LOCO Launches New Research on the Impact of Online Shopping on Canadian Retailers

LOCO has just begun a new research project into the impact of online shopping on local business.

Online shopping represents a large and increasing part of the Canadian economy. However, many of the dollars spent leak out of our economy to US Corporations.A 2013 report produced for Vancity reported that two out of every three dollars spent online by Canadians go to US retail websites.

Canada Post and Tenzing recently reported that:

  • The average Canadian currently spends $1210 online annually.
  • In 2014, the value of online shopping in Canada was $22 billion dollars.
  • Online shopping is expected to double between 2014 and 2019, increasing to a value of more than $40 billion dollars.

Please help us complete our research to assess the impact of these trends on local business.

If you own a retail business, please take our business survey. The survey takes approximately 5-10 minutes. Survey closes October 31st, 2015.

If you’re a consumer (and we all are), please take our consumer survey. The survey takes approximately 5-10 minutes. Survey closes October 31st, 2015.

Also, please help spread the word – send the url for this page to friends and business owners. Contact us for more info.

Saul Good Gift Co.




Fill in either of our surveys for a chance to win a gourmet local food gift box from Saul Good Gift Co. worth $300!


Equity Crowd Funding Summary

On June 25, 2015, Spring Activator hosted an information event on Canada’s new equity crowd funding rules. Bonnie Foley-Wong, Co-Founder of Spring Activator and Founder, Pique Venture Investments, moderated the event. The panel consisted of:

  • Praveen Varshney, Director, Varshney Capital Corp.
  • Peter Paul van Hoeken, Founder & CEO, FrontFundr
  • Lindsay Clark, Associate Lawyer, Larbarge Weinstein
  • John Keserich, Partner, BDO Canada Accounting

Event-sponsor Vancity introduced the evening, highlighting how Vancity is interested in helping their members find options for equity financing since they do mostly do debt financing.

Crowd funding in Canada has hit $35M in investment, outstripping angel investment. It is expected to outstrip Venture Capital investment in 2016.

What Are They Rules Around Raising Equity Through Crowd Funding?

Lindsay commented that:

  • New equity crowd funding exemption allows companies to raise money from residents of B.C. providing individuals invest no more than $1500 per offering, the company uses an online funding portal, and the maximum raised is $250K per offering with a maximum of twice per year (max $500K/year).
  • The exemption is available to any size and stage of privately owned company even though it’s called the start-up exemption. You can’t be a public company, and you can’t have raised money in the past under a prospectus.
  • The company must be incorporated.
  • Once your business reaches 50 shareholders, it has more obligations to its investors, and it loses the option to raise capital the second time within the year.
  • Unless you get a waiver from each investor saying they don’t want audited financial statements, you’ll need to produce them.

John listed the info required by the new Start-up Crowdfunding Exemption offering document:

  • Risk of Investment
  • Business Overview
  • List of Management and Directors
  • Date Securities are Acquired and the Value of the Security
  • Track record of fraud, bankruptcies
  • Activity in startup crowd funding
  • Terms and conditions of the securities
  • Financial statements
  • Use of funds w/i the company
  • Compensation given to the funding portal
  • Risk factors in the business
  • Resale restrictions

Are There Any Concerns Businesses Should Worry About?

Find The Right Investors

Praveen cautions that when businesses raise money, they should still be trying to hand select investors. It’s not easy money – when businesses take money from someone else, they might hear that their fiduciary duty to treat is as well as their own money. He suggests that businesses should go beyond treating the money like it’s their own, they should treat it better than your own. Essentially you’re starting to operate like a small public company. The up side is that your investors will start to promote you and want you to succeed, the down side is that they’ll start to look for dividends and involvement in how the company operates.

When he’s fundraising, he’s often looking for a lead investor. If there’s a well known person that invests, many other investors will follow and trust that it’s a good investment because they’ll know that the lead investor has done their homework on the company so they don’t need to do so much due diligence. This also helps set a share price since something is only worth what someone is willing to pay. If you can find a lead investor, you’ll find out what they are willing to pay and then you have a valuation and some momentum before you do your offer.

On FrontFundr, investors can see who other investors are if they opt in to have their name displayed. If there is already an accredited lead investor who invests outside the $1500 maximum – like for $50K or $100K, then it’s easier to trust that someone has done the due diligence and take a good look at that company.

Since the new crowdfunding rules are different in each province, businesses need to make sure their investors are in the right province. As a business, you need to make sure all your investors fall under the crowdfunding exemptions (Ontario has no exemption yet), so it’s easiest to attract investment from B.C. unless the business wants to understand the difference in each province’s rules.

Attracting investment through crowdfunding can have its drawbacks. Having many small investors has the potential to scare off larger investors. There are several ways to limit the rights of those smaller investors that calm larger investors – for instance, issuing preferred shares with a redemption right, or issuing non-voting shares. However these make the offer less attractive to potential investors.

Investor Involvement

One issue businesses don’t anticipate is investor involvement. Lindsay encourages businesses to think about the structure for involving investors before any investment offering, as well as costs to maintain that structure. Think about how to structure governance to include investor input efficiently.


On the old crowdfunding platforms, John encourages businesses to pay attention tax issues. If companies trad perks and product/services for money on a crowdfunding platform, they often don’t budget paying the tax in the province where it is shipped. When a $1K cheque comes in, the business often thinks the full amount is theirs. If the product gets shipped to BC, the business needs to submit $12 to the province. If the product gets shipped to the US, it’s more complicated, as state tax, county tax and others may apply.

How Do Businesses Prepare for Equity Crowd Funding?


John commented on the need for having corporate governance in place. Entrepreneurs struggle when they bring in outside investors and then continue to run the company as they used to. He encourages businesses to figure out in advance how they want to structure governance and investor involvement.


Businesses will need to use an online platform for an equity offer. FrontFundr has some of the first offers. But a business can’t just post an offer without preparation. It doesn’t look good to be on a platform and not have any activity. A business should make sure that there will be activity once they have an offer, so they should be working on advertising the offer and building potential investment before their offer is listed. FrontFundr also has a sector lounge, where they suggest businesses put potential offers before they go live to assess interest, potentially help set the price, and allow FrontFundr to complete the due diligence on the project.


  1. Platforms costs

The FrontFundr platform cost is two-pronged:

  • 2% fee for getting a business ready, and helping them get their documentation together.
  • 4% fee on all new investment. Fees are not charged when the business brings the investors to the platform themselves. (For reference, fees in the US, UK, and the Netherlands are approximately 5-7.5%.).
  1. Filing requirements, accounting and legal work. A rough ballpark estimate is $5-10K depending on the type of investment. Costs depend on how much input the business needs from advisors. The more the business does themselves, the more costs can be reduced. All documents should be reviewed by a lawyer but Lindsay encourages businesses to get a law firm involved from the beginning as its better (and cheaper) to set it up properly than to try to fix something that’s not set up properly.


  • Summary of the Canadian regulations by province from FrontFundr.
  • Tool to identify sources of equity and non-dilutive financing: ca
  • BC Securities Commission information on private placements – raising capital in private markets, reporting requirements and forms, and methods/deadlines for filing and info on fees.
  • Watch the video of the event below.

Business Clinic

LOCO Business Clinic.Horizontal.Blue

What’s the LOCO Business Clinic?

The LOCO Business Clinic is the first stop for local businesses to get affordable professional advice for everyday business problems. In a one-hour session, businesses can get quick and professional advice on their most pressing business problems without a long, taxing search or vetting process. They get immediate value from the session by gaining clarity and insight into the issue at hand, and receive recommendations to specialists within the LOCO network when needed.

The objectives of the program are to:

  • Provide access to high-level consulting expertise to members who might not otherwise be able to afford it.
  • Assist growing businesses by connecting them to the right expertise to move their business forward for an affordable price.
  • Engage LOCO members (and potential members) as participants and advisors.
  • Allow LOCO to get to know its member business and their needs at a deeper level.


VanMGM_Logo_Small1LOCO Members: $50

Non-Members: $75 (first session-use promo code “NonMemberFirstSession”); $100 (follow-up sessions)

Vancity is generously offering Business Clinic bursaries for Vancity business members. If your business is a Vancity member, use the promo code “VancityMember” to reduce LOCO member and non-member pricing by 50%.

Availability and Booking

Hillary Samson: Apr 29th, May 27th. Check Hillary’s bio and availability and book now.

Jonathan Vroom: May 6th, Jun 3rd, Jun 17th. Check Jonathan’s bio and availability and book now.

Lydia Taylor: May 13th, Jun 24th.  Check Lydia’s bio and availability and book now.

Carla Shore: Jun 10th. Check Carla’s bio and availability and book now. Check Carla’s bio and availability and book now.HiVE_new2015

LOCO’s Business Clinic is hosted by the HiVE – Vancouver’s Community Hub for Social Impact!

By Appointment

Mark Jeffrey

Matthew Quetton

Amy Robinson

Khalid Amlani


Check out more info on LOCO’s Business Clinic Advisors.

How do we choose our advisors?

LOCO’s Business Clinic is based on knowledge philanthropy – our advisors donate their time and leverage their networks to bring people into the clinic, to help LOCO build a revenue stream, provide support to local businesses, and connect businesses to all the other valuable LOCO member service providers and programs. (We also promote other service providers and programs where appropriate, but we hope that all will join us to build a stronger local economy!) We hope to bring in rock star advisors that see this work as philanthropic, and can use the clinic to donate time to clients they may not otherwise be able to provide service to. We allow the LOCO network to vet our advisors – we typically hear about the best from all our members, and pursue them to be part of the clinic. Advisors must have recommendations from at least three LOCO members. If you fit this profile and you’re interested in becoming an advisor, contact us.


We felt we were in a place where we were ready for higher level advice and we left the session (with Matt) feeling recharged with a clear vision of what to do next. We trusted LOCO to recommend a business minded coach with similar values and we trust that LOCO has the best interests of its members at heart. We also liked the flexibility of the program and that we can pursue the advice on our own time without being locked into a formal program and longer term commitment.
~Ian Christie and Josephine Chan from Pure Souls Media

It was great having the opportunity to step back from the daily grind. The amount of work I try to do is often unmanageable. So this part was very valuable. Matthew was helpful at providing both guidance and a structured time to try to articulate what the real challenges are, and a sounding board.
The advantage of having this opportunity available through LOCO is their ability to provide a vetting service. To work with advisors who have aligned values and are good at their job. Skipping the vetting process is VERY helpful.
~Rick Havlak from Homestead Junction

That Business Clinic session (with Hillary Samson) was worth the price of my LOCO membership for the whole year!

~Paola Ardiles from Bridge for Health

New Report: Buying Local Tools for Forward-Thinking Institutions

LOCO, the Columbia Institute and ISIS Research Centre at the UBC Sauder School of Business released a new report to influence increased local purchasing today. Buying Local: Tools for Forward-Thinking Institutions is a companion to The Power of Purchasing: The Economic Impacts of Local Procurement, released earlier this year, that quantified the benefit of purchasing from B.C.-based suppliers.

Around the world, institutional procurement is beginning to incorporate the value of local economic health and vitality. Here in Canada, local governments and school districts alone spend more than $65 billion annually on the procurement of goods and services. Cities and regions spend millions on economic development, and hundreds of millions on procurement, yet these efforts are rarely aligned. Important opportunities exist to benefit public, non-profit and private sector institutions as well as communities by shifting purchasing dollars towards local business. This report outlines strategies and paths that policy-makers, sustainability managers, procurement professionals and others involved in institutional purchasing decisions can pursue to realize this potential.

Around the world, there is a growing movement to support local economies, and various approaches are being taken in different places. Great benefits come from strong, resilient local economies, and many opportunities exist to take small steps that can majorly benefit our public institutions, businesses and communities. If purchasers are ready to take on leadership roles, the tools and solutions detailed here are effective ways to expand local purchasing and strengthen our communities.

Part I of this report outlines the argument for local procurement. It demonstrates the power that institutional procurement has over the economy and highlights opportunities for change by examining the current landscape in Canada, the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom. It details how local economic impacts fit within the definition of value when attempting to achieve best value in procurement.

Part II and Part II of the report identify tools that can be used by institutions and policy-makers to increase local procurement. They outline a number of challenges, and detail solutions that are currently being used. Examples of the tools have been included along with references to material for further research.

Download the report here.

Member Benefits

1) Be a part of a growing movement along with other local companies working to strengthen the local economy and our communities in BC.

2) Discounts to LOCO business mixers hosted each month by a different member as well as the LOCO Business Clinic.

3) Promotion: (website, newsletter, media, social media, word of mouth).

4) Participation in our BC Buy Local campaign.

4) Partnerships: LOCO members do business with other LOCO members. Joining this network of like-minded companies creates opportunities for your business.

5) Access to our latest research on buying local.

6) Group and Personal Extended Health/Dental Insurance, Personal Health Service Plans (Cost Plus), Critical Illness and RRSP plans in partnership with Dehoney Financial Group.

7) Member discounts: Full list below, including discounts from Mills Basics, Fairware and Saul Good Gift Co.

Become a member today!

Questions? Contact info@locobc.com

Member Discounts

Advertising from The Tyee (25% discount to LOCO members). Contact Michelle Hoar or see http://thetyee.ca/About/Advertise/

Office Supplies from Mills Basics.

Corporate Gifts from Saul Good Gift Co.

Promotional Products from Fairware.

Graphic Design from Backyard Creative.

LOCO members receive 10% off a 3-month Media Outreach or Social Media campaign, or 20% off our Be Your Own PR Star in 90 Days online course from Conscious PR.

Legal packages from Paperclip Law.

LOCO members get a $50 driving credit for signing up as a new Modo individual or business member.

Extra 20% discount on top of the regular sale price from Monny’s Envision Optical.

First hour free, 10% off projects, NPO hourly rate of $115/hr instead of $145 from Macinhome Consulting.

LOCO members receive 5% off purchases at portia-ella.

One free day of co-working for LOCO members at the HiVE (valued at $30 each). Contact LOCO for a pass.

LOCO members receive 20% discount on select services from Sharp Six.

LOCO members receive a complimentary digital footprint assessment and 15% select services from RTOWN.

LOCO members can join the First Canadian Barter Exchange for FREE. Contact them directly at barterfirst.com for more information.

15% discount on standard hourly rates offered to all LOCO members from New Leaf Enterprises

$100 rebate (or cash) or 1 free grease trap cleaning (retail of $150) for new client referrals to EcoZero.

$500 off a one-time project or 25% off your first three months with RedStamp Agency

10% off streetscape maintenance services (pressure washing, graffiti removal, window and awning cleaning, site cleanup, landscaping, etc.) for your commercial and residential property from MP Maintenance

LOCO members receive 10% off facilitation services and qualify for social impact coaching packages from Workbrite.

LOCO members receive a 15% discount off all services with The Good Kind.

LOCO members receive a free Proximity Marketing Beacon from Locopass.

LOCO members receive 20% off photography from Tallulah Photography.

15% off coaching, group facilitation and customised leadership development programmes by Ruth MacNeill

5% off services professional organizing services from Goodbye Clutter

New Critical Illness Benefit for LOCO Members

For several years LOCO has been working to create options for small business insurance coverage for extended health, dental and critical illness. With the launch of our Critical Illness Benefit, all owners, employees and their spouses are eligible to apply for $25,000 of Critical Illness Insurance! You can pass it on to your employees without you having to manage or pay for it. We’ve pasted the text of an email below that makes it easier for you to let them know about this benefit of working for a LOCO-member business. Available For a Limited Time for Existing LOCO members – applications accepted until June 15th 2013. Apply online at: http://solutionsinsurance.com/loco


What Is Critical Illness Insurance?

Critical Illness Insurance provides financial protection if you are diagnosed with one of 25 illnesses, including cancer, heart attack and stroke.
LOCO’s Critical Illness Insurance plan provides:
• A $25,000 tax-free, lump sum payment if you are diagnosed with one
of the covered illnesses.
• Full payment, whether or not you are able to work while you are ill,
and whether or not a full recovery is made.
• Freedom to use the money any way you choose.
To read claims stories about how Critical Illness Insurance can help, visit http://www.solutionsinsurance.com/loco

How Much Is It?

Comparable individual CI policies ($25K Benefit) would be almost 3 times as much and would require full medical underwriting where you need to complete medical questions, provide family history, and potentially a doctor’s report, blood tests, etc. (*24/24 month pre-existing condition clause does apply)

Use your age, gender and smoking status online to estimate your premium: check your rate here

You can send this offer to your employees to offer them affordable insurance without you having to manage or pay for it. Simply send them the link and the info above.

Civic Economics Release BC Study


Civic Economics is a respected and well-known organization that has produced a long-line of studies that indicate the economic impact of buying local. Local dollars are said to recirculate 2-4 times when spent with locally owned businesses compared to multinational organizations because they:

  • Recirculate greater profits in the community
  • Create more local employment
  • More often buy local products and services (especially local marketing and financial services)
  •  Donate more to local charities, non-profit groups and community organizations

In the BC study, Civic Economics assesses the local and Canadian market share of independent and chain business and calculates the economic impacts of locally owned business compared to their major North American chain competitors.

Here are some of the highlights:

Market Share

  • Local businesses in Canada have less than 1/2 the total market share on average. This has been dropping slightly each year since 2008
  • Market share by local business has dropped approximately 15% in the last 11 years in both BC & Canada
  • BC local retailers have the third lowest market share in the country. Local businesses captured just 34.7%  of the market in 2010, in front of only Alberta & Manitoba (tied at 33.1%) and Nova Scotia (30.8%). We lag the Canadian average of 41.8% and are way behind local market share leaders in Quebec (54.7%)
  • BC furniture & home furnishing stores have the highest market share by local business in the country
  • BC food & beverage stores have the lowest market share by local business in the country


  • BC local businesses creates double the economic impact of their chain competitors. They recirculate more than 2.6 times as much revenue in the local economy as chains (46.3% compared to 17.8% for chains)
  • Local retailers recirculate 45% compared to 17% for chains
  • Local restaurants recirculate 65% compared to 30% for chains

Civic Economics cites the greater labour intensity of local restaurants compared to retail stores as the reason for the greater economic impact.

Buy Local

The impact of buying local, even a few more purchases each week, can have a big impact on the local economy and on communities across BC.

Civic Economics assessed the impact of consumers increasing local purchasing by 10% and found it would create

  • 31,000 jobs
  • $940 million in wages to BC workers

    Download the Civic Economics Study Here



Events Widget Content

We have no events scheduled at this time. Check back on our events page for updates.

Vancouver Hub Co-Working Space Visioning Meeting Jan 26th

January 26th, 2010, meet up with the Vancouver Hub planning group for visioning session #2. The group has secured funding to conduct a feasibility study. For more details, and to RSVP click here.


First Tuesday Monthly Business Mixers

Our events are hosted by our members. Think factory, store and warehouse tours with good local food, drink and business connections old and new. It’s a chance for our members to get to know each other, strengthen community and leverage our network to support a stronger local economy.

Events are on the first Tuesday of each month. Drinks and food are included in the ticket price. For event notifications, make sure you sign up for our newsletter (bottom right corner).  

Please check back for our next First Tuesday event – we’ll have more scheduled in fall 2017. 



Our workshops are finished for the season. 

Other Events

No other events scheduled at this time.