Ontario government launches strategy to support small business

Archived Release

Ontario government launches strategy to support small business

TORONTO, June 21 /CNW/ - Parliamentary Assistant Ted Chudleigh, on behalf of Minister of Economic Development and Trade Bob Runciman, today launched a strategy designed to meet the growing needs of Ontario's small business community.
"Since we took office, our government has worked with municipalities and the private sector to provide relevant services to help small business succeed," Chudleigh said. "We've seen an increase in the number of entrepreneurs and their needs are changing. We have listened to the small business community and are responding with "Small Business Enterprise Centres - A Strategy for Ontario."

Among the measures outlined in the strategy:
- Convert Small Business Self-Help Offices to Small Business Enterprise
Centres to provide entrepreneurs with common services through startup
and the crucial first five years of growth.
- Expand the business support network to 42 centres to fill in geographic
gaps across Ontario.
- Provide services to help entrepreneurs incorporate e-business into
their day-to-day operations.
- Launch a Small Business Advisory Council to co-ordinate research,
eliminate duplication and enhance customer service standards across the
network.
- Emphasize Salute to Small Business Month as an annual October event to
recognize the outstanding contributions small business makes to
Ontario's economic well-being.
- Develop a network database with partners and stakeholders.

"This is the right strategy to build on Ontario's entrepreneurship support programs," said Brenda Valois, Chair of the Entrepreneurship Advisory Committee, Ottawa. "The Enterprise Centres will play a key role in ensuring that new and early stage entrepreneurs are equipped with the information, skills, and networks they need to succeed."
A benchmark study, commissioned by the ministry, made a number of recommendations. It called for improving and expanding services to small business to meet a growing need across Ontario, and the establishment of a Small Business Advisory Council to take action on concerns throughout the province-wide Business Support Network. The strategy was unveiled at a networking conference for Small Business Enterprise Centres, Business Self- Help Offices, partners and stakeholders.
"The Ontario government is serious about working with our partners to provide an improved support network for the small business community," Chudleigh added. "It's another step in our goal to provide the best economic climate that allows entrepreneurs to prosper."

Ontario Programs and Services Help Small Business
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Entrepreneurs and small business play a crucial role in creating and maintaining a dynamic and innovative economy. The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade assists these companies and individuals to improve their chances of success from the outset.
The ministry's strategy, based on research, is to focus on helping entrepreneurs build their capacity both in the short and long-term.
The short-term concentrates on viable business start-ups. The ministry assists business operators using a self-help concept, resulting in a focused business plan.

MEDT helps small business build their capacity through:

Business Self-Help Offices - In partnership with local municipalities, the Ontario government operates Business Self-Help Offices in communities across Ontario. Each office has a general business consultant on staff as well as publications on a range of topics that address small business concerns.
Phone: (416) 954-4636 or (800) 567-2345 Fax: (416) 954-8597
Web site: www.ontario-canada.com

Small Business Enterprise Centres - In partnership with local municipalities, these centres take the self-help concept a step further with an emphasis on mentoring, and giving small business operators and entrepreneurs the management tools they need to achieve success beyond startup, through the critical first five years of operation.
Phone: (416) 954-4636 or (800) 567-2345 Fax: (416) 954-8555
Web site: www.ontario-canada.com

Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre - The Canada-Ontario Business Service Centre provides comprehensive information on business-oriented programs, services and regulations of provincial and federal government departments and other organizations.
Phone: (416) 954-4636 or (800) 567-2345 Fax: (416) 954-8597
Web site: www.cbsc.org/ontario

Business Immigration Services (BIS)
BIS engages in marketing programs designed to maximize Ontario's share of business immigrants (entrepreneurs, investors and the self-employed) admitted to Canada and works with the federal government to develop programs that can address skill shortages. BIS also provides services to business immigrants to assist them with their investment and business establishment decisions.
BIS also has a consulting and advocacy role with multi-national investors to expedite company internal transfers of expatriate managers and other specialized staff.
Phone: (416) 325-6777 Fax: (416) 325-6653
Web site: www.2ontario.com/bi/home.asp

Immigrant Investor Program
The Immigrant Investor Program allows qualified business people the ability to make passive investments into government-approved privately administered projects and/or funds, as well as becoming landed immigrants.
Contact Business Immigration Services.
Phone: (416) 325-6777 Fax: (416) 325-6653
Web site: www.2ontario.com/bi/bi_immigration_iip.asp

The Aboriginal Business Service Network (ABSN) provides improved access to general business information, pathfinding, counselling services, and business tools for Aboriginal businesses across Canada. In Ontario, ABSN is a partnership between:
- FedNor (Federal Economic Development Initiative in Northern Ontario),
- The Canada Ontario Business Service Centre (COBSC) and
- Aboriginal Business Canada.
Phone: (877) 699-5559 Fax: (800) 240-4192
Web site: www.cbsc.org/ontario/ABSN Email: info@cbsc.org

Government Regional Offices
The Ministry of Economic Development and Trade's 11 regional offices provide business consulting services to innovative growth firms, as well as consulting services to associations and municipalities.
Our Business Development Consultants work with companies by assessing their situation, supporting development of future plans and providing options for achieving their goals. They link firms with the right people, information and business resources to enhance competitiveness and profitability.

Central Region: Phone: (416) 235-4278 Fax: (416) 235-4338
Eastern Region: Phone: (800) 267-6592 Fax: (613) 241-2545
Southwestern Region: Phone: (800) 265-2428 Fax: (519) 571-6104

For regional offices in Northern Ontario, please refer to the blue pages of your local telephone directory under the Ministry of Northern Development and Mines.

Government Information Centres - A province-wide network of 58 Government Information Centres provide general information and referral services through a combination of electronic and over-the-counter channels for individuals and businesses.
Phone: (416) 326-1234 (800) 267-8097 Fax: (416) 325-3407
Web site: www.gov.on.ca/MBS/english/maps/gic/index.html
E-mail: feedback@gov.on.ca

Innovators Alliance - The Innovators Alliance is a non-profit network of presidents and CEOs, designed to help sustain and accelerate the growth and success of emerging firms. The goal is to allow these companies to create more jobs and lead economic growth.
Phone: (905) 332-0340 (877) 799-5001 Fax: (905) 332-4768
E-mail: info@innovators.org

Market Ontario
Market Ontario plans and manages investment attraction programs in the primary target markets of the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and France. Activities include advertising, media relations, media tours, development of promotional materials, and direct marketing including corporate calls, investment seminars, trade shows, and an active business ambassador program.
Phone: (800) 819-8701 Fax: (416) 360-1817
Web site: www.2ontario.com

Ontario Exports Inc. - Ontario Exports Inc. (OEI) is the government's lead trade agency. It is strengthening its commitment to help small and medium- sized enterprises (SMEs) with a budget increase of $20 million over the next four years. The objective is to assist SMEs to build their export capabilities, encourage export market expansion and diversification, celebrate excellence, and provide commercial advocacy at home and abroad. Programs such as Trade Days Seminars, News Exporters Tours to Border States and Team Ontario Trade Missions abroad help to showcase Ontario's outstanding products and services and foster a stronger global mind-set among Ontario-based SMEs.
Phone: (416) 314-8200 or toll-free (877) 468-7233
Fax: (416) 314-8222
Web site: www.ontario-canada.com/export

Ontario Global Traders Awards - The Global Traders Awards celebrate Ontario's export success in all regions of the province and raise awareness about the potential of exporting to a company's success and job creation. The Ontario Global Traders Awards program recognizes the important contribution exporters make to the Ontario economy. Contact Ontario Export Inc.
Phone: (416) 314-8200 or toll-free (877) 468-7233
Fax: (416) 314-8222
Web site: www.ontario-canada.com/export

Strategic Skills Investment Program (SSI)
The Strategic Skills Investment program is a multi-year initiative that supports projects that best accelerate skills development efforts between business and training providers. SSI focuses on projects that create strategic skills essential for building business competitiveness and increasing the responsiveness of Ontario's training institutions and business needs.
Phone: (416) 325-6867 Fax: (416) 314-7014
Web site: www.ontario-canada.com
E-mail: strategic.skills@edt.gov.on.ca

Summer Company - The Summer Company Program provides hands-on business training and mentoring, and up to $3,000 to help students -- aged 15 to 29 -- to start up and run their own summer businesses.
Phone: (416) 954-4636 or (800) 567-2345 Fax: (416) 954-8555
Web sites: www.ontario-canada.com; www.youthjobs.gov.on.ca

My Company - This program is designed to provide business training and low interest loans of up to $15,000 to help young people -- aged 18 to 29 -- create their own businesses.
Phone: (416) 954-4636 or (800) 567-2345 Fax: (416) 954-8555
Web sites: www.ontario-canada.com; www.youthjobs.gov.on.ca

Future Entrepreneurs
This is a program for teachers that introduces an entrepreneurial mindset and skills to students in Grades 7 and 8. Students will learn about entrepreneurship as a viable career option, and develop entrepreneurship skills.
Phone: (416) 954-4636 or (800) 567-2345 Fax: (416) 954-8555
Web sites: www.ontario-canada.com; www.youthjobs.gov.on.ca

Wisdom Exchange - The Wisdom Exchange is an annual event that brings together presidents and CEOs of Ontario's fastest-growing companies for face- to-face exchange of experiences and insights into managing their firms.
Phone: (416) 325-6740 Fax: (416) 325-6757
Web site: www.ontario-canada.com/wisdomexchange

Red Tape Commission (RTC) - The RTC is mandated to prevent and eliminate non-essential procedures, forms, licenses and regulations that do not protect public health, safety or the environment and only add to the cost of dealing with government. The commission reviews all new regulations and legislation affecting companies by applying a business impact test designed to prevent the creation of new barriers to job creation or better government.
Phone: (416) 314-5621 Fax: (416) 325-3732
E-mail: redtape@cab.gov.on.ca Web site: www.gov.on.ca/redtape

Other Ontario Government Initiatives

Ministry of Consumer and Business Services (MCBS)
-------------------------------------------------
The Ministry of Consumer and Business Services' (MCBS) vision is to be a responsive, innovative world leader in customer service and consumer protection by delivering quality products for a fair, safe and informed Ontario marketplace. Along with its agencies and private and public sector partners, MCBS is working to improve and integrate new enterprise-wide service delivery systems to Ontarians, ensure safer communities, stimulate economic development and prepare government for the world of e-business. It facilitates the provision of consumer information and education and services, registers and maintains accurate records and provides public access to commercial data on real property, personal property, and Ontario companies. MCBS provides individuals and businesses with greater choice in how, when and where they access government services and products through a customer-focused, flexible, cost-effective delivery system.

Ontario Business Connects (OBC)
The Ontario Business Connects network now totals 145 self-help workstations located in Government Information Centres, libraries, community centres and local partner offices, where business people can renew their business registration and validate their Master Business Licence in 20 minutes instead of up to 12 weeks. The Ontario Government also has partnered with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) to create one door for these common transactions with the two levels of government. Businesses can now register for GST, corporate income tax, payroll deduction, and import/export accounts when they register or renew their business name with the Ontario government at 16 federal workstations across Ontario or via the Internet.
Phone: (416) 314-9151 or 1-800-565-1921 Fax (416) 314-6533
Web Site: www.cbs.gov.on.ca/obc
E-mail: obcinfo@cbs.gov.on.ca

Electronic Real Property Registration
The Real Property Registration Branch manages and operates 55 Land Registry offices throughout Ontario, which register, store and manage documents such as deeds, mortgages and plans of survey. The land registration records are being automated and converted to Land Titles. Electronic searching of records at certain Land Registry Offices is available through Teranet Land Information Services Inc.
MCBS is also the first jurisdiction in the world to provide electronic registration of land-related documents. A successful pilot program in Middlesex County is being expanded across Ontario beginning with on-line land registration in the counties of Halton, Wentworth, Peel, Dufferin, York and Durham. Over 70,000 electronic documents have already been registered.

Phone: MCBS - (416) 326-8555 or 1-800-268-1142
Phone: Teranet - 1-800-208-5263

Electronic Personal Property Security registration (PPSR)
PPSR records and reproduces information concerning personal property that has been used to secure loans. Businesses large and small rely on PPSR to maintain records on secured assets other than real estate. Online submissions to the PPSR database are registered and accessible to clients within 24 hours. Electronic searches of the data base are also available. Both registration and search activities will be available through internet access in 2001.
Phone: (416) 325-8847 or 1-800-267-8847. Fax: (416) 325-0487

Electronic Incorporation, CIA/1 Filing, and Company Searches
Electronic incorporation, CIA/1 Filing and company searches may be conducted via the Internet or dial-up access.
Electronic incorporation allows clients to electronically file Articles of Incorporation for business corporations from their home or office and receive a Certificate of Incorporation in minutes.
Electronic filing of the Initial Return, Notice of Change Form 1 and Annual Return Form 1 under the Corporations Information Act for Ontario corporations is updated to the Public Record instantaneously and the client receives confirmation of the update within one business day.
Electronic searching of corporate and business name information offers online access to the ministry's Companies Branch public record.
These services eliminate the need to submit paper documents to MCBS' Companies Branch. For further information, please contact the following Primary Service Providers, under contract with the Ministry of Consumer and Business Services:

OnCorp Direct Inc. Cyberbahn Inc.
Internet Address: www.oncorp.com Internet Address: www.cyberbahn.ca
Phone: (416) 964-2677 or Phone: (416) 595-9522 or
1-800-461-7772 1-800-806-0003

Ministry of the Attorney General (MAG)

Working Partnerships Program
A five-year $11.8 million program designed to encourage more Aboriginal partnerships with the Corporate Sector. The program is expected to help corporate Ontario understand the opportunities in working with Aboriginal businesses and better understand the culture and traditions. The program provides eligible Aboriginal organizations with funding to hire staff who work at the community level to promote partnerships and develop business expertise.
Phone: (416) 326-2364 Fax: (416) 326-4017
Web site: www.nativeaffairs.jus.gov.on.ca/english/baeh.htm

Ministry of Citizenship
Ontario Women's Directorate (OWD)
The OWD promotes the economic independence of women through partnership initiatives with educators, business and community organizations. These support educational opportunities for girls that will lead to career and life success; promote the participation of women in math, science and technology- based training; encourage the recruitment, retention and promotion of women in the skilled trades; and support women's entrepreneurial success.
Phone: (416) 314-0300 Fax: (416) 314-0247
Web site: www.gov.on.ca/MCZCR/owd/index.html

Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA)

Rural Youth Job Strategy
This strategy is designed to enhance the employable skills of rural youth and encourage a climate for job creation and opportunities for business in rural Ontario. The strategy invests in projects carried out by rural partnerships and alliances aimed at increasing jobs and/or improving the skills and employability of Ontario's rural youth between the ages of 15 to 29.
Phone: (519) 826-3228 Fax: (519) 826-4336
Web site: www.gov.on.ca/OMAFRA/english/infores/ryjs/index.html

Healthy Futures
The four-year, $90 million Healthy Futures for Ontario Agriculture program is aimed at maintaining and building on the success of Ontario's agri- food industry. It focuses on encouraging agri-food businesses to enhance the safety and quality of Ontario food products, capitalize on marketing and export opportunities, and improve the quality and efficient use of rural water resources.
Phone: (888) 588-4111 Fax: (519) 826-4336
Web site: www.gov.on.ca/OMAFRA E-mail: hfoa@omafra.gov.on.ca

Research and Technology Transfer
By developing and transferring innovative technologies to industry stakeholders, OMAFRA is committed to improving the competitiveness of the Ontario agri-food sector. Investment in research is essential to encourage growth and jobs in the sector.
Phone: (519) 826-3800 Fax: (519) 826-3841
Web site: www.uoguelph.ca/research

Investment and Market Development
OMAFRA supports Ontario's goals of economic growth and job creation through an aggressive investment retention and attraction program. The ministry's Food Industry Division serves as a single window to government for the food industry (food processors, distributors, retailers, food service and related associations).
INVESTMENT
Phone: (888) 466-2372 ext. 6-4190 Fax: (519) 826-4333
Web site: www.gov.on.ca/OMAFRA
MARKET
Phone: (888) 466-2372 ext. 6-4210
Fax: (519) 826-3460
Web site: www.gov.on.ca/OMAFRA

Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Recreation (MTCR)

The Ontario Tourism Marketing Partnership (OTMP)
The Ontario government established the OTMP in April 1999 to work with tourism industry stakeholders in strengthening Ontario's tourism marketing efforts. The partnership aggressively markets Ontario as a year-round, world- class tourist destination by undertaking consumer research and developing and delivering tourism advertising campaigns for domestic and international markets.
Phone: (800) 263-7836 Fax: (416) 314-7563
E-mail: tourism.partnership@edt.gov.on.ca

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For further information: Media contacts: Hal Vincent, Minister's Office, (416) 325-8779; Rick Winston, Communications & Public Affairs Branch, (416) 325-6682