City firm’s software a boon to food banks

Cathy Dobson

A Sarnia startup is helping food banks around the world get to the root of why people need emergency assistance.

“I believe that what we’re going to do will have a big impact,” says Rob Dawson, founder and CEO of Link2Feed, his new company at 1315 Michigan Ave.

Link2Feed’s software has been developed over the past five years to electronically track who is using a food bank and why.

The original Link2Feed intake and reporting software was built for the Windsor Essex Food Bank Association and Sarnia’s Inn of the Good Shepherd.

“We’ll soon be launching a 2.0 version in January and marketing it to the U.S. and the U.K.,” said Dawson.

“This really excites me. We want to create the first global metric on hunger in developed nations.”

Already, Link2Feed has sold its software to more than 1,000 organizations. Most are in Canada, like the Ontario Association of Food Banks, but the company has started making inroads into the American market as well.

Dawson, 38, was born and raised in Sarnia and established Innivity Marketing Group, a firm he sold in 2013 to pour his resources into Link2Feed.

“It’s a simple concept but it’s been overlooked by food banks,” Dawson explained at the kickoff breakfast for Sarnia/Lambton’s Business Week where he was guest speaker.

Not only will knowing the detailed demographics of who needs emergency food services help change social attitudes, it will make food banks more accountable to their funders, said Dawson.

“This kind of data tells a story and breaks down the myths,” agreed Myles Vanni, executive director at the Inn of the Good Shepherd.

“By using it, we’ve been able to identify that 65 to 70% of the people who come to us have worked a lifetime.

“They either can’t work any longer because of physical challenges, they are the working poor, or they have recently lost their jobs,” Vanni said.

“This data changes perceptions. Because of it, we’ve seen support increase.”

Vanni had high praise for Dawson and Link2Feed, which currently employs five.

“Rob’s idea to do business with a big social impact is a great bragging point for Sarnia-Lambton,” Vanni said. “We do world-class stuff here.”

You can contact Link2Feed at www.link2feed.com.

 

NEW TUTORING COMPANY

 

Alex Brambilla, owner of the new Brilliant Boost Tutoring company, says pooling the resources of six tutors that formerly worked independently provides more comprehensive services.

“We get to share resources and our students have access to professionals who specialize in all fields,” he said.

Brambilla, 27, has been tutoring the past seven years in the Sarnia area.

Brilliant Boost offers one-on-one tutoring in all subjects from Grades 1 to 12 and for Lambton College students. Cost is $40 an hour. Homework and teacher reports are regularly posted within a portal linked to www.brilliantboost.ca.

This fall, most of the company’s clients are Grade 10, 11, and 12 students struggling with sciences, said Brambilla.

All Brilliant Boost tutors either have a teacher certificate or several years’ experience tutoring.

For more info, call 519-328-6490.

NOMINATIONS NOW ACCEPTED

Do you know a local business that deserves recognition?

The Sarnia/Lambton Chamber of Commerce is now accepting nominations for the 2015 Outstanding Business Achievement Awards.

Nomination forms in all 12 categories are available on the Chamber’s website (www.sarnialambtonchamber.com).

Got an interesting business story? Contact Cathy Dobson at cathy.dobson@thesarniajournal.ca or 226-932-0985.