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CDC, Biz Links help local man move from employee to entrepreneur

Mike Mather purchased Georgian Mobile Signs thanks to 'input and guidance' from CDC and with the help of Community Futures program
Mike Mather (left) with his wife Trish Burke (right)
Mike Mather, left, with his wife Trish Burke in front of one of his signs. Mather purchased Georgian Signs in the spring with the help of the CDC.

The following 'success story' was submitted to OrilliaMatters by the Orillia Area Community Development Corp.

Mike Mather had a successful career in the automotive service industry, but something was missing. He really wanted to make a difference in people's lives, and feel the satisfaction that comes from doing something you believe in.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to recognize that no matter your chosen occupation, it really is all about people. At the end of the day, we often spend more time at work than we do with our own families, so you'd better make that time count,” explains Mather.

After some friends took the leap, Mather began exploring the world of entrepreneurship and liked what he was discovering. He thought up and discarded many business ideas, before eventually coming to the realisation that buying an existing business was probably the smartest thing he could do. But how?

That’s when the Community Futures’ BizLink program came into the picture.

“At the time, I wasn't sure what kind of business I would be best suited for, but I knew it had to be about the people," said Mather. "The Community Development Corp. (CDC) in Orillia had been incredibly helpful in getting my friend's small business started, so when it was time to begin looking for resources, I knew the CDC was the place to start."

Fortunately, when the then-owner of Georgian Mobile Signs decided to sell their business, they also headed to the CDC, and a BizLink match was born.

“Initially, I knew very little about the company, but as I grew to understand the nature of the business, I began to realize it aligned quite well with my values and interests. And with a few changes of my own, it could become something that involves my family,” says Mather.

He adds, “With the CDC's help I was able to break down and understand the financials of the company, apply a realistic valuation to the purchase price and structure a deal the way I wanted. Their input and guidance gave me the confidence to move forward knowing I was making an educated decision based on risks I could understand and manage.”

Mather and his family have been the proud owners of Georgian Mobile Signs since the spring of 2021, and are enjoying the learning curve, work, and pride of ownership that comes with running your own business.

“My focus since taking control of the company has been to increase efficiencies while providing the same great service people have come to expect from Georgian Mobile Signs," said Mather.

“There could have been two possible outcomes had I not had the support of the CDC: I would have done nothing, stayed complacent and not chosen a life of self-employment; or I may have ended up making costly mistakes based on uneducated choices. One thing is for sure, guidance from the CDC and the tools offered by the BizLink program are major contributors to my successful transition from employee to entrepreneur,” boasts Mather.

“To anyone considering self employment, believe in yourself! Contact the CDC in Orillia; they can help you get started on your journey to awesomeness.”

For more information about Georgian Mobile Signs visit or contact 705-737-1275.

For more information on the Orillia Area Community Development Corp. (CDC) or the BizLink program visit or contact 705-325-4903, extension 103.


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