Home Economy Canada’s maker economy is getting a boost after years of neglect

Canada’s maker economy is getting a boost after years of neglect

by SuperiorInvest

The creator economy is growing as more home creators turn content into money

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After years of neglect, Canada’s maker economy is finally getting some recognition — and some money to boot.

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The creator economy, made up of individuals and businesses creating content on social media platforms and the organizations that support them, is growing as more home creators monetize content like videos. Early-stage investment funds have taken notice and are starting to pour money into creators working with platforms that include Alphabet Inc.’s YouTube, Meta Platforms Inc.’s Instagram. and ByteDance Ltd.’s TikTok. Meanwhile, resources and organizations dedicated to supporting the growth of influencers are also emerging, preparing the industry for a new era of growth in Canada.

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“Canadian influencer talent, for better or for worse, has largely been hard to find. I don’t think there is a lack of talent here. I think it’s a lack of opportunity,” said Matt Roberts, managing partner at ScaleUP Ventures Inc., which led a 2018 Series A funding round for Hashtag Paid Inc. based in Toronto, which styles its name as #paid.

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“Until now, it’s been very ad hoc how all these (stakeholders) work together,” he said.

Creators contribute a significant amount of money to the Canadian economy. The exact number is hard to pin down, but in 2021, YouTube Canada alone contributed $1.1 billion to the country’s gross domestic product. Alphabet typed report Oxford Economics he said, and the number of YouTube channels earning $100,000 or more annually grew 35 percent year-over-year.

There are more than 50 million people worldwide who consider themselves creators, according to SignalFire, a venture capital firm in San Francisco. There are more than two million full-time professional creators on all major platforms, while more than 45 million call themselves part-time amateur creators. Estimates of the size of the global creator economy are in excess of $100 billion.

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Until now, the road to domestic success has not been easy for Canadian creators, especially those producing content in crowded fields like comedy. Canada’s creator ecosystem has historically been too small to support influencer brands, Roberts said. This has forced many budding influencers to pack up their gear and leave the country entirely to build their careers. One popular destination is Los Angeles, California, home of Hollywood and a key market for social media stars, where you can’t turn a corner without running into a talent agency.

That’s exactly where Inanna Sarkis went when she embarked on an acting and social media career. In 2016, the Woodbridge, Ont., native finished her degree in criminal justice, left her downtown Toronto apartment and hopped on a plane to LA.

There, she began her meteoric rise on social media, gaining thousands of followers every day, which helped increase her chances of landing an acting role at auditions. Before it was shut down in 2017, the Twitter Inc.-owned video app Vine had amassed more than 100,000 followers. Sarkis currently has nearly four million subscribers Youtube and 15.2 million followers Instagram.

She has now starred in movies and several TV series, most notably a horror movie released last year called The Seance.

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“LA was so advanced and everyone was literally creating so much content at the time,” Sarkis said of the creator environment in 2016 via video call from her home in Los Angeles. “The infrastructure was already built there because of the acting world.”

Through acting classes, she met some of the rising stars who took over Vine, the popular social media app of the time known for its six-second video format. She first met Melvin Gregg — now an actor in the show Nine Perfect Strangers on Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime streaming service. – who then introduced her to the likes of King Bach, DeStorm Power and Anwar Jibawi, all stars in their own right. . Together, they have built a support system that fosters each other’s creativity.

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“Everybody who wanted to play or who wanted to create, they all moved into one building that was (known as) Vine Street in Los Angeles. You would walk outside and there would be Viners in every hallway creating content,” she said.

It was a far cry from what she experienced in Canada.

“When I came back to Toronto … (Vine) was just this thing and (people) were watching it, but they were never creating content for it,” Sarkis said.

The Weeknd will perform at BC Place in Vancouver on August 23, 2022.
The Weeknd will perform at BC Place in Vancouver on August 23, 2022. Photo: Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press files

Another industry observer saw an opportunity in the lack of support for Canadian content creators. Founded by Ahmed Ismail Hxusincubator for creators, in 2018 with his friends Abel Tesfaye, the popular R&B singer known as The Weeknd, and La Mar Taylor, The Weeknd’s creative director.

They envisioned Hxouse as a space in Toronto’s east end for budding creative entrepreneurs to learn through mentorship programs, networking opportunities and educational sessions on how to innovate and take advantage of opportunities in the maker economy.

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Through Hxous, creators will gain access to the knowledge these three have gained through their association with the entertainment industry. “You get to learn from the best of our friendships and relationships,” Ismail said.

In September, Ismail launched CNCPT in partnership with YouTube Canada, an iteration of Hxouse’s original offering to target emerging Canadian creators. YouTube Canada is funding a dedicated space in the Hxus offices for creators, both new and experienced, to shoot content and use tools like cameras and editing software.

The two companies are still working out what CNCPT will become, but YouTube said it will provide creative entrepreneurs with $100,000 in grants to accelerate their online businesses. It also plans to fund and help create curriculum for two annual accelerator programs starting early next year that will be free to participants.

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Ismail said the collaboration with YouTube is a step in the right direction for the local creator economy.

“This is how we’re helping to build Canada’s talent pool so that more creatives and entrepreneurs can realize their potential and find success, as well as stay in Canada while they’re still global phenomenons,” he said.

Ismail and his team are betting that the maker economy will grow in Canada. The XO Crew, the label name of The Weeknd and collaborators, joined ScaleUP’s Roberts in an $18.9 million Series A round that #paid raised.

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Other businesses are popping up to help manage marketing deals between brands and creators. Adrian Capobianco, founder of BILI Inc., launched Since I Love It earlier this year to connect creators and influencers with businesses seeking advertising deals. In June, the company raised $600,000 in its first seed round and is currently looking to raise money for a second round of funding.

“The maker economy is not just a dollars and cents economy. It’s really a very robust ecosystem for creators, for influencers and for brands,” said Capobianco. “Brand interest is growing rapidly and interest from creators continues to increase.”

• By e-mail: bbharti@postmedia.com | Twitter:



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