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Setting Up SMEs for Success

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Employing 89 per cent of the private sector workforce in Canada, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are not only the heart of our country but also play a crucial role in our economy. We need to ensure SMEs are given the tools and resources they need to thrive. Unfortunately, with only 4 out of every 10 SMEs meeting the challenges associated with growth, it is clear SMEs need tailored support, information and advice to find the right resources.

From regulatory burdens to high operating costs, businesses in Canada are facing obstacles their foreign counterparts are not. For example, if your small business is looking to scale-up its operations, it could take you months to get a line of credit, while many European countries could offer you a line of credit in mere weeks. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce recognizes the power and potential SMEs have to transform the lives of Canadians. With this in mind, that is why they have launched Essential Business Services (EBS) for its network of more than 200,000 businesses.

Small and medium-sized businesses have been and will continue to be, the driving force of Canada’s economy. SMEs punch above their weight in strategic importance, impact and growth potential. Canadian SMEs not only significantly contribute to job numbers and GDP, but often drive business and technology innovation that is consumed globally.

In Canada, there is already much focus on businesses in the start-up and early commercialization phases, and they are well supported through accelerators, a plethora of government programs and mentorship programs. However, growth-ready and more mature companies that want to grow domestically or internationally are not as well served. These businesses have specific characteristics that need to be nurtured, emulated and exposed so that substantial growth opportunities can be maximized in Canada. It is imperative that we increase the value we provide within the SME ecosystem to help our businesses scale up and take their rightful place on the world stage. “We are uniquely positioned to develop and deliver a program that includes new essential business services, ensures alignment with all levels of our chamber network and supports international expansion,” says Jackie King, Chief Operating Officer of the Canadian Chamber.

EBS is a concierge service designed to help businesses find solutions for their most pressing needs. From import and export services to access to marketplaces and capital, EBS is helping set up SMEs for long-term success. A few of EBS’ offerings include:

• Training and learning to help develop your employees’ professional skills
• Access to sales and procurement channels as well as the funds needed to grow your business
• Tools to maximize your time and productivity so you can achieve more
• Services to help you compete on a global scale
• Savings programs to boost your bottom line
• Timely industry insights and information on policies affecting your business

Canadian businesses are going through an era of unprecedented changes. Whether it is an economic crisis, a new government or changes in technology, the obstacles SMEs face are stacking up. Fortunately, chambers of commerce are here to ensure the continued success of existing businesses by working with them to handle whatever is thrown their way. To learn more about the Canadian Chamber’s EBS program, contact Anick DeSousa, Director of Services, at 613 238 4000 (2239).

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