GDLS-C part of Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster
LONDON-BASED GENERAL Dynamics Land Systems–Canada has announced that it is a network partner of the Southern Ontario-based Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster, part of the federal government’s recently announced Innovation Superclusters Initiative.
The Innovation Superclusters Initiative is investing up to $950 million to support business-led innovation superclusters with the greatest potential to energize the economy and become engines of growth. Through a small number of high-value, strategic investments, the initiative is co-investing with industry in bold and ambitious proposals to strengthen Canada’s most promising clusters and build superclusters at scale.
Southern Ontario’s Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster will build up next-generation manufacturing capabilities, incorporating technologies like advanced robotics and 3D printing, and focusing on training and technology adoption.
“Advanced manufacturing is a key economic engine for Southwestern Ontario, and as the second largest advance manufacturer in the region and a leading Canadian exporter, General Dynamics Land Systems–Canada looks forward to collaboratively working with our supercluster partners,” says Danny Deep, vice president of General Dynamics Land Systems–Canada.
“We have always taken great pride in staying ahead of technological advancements, in encouraging Canadian ingenuity and supporting Canada as an innovation hub,” Deep adds.
The Advanced Manufacturing Supercluster strategy consists of three pillars: co-investment in collaborative, industry-led projects; support of the creation of new tools, test beds and infrastructure to help create the next generation of manufacturing firms; and the build-out of a robust ecosystem of supports and services that accelerate technology adoption in manufacturing.
General Dynamics Land Systems–Canada is a defence industry leader in land and amphibious systems development and integration, employs approximately 2,000 people in the design, manufacture and support of light- and medium-armoured vehicles, and are specialists in machining, materials, electronics, software development, prototyping, logistics support and systems integration.
Digital Echidna relocates to York Street
DIGITAL ECHIDNA, AN award-winning London-based web design and digital agency, has left its location in the historic Burridge Block on King for a larger building located at 148 York Street. It is a move necessitated by the company’s growth-to-date -and aggressive growth targets.
“As much as we loved everything about the Burridge Block, it just came down to the fact that we couldn’t get any more people into the space,” explains Digital Echidna’s owner, Andrew McClenaghan, adding that despite having most of the first floor and all of the second and fourth floors, there was little room for expansion.
“When we first moved to Burridge Block approximately six years ago, we had only about a dozen staff. Now we have over 60.”
McClenaghan says the company had been looking for new space for two years and finally found a location that satisfied its needs—both now and for the future.
“First and foremost, we were committed to staying in the downtown core,” he says. “And we also wanted to find a space that met our needs as a technology company and gave us the flexibility to do some exciting new things with the way we work. Over the past couple of years, we’ve looked at a number of locations and worked with some great people, but the York St. location is purpose-built for a company like ours and checked off all of our boxes.”
In an internal survey, the Digital Echidna team found that a vast majority of its employees either lived in the core or took public transit to work—that was one factor in staying in the downtown core. More importantly, Digital Echidna has publicly committed to downtown and this move reinforces that statement.
“We are part of the revitalized downtown,” McClenaghan says. “We’ve been in the core for well over a decade, starting with our first location at 207 King Street, and we love it here.”
Area’s first impact investing fund targets regional investors
VERGE CAPITAL, A social finance program of Pillar Nonprofit Network, is partnering with investing platform SVX to launch the VERGE Breakthrough Fund, an impact investing fund providing loans to growing social and environmental enterprises in Southwestern Ontario.
This is the region’s first impact investing fund and it is one of the first initiatives of its kind in Canada to focus on local investment for local impact. So far, VERGE Capital has secured commitments of $1.7 million towards a $2.5 million investment goal.
By investing in affordable housing, community real estate and established social enterprises, the VERGE Breakthrough Fund aims to make it possible for regional investors to leverage their investment portfolio to create positive community impact right in their backyard.
“Over $40 billion from Southwestern Ontario is held in non-local, traditional investment portfolios, and our $2 million fund is a starting point for unlocking that capital for our communities,” says Michelle Baldwin, executive director of Pillar Nonprofit Network.
According to Adam Spence, SVX founder and director, the fund is an important milestone to building the path towards a new ecosystem of impact investing, demonstrating that investors can earn a a financial return while creating significant community impact.
“This is a unique partnership leveraging the talent, networks, and capabilities of our organizations to drive impact,” says Spence. “We hope the Breakthrough Fund can be a model replicated in other communities and regions across Canada.”
Administration of the VERGE Breakthrough Fund is funded by the Ministry of Economic Development & Growth of the Government of Ontario, which is also providing $375,000 in first loss capital as a risk mitigation strategy for the fund.
The VERGE Breakthrough Fund is accessible to accredited investors, with a final close expected in June 2018.
Radio ads target tax increase and contraband tobacco
A COALITION OF Ontario’s independent convenience store owners, led by the Ontario Korean Businessmen’s Association, has launched a series of radio ads to raise awareness about how government policies are driving store owners out of business while helping organized crime through the spread of contraband tobacco.
The ads began airing on Wednesday, February 21 on select London radio stations, in addition to stations in Ottawa, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, and represent the next stage of the campaign to generate awareness in the general public.
“We need people to understand that every time government raises tobacco taxes, the only group that benefits is the organized crime groups that traffic contraband tobacco,” said Don Cha, general manager of the Ontario Korean Businessmen’s Association (OKBA).
“We are pleading with the provincial government to reconsider their planned $4 tax to be introduced in this year’s budget. If they go ahead, more of our stores will close and more smokers will start purchasing untaxed and unregulated tobacco from criminals. It’s just not fair.”
The 30-second ad features a typical hard-working immigrant store owner and his wife, explaining how they came to Canada to pursue a dream of running their own successful business. In the radio ad the couple states: “When it comes to selling tobacco, we’ve always followed the rules. We pay our taxes, but how can we compete with people who don’t?”
According to the OKBA, over the last few years the levels of contraband tobacco has continued to increase to the point where it is now estimated close to 40% of all tobacco consumed in Ontario is purchased from the black market.
To listen to the full 30-second ad, click here.
A roundup of recent commercial real estate transactions
A SUMMARY OF recent commercial real estate transactions in London includes a condominium apartment building at 160 Emery Street West, sold for $4,600,000, and an industrial building at 961 Sovereign Road, sold for $3,000,000.
Conc. 2, Part Lots 38, 39
type Urban reserve lands
seller Ed Perl Holdings Ltd.
buyer Westgate Development (London) Inc.
160 Emery Street West
type Condo apartment building
seller 2148032 Ontario Inc.
buyer 2606445 Ontario Inc.
961 Sovereign Road
type Industrial building
seller 1748978 Ontario Inc.
buyer SWS Property Corp.
4451 Scotland Drive
type Agricultural lands
seller Named individuals
buyer Farhi Farming Corp.
1057, 1061 Richmond Street
type Former church and residential building
seller Romlex International Ltd.
buyer Thrive Real Estate Development Corp.
1180 Wilton Grove Road
type Industrial building
seller Exceligraphics Inc.
buyer 1748978 Ontario Inc.
70 Charterhouse Crescent
type Banquet hall / club
seller The Maltese Canadian Club of London
buyer Cochin Delights Inc.
53 McClary Avenue
type Residential six-plex
seller 2382466 Ontario Inc.
buyer Gunpowder Capital Corp.
1 Balfour Place
type Walk-up apartment building
seller Named individuals
buyer Gunpowder Capital Corp.
Business Events Calendar
London will host the first-ever Global Student Leadership Summit (GSLS). This will be the largest multi-day student leadership event in the world and will welcome 3,200 youth and educators from over 20 countries, for three days of inspiring speakers, interactive workshops and peer collaboration.