New Program Will Help Local Businesses go Digital in Response to COVID-19
Recovery Activation Program expands to Burlington
BURLINGTON, JULY 24 – COVID-19 has changed everything, requiring telecommuting, on-demand delivery and services, supply chain resiliency and virtual collaborations. Even as the province begins to reopen, the pandemic has heightened the urgency for businesses to digitize to survive.
To address this change, Toronto Region Board of Trade and World Trade Centre Toronto created the Recovery Activation Program, or RAP. RAP offers businesses the know-how, blueprint and partners to address the conditions that COVID-19 has created by implementing digital solutions to their front, middle and back-offices. It will not only equip them to come through COVID-19 intact, but to thrive.
With the support of a $7.7 million investment from the Government of Canada and Government of Ontario, RAP is now expanding to businesses of all sizes throughout the province, including Burlington. The Burlington Chamber of Commerce has been selected as an important partner to help ensure local businesses benefit from the customized services and mentorship that RAP offers. The goal is to help participants develop an effective strategy to attack their unique barriers to connectivity and support their digital restructuring.
“The Burlington Chamber of Commerce is thrilled to offer this timely and important support for our membership and the Burlington business community. As we continue moving through the staged approach to reopening, this program will allow business to strengthen their digital presence and infrastructure to support their economic recovery in the long term,” said President & CEO Carla Y. Nell.
By enabling this partnership between the Burlington Chamber of Commerce and the Toronto Region Board of Trade, the governments’ investment in RAP will also help make sure at least half of RAP’s participants are based outside of Toronto.
“The Recovery Activation Program is a direct response to what we’re hearing from our members and the business community at large: digital tools and services are crucial to success, but challenging to implement,” said Jan De Silva, President and CEO of the Toronto Region Board of Trade. “The Burlington Chamber of Commerce’s involvement in this program will result in the digital transformation of businesses outside of Toronto who will now be in a position to shore up their current business offerings, create new businesses opportunities and explore new markets.”
With recruitment currently open, the first RAP cohort will run through July 2020. Interested businesses can apply here.
ABOUT THE TORONTO REGION BOARD OF TRADE
The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential chambers of commerce in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic growth agenda. Backed by more than 13,500 members, we pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally. We want Toronto to be recognized as one of the most competitive and sought-after business regions in the world, and believe this reputation starts with our businesses. Learn more at bot.com and follow us at @TorontoRBOT.
To book an interview, please contact:
Toronto Region Board of Trade
(Burlington) – June 29, 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce announced 62 $10,000 grant recipients from its Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund today, including Supreme Cheerleading Inc., located in Burlington, Ontario.
“We are delighted to see a hard-working and dedicated Chamber member receive this $10,000 grant from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Salesforce. Owners Tracey Page and Vicki Seguire are active members of the Burlington community and among our membership. Supreme Cheerleading Inc. have adapted to the challenges that have been brought on by COVID-19 by offering virtual training options for their Supreme Cheerleaders at the onset of the outbreak. We are excited to see how they will continue to innovate over the next few months and beyond the pandemic.” said President & CEO, Carla Y. Nell.
More than 1100 small businesses across Canada applied for the 62 grants available. The lucky recipients were those that best demonstrated their financial strain, how the business will use the grant to change or innovate, how the change or innovation will sustain the business’s recovery and allow it to prosper, and how the grant will support the role each business plays in their community.
The fund was managed by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and made possible through the generosity of Salesforce (NYSE:CRM). The funding was designed to help small businesses across the country stay afloat and support their recovery efforts, paying salaries, retrofitting their workplaces and acquiring technology to adapt their business model. Salesforce has also provided grants to small businesses in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, in addition to providing other resources.
“Reviewing the applications was both heartbreaking and inspiring, We saw how seriously small businesses across Canada have been hurt by the pandemic, but we also saw how determined these entrepreneurs are to preserve their employees’ jobs and to serve their customers and their communities. Today is a happy waypoint, not an endpoint, and we won’t stop finding new ways to help Canada’s businesses reopen and recover. We’ll be with them every step of the way,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber.
“It has been incredible to see the resilience coming from Canada’s small business owners over the last few months. We know it hasn’t been easy,” said Margaret Stuart, Canada Country Manager, Salesforce. “The applicants have further demonstrated what we at Salesforce already knew to be true – that Canada is rich with innovation and entrepreneurial talent. We’re hopeful that these grants will provide essential support to small business owners as they return to work.”
A complete list of the winners can be found here.
For more information, please contact:
Canadian Chamber of Commerce
Burlington Chamber of Commerce
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JUNE 11, 2020
Small Business Rebound Necessary for Economic Recovery
Ontario Chamber & Burlington Chamber: RBC report underscores vital need to focus on small business recovery
(Toronto – June 11, 2020) – Today, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) released Small Business, Big Pivot: A devasting downturn, and how Canadian enterprises can transition. The report contains proprietary economic research which outlines how the landscape has shifted for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document also includes a tangible plan to help Canadian small businesses thrive in a post-pandemic economy.
“The recession at-hand is unlike the one Canada or the world witnessed in 2008, in terms of both its structure and scale,” says, President & CEO, Carla Y. Nell. “The majority of our members are small businesses; businesses that are cornerstones of our community and the engine of Ontario’s economy. The data presented in RBC’s report echoes the concerns that we have been hearing from small businesses, one of the groups hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
RBC’s analysis found that small firms experienced twice the number of job losses in comparison to mid- and large-sized firms in Canada. Women, youth, minorities, and First Nations were found to have been particularly impacted since they tend to be are employed within the most disrupted parts of the small-business economy. The report also identifies which industries face significant challenges (i.e., accommodation and food service) and those that are in a stronger position to manage short-term losses (i.e., manufacturing and wholesale trade).
“Small Business, Big Pivot underscores that small firms need to leverage new technologies with the aim of adapting to the virtual economy. This will be further explored in our upcoming policy brief, Small Business, Big Impact: How SMEs are Pivoting During COVID-19, which will be released on June 22, profiling how various small businesses have succeeded in this regard,” says Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).
Both reports identify the rise in e-commerce as Canadians take advantage of online shopping and home delivery options. Small businesses that have successfully leveraged technology and online platforms are identified as remaining resilient during this unprecedented period. Yet, changing consumer trends present challenges for small firms, especially those that are digital novices, have limited capital, or are located in parts of the province with poor or unreliable broadband internet access.
“As consumer behaviour shifts, the ability of small businesses to adapt and pivot will be a major determinant of Ontario’s long-term economic recovery. While the federal and provincial governments have taken swift action and extraordinary steps to keep small businesses afloat, permanent closures will have ramifications for local supply chains, workers, and communities alike. Policymakers, therefore, should consider the recommendations contained in Small Business, Big Pivot, as we continue to strengthen small businesses and work towards Canada’s economic rebuild,” Rossi added.
Read RBC’s Report.
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(April 1, 2020, Burlington) The need has never been greater as our local economy continues to be dramatically weighed down by the daily impacts of COVID-19. Some small businesses have made the decision to close completely, others are working in reduced capacity. In times of unprecedented hardship our small businesses and independents often experience the brunt of this crisis. Your assistance is needed.
Small businesses are an essential part of our community. They are risk-takers by nature; many are family owned and many are residents of the community where their business is located. They are the entrepreneurs that hire our children, sponsor our teams, donate for our events – they are our neighbours.
Team Burlington, which is a collective of the combined talents of The Burlington Chamber of Commerce, Burlington Economic Development, Burlington Downtown Business Association, Aldershot Village BIA and Tourism Burlington, encourages residents to support small businesses online from the safety of their home. They have made seven suggestions:
- Shop small businesses online: even though their doors may be closed, many businesses are still offering on-line sales and incentives with no-contact shipping/delivery
- Order takeout or delivery: show your support to restaurants/eateries that are still offering takeaway options by ordering at home
- Purchase a gift card for future use: you may have to wait to use it but it provides cash to the business now when they need it most
- Submit a positive review online for your favourite business
- Connect online by following a few more local businesses and commenting on their posts
- Attend an online fitness workout: many fitness providers are offering classes from home virtually
- Support a local not-for-profit/charity: to the extent that you are able, please donate directly to local not-for-profits and charities to ensure that critical support continues to be available to those most vulnerable in our community
Brian Dean, Executive Director of the Burlington Downtown Business Association emphasizes “Shopping locally during this challenging time for Burlington business is more than a good idea, it is a necessity to help keep these small businesses flourishing”.
The days, weeks and months ahead are uncertain. These are your neighbours. This is your community. Small businesses need your support, now, more than ever. We’re all in this together.
Marketing & Events Manager, Burlington Downtown Business Association
Marketing Specialist, Tourism Burlington