My statement on London’s outstanding civic entrepreneurs

Queen's Park, March 26, 2018 — 

Amidst troubling economic news for the London region, there are encouraging signs of hope because of the commitment and vision of London’s outstanding civic entrepreneurs.

The 2016 census revealed that London has a lower employment rate than any other large Canadian city. With the collapse of the manufacturing sector and the loss of jobs that never came back, more Londoners than ever before are not participating in the labour market. Those who are are likely to be contract or part-time, and there are more Londoners on Ontario Works today than in the last 15 years.

To help spur jobs and opportunity, local civic entrepreneurs are stepping up with new and innovative ideas to drive inclusive social and economic change. For example, social investor Lina Bowden last month launched the Verge Capital breakthrough fund, the first regional investment fund of its kind in Ontario. The fund enables private investors to support social enterprises that benefit the community, such as affordable housing developments or environmental projects.

Earlier this month, Venture London was announced, a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs and the largest entrepreneur centre in southwestern Ontario. Led by civic entrepreneur Amir Farahi, Venture London is a collaboration between TechAlliance, the London Small Business Centre, the London Institute and Farhi Holdings.

Mr. Speaker, London’s civic entrepreneurs are doing their part to foster growth and prosperity that is shared by all Londoners. We need a government equally committed to rebuilding an inclusive local economy.