Angel investing takes a passion for both business and community. The Windsor Essex Capital Angel Network (WECAN), led by some of the finest minds in business from across the Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent region, is a local leader in the synergy between business, community, and the local economy.
Through investment, WECAN investors actively engage with local start-ups so that they can take an active interest in them through a variety of ways, including mentorship, financial investment, as potential business advisory board members, or potential board of director members.
Like other angel networks, WECAN seeks to increase access to “deal flow” for solo investors, and provide best practice environments for due diligence, investing, and ongoing business monitoring.
“We started angel investing in our region to provide funding and mentorship for start-ups to grow our local economy and for local investors to participate in that growth,” explains WECAN Co-founder and Chairman James Marsh.
Marsh is the Senior Director at of the Zekelman School of Business, Zekelman School of Information Technology and the School of Media, Art, and Design at St. Clair College.
Well versed in the business world, Marsh has served as the President of Marsh Food Services Ltd. and SCM Technologies Ltd., as well as the Director of Worthington Cylinder Corporation’s Industrial Gas Cylinder division and holds a law degree and master’s degree in business administration from the University of Windsor and a master’s in research methodologies from the University of the West of England, Bristol.
“We’re trying to help local start-ups and grow our local economy and let our investors, locally, participate in some of the fruits of the successful ones,” says Marsh, who also currently runs a real estate investment corporation.
In 2021, the angel investors of WECAN invested over $4 million in six different Windsor-Essex businesses. Marsh says that WECAN investors seek mutually beneficial relationships with local start-ups who have a vision for both profit and bettering their local economy.
“The investors, they care about the region, but they also care about making profits,” states Marsh. “Nobody does this hoping to lose money; everyone’s trying to help these companies be successful both for them and for us. We’re all in it for a profitable venture, that’s what drives us, but we also care for the local community.
“All of our investors have been successful in business, or their profession and they want to share in that. There’s a community drive and there’s a profit drive.”