LEDC 20 Years
April 05, 2018
We want to start off recognizing our 20 year anniversary with thanks. Thank you to the hundreds of clients, partners, and support organizations we have worked with since 1998 and continue working with on future projects. With your help, the London Economic Development Corporation (LEDC) continues to play a leading role in delivering economic prosperity to London, Ontario.
Over the years, we’ve seen new businesses open their doors and existing companies move into larger, often high-tech spaces to accommodate their growing teams. We’ve partnered with local organizations to bring niche events and business-2-business (B2B) opportunities for the growing digital creative, venture, and film sectors to fruition while continuing to raise the visibility of London’s agile manufacturing sector.
Like other communities, however, London has seen its fair share of challenges. 2008 and the years following the economic recession led to plant closures and job losses across industry sectors. Through these times of economic and technological turbulence, the LEDC, along with many London businesses and support organizations, continued taking positive strides to facilitate new employment and investment opportunities.
While local businesses still face challenges today, including skilled talent shortages, difficulties connecting to funding, and lack of transit service in industrial areas, the LEDC continues working with local educational institutions and partners to deliver industry and workforce-tailored solutions.
The jobs added, investments made, and innovations created as a result of these economic activities is a reflection of the dedication, patience, and support provided by the many driving forces in London committed to growing the economy. We thank you all for working with us to develop sustainable advantages here in the Forest City.
Since inception in 1998, the LEDC has facilitated the creation of 17,000 jobs, generated $15 million in annual property tax revenue, and attracted $1.5 billion in new investment.
The following timeline illustrates some of the key milestones the LEDC has helped facilitate and support over the past 20 years. From the companies LEDC has helped to invest, grow, or hire talent in London, to the initiatives and partnerships we’ve formed to address industry needs, take a look at our 20-year history:
1998: LEDC launches as a public-private partnership, an innovative model for economic development services at the time.
2001: LEDC and the City of London develop an industrial lands strategy to offer shovel-ready industrial sites to growing companies, which has seen over 400 acres of land sold and has created nearly 5,000 new jobs.
2002: Austrian-based Starlim-Sterner chooses London as its site for North American Operations, investing $27 million over three years and continuing to grow, adding 140 workers and a 165,000 square foot expansion in 2017.
2003: German-based Brose Canada, the fifth-largest, family-owned auto supplier in the world, invests more than $81 million to build its first Canadian manufacturing facility in London, which now employs over 700 people.
2005: LEDC becomes the first economic development agency in Ontario to have a workforce development focus, developing a variety of initiatives in partnership with local employment resources, including the ExperienceWorks project, the Global Talent employer resource, and London and Area Works, which recently won an EDCO Award of Excellence for Community Collaboration (2017).
2007: Korean-based manufacturer of stainless steel tubing, CS Automotive Tubing, chooses London for a new, 53,000 square foot facility, investing close to $12 million at the time, and has since doubled in size to increase manufacturing capacity and jobs opportunities.
2007: Bringing together Canada’s leading video game developers, publishers, tech companies, and emerging talent, the Digital Interactive & Gaming (DIG) Conference launches to raise London’s visibility as a tech hub, gathering over 1,500 people to learn, network, and do business together.
2008: The ‘For Manufacturers Only’ event launches, connecting manufacturers with industry experts and peer-to-peer learning. 2018 marks the 10th year we’ve hosted this conference (now called ‘Manufacturing Matters’) that attracts over 800 attendees each year.
2008: The Student-2-Business Networking Conference commences as a collaboration between several workforce partners in the city, bringing together over 1,000+ students and 250+ employers to help connect students with London’s business community.
2009: Choosing the newly built Innovation Park, The Original Cakerie, one of Canada’s largest frozen dessert company producing delicious layered cakes and dessert bars, opens its 125,000 square foot facility in 2009, investing $40 million and employing over 270.
2011: Maker of many of the beloved frozen pizza, desserts, and dry baking mixes, Dr. Oetker makes its first-ever expansion out of Germany for its frozen pizza line with a new facility in London that produces over 77,000 pizzas per day to serve the Canadian and U.S. markets. The LEDC worked with Dr. Oetker for two years before they the $50-million investment.
2012: KL Products (now Zoetis), a leader in food processing automation, builds a 26,500 square foot production and technology centre in Innovation Park, then expands in 2017 to double the size of its plant.
2013: A leader in chocolate manufacturing and cocoa-derived products, Spanish food processor Natra chooses London for its first North American manufacturing plant - a 100,000 square foot production facility that produces nearly 12,000 tonnes of chocolate per year.
2014: Marketing open job positions at London’s growing digital creative companies, the London Tech Jobs initiative launches. Over 1,000 jobs in this sector have since been filled.
2014: Highlighting all that London has to offer, the award-winning London Magazine - which has been recognized by EDCO, IEDC, and MarCom - debuts, circulating to more than 170 Canadian cities and 36 different countries. The LEDC released the 2nd version in 2016 and will be bringing a new version to print in 2018.
2015: Fanshawe College’s Canadian Centre for Product Validation (CCPV) breaks ground in 2015 - a $16.2 million project is a one-of-a-kind facility in Canada, offering a comprehensive prototyping and test facility in one central location.
2016: In London since 1998, Portugal-based Sodecia opens a $15 million research and development centre, and a $30 million stamping plant, in addition to their already existing manufacturing facility. Right around the corner, Hanwha L&C Canada, with nearly 200 employees and double the sales since 2008, receives a $15 million investment to double their production capacity and integrate robotics in a unique process that is a first in Canada.
2016: LEDC launches London iNC., a one-stop portal to help high-growth entrepreneurs raise and find funding, hire and develop talent, expand their markets, and locate business development opportunities.
2016: Playing a key role in supporting their expansion to London and finding the right space to grow, LEDC helps British Columbia film production company Bron Studios Inc. open an office for their animation division, led by London-native Kris Pearn.
2017: In a reversal of what’s been an all-too-common manufacturing story, LEDC attracts auto-parts manufacturer GOSS Global from Mexico that announces a $5 million, 30,000 square foot facility to employ 50 people, helping the company expand into the U.S. market from Canada. More clients the LEDC has worked with over the past 20 years.
As the LEDC celebrates its 20th anniversary serving the London, Ontario business community, stay tuned for more exciting announcements, news, events, campaigns, programming, and partnerships as we move through 2018.
At a glance, if you’re looking for career training in the communications, marketing, human resource and business development fields, don’t miss our upcoming Business Momentum workshops with Fanshawe College’s Corporate Training Solutions.
In Spring, get ready to read all about London in the newest edition of our London Magazine. You can find out exactly when you can order the free publication by staying in the loop with our newsletter or contacting us.
Thank you for reading, and join us in recognizing our 20th anniversary using #LEDC20.
About the LEDC
For readers that are unfamiliar with the LEDC, we are the lead economic development agency in London, Canada. We develop sustainable economic advantages through the growth of local business, the attraction of new foreign investment, and entrepreneurship support.
The LEDC focusses on growing London’s primary economic drivers – advanced manufacturing, food and beverage processing, digital creative, health, and professional services. Growth in these sectors creates additional jobs through supply chains, service, retail industries, and more. You can learn more about us on our About page.