Homegrown Business: Ownr, helping entrepreneurs start up!

For this week’s Homegrown Business profile, we spoke with Shadi McIsaac, the Founder of Ownr, about how they help Canadian Entrepreneurs Start their Business.


What is your business called and what does it do?

The short answer is Ownr is a platform that helps entrepreneurs launch and grow their businesses. The slightly longer answer is that our main products are around business formation and simplifying the legal side of owning a business—we help folks make things official. We also have a series of complementary products that focus on boosting new business owners and helping them get off on the right foot (think branding and marketing).

Ownr is part of RBC Ventures, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Canada.

What made you want to do this work?

I am the daughter of immigrant parents who embraced their entrepreneurial grit, so I have seen firsthand how entrepreneurship can give Canadians the opportunity to shape their lives and provide for their families. Being witness to the struggles faced by entrepreneurs, I wanted to build a platform that allows Canadians, with aspirations big and small, the opportunity to realize their goals through new business creation. This ambition aligns with RBC’s commitment to empowering small business owners.

What problem does this solve?

Starting a business can be overwhelming. There are a lot of decisions entrepreneurs need to make, like choosing the right business structure, while simultaneously navigating different government websites full of technical terms and jargon.

Previously, new business owners had two choices: navigate the system themselves or hire a lawyer to help them. The first solution is less expensive but has a higher time and energy cost, as this process requires using three separate providers to find and reserve a business name, register the business, and set up complex incorporation documents. The latter solution saves time and energy, but the financial cost is significantly higher.

That’s where Ownr comes in. We make it quick and easy to register or incorporate and at a fraction of the cost of what a lawyer would typically charge. We also simplify legal work through automation, giving business owners more autonomy (while saving time and money).

Who are your clientele/demographics?

We help anyone and everyone looking to start or grow their business. This includes everyone from one-person run sole proprietorships to corporations with 10+ employees.

We support entrepreneurs from registering their first business to hiring employees, bringing on new partners, and beyond.

Shadi McIsaac Founder of Ownr
Founder of Ownr Shadi McIsaac

How does your business make money? How does it work?

Based on the business structure the entrepreneur chooses, they can pay a one-time fee to register a sole proprietorship or incorporation, or choose an annual plan to manage their corporation.
We include all government fees, unlimited name searches, company name registration, support, and Ownr perks. Incorporations also get an online minute book and access to legal documents depending on the plan they select.

Where in Toronto can we find your profession?

While our roots are in Toronto—we’re online, so you can find us anywhere you are! We serve entrepreneurs in Ontario, Alberta, and BC.

What is the best question a prospective customer could ask a member of your profession when comparing services?

Why would I want to register a business and why would I use Ownr?

If you use a business name that is anything other than your legal name, you need to register. But there are so many benefits beyond that—it can help your business succeed, establish you as a serious professional, and simplify tax season.

When you register your business with Ownr, you automate your legal tasks, get the support you need, and save time and money at every stage of your business journey––all in one place.

What is the best part about what you do? What is the worst part?

I’d say one of the best parts is getting to be a part of the business owner’s journey at such a pivotal moment: when are they just getting ready to take the leap.It’s such an honour to be able to provide a service that makes that time for them a little less complicated and expensive, and a lot faster and more seamless.

Up until recently, I’d say one of the not so great parts was having to part ways after the initial set up of their company, but with the launch of our new platform, we are now able to continue delivering value to business owners through the different seasons of their businesses with our company management services.

What is your favourite joke about your own profession?

I tried to start a hot air ballooning business but it never took off.

PAY IT FORWARD: What is another Toronto business that you love?

Forno Cultura: It’s been part of a handful of special occasions for me, and when they opened another location 200m from our place, I was there almost every day of my mat leave with my son, rain or shine.