Rise London: A Path to Self-Employment for People with Mental Health and Addiction Challenges

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.

“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 Dr. Anne Snowdon, Chair, 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.”

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 including 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 (YOU), These organizations will continue to shape the design and roll-out of the program in the coming months.

“Rise has been instrumental in improving the lives of its clients by helping them start up, grow or re-start their entrepreneurial ventures. 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,” stated Sandra Rotman.

“The program and process of RISE has at its foundation the desire to create a more inclusive culture,” said Sister Margo of the Sisters of St. Joseph. “It recognizes the gifts of people facing mental health challenges. Also, it is building on the tremendous work already being done by agencies and individuals in London and area. Social inclusion benefits all of us.”

Rise Asset Development works to empower business owners with access to financing and business support. The organization recognizes the interdependency of financial well-being to one’s overall quality of life. Rise is committed to improving the lives of people who are unable to secure employment due to mental health or addictions challenges. Rise, with the support of the Rotman School of Management and the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), provides small business loans and mentorship to men and women living with mental health and addiction challenges who are interested in pursuing self-employment. Rise Asset Development serves Ontario entrepreneurs with a history of mental health or addiction challenges, with central offices in Toronto and Rise Ottawa, in collaboration with Causeway Work Centre. Additional information may be found at www.riseassetdevelopment.ca.

For more information, contact:

Ivan Langrish
Senior Manager Media Strategy
Ivey Business School