Chamber and Partners Kick Off Small Business Week Conversation About Digital and Skills Access
(Burlington – October 15, 2020) – The pandemic has highlighted challenges for small businesses: their access to digital technologies and skills. In advance of Small Business Week 2020, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce, and partners are kicking off a vital conversation today about these gaps with the launch of their report, Small and Medium-Sized Employers (SMEs): Skills Gaps and Future Skills. The report is a Skills Next project and a collaboration between the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, Ryerson University’s Diversity Institute, Public Policy Forum, and the Future Skills Centre.
“We are deeply concerned about the impacts the COVID-19 crisis is having on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), charities, and not-for-profit organizations in Ontario,” said President & CEO, Carla Y. Nell. “They are the backbone of the Canadian economy, accounting for more than 90 percent of jobs in the private sector. Yet they face critical labour shortages, skill mismatches, and challenges related to broadband internet access that threaten their competitiveness.”
“Broadband is a basic infrastructure requirement in today’s economy, but the ongoing pandemic has made it even more essential to public health and economic resilience,” added Ashley Challinor, Vice President, Policy, Ontario Chamber of Commerce. “For businesses and workers, particularly those practicing physical distancing, connectivity is necessary to ensure they can remain productive by using digital tools such as video conferencing. Without adequate access, those in rural and remote regions will be vulnerable to additional layoffs and business closures.”
Canadian Small Business Week takes place during the third week of October every year. This year, the celebration will occur October 18-24, 2020. Over the course of Small Business Week, the OCC and the Burlington Chamber of Commerce will be participating in the “Small Business: Too Big To Ignore” campaign across the province, actively engaging small businesses in discussions about the top obstacles impeding their growth and the ways in which these challenges can be overcome.
Read the Skills Next project report: Small and Medium-Sized Employers (SMEs): Skills Gaps and Future Skills, Skills Next is funded by the Government of Canada’s Future Skills Program.
Strategic Communications Coordinator
Burlington Safe Restart Program to provide eligible small businesses with grants of up to $2500 to purchase PPE equipment and/or renovate their physical space to adhere to reopening guidelines
September 29, 2020 – Burlington, ON – Team Burlington (Burlington Economic Development, Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Aldershot Village BIA and Tourism Burlington), has teamed up with the City of Burlington and POST Promise to deliver an innovative new program to provide financial support to Burlington’s small business community during COVID-19. A direct outcome of the Burlington Economic Recovery Network (BERN) also led by Team Burlington, the one-time grant of up to $2500 can be used towards related COVID-19 costs such as purchasing PPE, renovating a physical space to adhere to public health guidelines, purchasing of signage and/or barriers, and much more.
Carla Y. Nell, President and CEO of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce offered a statement on behalf of the Team Burlington organizations. “As a result of COVID-19, public-facing businesses such as food services and retail stores have seen a decline in revenues anywhere from 60-70%. These businesses are under tremendous pressure to adapt their physical spaces to adhere to reopening guidelines. Through speaking with stakeholders, it became clear that the City could support in restarting the economy and rebuilding consumer and employee trust by offering financial support to adapt to the reopening guidelines laid out by the province.” She continued, “We are very proud that Burlington is the first municipality we know of to launch a program of this kind and to be taking actionable steps toward helping businesses reopen safely and effectively.”
The Burlington Safe Restart Program is also proud to be partnering with POST Promise, a private-sector initiative, in collaboration with various levels of government, designed to help Canadians confidently and safely visit public spaces and the workplace. Businesses who apply for the Burlington Safe Restart grant are required to make the POST Promise, which provides education and training on how to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“The POST Promise is honoured to be a part of the City of Burlington’s Safe Restart Program, and Team Burlington’s efforts to support local businesses during this challenging time,” said Laura Hearn, President & Executive Director of the POST Promise. “This initiative not only provides businesses with the tools they need to keep their customers and employees safe but is also critical to rebuilding consumer confidence and supporting our economy. I applaud all businesses who have already made the POST Promise and encourage all others to learn more at postpromise.com.”
Grant recipients will be able to display Burlington Safe Restart signage as well as the POST Promise logo in their storefront window, demonstrating their commitment to doing their part to protect the public’s health during COVID-19.
“The Burlington Safe Restart Program grant is another way to support our local businesses in adapting, as well as helping to increase consumer confidence in participating in the economy again – that, in turn, will hopefully help the public feel more comfortable in visiting their favourite local shops,” said Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward. “Businesses are already putting in safety and health protocols, and that’s good to see. Connecting the grant to the POST Promise is also a great idea because it’s a simple and visible way for businesses to let their customers know the steps they are taking. Once people start seeing the same logo at many businesses — and you’ll also see it at City Hall — it’ll start creating confidence again in participating in the economy. I want to thank the Burlington Economic Recovery Network and Team Burlington for spearheading and supporting these initiatives and encouraging businesses to participate.”
The Burlington Safe Restart program will be accepting applications from eligible businesses from September 29 to October 13. More information on the program including eligibility requirements and the application form can be found at www.investburlington.ca/covid19.
– 30 –
Manager, Marketing and Attraction
Burlington Economic Development