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Start your business in London and watch it grow

Innovation Works sign
Image Credit: Hannah Theodore

The hardest part of running a business is getting it off the ground. While there are countless cities in Ontario to start growing your business, London possesses a myriad of resources for kick-starting your entrepreneurial dreams.

As a mid-sized city with a growing population, London makes a great option for starting a small business. Additionally, due to its moderate size, it’s also an ideal place to test a business before expanding it to larger markets. Close to several major cities including Toronto, Windsor, and on a direct line to the United States, London makes for an excellent choice if you are looking to grow your business outside of the Forest City.

“London is also home to many well-known markets that offer space for new entrepreneurs to sell their products and gain a following.”

But how to get started? Luckily, London is home to many small business firms and resources that can help you hit the ground running. The London Small Business Centre (SBC) offers “a full range of support services, including workshops, seminars, government programs, advisory assistance, networking events and much more to help you put your business on the path to success.” Book an appointment with one of their business advisors that provide top-notch advice and assistance with things like market research and feedback.

The London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) and TechAlliance are two resources that help cultivate spaces for growing entrepreneurs, with TechAlliance in particular focusing on the development of tech-based innovations. They also provide resources that assist with funding, investments, and strategic preparation.

Based right out of Fanshawe College, Leap Junction offers support to students and alumni seeking advice on their businesses. Leap Junction also hosts networking events, and provides one-on-one consultation to up-and-coming entrepreneurs. Their summer incubator program focuses on business-growth and in-depth education to promote the success of registered clients.

London is also home to many well-known markets that offer space for new entrepreneurs to sell their products and gain a following. The Western Fair Market hosts dozens of local vendors every weekend, and the annual Punk Rock Flea Market pop-up offers a space for budding talent to sell a variety of products, from apparel to house plants to health food.

Most notably, London is home to Innovation Works, a collaborative work space in downtown London connecting not-for-profit organizations, local entrepreneurs and social advocates.

Previously the Centre for Social Innovation, spearheaded by Pillar Nonprofit Network, the space was designed as a way to foster community, and was Canada’s first co-working space. Innovation Works makes for a great option for those looking for a space to work and kick start their networking game, with flex desk options starting at just $125/month. In short, anyone looking to “make the world a better place” is welcome at Innovation Works.

Starting a business is tough, and knowing where to start it is even tougher. But with the resources available in London, combined with a diverse market that is constantly seeking new ways to innovate, the Forest City might just be one of the best options in Ontario to get started.