Rise London: A path to self-employment

Through collaboration with the Ivey Business School and multiple community agencies in London, Rise Asset Development (Rise) is launching a new avenue to economic independence through entrepreneurship for people who have mental health or addiction challenges.

London is the third community to benefit from this innovative project; the program, founded in Toronto by philanthropist Sandra Rotman in 2009, has already grown to include Rise Ottawa earlier this year.

“Rise has been instrumental in improving the lives of its clients by helping them start up, grow or re-start their entrepreneurial ventures,” said Rotman, wife of Western Chancellor Joseph Rotman. “I’m delighted that entrepreneurs in the London region facing employment problems as a result of mental health or addiction challenges will now be able to benefit from the mentoring and financial support provided by Rise.”

The model for London was designed and developed by Rise Asset Development and the Ivey Business School to meet the local community’s needs and was informed in partnership by a working advisory group of senior leaders from several London-based agencies who provide various social and employment services for youth and adults.

These groups include WOTCH Community Mental Health Services, Goodwill Industries, United Way London & Middlesex, Sisters of St. Joseph, London Small Business Centre, Emerging Leaders, MindYourMind, and Youth Opportunities Unlimited. These organizations will continue to shape the design and rollout of the program in the coming months.

“Meaningful employment is an important pillar in a person’s well-being and identity; however, people with mental health issue or addictions often face barriers to the traditional job market,” said Anne Snowdon, Chair of the International Centre for Health Innovation at the Ivey Business School. “This program improves the lives of this population, empowering them to become successful entrepreneurs through access to financing and business mentorship from the local business community and our business school alumni.”