Weekly Regional Business Intelligence

“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” — Henry Ford

Protein coffee startup Brüst joins RH Accelerator

If you’ve ever agonized over the choice between a coffee and a protein drink in the morning, agonize no longer: a new drinks company, founded by Western grads, has joined the RH Accelerator in aims to further develop their “functional coffee” beverage ― a cold brew that packs in all the coffee your brain needs with 20 grams of protein. Called Brüst, the company was founded by Ivey grads Amar Gupta and Josh Barr and is starting to show up on shelves at Loblaws, Walmart Longo’s and elsewhere. The fledgling company is tapping into the resources of the RH Accelerator, an agri-food incubator that works out of The Grove at the Western Fair District, to help it expand and grow. “While meeting Brüst for the first time we were able to sample their product,” says David BiIlson, co-founder of RH Accelerator. “We were amazed by the quality of both the light and dark roast products. I have personally incorporated brüst coffee into my daily nutrition routine to help me stay consistent with workouts.”

The upshot: Brüst comes into the RH Accelerator already in full swing, with partnerships minted with Walmart and Healthy Planet, and an endorsement deal with Canadian tennis star Denis Shapovalov. The drink comes in both a light and dark roast flavour. The founders see this new partnership with RHA as a way to vault themselves onto a high-growth trajectory. “We saw an amazing opportunity to work with experienced entrepreneurs at RHA”, says Josh Barr, one of the co-Founders of Brüst. “With the support of the RHA team and The Grove, we know we can take Brüst to the next level.”

Read more: RH Accelerator

From the magazine: 10 Minutes with Rebecca Hamilton

Rebecca Hamilton, founder of specialty bakery Chick Boss Cake, chats about answering the creative call and balancing the business-marriage partnership.

Read more: London Inc.

Ambitious north London residential development halted; developer put into receivership

Work has stopped on a major residential development in the city’s northeast end after the developer behind the project, Applewood Marketplace, was put into receivership last week. According to court documents, construction on the project stopped in June, with the developer, Applewood Marketplace Inc., owing north of $57 million to its Waterloo-based backers after being unable to secure financing earlier this spring. Three quarters of the project’s first phase has been completed. The project, approved in 2018, was to consist of 468 residential units and 37,000 square feet of commercial space. It’s now in the hands of Ernst and Young, the receiver, who could sell it or look for a partner to develop the property themselves.

The upshot: The city seems to have been taken by surprise by the abrupt cancellation of the project. “I’m so disappointed to hear this. It was mixed use and would have had residential and office and restaurants,” said Councillor Maureen Cassidy, who represents the area. “There were big plans for this.” The developer has been pretty mum on the cause of the defaults, but it’s likely that some combination of rising interest rates, rising material costs and labour shortages ultimately put too much pressure on the developer.

Read more: Insolvency Insider | London Free Press


Embrace the strife!

If you think that you’re building stronger relationships and a peaceful environment by avoiding conflict, think again. Conflict can actually be a powerful tool for business growth and a career advancement.

Learn more here

Pilot project to allow artisan vendors on Dundas Place

The city has launched a new pilot project that will allow street vendors to set up shop on Dundas Place between Ridout and Wellington streets, taking advantage of the larger sidewalks built as part of the Dundas Street redesign. “Vendors who sell items such as art, crafts, handmade goods, vintage or specialty retail can apply to become a street vendor in designated outdoor spaces on Dundas Place,” the city says. According to London’s manager of core area programs, Ryan Craven, introducing more vendors will help make Dundas Place a more vibrant destination downtown. “Vendors have been a part of larger events on the street for several years, and this pilot program makes it easier for vendors to operate on Dundas Place more frequently.”

The upshot: With more activity returning to downtowns, the city is trying to take advantage of its new Dundas Place flex-street hub. The city is optimistic the vendor pilot program will attract start-up small businesses concepts, as well as merchants with existing brick-and-mortar locations. Vendors will have to pay a $25 fee quarterly or a $100 fee annually for administration costs, and the pilot will be in effect even when cars are allowed on Dundas.

Read more: Global News | Blackburn News 

TechAlliance unveils first cohort of green economy focused grant recipients

TechAlliance of Southwestern Ontario has announced the first cohort of funding recipients from a new $10-million investment fund created by FedDev Ontario earlier this spring. Twenty recipients were announced, totalling a capital investment of $600,000, with a focus on clean growth firms looking to use the money to “support or redesign green products, services, processes and technologies that reduce impacts to our environment and create made-in-Canada climate change solutions.” Among the companies chosen were Haggerty AgRobotics, which develops automated agricultural technology, Adaptis Technologies, Peacasa Snacks and Wilma Technologies, a new ride-hailing app with a female focus. “TechAlliance recognizes the importance of the cohort’s potential within our innovation corridor, and we can be counted on to amplify the growth of bold ventures our tech community, working toward a sustainable ecosystem across Southwestern Ontario,” said TechAlliance CEO Christina Fox.

The upshot: The 20 local companies selected were part of a larger cohort of 120 companies across the region to receive a total of $3.6 million in funding, many of which fall under the “clean growth” funding initiatives being championed by the feds as a keystone of their climate policy. Among this larger cohort, you’ve got insect farming, organic breweries, electric vehicle technologies, etc. 

Read more: TechAlliance | List of Recipients

London home sales tumble almost 45 per cent from last year

The moderation of the area’s housing market intensified last month as the region’s real estate board reported July sales fell 44.9 per cent from the same period last year ― an indication that homes sales are continuing to cool from the frenzied pace seen in the first half of the year and at the end of 2021. According to statistics released from the London St. Thomas Association of Realtors (LSTAR), only 514 homes sold in region in July (the LSTAR catchment area also takes in Strathroy, St. Thomas and portions of Middlesex and Elgin counties), a decline of almost 45 per cent from the same period a year prior. In addition, the average home price continued to tumble ― in the City of London, the recorded average resale price of a detached home in July was $673,606 ― down from the $688,644 average price reported for the city last month and a sharp decline from the $823,842 all-time high reported in February of this year. "With rising interest rates, July saw home sales activity continue to slow down,” said Randy Pawlowski, 2022 LSTAR president. “Inventory has increased, showing more signs of a balanced market. The 3.6 months of inventory in July is in line with the months of inventory recorded during the same month in 2014 and 2015.”

The upshot: As Pawlowski points out, area real estate agents have attributed much of the moderation to the increased cost of carrying a mortgage after the Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate by a full percentage point in July, pushing up the borrowing rates linked to mortgages. And with further rate increases expected this year, many are expecting housing’s big chill to continue. In its latest residential real estate outlook published on Thursday, Desjardins said it is forecasting the average home price in Canada to decline by nearly 25 per cent by the end of 2023 from the peak reached in February of this year, adjusting its previous forecast that predicted a 15 per cent drop.

Read more: LSTAR | CTV News

Dispatch: August 12, 2022

A summary of recent business appointments and announcements, plus event listings for the upcoming week.

View listings here

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