Meghan founded Localize in 2011 so that she could finally shop in peace with the right information at hand. As a passionate agriculturalist, she has worked in the field as a farmer, researcher, biologist, and international agricultural developer. This culmination of experiences led her to build a service that shares better food information for grocers and consumers alike. Localize is the only dedicated local shelf label program in all of North America. The powerful Localize database and software application contain geographically and socially relevant information that is valuable for grocers and vital to shoppers looking for information at the shelf's edge.
Currently, Localize is in over 300 stores and Meghan has big plans for expansion. "We've been preparing for the last year to initiate business in the U.S. and there are a few things we've done to lay the groundwork for that. The first step in preparation was attending trade missions including Women's Business Enterprise National Council last year, which was an extremely exciting experience. It turned out to be a transformative opportunity and one that led to a lot of good intelligence, good contacts, and at least one ongoing test relationship that could grow into a major commercial opportunity for us. We've also taken part in a trade commissioner service called the Canadian Technology Accelerator. That was a multi-month long program that I attended in Boston to essentially get my business ready in really practical ways for U.S. expansion."
As a result of Localize's big growth focus, over the next year Meghan aims to bring Localize into a coast-to-coast presence with thousands of stores in Canada, and establish multiple major partners in the U.S. "For us that will mean setting up simplified versions of our programs down in the U.S. We're doing this all very mindfully because what we do is complicated – if it was easy to do then there would be another company doing it, but there isn't because we've figured out how to do a really hard thing well."
Localize has leveraged the CanExport Canadian government funding program to help them achieve their goals faster. The program was established with perfect timing for the company. "Last year we spent the time figuring out how to grow into the U.S. and then this year was about activating all of that learning through attendance, through action, through client meetings and market research."
"At times it is really tough being in non-traditional businesses, especially with non-traditional leaders like me," Meghan adds in jokingly, "so it has been important for us to find our allies and the people who will help us to get to where we need to be. Alberta Women Entrepreneurs has been one of those major players for us and I feel really fortunate to have been connected to this community of women entrepreneurs who are supporting us throughout our growth."
"As we expand we are trying to continuously find new ways to give shoppers in grocery stores and online better information about their food. One of the ways that we do that is by expressing where food is coming from, but we are also now starting to channel other kinds of socially relevant information like sustainability information, for example.
Where we want to be in the next 5 to 10 years is in every single grocery store, delivering every kind of socially relevant information that will help shoppers make better decisions with their dollars. There's a convergence of consumer demand for this and the retailers are in the middle and need solutions – we're building solutions, so it's very exciting for us."
Localize transforms how grocers label, promote, and source local products. The results are proven: better business for grocers, exposure for local food producers, and empowered shoppers.
This success story is provided by Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) – dedicated to enabling women to build successful businesses.