Originally posted on MediaPlex
The Downtown Accelerator is helping Windsor’s economy by training, teaching and investing in one entrepreneur at a time.
In 2011, the Accelerator was created to fund the growth of local businesses. As of 2018, it had an economic impact of $20 million according to a report on the Accelerator’s website. An eclectic array of businesses here includes: a Libro Credit Union branch, Bam Bam’s Boxing Club and Fitness, an Invisalign Braces office, a woodworking shop and an art studio.
Siddique Sheikh, 27, is a special projects manager at the Accelerator who explained what it does.
“Our specific business accelerator allows small businesses and startups as well as creative people to have a location, where they can work on their own craft, their own business, while still being beside individuals who also work on their passion,” said Sheikh.
Such a wide range of businesses in one location fosters the potential relationships that can aid entrepreneurs to succeed.
Colin McMahon, 33, is a co-owner of a local internet consulting company the Accelerator helped by cultivating client relationships.
“Anybody that they introduced us to knew that they could trust us and it made it a lot easier, more just ‘Hey, we need this work done. Can you guys do it? “Yeah, we can do it,”’ and then we’d go at it,” McMahon said.
The Accelerator itself has made many connections while providing networks for entrepreneurs. Accelerator CEO Arthur Barbut, 40, said this included a project named CityThrive which taught unemployed people business skills. It was done with nonprofit group Enactus and the City of Windsor.
“About 20 per cent of the people actually continued their business afterwards, but even the folks that did not continue their business said that they were able to gain employment, felt more confident, and felt they had new skills they could apply to anything,” Barbut said about CityThrive’s results.
“We want this region to become a thriving entrepreneurial and creative hub. We want the Accelerator to lead that movement and I think we’re in for a really exciting time in the region,” Barbut said.