Thursday's Featured Businesses

Meet Successful Local Businesses from the Ontario Works Self Employment Program

The London Small Business Centre and London's Ontario Works collaborate to serve  social assistance recipients who are, or would like to, run their own business. The program provides business training and advisory support for up to 60 weeks.

View the Q & A Session
from Thursday!

Here's The Link!

Introduction

David Proudfoot, Business Advisor


What is the Ontario Works Self-Employment Program?

The Ontario Works Self-Employment Program helps people who are on OW or ODSP receive training and support to pursue business ideas.


How would you describe the entrepreneurs you work with?

The entrepreneurs are all on OW or ODSP wanting to leave assistance through running their own business. We are often deal with people who are working at overcoming barriers in the job market. These barriers range from being recent immigrants lacking Canadian experience, to people who have difficulty working a typical 9-5 job due to issues such as from mental or other health challenges or family commitments. For many of the clients, creating their own job is a good choice. 


Why are small businesses so important to our community?

Small business is the life blood of our community. It is where creativity and choice come into the marketplace. It is also very important to the economy with the number of people employed by small businesses.


What lessons have you learned working with small businesses?
I have learned about the great diversity of talents that exist in London and the passion that people have for their businesses.

CarKeysGeeks.com

Oscar Cherivi

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Meat Boutique

Nic Moyer

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Bizee Bodiez​ Contouring and Weight Loss Studio

Angela Ellis

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​Oscar Cherivi

CarKeysGeeks.com

Tell us about your business

When people need keys for their cars we provide them and do the coding so the remote functions work.

Business is growing. We are training 2 people to grow the business into south western Ontario and into residential locksmithing.

What does being a small business owner mean to you, and why did you become one?

Started a business when I was 28 in my home country and always wanted to be self employed when came to Canada.


What is your greatest business accomplishment to date?

Having a successful business in Canada that is hiring people.

What is the most important lesson you have learned in business that has served you well and has helped shape who you are as a person?

You must love your work. If you don’t have passion you won’t have success.


Who has been your greatest inspiration in business and why?

Robert Kiyosakihe writes books that inspired me.


As you forge ahead, what is it that excites you?

To open the shops in the future and across Canada.

Don't forget to attend the Q&A with Oscar! View Thursday's Discussion Here.

Check Out Their Website!
Nic Moyer

Meat Boutique

Tell us about your business

Meat Boutique was established in April 2017. We opened  in anticipation of serving a niche market of high quality Organic Meats and Seafood using high welfare animals following organic practices, as well as sourcing sustainable and wild caught seafood. We offer both fresh and frozen and we are a mobile store that comes right to your door. Free with minimum order.

What does being a small business owner mean to you, and why did you become one?

Owning my own business means the world to me. It’s a

chance to use my knowledge from past experiences working in the food and entertainment industry. I have a passion for food and have always wanted to open my 

own restaurant, but health limitations have negated that opportunity. When opening up Meat Boutique I was able to use and combine all the skills to operate and maintain a five-star business. On my social media I like to present recipes using Meat Boutiques meat and seafood products. I also love answering questions when people have any needs on knowing how to cook or prepare something.  I became a small business owner due to circumstances in my life and an opportunity that presented itself - I took it and ran.


What is the biggest hurdle you have managed to overcome?

This is a tough question seeing all we’ve had to overcome. Four major (let's call them) obstacles. I’ll only talk on one of them. As it was the first one and overcoming it ultimately saved the business. So we opened in April 4, 2017 - I remember because it was my son's birthday and mine the next day. May long weekend we decided to take our first break in a long time. So nice to get away, or so I thought. Upon arrival from our time away I went to the office first thing that morning. As we entered I heard a bunch of alarms for the freezers going off. Then the smell smacked me in the nose and mouth. What a stark eye-opener, realizing all of our freezers are not being powered and all of our inventory had spoiled - $7000 plus gone down the drain. My heart sunk, but when my wife reminded me we had insurance so no fear. I scrambled to find the policies and sure enough it covered equipment malfunction - perfect! Anyways, I send all the information to the insurance company and they come back and deny the claim. How can this be? They needed an expert opinion. So I had the landlord book a appliance technician come out and check the freezers. Also had an electrician come out to check breakers and wiring. Both experts concluded it was freezer number seven that had malfunctioned and in turn tripped the breaker knocking out all the other freezers. We got expert opinions and the conclusion was freezer malfunction. We sent that off to insurance and it came back denied again. At this point we are now mid-August and nothing has been accomplished. At my wits end and after exhausting all other avenues, I decided to call CTV News London and explain my situation. Not expecting anything of it, I just wanted to share my frustration. Low and behold they decided to do a story on the Meat Boutique. I believe the story was called "A Beef with Insurance", seemingly fitting. After all that was said and done we got a call from insurance saying they would settle 75% of the claim. A week later we were up and running again. Following that we've had an engine replacement, robbery, and now COVID-19.


What is your greatest business accomplishment to date?

My greatest business accomplishment today, I say half heartedly, would be still being OPEN. It has been a rough ride, but I’ve kept my head up and achieved two Awards from the London Community Votes. Our awards consist of one bronze fourth place for “best food truck”, and my most proud accomplishment is one Platinum Award for number one seafood establishment in London.....not bad for our second year in business. On that note we have been nominated again in both categories. Also for Ontario Choice award 2020. Meat Boutique also boasts a five star rating on all social media as well as Google reviews.


What is the most important lesson you have learned in business that has served you well and has helped shape who you are as a person?

Most important lesson I’ve learned it’s to never, never, never keep your eyes off the road. There is always a chance of things going wrong - so plan ahead. But, most importantly, do what you say you’re going to do for the client and always be kind and considerate. Customer service will make or break you.


Who has been your greatest inspiration in business and why?

My greatest inspiration was watching my father in the insurance industry. He went from working in someone else’s office to owning his own, to teaching and coming up with Cascades - a computer program to help insurance agents.


As you forge ahead, what is it that excites you?

What excites me is becoming a bigger company when the time is right, and adding trucks in different cities. I believe that in the Toronto market we would do well with a few trucks.


Small Business Week recognizes the importance of people like you. Do you have anything special planned to celebrate?

I definitely would have a little get together with friends and family but at this time I guess that’s not allowed to happen. So I may treat myself to some freshly shucked oysters, steamed clams and a good Ribeye steak.

Don't forget to attend the Q&A with Nic! View Thursday's Discussion Here.

Check Out Their Website!
Angela Ellis

Bizee Bodiez Contouring and Weight Loss Studio

Tell us about your business

Bizee Bodiez Contouring and Weight Loss Studio offers clients services to enhance their physical appearance and mental wellbeing.

What does being a small business owner mean to you, and why did you become one?

Being a small business owner to me means having the creative freedom to make decisions on the daily operations of my business. I decided to become one because I thought it would be cool to have a business to empower women and men to take care of themselves. 

What is your greatest business accomplishment to date?

My biggest accomplishment to date is having a clientele base who is able to come during the day and no longer be a slave to working evenings. It's been a huge accomplishment to have a work and personal life.


What is the most important lesson you have learned in business that has served you well and has helped shape who you are as a person?

The biggest lesson I've learned in my business, that I still live by, is to treat every customer like gold because they have the power to make your business or break your business. I aim to provide excellent service when I am working no matter what I have going on, or whether I like them or not.


Who has been your greatest inspiration in business and why?

I would say that Tiffany Pringle Austin has been my biggest business inspiration because I was able to see her run and teach at her yoga studio a couple of years ago when I rented out of her studio. She was so professional and personable, and I looked up to her example.


As you forge ahead, what is it that excites you?

The idea of building a larger client base excites me and of course earning more money too. 


Small Business Week recognizes the importance of people like you. Do you have anything special planned to celebrate?

I don't have any plans to celebrate but now I will have to come up with an idea!

Check Out Their Website!

Connect & Inspire During Small Business Week!

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