President & CEO’s Message – March/April 2022

The pandemic has shifted many of the ways we do business. From Zoom to Teams and from curbside to e-commerce. And, while some of these measures have been temporary, some have led to new strategies and opportunities.
A couple of years ago, few people likely knew about Zoom. Now, it is used daily by many of us. There are still challenges using it effectively.

In speaking recently with Ben Zimmer of Enable Education here in Milton, he said, even though businesses may return to in-person offices, Zoom and Teams will continue to be used as flexible tools for work from home and for distance education. But people still struggle with how to use Zoom to effectively run a meeting. Even worse when businesses try to do remote training. How do you combat learner disengagement? How do you ensure training hasn’t lost its humanity?

Ben couldn’t find a viable solution. So, he created one. Sidekick is a next-gen tool that is like Zoom for training.
Again, a great way to create opportunity form crisis.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has also seized the opportunity to redefine how it serves the business community and local Chambers. Their Chamber 2025 Strategic Plan offers many tactics that will lead a journey towards greater SME success.
One of the tools launched recently is the Business Data Lab, a new initiative created in collaboration with Statistics Canada and with financial support from the Government of Canada. It provides future-focused, real-time data and insights for all companies of all sizes, sectors and regions of Canada.

Small businesses across Canada will be better able to monitor market conditions in their region and drill down on insights like ownership characteristics and future trends.

Ontario COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant – Challenges for some businesses
There have been some businesses who have believed they qualify for this grant but have yet to receive any information or may have been informed that they don’t qualify, after previously applying. Some even are not able to apply online and get an error message.

It seems that a vast percentage of cases with issues are due to businesses tagging their business under a category that is no longer eligible or tagging themselves in a different category this time. For example, a gym had tagged itself under personal care in the 1st round so they wouldn’t get the email for the next round or a spa in this round is trying to tag itself in a different category because they have a café attached to it.

If you have issues with grant qualifications, you can call toll-free: 1-855-216-3090. Or, MPP Parm Gill’s office staff are amazing resources to help out.