introduced me to the Canadian Youth Business Foundation which provided me with affordable funding to grow my business.

Canadian Youth Business Foundation – CYBF is a national nonprofit organization that provides advice, funding, and mentors to young entrepreneurs ages 18-39. When it comes to funding, they are more concerned with a solid business idea, a business plan & your personal character. If your credit isn’t perfect or if you have no collateral, you could still very well get funding for your business idea. In addition to funding, they also set their entrepreneurs up with a mentor at no cost. This is probably one of the best parts, if you can get a mentor that is a good match for you.

I received $15,000 of funding for my business through CYBF. The process was not easy, but overall it was worth it. In addition to seriously needing some funds to focus on and grow my business, I was set up with a good mentor who really helped me out at times. I can recall one time in particular where I was panicking over a business challenge I was facing. The mentor I had did a great job at calming me down, and helping me sort through the challenge I was facing. It is a small thing in the big picture that made a big difference to me.

BizInc – If you are a Fanshawe College or UWO student, BizInc is another great starting point.  It’s a place where a student or recent alumni can go with a business idea to receive input on their idea, and direction. I wish I had something like this when I was in college and was exploring my first business idea, which was www.textbookexchange.ca

So far, I haven’t used BizInc. However, in an interesting twist of fate… I am currently in the process of completely redeveloping the Textbook Exchange, and my new business partner is a current UWO student. My partner and I plan on visiting BizInc for advice, and I’m looking forward to reporting how they can help.

Startup London / Startup Drinks – Startup London is another place you can go for help with starting and growing a business. They provide startup news, events, resources, and a place to connect. It appears they are open to helping anyone, but primarily seem to specialize in helping younger entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in tech.

I have no experience with Startup London, but I plan on attending a Startup Drinks event in July 2013 and will very likely get to know more about them. Hopefully they can help me, and I might even get involved if it’s a good match. Will report more on that later.

Young Professionals Group – YPG is a networking group for young professionals. It has over 1000 members between the age of 20-35. It is basically a way to meet and network with like minded professionals within the community.

I have been to one of their events so far, and it was the first event I attended where there were people closer to my age. While the crowd was not exclusive to entrepreneurs, which is nice for me as a B2B type of business, I really enjoyed networking with young like minded professionals. As of July 2013, I’m a 29 year old professional who doesn’t have a wife or children. At this point I still find it to be a more natural fit for me to be around young and inspired professionals, which is not always the crowd that attends some of the larger networking events in town, such as Small Business Centre’s Networking Wednesday events or the Chamber of Commerce Business After 5 events..

It is also worth noting that as of July 2013, it appears this group might be restructuring and they don’t have any upcoming events scheduled. I’m not sure what the plans are for the future of this group, but it appears something new and noteworthy must be coming soon. I’ll keep you posted.

London Linked & London Ontario Professionals Network – London Linked and LOPN are LinkedIn groups for London Ontario entrepreneurs and professionals. They offer an opportunity to network with professionals both online and through networking events. There is also a discussion forum where you can ask for advice and add value to the community by sharing what you know.

I really enjoy some of the group discussions, and the group also helped me find out about some great local bloggers who offer great advice that is relevant to me. I have also attended their networking events in the past which are great. There is a nice mix of people who attend these events.

I know there has got to be a lot more great resources out there. If you know about one that is worth knowing about, please leave a comment and let everyone know about it.

About The Author

Derrick

At LOWD Media, we specialize in supporting entrepreneurs. We understand inspired entrepreneurs and business minded individuals. We then use this understanding to learn about your business and help you create a look and feel for your business – your brand identity. Our business startup packages provide everything you need to begin marketing your business effectively and at an affordable price. Once you begin marketing and growing your business, we strive to support you and grow with you. Long term success for your business means long term success for our business. Let your brand be heard loud and clear with LOWD.

3 Comments

  • Julie

    Reply Reply August 17, 2013

    Great article and solid tips! Just wanted to let you know about another resource that I think is fantastic! Networking Today is a company that offers a database of networkers and networking events. They are trying to establish contacts all across Canada to make it the go-to resource for anyone looking for which networks will best suit themselves the product/services they offer. It’s a London based business so there are a LOT of followers in the London area, which makes it an extra great resource for anyone in the London vicinity.
    At networkingtoday.com you can sign up to get on their distribution list so that you receive monthly newsletters with updates and info. They have an INCREDIBLE archive of articles, stories, tips and advice for entrepreneurs and business professionals on their site. And recently, they have also set up a Facebook page, which I find really inspiring and love following on a daily basis. Go to https://www.facebook.com/networkingtoday to LIKE their page and be a part of it. Their goal with the page is to grow the fan base and be able to start postings and discussions with professional advice and must-attend events. GREAT company, GREAT website, GREAT Facebook page. You asked for other great resources …this is definitely one of them, check them out!

    • Derrick

      Reply Reply August 17, 2013

      Thank you for the suggestion! Do you work with this company? They do seem like something I should look into & I just liked their Facebook page. Appreciate it!

  • Adam Jerold

    Reply Reply August 2, 2013

    Good article.

    Entrepreneurs need this type of encouragement to get out there and connect. YPG s a great idea for the new starters too. A good read and lot’s of good pointers. Thanks! Adam.

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