by Dave Hall
With that in mind, WECAN the Windsor Essex County Capital Angel Network, has partnered with three other angel networks across Southwestern Ontario – London, Waterloo-Cambridge and Burlington-Hamilton-Oakville – to expand the access to qualified investors to help bring these ideas to the marketplace.
WECAN, in partnership with WEtech Alliance and support of Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre, recently held a virtual First Look networking event designed to allow vetted startup companies to make five-minute pitches in front of more than a dozen potential investors – and draw in more investors at the same time.
“It was very successful and has already led to one startup entrepreneur begin Deeper Dive discussions with investors,” explained Deborah Livneh, WECAN’s Executive Director. “Like the show ‘Shark Tank’ each company is given only a couple minutes to present its products and deliver our investors with a taste of what is offered.”
Jim Marsh, Dean of the Zekelman School of Business and Information Technology and Media, Art and Design at St. Clair College is a firm believer in the capital angel concept since it can be a key driver in achieving economic prosperity.
“Investing in high potential start-up companies and mentoring these companies through early growth stages is key to the long-term success of our region,” said Jim Marsh. “The companies are more likely to succeed if they are not forced to relocate to find funding or mentorship.”
“We have highly talented people in our region who are starting up companies and they need both financial support and mentorship,” adds Marsh. “WECAN offers investors the opportunity to get involved with these companies and participate in their success.”
Cam Crowder, whose family formerly owned a group of area Tim Hortons franchises, is a recent WECAN recruit and believes the organization is critically important to this region.
“It’s not simply a matter of writing a cheque,” explained Crowder. “It’s also about providing young entrepreneurs with networking opportunities, business advice and business contacts which successful investors have developed over their years in business.”
Crowder became involved with WECAN a little over 12 months ago and has already made an investment in i-50, a Silicon Valley company which specializes in using artificial intelligence to conduct time and motion studies for the manufacturing sector. It recently opened an office here in Windsor.
“They realized what a wealth of talent there is in this area and more companies are reaching the same conclusion,” said Crowder.
Livneh said she believes there are many potential investors throughout the Windsor-Essex business community who are interested in investing in early-stage companies and it’s a matter of aiding them make the connections.
“Our goal is to attract more of these local investors so we can continue building an entrepreneurial culture throughout the region,” said Livneh. “We are looking for investors who want to be part of the innovation economy.”
Adam Castle of WEtech Alliance and Deborah Livneh Eng. MBA of WECAN Investors hosting the WECAN First Look networking event with more than 30 investors and entrepreneurs participating – October 18th, 2021
WECAN Investors is a members-only organization of angel investors seeking investment opportunities in early-stage businesses. WECAN Investors along with Equation Angels present its members vetted innovative companies and helps facilitate the investment process.
WECAN Investors welcomes accredited investors across Windsor-Essex and Chatham-Kent to join the local angel investment network! www.weANGELnetwork.com
For more information about future events and investment opportunities through WECAN, contact Deborah Livneh Eng. MBA at Deborah@weangelnetwork.com.