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CANADIANSME ISSUEE 7 JUNE 2019

Empowering Canadian Small & Medium Businesses

EXCLUSIVE CHAT

TELUS PITCH

with Charlie Regan- Capability Expansion Orchestrator at Nerds on Site Inc.

One minute could equal $100,000 for your small business.

PAGE 24

PAGE 12

THE 2019

Canadian e-commerce benchmark report PAGE 18

SUZANNE TRUSDALE VP, TELUS Small Business Solutions

Helping Small Businesses Grow Big

CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JUNE 2019 I 1 www.canadiansme.ca


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WELCOME We are extremely excited to launch the June issue of the CanadianSME Business Magazine. Welcome to summer 2019!We are more motivated than ever to be the number one resource magazine for Canadian SMEs, and our June issue is bringing us one step closer to achieving that goal. Since our launch back in December 2018, CanadianSME has been committed to providing entrepreneurs with the tools and knowledge they need to succeed in the business industry. We continue to provide exclusive interviews and content from the top leaders and executives in various industries to inspire our readers. The e-commerce industry is on high rise. The trends suggest that more and more entrepreneurs are turning their platforms into e-commerce businesses and using technology to help them grow. Due to the increase of accessibility to the online marketplace and consumers now accepting and feeling comfortable with online shopping, e-commerce will continue to grow. We believe that it is essential to provide entrepreneurs with all the resources and knowledge they need to succeed in the online marketplace. Therefore, CanadianSME has dedicated its June issue to e-commerce and providing small business owners with advice from industry leaders. The June edition of CanadianSME includes some of the most exciting interviews that we have featured thus far: Kirk Simpson, Co-Founder and CEO of Wave, Charlie Regan from Nerds on Site, Bruce MacLellan, CEO of Proof Inc., Patrick Diab from Moneris, our business woman of the month, Shadi McIsaac, founder of Ownr and many others. We are excited to include Silvia Pencak’s contribution to our June issue by providing her Top Tips to Sharpen Your Networking. We have also included the 5 Major Takeaways from the 2019 Benchmark Report from the Canada Post 2019 e-commerce report. Summer marks the beginning of new opportunities. Our primary goal has always been the same: to ensure that SMEs in Canada have the proper tools they need to succeed in the marketplace. Small and medium size businesses contribute greatly to Canada’s economy and CanadianSME is dedicated more than ever to contribute towards that success. We hope that this issue will provide you with additional knowledge and strategies to help your business grow and succeed. We look forward to being a part of this process with you as you work hard towards accomplishing all of your business goals, and embarking on a new journey and new opportunities. With your motivation and our resources, we believe that together, we can contribute towards the success of your business. Happy reading!

Thanks for your support!

CANADIANSME Empowering Canadian Small & Medium Businesses

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Contributors Suzanne Trusdale Natalie Prychitko Charlie Regan Dan Kelly Alita Fabiano Bruce Maclellan Shadi McIsaac

Silvia Pencak Alfie Atkinson Pamela Carter Patrick Diab Nick Rossi David Howe Matt Alston

Lance Miller Jesse Abrams Armando Iannuzzi

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CONTENTS

Regulars

12 18 22

14

20

SUZANNE TRUSDALE HELPING SMALL BUSINESSES GROW BIG

HELPING SMES GROW

Natalie Prychitko

28

CEO, Whitby Chamber of Commerce

30

24

40

NERDS ON SITE The fastest growing IT solutions company in Canada

BANKING Exclusive Chat with Pamela Carter

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SMALL BUSINESS CONTEST

Telus pitch returns with judge and business expert Arlene Dickinson canadian small business owners have a shot at $150,000

E-COMMERCE

5 Major Takeaways from the 2019 Canadian E-Commerce Benchmark Report

BANKING

CIBC unveils first banking platform for SMEs that integrates banking, accounting and payroll

SMB RESEARCH 1 in 3 Canadians make a special effort to support local small businesses

CANTRUST Canada’s Foundation of Trust Showing Cracks

DIGITAL MARKETING Exclusive Interview with Alfie Atkinson

LUXURY Toyota to begin producing the popular Lexus NX compact luxury SUV in Canada

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SHADI MCISAAC BUSINESS WOMAN OF THE MONTH


Contributors:

SUZANNE TRUSDALE VP, TELUS Small Business Solutions Suzanne supports high performance and highly engaged teams nationally and internationally that support customers for small business solutions, including face-toface, inside sales, outbound and retention. Suzanne also leads marketing functions including small business products, pricing, customer marketing and business intelligence. With her results-driven and inclusive leadership style, Suzanne has a passion for seeing her teams succeed and seek out new opportunities for development. She is invested in TELUS recognition programs to develop talent that spreads throughout the organization. She has an ongoing commitment to give back to the communities she is connected to. Suzanne has served as a board member on our Toronto Community Board for the past six years, and is actively involved in the Princess Margaret OneWalk and is passionate about the education of children and young women around the world. One of her greatest memories from a volunteer perspective was the opportunity she had to travel to Kenya with the WE organization to build a school in the Maasai Mara.” It will be an experience I will never forget.” She continues her support and commitment to diversity within our organization and has been the Global Executive Co- Chair for Connections for the past four years and also the GTA Executive Co-Chair for our Spectrum resource group.

DAN KELLY

President & Chief Executive Officer-CFIB Dan Kelly serves as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

PAMELA CARTER Senior Manager, Performance and Sales Support for Commercial Banking at National Bank of Canada Pamela Carter is a banking professional with extensive management expertise in the highly competitive financial services industry. Recognized as a dynamic and results-driven individual who successfully integrates strong leadership and communication skills to inspire, Pamela motivates and leads a team to drive and deliver results.

SHADI MCISAAC Co-Founder @ Ownr | Director, Digital Innovation @ RBC Ventures Shadi is the Founder of Ownr, a platform that offers a simple and convenient way to register or incorporate a business as well as other tools to help entrepreneurs manage their businesses.

BRUCE MACLELLAN CHARLIE REGAN

Capability Expansion Orchestrator at Nerds On Site Inc. Charlie is the Capability Expansion Orchestrator at Nerds On Site Inc. Through his expertise and dedication, Nerds on Site is now one of Canada’s fastest growing IT solutions company. The company has been expanding internationally and providing leading edge IT solutions to the USA, Brazil, Australia, UK and South Africa just to name a few.

CEO, Proof Inc. Bruce MacLellan is a veteran communications counsellor and entrepreneur, and in 1994 became the founding President & CEO of Proof Inc. He is also the co-founder of sister company Proof Experiences Inc.

NATALIE PRYCHITKO

CEO of Whitby Chamber of Commerce

ALITA FABIANO

Communications & Marketing Canadian Chamber of Commerce Alita Fabiano looks after Communications, Content creation and Planning for Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

Prychitko brings more than 25 years of experience to the chamber, including the last decade spent at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). She’s held several positions within the OLG, such as director of marketing and social responsibility, director of lottery transformation, and most recently, director of the change management office.


Contributors: MATT ALSTON

SILVIA PENCAK

Co-founder, Surex

President, WBE Canada

Matt Alston is the co-founder of Surex, Canada’s fastest growing online insurance provider. Quote, compare & buy online, with access to instant proof of insurance. surex.com

Silvia Pencak is the President of Women Business Enterprises Canada Council (WBE Canada), Canadian nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating relationships between Canadian women-owned businesses and large corporate and government organizations across North America. WBE Canada promotes the economic advancement of Women Business Enterprises (WBEs).

PATRICK DIAB

VP Product & Client Solutions at Moneris Patrick Diab, VP, Product & Client Solutions at Moneris, oversees the ongoing evolution of the organization’s product portfolio. Mr. Diab evaluates emerging technologies and how they can be leveraged to create more agile and robust business solutions.

LANCE MILLER

CEO, Surex Lance Miller is the CEO of Surex, Canada’s fastest growing online insurance provider. Quote, compare & buy online, with access to instant proof of insurance. surex.com

KIRK SIMPSON

Co-Founder and CEO, Wave

ARMANDO IANNUZZI

DAVID HOWE

Tax Partner at KRP Armando Iannuzzi is a tax partner at KRP LLP, a Markham, Ont.-based accounting firm for entrepreneurs. Learn more at www.krp.ca

CEO and Co-Founder, Cribcut David Howe is CEO and Co-Founder of Cribcut - a marketplace startup connecting clients and stylists for at-home and office hair services. Cribcut has raised over $1 million in funding and has stylists in over 25 cities across Canada and the U.S.

Kirk Simpson is the co-founder and CEO of Wave, a provider of cloud-based, integrated software and tools for small businesses. Kirk has led Wave to over 3 million small business sign ups from every country around the world and well over 12,000,000 in total users on the platform; Kirk has raised $80 million in capital and manages an incredible team of close to 175 of the best and brightest minds in North America.

JESSE ABRAMS Founder & CEO at Homewise

NICK ROSSI Legal Counsel, Peninsula Nick Rossi is a Legal Counsel at Peninsula Employment Services. Called to the Ontario Bar in 2014, Nick specializes in employment law, employee privacy, drafting employment documentation, legal research, and legislative interpretation.

Recently distinguished by the American Marketing Association Hall of Legends as one of Canada's top 5 "Marketers on the Rise" and by Marketing Magazine as a "Top 30 Under 30" Marketer in Canada, Jesse is an accomplished Digital Marketer and Advertiser who has a passion for growing businesses and never settling for the status quo. Jesse brings this passion for change and growth as the founder of Homewise, where he looks to change the face of the mortgage industry.

ALFIE ATKINSON

Managing Director - Canada at MEDIA iQ Digital Ltd. Alfie Atkinson launched the MiQ Canada team in early 2014 and has been the driving force behind the phenomenal growth of the Canadian business ever since. With more than a decade of digital media experience spanning UK and North American markets, Atkinson has built a career around innovation.


LATEST NEWS Montreal-Based Start-Up Element AI Receives Prestigious Award for Explosive Growth, Entrepreneurial Spirit It started with three doctoral students and their PhD supervisor getting together in a basement to figure out how machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) could improve predictions in risk-associated industries such as insurance and finance. Two decades later, key members of that original team are at the helm of Element AI, a rapidly growing Canadian high-tech startup that has created more than 500 jobs across in five cities across three continents in less than three years. That impressive track record has earned Element AI a prestigious award from Mitacs, a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada for business and academia, which has provided support to the team since the early days. In recognition of its explosive growth and in honour of Mitacs’s 20th anniversary, the company — co-founded by Yoshua Bengio, Jean-François Gagné and Nicolas Chapados in 2016 — was presented a special award at the Mitacs Entrepreneurs Award ceremony on May 28 in Halifax.

The Adecco Group Canada has chosen the Canadian participant of its third ‘CEO for One Month’ initiative. ‘CEO for One Month’ which is designed to help talent increase their employability and career prospects.

Canada’s Largest Staffing Firm Hires ‘An Intern CEO’ and The Winner Will Represent Adecco Canada on a Global Level •

This year’s winner, Frances Doria, will spend one month under the mentorship of Gilbert Boileau, President of Adecco Canada

A record 3,580 candidates applied for this unique opportunity to step into the shoes of a Canadian business leader

Bank Leumi, CIBC and National Australia Bank Launch Online Portal to Drive Collaboration With Fintechs As part of an international banking alliance, Bank Leumi of Israel (TASE: LUMI), CIBC and National Australia Bank (ASX: NAB) today introduced Global Alliance Fintech Link, a global online portal developed to help drive client-focused innovation by facilitating collaboration between the banks and financial technology firms (fintechs). Through the digital platform, fintechs can submit creative technology solutions in response to a wide range of opportunities identified by the banks. Upon receiving the proposals, the banks will consult directly with the technology firms. Global Alliance Fintech Link offers startups around the world easy access to the global banking marketplace by enabling direct collaboration with three financial institutions on three continents. The portal opens the door for companies to provide technology solutions to key areas where banks want to enhance customer experiences.

Noblegen, an emerging Canadian Ingredients Startup Raises Series B Financing Funding led by Richardson Ventures Inc. and BDC

Frances was chosen from a talented group of students and young professionals in Canada to be the country’s ‘CEO for One Month’. Frances is a graduate of both McGill University and Hult International Business School and is currently spearheading her own consulting business. She is one of 47 other ‘CEO for One Month’ participants appointed across the world and will spend the month shadowing Adecco Canada’s leadership team, gaining a unique insight into the organization’s country and group operations. Frances will gain experience in HR, management, finance, marketing and public speaking. She will then have the chance to take part in a worldwide selection process to become the global ‘CEO for One Month’, working alongside The Adecco Group CEO Alain Dehaze.

Noblegen Inc. ("Noblegen"), an advanced ingredient startup, is pleased to announce that it has secured $25 million CAD in Series B financing led by Richardson Ventures Inc., a subsidiary of Canadian holding company James Richardson & Sons, Limited (JRSL), and BDC's Cleantech Practice. This round follows a successful Series A funding round in 2016 and brings Noblegen's total funding to date to $42.5 million.

The Adecco Group received a record 3,580 applications in Canada for ‘CEO for One Month’, before narrowing it down to a final group of three who then did a virtual bootcamp. After which they were interviewed by Gilbert Boileau, President, Adecco Canada, and by the selections committee who then chose the winning candidate.

Uniquely positioned as a company that can drive systemic change in the global ingredients market, Noblegen makes nutritious and highly functional proteins, carbohydrates, and oils from a single microorganism called Euglena gracilis. Noblegen's proprietary fermentation technology enables it to produce these ingredients with minimal water and land use as well as a reduced carbon footprint compared to the manufacturing of traditional ingredients.

"Noblegen is extremely excited to begin on its next stage of growth. Both Richardson Ventures Inc. and BDC share our vision to transform the global ingredients market by producing raw materials that are both healthy for consumers and healthy for our planet," says Noblegen CEO and Chairman Adam Noble. "We are incredibly proud to work with investors who are aligned with our strategy and dedicated to developing our business in Canada."


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SMALL BUSINESS CONTEST

TELUS PITCH RETURNS WITH JUDGE AND BUSINESS EXPERT ARLENE DICKINSON CANADIAN SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS HAVE A SHOT AT $150,000

"STUDY: 66% of Canadians believe access to funding is the most important resource for growing a small business" In partnership with judge and business expert, Arlene Dickinson, TELUS announced the return of TELUS Pitch - Canada’s largest small business contest that will award more than $150,000 in total prizing. Starting today, and running until June 23, small business owners can enter to win much needed capital funding to help reach their business goals and contribute to their community. Small businesses account for nearly 98 per cent of all companies in Canada with upwards of 100,000 new businesses emerging each year. According to a new report commissioned by 12

I CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JUNE 2019

TELUS, 66 per cent of Canadians surveyed cited access to funding as the biggest hurdle in getting a small business off the ground. 'Arlene Dickinson, general partner of District Ventures Capital and judge on CBC’s Dragons’ Den, continues her partnership with TELUS as lead judge and contest mentor working with finalists to refine their pitches in the lead up to the TELUS Pitch Live Finale Summit event on July 30, where finalists will pitch live for the $100,000 grand prize. “Pitching is the foundation of business. Entrepreneurs are pitching constantly—for money, for customers, for support,” said Dickinson. “And it’s not easy. When TELUS asked, 2 out of 3 Canadians said they would be nervous pitching venture capitalists. That’s where programs like TELUS Pitch can help— in providing access to funding and exposure to a group of like-minded, leading Canadian business people who are willing to share

their experiences in an effort to guide small business owners in refining their pitches.” TELUS Pitch 2019 will also be supported by Samsung, Facebook and Canadian small business company Workhaus, a co-working space with eight locations throughout Toronto, as well as hubs in Kitchener-Waterloo and Calgary. “Small businesses are an integral part of the Canadian economy, and have long been core to TELUS’ culture of giving back,” said Roi Ross, vice president, Small Business Solutions, TELUS. “Nearly a third of Canadians believe that as a country we can be doing more to support small businesses, which is why TELUS has created a robust support system for entrepreneurs through initiatives like TELUS Pitch which also provides essential funding and mentorship - no strings attached.” The total contest prizing includes:


SMALL BUSINESS CONTEST

TELUS Pitch Grand Prize: •

$100,000 cash to be awarded at the TELUS Pitch Live Summit on July 30

In addition to the $100,000, $10,000 will be donated on behalf of the winner to TELUS Friendly Future Foundation, which gives vulnerable kids a brighter future in a challenging world by providing better access to health and education opportunities, powered by technology.

Finalists: •

The remaining finalists for the grand prize will each receive a cash prize of $10,000.

Community Impact Award: •

$5,000 in Samsung technology

$5,000 in marketing services from Eighty-Eight

consulting hours with TELUS Ventures

Most Promising Startup: •

$5,000 in Facebook ad credits

a one year membership to Workhaus (value = $4,200)

a bootcamp session with a Facebook expert

Multicultural Business of the Year Award: •

$5,000 in marketing services from Response Advertising Inc.

one year membership to Workhaus (value = $4,200)

consulting hours with TELUS Ventures

Throughout the contest period, TELUS will tour a life-sized elevator to small business events across the country, giving entrepreneurs the chance to step inside and record their 60-second “elevator pitch” live. Tour locations include: Markham, Brampton, Toronto, Waterloo, Calgary, and Vancouver (Surrey).

Kevin Au-Yeung, president, InnoVision

Garrick Tiplady, managing director, Facebook and Instagram Canada

To enter TELUS Pitch*, stay up to date on announcements and for full contest details please visit: telus.com/pitch. *Not available to residents of QC.

Joining Arlene Dickinson as judges of TELUS Pitch 2019 Survey methodology are: These are the findings of a study/survey •

Suzanne Trusdale, vice president, Small Business Solutions, TELUS

Jennifer Safruk, vice president, Sales and Product Management, Mobile, Samsung Canada

Richard Osborn, TELUS Ventures

managing

conducted on behalf of TELUS from March 15 to March 20 with a representative sample of N1,000 online Canadian members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey was conducted in English and French.

partner,

It’s been incredibly rewarding to see small businesses like Vancouver Island Salt Co., Aquamobile, and our inaugural TELUS Pitch winner, iMerciv, flourish over the last few years by putting their $100,000 TELUS Pitch prize money to good use,” said Suzanne Trusdale, vice president, Small Business Solutions, TELUS. “TELUS Pitch is a testament to the impact that funding and expert mentorship can have on business owners and we’re excited to bring it back for another year.

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SUZANNE TRUSDALE

VP, TELUS Small Business Solutions

Helping Small Businesses Grow Big

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SMALL BUSINESS

Suzanne supports high performance and highly engaged teams nationally and internationally that support customers for small business solutions, including face-to-face, inside sales, outbound and retention. Suzanne also leads marketing functions including small business products, pricing, customer marketing and business intelligence. With her results-driven and inclusive leadership style, Suzanne has a passion for seeing her teams succeed and seek out new opportunities for development. She is invested in TELUS recognition programs to develop talent that spreads throughout the organization. She has an ongoing commitment to give back to the communities she is connected to. Suzanne has served as a board member on our Toronto Community Board for the past six years, and is actively involved in the Princess Margaret OneWalk and is passionate about the education of children and young women around the world. One of her greatest memories from a volunteer perspective was the opportunity she had to travel to Kenya with the WE organization to build a school in the Maasai Mara.” It will be an experience I will never forget.” She continues her support and commitment to diversity within our organization and has been the Global Executive Co- Chair for Connections for the past four years and also the GTA Executive Co-Chair for our Spectrum resource group.

"However, today we are fortunate in Canada that access to capital is quite readily available. Now I think the biggest challenge is attracting and keeping talent. Retention, whether you are a small or big company, is very difficult. It’s essential to help employees with development, growth and progress within an organization."

Can you give us a brief background of your education, your career path, and how you started with TELUS? I just celebrated 24 years as a member of the TELUS team. My educational background is not in telecommunications; it's in business and hospitality management. I went to Ryerson University after high school. Growing up, I always wanted to have a restaurant of my own. So I went through an educational path towards that, and I went to work for one of the more prominent restaurant companies in Canada. Then, when the VP left to go work on his own, I followed him and helped him open up a couple of smaller upper-end restaurants in western Ontario. About four years later, I ended up buying one of them with a partner. By the time I was 27 years old, I had my own business and I expanded it from a restaurant into a big catering business. That was always my passion! When the recession came in the early 90s, we made a couple of bad business decisions, and it didn't take very long for us to spiral from great success down to having to sell the business about a year and a half later for pennies on the dollar. I was a huge believer in silver linings. As it turned out, I had the opportunity to move to Vancouver. My son had just been born, and I met someone who presented an opportunity to work at TELUS, and I took it. Originally, I never wanted to get into big corporate business; I always wanted to be my own business owner, but I really enjoy the various aspects of my role at TELUS today. As a recipient of the TELUS CHLOE Leadership Excellence award, what do you think it takes to be an inspiring leader in the business world today? I was very honored to be the recipient of the TELUS CHLOE award. Two years ago, I was also awarded the TELUS Champion of Diversity award and I think those two go very well together. One of the key aspects of being

a successful business leader, even inside a big corporation, is to harness your entrepreneurial spirit and look for talent within and outside of the organization to bring in diverse thinking, diverse background, and diverse education. Once you combine that diversity with the passion of doing the right thing for the customer, there is unbelievable potential to achieve success. What do you believe are the biggest challenges business leaders are facing in 2019? A few years ago I would have said access to investment capital is the biggest challenge that leaders face. However, today we are fortunate in Canada that access to capital is quite readily available. Now I think the biggest challenge is attracting and keeping talent. Retention, whether you are a small or big company, is very difficult. It’s essential to help employees with development, growth and progress within an organization. How has your experience in direct sales earlier with TELUS impacted your level of success in your role with TELUS today as VP of Small Business Solutions? It goes right back to customer experience and understanding. When you are in sales, the focus is on delivering what's suitable for the customer at the right value (i.e. true value proposition at the right price). That idea is very clear when you are in a customer-facing role. Understanding how you take that to your team and making sure your team can articulate that to the market is critical. I still have responsibility for sales, but I also have responsibility within the rest of the value chain from product development to product marketing. We always put our customers first. As marketers and business leaders, we can make anything look great on a piece of paper, but it's how that translates into execution for your customers.

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and promotion talent that is typically very challenging for small businesses to afford on their own. Due to the national footprint TELUS has and our presence on social media, we are able to support winners with more than just funding.

"TELUS is a huge supporter of small businesses. TELUS Pitch is just one piece of our investment. We are also very involved in local initiatives across the country and in the Chambers of Commerce. We also work with business associations broadly such as the Real Estate Association and the Doctor Association. It’s essential for us to be able to offer great bundles of products and services to these businesses and help to make using technology a lot easier for them. TELUS brings exceptional value in the products that we take to the market and we are leaders in providing support to our customers."

What successful business strategies has TELUS accomplished in your 20+ year tenure with the company and how can small business owners apply those strategies to their businesses? For the last twenty years, TELUS has had a single strategy that we've never veered from, and that's bringing the best internet to Canadians at home, at work and on the go. Twenty years ago it was the move to highspeed internet - we all realized the benefit that high-speed internet brought to the consumer; and then to enable businesses. Our investments have continued to increase, especially in the West and in Quebec around our fibre footprint and the vast, substantial generational investment we've made in fibre. If you are a consumer, it's going to bring the best TV to your home, the best WiFi coverage, the best wireless coverage, and the best security coverage to your home. And although the product has grown and our road to market has changed, fibre is absolutely core to our strategy and supported by providing the best possible customer experience. Can you highlight some details about the TELUS Pitch program? The TELUS Pitch is near and dear to my heart, and this year we’re excited to be offering a chance at $100,000 again to small businesses nationally. We assembled a great panel of judges from different parts of the industry who will help TELUS narrow down entries to a handful of small businesses across the country. At the live finale event in Toronto on July 30 they will pitch their idea live and tell us the story of their company and what $100,000 would do to help them grow their business, either nationally or globally, like some of our past winners. I'm excited to see the ideas our contestants bring forward this year. TELUS will also provide the winners with access to incredible marketing, advertising

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What is one take away from your experience as a judge in TELUS Pitch that can inspire young business leaders to take action? I think it goes back to the spirit of innovation and the courage to pitch your business. Many entrepreneurs have great business ideas, and TELUS has talked to thousands of them, some just starting, others on their second or third wave of growth, either way – their journeys are all inspiring and we would not have known about them without hearing their “pitch.” Anyone with a growing business that musters the courage to come and pitch it to us is very impressive. What are you goals for helping small businesses grow in Canada? TELUS is a huge supporter of small businesses. TELUS Pitch is just one piece of our investment. We are also very involved in local initiatives across the country and in the Chambers of Commerce. We also work with business associations broadly such as the Real Estate Association and the Doctor Association. It’s essential for us to be able to offer great bundles of products and services to these businesses and help to make using technology a lot easier for them. TELUS brings exceptional value in the products that we take to the market and we are leaders in providing support to our customers. TELUS has taken huge initiative as a leading business in Canada with the new Fibre Optics Network. How do you believe this project has given TELUS a competitive advantage in the telecom market? Our fibre network is our most significant competitive advantage. Our fibre network is now well embedded into more than 110 communities across Alberta, BC and Quebec and we will continue to build and grow at an accelerated pace for 2019 and into 2020. Fibre will become the foundational service for both consumers and businesses because there is nothing faster, more superior, more ecological, or sustainable than fiber optics technology. The fibre network will support all new technologies that we know are coming in the next couple of years but more importantly, all the technology we don't even know about yet.


SMALL BUSINESS

TELUS offers several services to help business owners develop and grow their business. Can you talk about some of those services and how they can be beneficial for entrepreneurs? Entrepreneurs need and value flexibility to be able to work when, where and how they choose. Wireless and mobile services are incredibly important for entrepreneurs because most of them are not necessarily working out of a brick and mortar office, or if they do, it's likely in a shared work environment. Smartphones are the ultimate tool to support everything that an entrepreneur does. We have some tremendous cloud-based voice applications which also allow small businesses and entrepreneurs to look bigger than they are, giving them the flexibility and capability of wired services but available on their smartphone. If you are in western Canada or Quebec, fibre-based services are an excellent feature, and wireless and voice applications are critical. How is TELUS impacting and developing small businesses differently than their competition? TELUS’ maniacal focus on customers and our core value of giving back is key. It has been, and will continue to be, a real game changer for us because our team members, and our customers, expect us to do the right thing in the communities where we live, work and serve. As the Global co-chair for Connections, the professional development group for women at TELUS, how have you seen women rise up into leadership roles and gain success in business development? I’ve seen a tremendous amount of change over the last twenty years that I've been in in corporate Canada. TELUS has done an excellent job to stand behind our belief and support of diversity. I have always been very passionate about the role and the impact that women make within an organization and I think that women walk the talk and bring a different perspective to the table. And while gender is part of diversity, we consider diversity a far bigger spectrum. At TELUS, we make sure that we reflect the customers that we serve and I'm incredibly proud of the work that we've done. It’s exciting to see how we leverage diversity and incorporate it into the absolute fabric of all of our decision making, and the way we behave as a team and interact with one another. . We aspire to incorporate higher

levels of diversity including more women's voices within the organization. What is your advice to women who want to be an entrepreneurs? Women entrepreneurs must have the courage to stand behind their beliefs, and have their voices heard. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need, you’d be incredibly surprised at how many people want to listen and help. It's interesting to see the shift of women coming into small businesses, perhaps they are leaving corporate jobs and entering into something that allows them to get a better balance with family. Alternatively, maybe they have always had the dream of doing something on their own, and they are now at a different stage in their careers and they can take all their knowledge and experience, and go out and do something that they have always wanted to do. Either way, be courageous and stand behind your vision. What continues to inspire you in your high-level leadership in business and community? For me, my values and my corporate values are very much aligned and I feel fortunate to have a role that supports both. I've also been lucky in being able to take my experience and passion for small businesses, having been a small business owner myself, and translate that into leading teams that support our small business community across Canada. I also support teams globally, and we have a tremendous amount of work going on in communities especially in the Philippines, Guatemala, El Salvador, Ireland, etc. to support small businesses which is exciting..

"Women entrepreneurs must have the courage to stand behind their beliefs, and have their voices heard. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need, you’d be incredibly surprised at how many people want to listen and help. It's interesting to see the shift of women coming into small businesses, "

What is a piece of advice that you would like to give to Canadian small business owners? It is essential to understand your strategy, and laying down a plan to stays focused on that strategy. A small business owner is not just the owner, but quite often they take on many roles within their business. I always say “beware of the tyranny of the urgent.” Perhaps a fire comes up and they're caught off guard, or the market dynamics shift, or maybe they see a competitor do something a little differently – focus is drawn away from the core strategy. As a business owner, you must have a very clear vision of where you see your business moving forward in order to achieve success.

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5

E-COMMERCE

Major Takeaways from the 2019

Canadian E-Commerce Benchmark Report

E-commerce is the way of the future. With technology constantly improving, it’s no wonder that more and more entrepreneurs are investing in tech when it comes to the success of their business. E- commerce opens a door of possibilities when it comes to business growth. Giving small business owners the possibility to reach clients from around the world, e-commerce is helping entrepreneurs reach new heights. However, it takes more than just having an online presence to succeed in the e-commerce industry. To succeed in the online market, it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to be mastering every aspect of their e-commerce business. In order to help entrepreneurs understand what areas they need to improve on, Canada Post conducted an online survey for Canadian online shoppers. The survey was based on understanding the needs and habits of online shoppers to find areas of improvement. In 2016, Canada Post published the very first e-commerce report. Now two years later, they have a better idea of what’s changed and what still needs improving. After contacting over 5,000 Canadian online shoppers, the Canadian e-commerce report is more accurate then ever. Here are 5 major takeaways from the report that can help entrepreneurs succeed in the online market.

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E-COMMERCE

1

Canada and the e-commerce industry

80% of Canadian consumers make their purchases online. That’s not a bad number for the e- commerce industry. Canadians are getting more confident and comfortable when it comes to online shopping. The number of online consumers has increased by 58% from 2016 to 2018. With newer and safer ways of online shopping, it’s no wonder that more and more Canadians are turning towards online shopping. Not only is it more convenient for them, but it also gives them the possibility to reach newer and broader horizons. More and more businesses are turning towards the e-commerce industry since that’s where shoppers are turning towards. From furniture to clothing to electronics, Canadian consumers are now able to buy pretty much anything online. The e-commerce industry has seen a huge increase just in the last two years in Canada and it will keep growing as consumers have no intention of stopping to hit the buy button.

2

Growth opportunities for Canadian Small Business Owners

With the number of online shoppers increasing in Canada, this creates a huge growth opportunity for Canadian small businesses. Canadian consumers are now more confident then ever when it comes to the online shopping, which is why it’s crucial for small business owners to take part into the e-commerce world. The 2019 Canadian E-Commerce Report has revealed that Canadian shoppers have every intention of increasing their online purchases from Canadian retailers. In fact, 37% of online consumers have confirmed that they plan to purchase from within Canada in the coming year. With that in mind, this means a huge growth opportunity for Canadian small business owners. The report has revealed the tendencies and habits of online shoppers to help Canadian small businesses meet the needs and requests of their consumers. By addressing the needs of their customers, Canadian small businesses can turn their one-time shoppers into loyal customers who will purchase from them regularly. Providing membership and subscription services to consumers with benefits such as free shipping or discounts can also be a motivational factor for online shoppers.

3

Better understanding your consumers

Nowadays, it’s all about the service and consumer experience. Canadian consumers have confirmed that they have every intention of increasing their online shopping, however, it’s important for merchants to know that their consumers also have the power of choosing where they want to spend their money. One of the key deciding factors of consumers choosing their online store in the overall checkout experience. Online shoppers care about the ease of their checkout experience and being able to track their packages. 16% of consumers have confirmed that they will abandon their cart if no delivery information was to be provided and 43% said that they would refuse purchasing from that provider ever again. Being able to track their package and specifying their delivery preferences is a crucial aspect for consumers. Insufficient tracking information, delay in deliveries and complex checkouts are among some of the important factors when it comes to choosing their online merchant. Therefore, fully understanding the need and decision factors of their consumers is of the upmost importance for business owners.

4

New technology innovations to watch out for

Technology is advancing and with it so is the knowledge of online shoppers. In fact, studies have proven that consumers who make online purchases often are those who adapt faster to new technologies. Therefore, retailers need to ensure that they are current with new technology trends to satisfy the demands and needs of their consumers. Online shoppers are looking for retailers who can provide them today what everyone will want tomorrow. They want to deal with businesses who are trendy and up to date with new technology

innovations. That being said, Canadian small businesses need to invest in technology innovations so they can further meet the needs of their customers. The Canadian E-Commerce Report has revealed that 32% of consumers are already using voice activation when it comes to making their online purchases. Additionally, 39% of shoppers have confirmed that they use smartwatches to pay for their purchases and 32% to track their packages. Using a mobile device to make online purchases is also becoming a new trend. By the end of 2017, studies revealed that more then 33% of consumers made their online purchases through their mobile phones. If things continue on this path, by 2021, 34% of the total e-commerce sales will be accounted for through mobile phones. This new way of purchasing opens new doors for the e-commerce industry since consumers will now be able to make online purchases anywhere, anytime.

5

The future of e-commerce

With the rapidly growing e-commerce industry, Canada Post has agreed to continue its research on online consumers to better understand the habits of online shoppers and helping small businesses grow their e-commerce business. With a more detailed analysis of online shoppers and their tendencies, the research will be able to provide a better understanding of the needs and requirements of consumers. Canada Post is dedicated to helping Canadian small businesses increase their online market presence, therefore they will continue studying online consumers to help small business owners improve and grow their e-commerce business.

"The Canadian E-Commerce Report has revealed that 32% of consumers are already using voice activation when it comes to making their online purchases. Additionally, 39% of shoppers have confirmed that they use smartwatches to pay for their purchases and 32% to track their packages. Using a mobile device to make online purchases is also becoming a new trend. By the end of 2017, studies revealed that more then 33% of consumers made their online purchases through their mobile phones. If things continue on this path, by 2021, 34% of the total e-commerce sales will be accounted for through mobile phones. "

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THOUGHT LEADERSHIP

Helping SMEs grow Natalie Prychitko CEO, Whitby Chamber of Commerce

Prychitko brings more than 25 years of experience to the chamber, including the last decade spent at the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG). She has held several positions within the OLG, such as director of marketing and social responsibility, director of lottery transformation, and most recently, director of the change management office. Prychitko grew up in Whitby and has a long-standing history of volunteering in Durham Region, especially in the Ukrainian community. As CEO of the Whitby Chamber of Commerce, what are some initiatives that you’ve put in place that can benefit SME owners? I’m proud to be celebrating two years in my role with the Chamber family! In that time, our direction has evolved to meet the needs of the business community, our newly established values and philosophy. The changes to programming have been quite significant, including creating a life-cycle model of Chamber membership, special pricing for post-secondary students and retirees, a mentorship program and additional free events. SMEs have very little time. They’ve made an investment in the Chamber and it’s our job to ensure they have flexible and strong programming at all levels to engage not only the principals, but their employees. What are some of the challenges that SME owners face in smaller cities as opposed to big cities? Are the challenges greater in smaller towns? Businesses face consistent challenges across our Province, regardless of their size: driving sales, interpreting continuous changes to legislation, making time for effective operations, engaging with the business community to inspire referrals, growth and partnerships. SMEs are powerful examples of hard work, perseverance and commitment – regardless of their size or the size of the city or town in which they operate. For context, the Town of Whitby has a population of 136,235 and an estimated 2,300 businesses. The Whitby Chamber of Commerce supports businesses in our municipality as well as those outside of Whitby, throughout the Region of Durham. So, when considering your 20

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question with that perspective in mind I would say the SMEs in this region operate across municipalities, including the Greater Toronto Area and across the world. Businesses today, regardless of their location, are finding their voice, continually reshaping their customer-service offerings and trying to unlock the potential of their employees. Being in a small city, the need for partnering up with the community is even greater for business owners. What are some of the strategies that they can use to solidify this partnership? Get out there! The more engaged you are in your business community, the more impact and influence you’ll have. A business of any size can LEAD (one of our three streams of focus) through engagement with the community in advocacy efforts, delivering presentations, attending roundtables, or volunteering on a board or committee. And of course, by joining your local Chamber! How is the Whitby Chamber of Commerce planning on helping SME owners start and grow their business successfully? The Durham Region has many services for those starting a business. Our role is to help provide them with the access to these services, ensuring they have the foundations required to be successful. The Chamber works closely with the many community stakeholders that support entrepreneurship. Once they’ve landed in the business community and have achieved success in their first phase of startup, we give them the tools, access and opportunity to flourish. They need to network with established businesses, leverage mentorship programs, learn to refer,

and stay informed on what it takes long-term to run a business. In your opinion, what are the three key success factors for entrepreneurs? 1. Courage 2. Perseverance 3. Creativity What is the most common mistake that SME owners make in the start-up phase of their business that could negatively impact the success and growth of their business? The most common mistake is participating in a pitch opportunity without assessing your business case: including due diligence, competitive analysis and financial assessment. Quite often a pitch might make an entrepreneur feel their idea has merit because its been validated through a competition resulting in a financial reward. That validation gives them the faith to invest significantly in their business. Before you do so: pause, reflect and make sure your business case is solid. Validation through a pitch competition doesn’t mean your business is sound. Engage financial services to ensure investing your money is the correct next step. On a final note, what is the best advice you received in your professional life that has impacted your career? Never say, “that’s not in my job description.” The most engaging career and development opportunities I’ve had in life were being asked to manage projects that weren’t in my job description. If you really want to enhance your career, manage your personal brand and be the first with your hand up.


As the second largest country in size, logistics is another trend that continues to develop in the world of the online Canadian retailer. In Canada specifically, there are significant geographic and logistical challenges for adopting fast and effective last mile delivery. However, some verticals like grocery have made incredible headway in the last year in adopting more flexible options such as click-and-collect and home and train station delivery, demonstrating to other Canadian businesses that a higher level of customer experience can be achieved in a variety of ways. Ecommerce — both B2B and B2C — are taking note of these developments, and are slowly adopting these practices and taking advantage of infrastructure available in larger cities and suburbs. Compared to other nations, Canada’s ecommerce sector still lags behind. The future is bright, though, for those merchants who invest in technologies strategically and implement back end infrastructure that allows them to put the customer experience first. About VL OMNI: VL OMNI’s unique consultative approach to data integration means a better data integration strategy. Let our 25+ years of integration experience and experience guide you as we learn about your goals and fit the VL OMNI solution to match. No hidden fees — we’re here to help! VL OMNI’s integrations are point-to-multipoint, meaning data from a single application can be sent to multiple targets in a single workflow. VL OMNI’s integrations match corporate strategy, fitting the business’ needs rather than forcing the business to change to fit the integration. Our integrations boast true, 100% integration, applying business-specific rules to the data transformation so that there is no need to manipulate data at either end of the integration. VL OMNI’s integrations have the ability to move data in scheduled batches or via webhooks for real-time data movement and work with both REST- and SOAP-based APIs. Our strategic approach to the integration means we can work with complex applications, technology stacks, and customized applications.

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BANKING

CIBC unveils first banking platform for

SMEs that integrates banking, accounting and payroll CIBC SmartBanking for Business boosts efficiency for business clients through collaboration with Intuit Canada, Xero and Ceridian

TORONTO, May 13, 2019 /CNW/ - CIBC (TSX: CM) (NYSE: CM) today unveiled a first-of-its-kind banking platform in Canada designed to help small and medium-sized businesses run and grow their companies. Called CIBC SmartBanking™ for Business, this digital solution gives business owners a comprehensive view of their company's finances, including accounting and payroll insights, and makes it easier to manage their business. CIBC SmartBanking for Business uses secure, two-way data integration between CIBC and cloud accounting platforms to reduce manual data entry, simplify reconciliation and improve accuracy. Through a single interface, a business owner can see their complete financial dashboard including upcoming payroll details, pending invoices and receivables, as well as access their day-to-day banking to manage

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upcoming payments and optimize their cash flow. "Business owners are faced with simultaneously managing every facet of their business," said Andrew Turnbull, Senior Vice-President, Business Banking, CIBC. "We are introducing a valuable business intelligence tool to help clients manage their banking, accounting and payroll in one place, saving them time so that they can focus on achieving their growth ambitions." The groundbreaking digital platform provides financial insights to help make real-time business decisions. To accomplish this, CIBC integrates information from cloud accounting software companies Intuit Canada and Xero, and payroll software company Ceridian – services that are widely used by business owners, bookkeepers and accounting professionals – to help

businesses make quick informed decisions, reconcile transactions and balance books. "SmartBanking is the latest way we are innovating for business owners to make their lives easier," added Mr. Turnbull. "With two-way data integration, this is the most advanced digital banking platform on the market and underlines the commitment we've made toward the future of business banking." CIBC SmartBanking for Business is available online and exclusively for iPad to download free on the App Store, with no monthly access fee. The design includes an interactive dashboard with accounting data from Xero accounting software, access to powerful cash management services, such as wire payments, alerts and eStatements all within the SmartBanking app.


Delivering innovation with leading accounting and payroll companies Collaborating with market leaders was key to bringing CIBC SmartBanking for Business to fruition -- from building API integration, creating secure sign on for easy navigation between applications, to developing mutual client consent models -- the platform was built with the support of organizations who know and understand the needs of today's accountants, bookkeepers and business owners. "By combining CIBC's powerful banking capabilities with critical insights from QuickBooks, small businesses can make smarter and faster decisions about the financial health of their business," said Martin Fecko, Country Manager, Intuit Canada. "With 64 per cent of Canadian small businesses admitting to struggles with cash flow for their business, this collaboration with CIBC demonstrates how companies can come together for the financial benefit of Canadian small businesses, saving them time and finding innovative ways to tip the odds in their favour." "Working together with CIBC to integrate our Powerpay Plus payroll solution into SmartBanking is a win for our shared customers," said Warren Perlman, Chief Information Officer, Ceridian. "Business owners can toggle between platforms with one click, receive key insights about their payroll runs, and ultimately help manage their finances and payroll more efficiently and with greater ease." "By collaborating with CIBC, we're thrilled to offer customers the ability to activate direct bank feeds and have access to timely and secure financial data," said Will Buckley, Director, Canada at Xero. "Business owners will have clear insight into their financial position through Xero and CIBC SmartBanking for Business, which empowers them to make betterinformed decisions to run their business."

About CIBC

CIBC is a leading Canadian-based global financial institution with 10 million personal banking, business, public sector and institutional clients. Across Personal and Small Business Banking, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, and Capital Markets businesses, CIBC offers a full range of advice, solutions and services through its leading digital banking network, and locations across Canada, in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at www.cibc.com/en/about-cibc/ media-centre.html. SOURCE CIBC


IT SOLUTIONS

®

NOLOGY BUSINESS TECH

PARTNERS

The fastest growing IT solutions company in Canada

Charlie Regan

Capability Expansion Orchestrator at Nerds On Site Inc.

Charlie is the Capability Expansion Orchestrator at Nerds On Site Inc. Through his expertise and dedication, Nerds on Site is now one of Canada’s fastest growing IT solutions company. The company has been expanding internationally and providing leading edge IT solutions to the USA, Brazil, Australia, UK and South Africa just to name a few. Understanding that the technology industry is evolving at an increasingly fast rate, Charlie brings an innovative approach with his team to ensure that clients are getting the best IT solutions in the market. With years of experience in the tech industry, Charlie is ready to take on the world with Nerds on Site.

What sets Nerds On Site (NOS) apart from other IT solutions companies? Why should entrepreneurs choose NOS as opposed to other IT organizations? Our brand is a big part of our success. We are constantly striving to make sure that people know who we are: the nerd’s clothing and our vehicles that you will see around the city. We are 100% focused on the SME space. We service 4 business demographic markets, but we focus all our marketing experiments and attention on SMEs. This is a very challenging space to service because these are people just like our nerds. They are passionate, and started working on a dream. They grew and they are at a point where technology can be a huge

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leverage point. It’s our job to make them aware of what tech could assist and compliment their business product. Our strategy is to ensure that we do it in a way that does not overwhelm their budget plans. The company expanded internationally in 2001 serving countries worldwide such as Brazil, Bolivia, Australia, UK, USA and South Africa. How did going global impact NOS? We have definitely learned about serving clients from other countries. We don’t believe people are different; rather, they are unique. Technology is probably the most pervasive force in the world. Even in developing countries, you still find people with mobile

phones and data plans. It’s unbelievable to think that people struggle to buy food but still may have a data plan. Our job is to make sure that we offer a “better” in class solution to all our clients. We never say “best” because there could be something that is released tomorrow that is the best, and we strive to be even better than that moving forward. We have business development unique protocols in some nations and communities that may be different than in North America. Even Canada has its differences with the USA in terms of business practices.


IT SOLUTIONS

Can you tell us about some of the business solutions you offer to Small and Medium sized enterprises? The most important area today is security. There are two types of companies: companies that have been compromised by cyber security failures and don’t know, and some that have been compromised but do know it. Our personal data is available on the dark web, and depending on how old it is and how “juicy” it is, it can range in value. Our job is to make sure that all work process, data, client and team information is protected. We have a security protocol that is patent pending and it’s untouched in the marketplace. We have to make certain that the system our clients have in place are reflected in the way we deal with them. We want our clients to feel comfortable and keep their processes. Our team will never walk in on day one and start suggesting a variety of changes. We will help our clients along the way, but we make sure not to disrupt them in a way that is discomforting. It’s essential that their downtime is reduced or eliminated completely. We want to drive up the pleasure, productivity and profitability for our clients. In 2016, NOS was chosen by Apple Inc. for a mobile enterprise partnership. How would you say this partnership impacted the organization? We are very excited that Apple is moving into this space. We are the implementation agents. This entire process is still in development. When dealing with a massive organization like Apple, it does not necessarily happen overnight and we are helping them build it out so that more and more companies are able to eliminate procedures that are not needed. There are so many opportunities that exist for SMEs to remove the old school pen and paper methods and move to mobile. Even much older companies can experience a seamless integration to digital which will lead to many advantages for their businesses. I believe that Apple has all the advantages when it comes to that, and good relationships on the development front. NOS uses a revenue sharing model to run its organization. Can you tell us what the inspiration was behind this process?

The industry average is 18-24 points. Our nerds start at 37 points. Most techs in the industry work at a wage. At NOS, we make sure we update our numbers on the backend to show them exactly how they are doing at any time during the day. Selfauthorship is really crucial to success and they have the tools to author their day, week month, and their future. We are committed as a company to improving the entrepreneurial spirit inside the countries we deal with. SMEs are the heart of soul of our economy. They are absolutely crucial and critical for the health and building of a nation. Our job is to help families with the fiscal and put no limit on how well they do. NOS has a long-lasting partnership with industry leaders Google, Microsoft, Dell, Amazon and Cisco to ensure that all its “eNerds” are trained and have the right qualifications and expertise to provide IT solutions to customers. How important is it to have the proper qualifications and knowledge to become an “eNerd”? There is an old axiom that says: Knowledge is power. I actually believe that applied knowledge is power. When it comes to certification for a nerd, we are much more interested in “street certification”. We want to ensure that our nerds are able to do the right things with our clients. We have created the “University of Nerdology” that helps them along the way. Our system is set up so that the nerds continue to learn every single day. Through this university, they always have the opportunity to talk to a nerd with real world experience when it comes to technology issues of any sort. On a final note, where do you see the company heading in the future? What is its main goal? There are approximately 70 million SMEs around the world. One day, it would be wonderful if we service 1/10 of that. That would be my personal dream.

The most important area today is security. There are two types of companies: companies that have been compromised by cyber security failures and don’t know, and some that have been compromised but do know it. Our personal data is available on the dark web, and depending on how old it is and how “juicy” it is, it can range in value. Our job is to make sure that all work process, data, client and team information is protected. We have a security protocol that is patent pending and it’s untouched in the marketplace.

Within North America, where we are really focused, our goal is to become the front of line, default technology solutions company for SMEs. Currently, a brand does not own that space. Our goal is to become the brand of choice in the SME community. That is the dream!

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BUSINESS

Making a smooth exit: Steps every business owner should take to plan for their succession Making a smooth exit: Steps every business owner should take to plan for their succession

As a small business owner, you probably dedicate most of your life to your business. You put all your savings and energy into it for years on end so it can thrive and truly succeed. You experience more than your fair share of ups and downs, but press ahead because you believe in the business and want it to grow.

DAN KELLY President & Chief Executive OfficerCFIB Dan Kelly serves as President, Chief Executive Officer and Chair of the Board of Governors of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB).

But what happens when it comes time to hand over your business and let someone else take care of what you have built with sweat and tears? You may be nearing retirement and counting on the sale of your business for your nest egg. You might be passing the reins to a family member you’ve been grooming for leadership. Or you might be considering your next business venture and need to finance the start-up costs. Whatever the case, you need a formal succession plan to ensure a smooth transition and that your investment in your business pays off. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) has developed tips and resources to help small business owners prepare for the future:

First step: Create a formal plan

"CFIB has recently partnered with SuccessionMatching.com, an online community of business buyers, sellers, and succession planning professionals, and BizON, an online marketplace for buying or selling a business. Both services offer discounted rates to CFIB members and help small business owners find the right buyer for their business."

Many business owners have a general idea of how they would like to exit their business, but just eight per cent have a formal plan in place. When done properly, a formal plan allows you to come up with the best option for your business’ continuance. It also helps you think through the logistics of exiting your business with the best return on your investment. Think about how you want your business to grow and develop: do any aspects of the operation, such as sales or marketing, need to change or evolve before you make your exit? Think about whether you will pass your business down to a successor, have management buy you out (or an employee buy in), or sell the business to a third party. Answering these questions will help you identify the steps you need to take to make your transition a success. CFIB members have the opportunity to discuss their options with one of our business counsellors.

Find the right person to take over

Selecting a successor can be a very difficult decision, and not just because of the emotions 26

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involved in it. You may want to leave the business to a trusted family member, for example, but the Lifetime Capital Gains Exemption (LCGE) only applies on sales to third parties, putting you at a disadvantage. After successfully fighting to get a LCGE and increase it over the years, CFIB has been advocating with government to extend the exemption to sales to family members, to give you more options when planning your business exit. In the meantime, you should be aware of all the tax implications. On the other hand, if you decide to sell to someone outside your business, you might have a hard time finding the right buyer. CFIB has recently partnered with SuccessionMatching. com, an online community of business buyers, sellers, and succession planning professionals, and BizON, an online marketplace for buying or selling a business. Both services offer discounted rates to CFIB members and help small business owners find the right buyer for their business.

Value and sell your business

It’s important to get an objective and accurate valuation of your business before you sell it. This includes both tangible assets, like property and inventory, and intangible assets, such as patents, trademarks, and customer goodwill. Measuring your company’s value is not so much about its performance in the past, but about how well it will perform in the future. Once you’re ready to sell, you will need to look at your personal income tax and estate planning to ensure the sale is tax-efficient – especially if the sale of your business is your retirement plan. You will also need to consider if you want to be paid in a lump sum or through installments. Because of the complexity of valuing a business and the tax considerations when selling, it’s important to consult a certified professional, such as a lawyer and/or an accountant to avoid any challenges.

Start planning today

Proper succession planning is not a one-time exercise, but an ongoing process that you regularly update as circumstances change. Whether you’re thinking of exiting your business in 10 months or 10 years, you can start planning for the future now. Visit cfib.ca/succession for tools, resources and CFIB member-exclusive savings on succession services to get you started.


5

E-COMMERCE

Major Takeaways from the 2019

Canadian E-Commerce Benchmark Report

E-commerce is the way of the future. With technology constantly improving, it’s no wonder that more and more entrepreneurs are investing in tech when it comes to the success of their business. E- commerce opens a door of possibilities when it comes to business growth. Giving small business owners the possibility to reach clients from around the world, e-commerce is helping entrepreneurs reach new heights. However, it takes more than just having an online presence to succeed in the e-commerce industry. To succeed in the online market, it’s crucial for entrepreneurs to be mastering every aspect of their e-commerce business. In order to help entrepreneurs understand what areas they need to improve on, Canada Post conducted an online survey for Canadian online shoppers. The survey was based on understanding the needs and habits of online shoppers to find areas of improvement. In 2016, Canada Post published the very first e-commerce report. Now two years later, they have a better idea of what’s changed and what still needs improving. After contacting over 5,000 Canadian online shoppers, the Canadian e-commerce report is more accurate then ever. Here are 5 major takeaways from the report that can help entrepreneurs succeed in the online market.

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SMB RESEARCH

1 in 3 Canadians make a special effort to

support local small businesses

A

re small businesses on the rise? According to a new study, nearly twice as many Canadian consumers prefer shopping with small businesses over big businesses -- and one in three Canadians (30 percent) are actually making a special effort to support small businesses. Not only that, one in five Canadians (21 percent) would willingly pay more than retail for a product if it meant supporting small businesses.

The new study by Vistaprint, an online provider of marketing products and services for small businesses, found that the top reason Canadians prefer shopping small is because they like to support the local economy. The second biggest reason Canadians prefer shopping small is because they like to support local families and residents -- better customer service rounded out the top three. The results of the study pointed to a trend which seems to show that Canadians are missing the personal touch when it comes to how they shop. More than half of respondents (55 percent) said the personal touch of shopping with a small business was one of the chief reasons they prefer it in the first place. “We carried out this study to help small business owners better understand consumer expectations and identify ways they can meet them,” says Vistaprint Canada Country Manager Cabral Thomas. “Shopping small has proven to be more than just a trend, it’s here to stay. And small business owners can leverage customer preferences to cater to their needs both online and in person.” When it comes to how they prefer to shop, triple the number of Canadian respondents said they prefer an in-store experience to shopping online (58 percent v. 18 percent). However, well more than half (62 percent) of Canadian consumers believe it is still imperative that a business of any size has a website. Another one in three (34 percent) saying they should be active on social media. But according to the results, only 43 percent of the 1,000 Canadian small business owners surveyed have a website for their company, and 42 percent say they aren’t even active on social media. The survey also delved into the top barriers to building a professional marketing presence for SBOs and found the top barrier to be lack of budget (36 percent), with the average small business owner spending just $1,667 per year on all marketing activity.

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“Despite their limited resources, some small businesses have identified effective ways to stand out amongst the competition,” says Thomas. “Whether it’s by positioning themselves as experts, targeting a niche audience, or carefully managing their online reputation, businesses can look and feel professional, prepared and plugged in, without blowing their budget.”

Top 10 reasons Canadians prefer small businesses over big businesses: I like to support the local economy I like to support local residents/families Better customer service It feels more personal The experience is better They're in my neighborhood I trust them more Unique products and services Quality of products and services They're more convenient

About the study: The study is based on a survey of 1,000 Canadian adults from the general population and 1,000 Canadian small business owners (0-10 employees) conducted in March 2019. The Vistaprint survey was carried out by OnePoll, ESOMAR member. Infographic and takeaway tips for SBOs: https://www.vistaprint.ca/hub/ marketing-your-business-to-new-customers

About Vistaprint Vistaprint is the leading provider of customizable printed and digital marketing materials, empowering millions of UK small businesses of any kind to market themselves professionally and affordably. With over 20 years’ experience, Vistaprint champions small businesses; providing them with the tools and confidence to fulfil their vision. It’s world-class online design studio allows customers to easily customize their products including business cards, marketing materials, signage, promotional products, clothing, websites, and more at https://www.vistaprint.ca.


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CANTRUST

Canada’s Foundation of

Trust Showing Cracks Fourth annual Proof Inc. CanTrust Index reveals drop in trust levels across all categories After three years of stability, the 2019 Proof Inc. CanTrust Index reveals a significant drop in Canadians’ trust in major institutions, organizations, leaders and many sources of information. Overall, the study saw a decline in the average trust score for all institutions from 45 in 2018 to 39 in 2019. “Until this year, we could trust Canada to be different as other parts of the world fell into fear and cynicism,” said Proof Inc. CEO, Bruce MacLellan. “Our new study suggests that cracks are appearing in Canada’s trust foundation.”

Organizational trust declines

Trust in organizations declined from 2018 to 2019 in every category measured. Trust in the news media fell from 51 per cent to 40 per cent and large corporations from 28 per cent to 20 per cent. Not-for-profits, governments and small/medium-sized businesses saw declines of eight, five and nine per cent, respectively. Two of the most fundamental democratic institutions also saw a significant decline in trust. Trust in the court system/judges dropped four per cent to 51 per cent. Canadians’ trust in the election system dipped to just 47 per cent. New to the study this year was a measure of trust in Parliament, which received a score of only 39 per cent. Trust in the police remains relatively strong, with local police services holding steady at 64 per cent and trust in the RCMP dipping just slightly to 62 per cent. “From economic prosperity to democratic government, trust is the underlying foundation on which our society is built and this trust is slipping,” said MacLellan. “Canada is at an inflection point. Leaders have a choice: stem the decline and become trust builders or set 30

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the house on fire and become trust destroyers.”

The main street of mistrust: politics and geography

The Proof Inc. CanTrust Index reveals that while trust levels are lower across the board, the trust deficit is most pronounced along political and geographic lines. Specifically, the data show that Conservativeleaning respondents – and to a lesser extent, NDP-leaning respondents – are less trusting in almost every institution and system measured in the CanTrust Index. Conservative trust in news media stands at 33 per cent compared to 40 per cent among the overall population. Trust in governments is 36 per cent among Canadians, but only 21 per cent among Conservative-leaning respondents. Only 30 per cent of Conservative-leaning respondents believe that overall, people can be trusted, compared to a 40 per cent average among Canadians overall. In contrast, Liberal-leaning respondents have higher than average trust levels: 43 per cent trust news media, 63 per cent trust governments and 50 per cent say that overall, people can be trusted. “Philosophically, you’d expect small-c conservatives to have less trust in government and more trust in private enterprise,” said Greg MacEachern, Senior Vice President at Proof Strategies. “Yet while Conservativeleaning respondents do have higher trust in small and medium-sized businesses, when it comes to trust in large corporations, they’re as mistrustful as the average Canadian.” With an election around the corner, low trust levels should concern leaders attempting to connect with unaffiliated voters. Finding a means of connecting is all the more difficult

with fewer than half of Canadians saying that they trust independent news media to contribute to an honest debate about candidates’ positions on issues of the day. Geographically, Albertans demonstrate lower levels of trust in most institutions, including private enterprise and government. Only 16 per cent of Albertans trust large corporations versus 20 per cent of Canadians and 32 per cent of Quebecers. Only 22 per cent of Albertans trust governments, compared to 36 per cent of Canadians overall and 39 per cent of Ontarians. “In recent years, there has been a sense that it’s Alberta against the rest of Canada,” said MacEachern. “With a suffering economy, efforts to build pipelines stymied by court rulings and counterparts in other provinces, and no simple mechanism for progress, residents of Alberta are losing faith.”

Newcomers a bulwark…for a time

For the second year in a row, newcomers who have been in Canada for fewer than 15 years are more likely to trust everything from leaders and institutions to brands and content. However, at the 15-year mark, the CanTrust Index reveals that this window of trust closes and their trust levels decline to those seen among naturally born Canadians, or even lower.

CEOs and senior bosses lose ground to Mayors; trust in Premiers remains lowest

When it comes to trust in the leaders in their lives, for the first time, Canadians scored their own CEO or most senior boss (45 per cent) lower than their local Mayor (52 per cent). Following is the Prime Minister at 40 per cent,


CANTRUST

down six per cent. Once again, Premiers ranked last at 34 per cent, pulled down significantly by Ontarians at 22 per cent despite a change in government since the 2018 study.

Distributing trust

In terms of getting the message to Canadians, familiarity breeds trust – recommendations by someone you know or word of mouth (76 per cent) and sampling a product or service oneself (75 per cent) remain the most trusted sources of information. Despite falling trust in news media organizations, editorial content or stories in media like newspapers, TV, radio or online news sites remains the third most trusted source of information, with a trust score of 51 per cent.

Arresting the decline

“At a time when the state of trust seems like a race to the bottom, clear opportunities are emerging for leaders and organizations to rise to the top,” said Vanessa Eaton, Senior Vice President at Proof Inc. “Open and transparent communication, identifying and leading with values, and creating a connection through community are critical trust builders, but they have to be real and they have to be consistent. There are no shortcuts to long-term trust.” For organizations, the top three trust builders are creating jobs/investing in local communities (73 per cent), leadership that is accessible and openly communicates (70 per cent), and standing for causes and values that a person believes in (69 per cent). For leaders, Canadians rank honesty (73 per cent), integrity (61 per cent) and transparency (43 per cent) as the three most important traits that drive trust.

About Proof Inc.

With almost 300 awards for client work and industry leadership, the independently-owned Proof family of companies (Proof Inc., Proof Experiences Inc., Proof Strategies) have more than 175 staff members in offices in Montréal, Ottawa, Toronto, Vancouver and Washington, DC. Annual fee income exceeded $30 million in 2018. The firm's strategic approach is guided by data-driven research, deep subject expertise, smart creative and meticulous measurement. A corporate leader in the age of climate change, Proof Inc. has been carbon neutral since 2008.

About the Proof Inc. CanTrust Index

The Proof Inc. CanTrust Index is an annual study of trust levels of Canadians and the features that make up Canada. We study and analyze topics, events and population segments unique to Canada – Quebec residents, newcomers to Canada, seniors, political party supporters and where people reside (large city versus small town). The 2019 Proof Inc. CanTrust Index, based upon an annual online survey of a sample of 1,543 Canadians 18+ years of age, was conducted February 7 - 24, 2019. It is nationally representative by region, age and gender. For more information, visit CanTrustIndex.ca.


INTERVIEW

One on One with

Bruce Maclellan: President & CEO of Proof Inc.

Bruce MacLellan is a veteran communications counsellor and entrepreneur, and in 1994 became the founding President & CEO of Proof Inc. He is also the co-founder of sister company Proof Experiences Inc. Together, the Proof family of companies operate in five offices across North America with a team of over 180 people. Bruce has provided counsel to leaders in business, government and professional sports and continues to apply his entrepreneurial thinking to existing and new opportunities with the firm and clients. He regularly provides media interview and communications skills training to senior clients. "In 2016, Bruce was honoured with the Award of Attainment by the Canadian Public Relations Society (CPRS) for his leadership and contributions to the profession. In 2019, he sponsored the creation of the CPRS Entrepreneurial Leadership Award. As an active volunteer, Bruce serves currently as Chair of the National Board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada, the country’s largest land conservation charity.""

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INTERVIEW

We’ve won more than 300 different awards over 25 years for campaigns and programs, as well as for our own workplace culture. These external validations of our work are a great honour for our team and our client partners. The Guinness Book records come from brave and creative thinking, and the trust of our clients that we should take that risk together.

Can you explain the theory behind Proof’s strategy “Ask Better Questions” and how this can help entrepreneurs build stronger relationships with their clients? We believe anyone can ask questions, but few ask the right ones. Successful entrepreneurs get at the key question that can identify a market niche or service gap. Better questions change how we approach business challenges. Better questions allow us to develop insights, strategies, and programs that drive tangible business outcomes. Proof asks better questions because they lead to better answers and results for our clients. How important do you believe it is to have trust between an organisation and its customers? People want reliability but that can usually be obtained from more than one supplier. Trust is the way to rise above the pack and build loyalty. Trust is when a customer shares your values and connects with you in their hearts and minds. According to our trust research, large corporations are the least trusted organizations in Canada right now, well behind notprofits, charities, media organizations and even governments. Surprisingly, Canadians are also feeling less trusting of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). We’re living in a mistrustful era and smart leaders will seek to build their trust to stand out. What are some of the initiatives that organisations can put in place to build trust with their clients? In Canada, organizations need to research their target audience to understand what drives trust for them. Our CanTrust Index shows that honest and transparent leadership is always important. CEOs can’t hide. Canadian ownership helps drive trust for many people. Alignment on values is also important, which is why Nike was confident in sponsoring Colin Kaepernick. In your expert opinion, what are the three main factors that contribute towards a good communication between business owners and their customers? Honesty, integrity and transparency. We can all think of companies that misled consumers, refused to cooperate with regulators or denied a problem exists. They are now at the bottom of our annual trust index. What did the 2019 Proof Inc. CanTrust Index results reveal, and would you say you were surprised with its results? We studied people in large cities as well as small towns and rural areas and we were surprised how much they think alike in their views on trust. The differences are far less than we might assume, showing that Canadian values are not that different from big cities to small towns. What do you believe are some of the reasons why consumers are having a hard time trusting the brands and organisations they deal with? We’re living in what has been called the post-truth era. People are wary. They are bombarded with messages and see economic disruption all around them. The secure job and reliable pension are gone. Many new jobs such as ride sharing drivers are essentially a new bottom step on the economic ladder. Affordability of housing is a serious challenge for young people. As people feel they are being left behind, their trust levels start to fall.

How can Proof help entrepreneurs build trust with their clients? It’s important to not only understand your customer’s product or service needs, but also their values and how to build a strong, deep relationship. We start with the research to truly know the target audience and then build a plan that is always on and building trust. The goal should be to lead your category. For example, our research finds that only 31 per cent of Canadians trust streaming services, but 53 per cent trust Netflix. Our full study report can be found at getproof.com What would you say is the number one mistake that entrepreneurs make when it comes to communication and how can Proof help them avoid those mistakes? Each entrepreneur is unique, and I don’t subscribe to the mythology they are all big, brash personalities. That’s only for the theatre of certain television programs. That said, entrepreneurs see things differently and move quickly. A common mistake, therefore, is forgetting to communicate with their growing team and making sure everyone is on board and coming along. What advice can you give to an entrepreneur that has just launched its business to ensure they have a positive communication and can help towards building a relationship with its clients based on trust? I would start with the internal team. Trust is the backbone of highperforming and happy teams. Trust leads to better engagement, retention and measurable business results. Trust-centric teams are more resilient and can rebound from conflict and challenges quickly. Trust contributes to positive, open and brave cultures and creates the foundation for smart risk taking, experimentation and thinking. Some of the initiatives and work you’ve done at Proof has earned the company and its clients several marketing awards as well as entries in the Guinness Book of World Records. How does that make you feel? We’ve won more than 300 different awards over 25 years for campaigns and programs, as well as for our own workplace culture. These external validations of our work are a great honour for our team and our client partners. The Guinness Book records come from brave and creative thinking, and the trust of our clients that we should take that risk together. As Chief Executive Officer of Proof Inc., what would you say is the most challenging part of your role? Getting people to envision things that don’t already exist. Many people orient toward predictable, repeatable events that fall within a consistent pattern. With the pace of change and intense competition, we need people to also think about new ways to do things and new services to offer. Steve Jobs envisioned the iPad and now it’s a global tool for creativity and productivity. On a final note, what would say has been the biggest accomplishment of your career? What are you most proud of? I am most proud of co-creating a series of businesses that have helped so many people to start, fulfill or exceed their career goals. Over 400 people have worked, or work now, in one of these businesses and I hope each one feels they were enriched both financially and professionally. It’s about treating people well and enabling their success.

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BUSINESS WOMAN OF THE MONTH

S H A D I

M C I S A A C

Co-Founder @ Ownr | Director, Digital Innovation @ RBC Ventures

Business Woman of the month

Shadi is the Founder of Ownr, a platform that offers a simple and convenient way to register or incorporate a business as well as other tools to help entrepreneurs manage their businesses. Prior to joining RBC Ventures in 2017, Shadi worked as the Director of Digital Transformation with RBC’s Personal & Commercial Banking where she was responsible for the strategy development of a transformation to engage clients and prospects through data insights. She was also a senior manager in the Strategy and Business Architecture group supporting the development of strategies across Personal & Commercial Banking. Shadi spent several years at IBM before joining RBC in 2014 and earned an MBA from the Rotman School of Management. She is also a graduate of Western University. 34

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BUSINESS WOMAN OF THE MONTH

"RBC Ventures is taking a broader look at small and medium businesses and thinking about how we can support their journey across different life stages, industries, and sizes. This means building solutions to problems in spaces traditional banks don’t exist. In the case of Ownr, we are laser-focused on helping business owners take that initial leap, as scary as it can be, to make it as seamless and intuitive as possible."

What was the inspiration behind founding Ownr? I am the daughter of immigrant parents who embraced their entrepreneurial grit, so I have seen firsthand how entrepreneurship can give Canadians the opportunity to shape their lives and provide for their family. Being witness to the struggles faced by entrepreneurs, I wanted to build a platform that allows Canadians, with aspirations big and small, the opportunity to realize their goals through new business creation. This ambition aligns with RBC’s commitment to empower small business owners. Ownr is an online platform that offers entrepreneurs the possibility to register their business as well as providing them resources to manage their business. What sets Ownr apart from other similar organizations? We’ve learned from our customers that business ownership is a significant lever for them to meet the challenges of today’s global economy. By reducing the barriers to entry for new business creation we have built a platform that allows Canadians a simple, affordable, and seamless way to setup, run, and expand their businesses. Ownr has taken a clunky and unseemly process, and turned it into a trustworthy experience for entrepreneurs looking to save on starting up and not worry that they’ve traded value for a lower cost. At Ownr, those who are intimidated by entrepreneurship are top of mind for us when we’re building the product. We want to enable new paths for wealth creation for all Canadians and increase their chance for success through the use of our platform, enabling them to focus solely on their business aspirations. Can you tell us about some of the main benefits that Ownr provides to SME owners? We’re proud to offer a breadth of services for business owners, including a digital business formation service (registration and incorporation), an AI-powered logo design tool, money back into their business when they open an RBC business bank account, and valuable offers from our partners. Our digital capabilities enable Ownr to deliver our services quickly and at a fraction of the cost, and pass along that value directly to our customers. We provide tremendous functional utility in terms of saving time and money but one of the main benefits is demystifying the process of forming a business for aspiring business owners.

You founded Ownr through RBC Ventures. How would you say RBC Ventures is helping the small business industry? RBC Ventures is taking a broader look at small and medium businesses and thinking about how we can support their journey across different life stages, industries, and sizes. This means building solutions to problems in spaces traditional banks don’t exist. In the case of Ownr, we are laserfocused on helping business owners take that initial leap, as scary as it can be, to make it as seamless and intuitive as possible. How do you believe your past experience helped you in your current role as founder of Ownr? Ownr is a mission-driven business that fulfills its purpose through technology. In a past role where I helped RBC’s Personal and Commercial Banking group build strategies, I learned the critical importance of a customer-centric approach – how truly understanding the needs of your customer helps you build relevant and valuable products. This approach has informed how we built and continue to scale and improve Ownr. We embarked on deep customer research to truly understand the barriers entrepreneurs face – in fact, I opened my own side hustle so I could experience the daunting journey of opening a business! Now that Ownr is in the market, it’s a priority to constantly talk to entrepreneurs so we never lose sight of our customers and their journeys. On a final note, can you let us know what inspired you to go into this career path? Did you always have a passion for entrepreneurship? Truth be told, starting a business intimidated me, it was always something other people did. When the opportunity came up to join RBC Ventures and build Ownr, I was inspired to challenge myself. I also had to accept that I may fail in the process. It was scary, but I’m so happy I took the chance. I feel really fortunate to work with an incredible team and play a role in delivering a product that now enables other Canadians who may be intimidated by the prospect of entrepreneurship to also take their own chance at building something great.

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BUSINESS

Top Tips To Sharpen

Your Networking

SILVIA PENCAK President, WBE Canada Silvia Pencak is the President of Women Business Enterprises Canada Council (WBE Canada), Canadian nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating relationships betweenCanadian womenowned businesses and large corporate and government organizations across North America. WBE Canada promotes the economic advancement of Women Business Enterprises (WBEs). As a quality third-party certifying body of Canadian businesses that are 51% owned, managed and controlled by women, WBE Canada has been connecting them to large supply chains since 2009. To learn more about their initiatives, visit www.WBECanada.ca. You can connect with Silvia directly on Twitter - @SilviaPencak.

"Many businesses fail to realize how busy the days following the event can be for the buyers - there is work piled up on their desk, emails and messages to get to, not to mention - hundreds of new connections from the event they just attended. And every one of them wants an email response, a meeting or an introduction."

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WBE Canada is busy with preparations for the upcoming trade mission to the U.S. in conjunction with this year’s WBENC Conference. In partnership with Business Women in International Trade (BWIT) and regional women organizations, we are bringing Canadian women-owned businesses to the conference, the largest business fair for women of its kind globally. WBENC’s conference is designed to connect certified Women Business Enterprises (WBEs) to corporate and government buyers and to each other. This 3-day conference, which has grown to over 4,700 attendees over the years, provides WBEs with networking, training, matchmaking and promotional opportunities. WBE Canada has been bringing Canadian women owned businesses to the conference since 2009. Traditionally WBE Canada hosts its Breakfast with Brands: Cross-Border Connection event on the first day of the WBENC conference. It is a smaller event with about 100 attendees in the room. All Corporate Members attending the conference and women-owned businesses from across Canada usually join us, plus we invite other US corporations as our guests to provide networking opportunities and help attendees meet each other and buddy up during the conference. With our focus being on networking, I wanted to share my favourite tips to help readers leverage their networking opportunities.

Do your research The biggest complaint from corporate buyers at events continues to be lack of preparation. Some of the things you want to review before you talk to a corporate buyer are annual reports, corporate social responsibility reports, website updates, press releases, announcements and of course buyer social media streams. We also strongly recommend you review their information for suppliers to help you understand how they operate. Not every corporation will be an ideal client for you. Simple research into a corporation’s values, purchasing conditions, and regulations can save you a lot of frustration down the road.

Do outreach before the event Many businesses fail to realize how busy the days following the event can be for the buyers - there is work piled up on their desk, emails and messages to get to, not to mention hundreds of new connections from the event they just attended. And every one of them wants an email response,a meeting or an introduction. Doing outreach before the event puts you ahead of the crowd. Andt it also creates familiarity so that you are meeting a warm contact who already knows about you through a LinkedIn invite, tweet or email introduction.

Prepare your follow up strategy I know you’ve most likely heard the saying “start with the end in mind”, but did you implement it into your networking approach? Before preparing for networking events, map out your follow up strategy. What is your end goal? What do you want to sell? What is your sales process? The chances of actually selling your product or service at an event are slim (even though it can happen when there is a need and urgency on a buyer side, so do not disregard this option) which is why you need to break your strategy down into smaller steps. What is the easy ask you are going to lead with? Is it to schedule a conversation? Is it to offer an entry package? Is it to ask for introduction? Is it to come to your event as a guest or speaker?

Prepare necessary resources Your follow up strategy needs to include the resources that will help you stay in touch and support your process. Depending on your approach, you might need a business card, product sample, capability statement, case study, or the entire promotional package. Your resources should support and enhance your follow up strategy. This is the time to get creative and think out of the box. What


Lenovo Unveils Preview of the World’s First Foldable PC in ThinkPad X1 Family

will everyone else do and how can you stand out and be memorable? Remember to bring plenty of extras. There’s nothing worse than running out of business cards. (Tip: If that happens to you, hold on to your last card and ask people to take a snapshot of it)

Polish up your elevator pitch

At Accelerate, we’re unveiling a preview and demo of the world’s first foldable PC.1 Made for highly mobile, techsavvy professionals who demand the best tools, the new foldable PC joins the premium ThinkPad X1 family, promising that the unprecedented portability will in no way compromise productivity and reliability. This is not a phone, tablet, or familiar hybrid; this is a full-fledged laptop with a foldable screen.

At our events women-owned businesses have a 1-2 minute opportunity to pitch their business to corporate buyers. Informally you’ll be using it over and over ….at meetings in the hallways, before and after sessions, during meals and in general conversations. Have a couple of options prepared, depending on who you meet are they a buyer, referral partner or supplier? Your elevator pitch must intrigue a person to want to continue a conversation with you either right then and there or later during the day or after coming back to the office. You want to get your business card to the top of the pile.

Show up on time, look sharp and be fully present When you take time to prepare yourself and your resources, networking will become fun. You will gain the confidence necessary so that you are maximizing your time and the opportunities in front of you. Bring your best energy, wear your confidence, smile, pay attention to your surroundings and focus on people and conversations. If your business is Canadian, majority women-owned and focused on B2B sales, WBE certification might be a great tool to open new doors for you. You do not need certification to join us in Baltimore to check out the opportunities. Certification, however, will be required for you to continue conversations and seal the deals with the corporations. Go to www.WBECanada.ca/events to learn more about the event and join us. We’ll be happy to see you!

We all want access to a large comfortable screen even on the go, but travel can make this inconvenient or impossible. Never mind that remote work increased 140 percent from 2008 to 2016, with more and more employees taking time-sensitive, media-intensive projects with them everywhere. In the past, a 13.3-inch screen on a laptop demanded that the device stay at that same size footprint — not so with this single OLED 2K display made in collaboration with LG Display® that can fold in half and reduce its width by 50 percent. Intel®-powered with Windows®, the foldable ThinkPad can transition with users from day to night: •

Wake up, fold it into a book, and start the day scanning your social media feeds in bed.2

Walk to your kitchen, unfold it, and stand it up for hands-free viewing of your top news sites.2

Hit your commute on the bus or train and

morph it into a clamshell to catch up on emails.2 •

Get into the office, dock it into your multimonitor setup and get to work.

Go into meetings, take notes with its pen, and write on a full screen tablet.

After lunch, set up the stand and use its mechanical keyboard to type out a few work emails.2

Come home at night, open it up and stream your favorite shows.2

Relax in bed, fold it in half and enjoy your latest read before going to sleep.

This space-saving ThinkPad combines laptop productivity with smartphone portability to fold into your lifestyle like never before. Stay tuned for full product details and availability in 2020. We can’t wait to show you more. CANADIANSME MAGAZINE I JUNE 2019 I

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DIGITAL MARKETING

Exclusive Interview with

Alfie Atkinson Managing Director - Canada at MEDIA iQ Digital Ltd.

Alfie Atkinson launched the MiQ Canada team in early 2014 and has been the driving force behind the phenomenal growth of the Canadian business ever since. With more than a decade of digital media experience spanning UK and North American markets, Atkinson has built a career around innovation.

What was the inspiration behind the founding of MiQ Digital Ltd.? When Gurman and Lee founded MiQ in 2010 in London, they already had the core idea. They wanted to deliver more than highperformance digital ad campaigns - they wanted to generate insights that would drive real business change. When we founded MiQ Canada in 2014, this was our ambition too.

"Our first step of working with a business is to help them see the big picture. To take a look at all of the siloed data points within an organization – paid, first-party, partner, etc. - then work out how we can bring them all together to glean actionable insights."

So, the first step in that process was working out what meaningful insights our clients need. SMEs are working hard trying to understand their consumers through “intelligence”. Terms like Artificial Intelligence, Business Intelligence, Customer Intelligence, and Media Intelligence are tossed around, and these businesses use data aggregation tools, content recommendation engines, ad targeting platforms and so on and so on, to work through their consumer data. But all of this misses an important dimension: Human Intelligence. Don’t get me wrong, the technology is vital.

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These advanced marketing tools have helped to minimize marketers’ reliance on spreadsheets and they’ve streamlined data collection and analysis. But if we rely on technology too much, at the expense of intuition, and emotional or cultural context, we’re going to end up making bad business decisions. That’s why, in our business, interpreting data and making it work for a brand’s strategy is still largely a human endeavour: a job for our super-smart data scientists, analysts, engineers and so on. Can you tell us about some of the services and benefits that MiQ Canada provides to SME owners and how it can help them grow their business? Simply put, we can help SME owners use their marketing data better to get more, highervalue customers and tie marketing strategy to business strategy. A lot of SME businesses don’t understand the enormous potential of the data they have


DIGITAL MARKETING

access to. So part of our mission is to help SME owners understand the value of their data and how it can be used to inform long-term goals and make smarter business decisions. Our first step of working with a business is to help them see the big picture. To take a look at all of the siloed data points within an organization – paid, first-party, partner, etc. - then work out how we can bring them all together to glean actionable insights. Then, once you start getting these insights, the really exciting stuff starts happening. We can help clients go beyond one-size-fits-all marketing tactics to really strategic campaigns that can reach specific customer groups with relevant messaging on the right channels at the right time. That’s the stuff that lets SME marketers really kick-ass. How can Marketing Intelligence help entrepreneurs better understand their customers and contribute towards the success of their business? Understanding your customer is a complex thing to do. You want to know who they are, what drives their decisions and what the best way to communicate with them is. The problem is you get one dataset answering one question, another dataset answering different questions and so on. Unless you have a complete picture of all your data, you’re never going to tease out the insights that lead to business-changing actions. Marketing Intelligence helps businesses connect their siloed data and uncover key consumer insights that are relevant to meeting business challenges. It’s all about getting to know customers in details: digging deep into the data to understand their daily habits, their online behaviours, their external influences, and so on, to produce the insights that lead to better targeting and optimized media spend. What sets MiQ Canada apart from other similar companies? Why should entrepreneurs partner up with MiQ as opposed to other companies? At MiQ, we’re all about the ‘why’. Marketing Intelligence isn’t just understanding what a consumer did, but getting into the ‘why’ behind a decision. And that means looking at everything: online browsing, offline location and purchases, multi-channel touchpoints even the cultural and economic trends around us - all offer part of the answer. And that’s why we need smart technology combined with even smarter people. The tech lets us process and analyze vast quantities of data, but it’s our global team of data scientists, analysts, engineers, and media experts, who deliver the juicy insights that are tailored to

"Technology is progressing at an exponential rate and every industry is affected. Business owners and entrepreneurs need to stop hiding away from the disruption coming from advances in technology and embrace the possibilities of innovation."

help our clients find solutions for their specific challenges. What are some of the strategies you use to help small business owners grow their brand? It all depends on the individual business. But in general, our strategies always begin with trying to get a better understanding of your customer and how they interact with your business. And then we’ll look at things like competitor data, so we know where your competitor offices and stores are and what their marketing efforts look like. So now we can do things like use our increased knowledge of your audience to conquest customers buying from your competitors – i.e. produce a really impactful business outcome. How important do you believe innovation is when it comes to the success of any business? The ability to move quickly and be adaptable is a must. If you’re content to stay still, you’ll quickly end up falling behind. Technology is progressing at an exponential rate - and every industry is affected. Business owners and entrepreneurs need to stop hiding away from the disruption coming from advances in technology and embrace the possibilities of innovation. How do you believe your past experience has helped you in your current role? Having a varied background across different media as well as a totally different degree (I studied Law) has helped me immensely. It’s given me a broader perspective on the world of business, and it’s helped develop my softer skills rather than any one specialism. In your expert opinion, what role does digital data play in the success of a small business? Honestly, I do think that making the most out of its data is the single thing that any small business can do to set itself up for success. Look at the examples across the globe of small businesses who have suddenly become very big and successful – they are disrupting

traditional larger businesses. The reason they can do this is because they’ve used their own data in really interesting and useful ways to know their customers better and improve the customer experience. What would you say is the most challenging part of marketing for business owners and how can MiQ help entrepreneurs overcome those challenges? The most challenging part of marketing can be the overwhelming amounts of data that we currently have access to. Entrepreneurs and most business owners still don’t understand the true value of the data and what it can unlock for growth. What are the top three factors that can help entrepreneurs have a better marketing strategy for the growth of their business? You’re already sitting on heaps of data that will let you get to know your customers better. Collect it, use it, and look for other widely available data sets which can also impact your business Scrutinize data for meaning. Data should be informing your business decisions. An entrepreneur has to take risks, but data can help you take more calculated risks. Demand more of your marketing budget. Don’t just expect it to deliver media metrics – demand it helps you answer your business challenges – because it really can. What has been the biggest accomplishment in your professional life? Building a phenomenal high-performing team who are passionate, incredibly smart and ambitious. On a final note, we hear that you’re passionate about cooking. What is your favorite part about cooking that has you so passionate? It really relaxes me, and I love cooking for my family.

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BANKING

Pamela Carter is a banking professional with extensive management expertise in the highly competitive financial services industry. Recognized as a dynamic and results-driven individual who successfully integrates strong leadership and communication skills to inspire, Pamela motivates and leads a team to drive and deliver results. Her proven strengths include the ability to develop and deliver effective collaborative sales strategies that drive substantial gains in revenue and market share. Known as an experienced coach and mentor, she is highly invested in the personal and professional development of human capital. An expert in the SME market, Pamela shares her knowledge, expertise and leadership skills as the Senior Manager, Performance and Sales Support for Commercial Banking at National Bank of Canada.

Exclusive Chat with

Pamela Carter Senior Manager, Performance and Sales Support for Commercial Banking at National Bank of Canada

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BANKING

"We're very big on advisory services at the SME level. Some clients are just starting their first business, while others are looking at how to finance further growth. Our goal is to help entrepreneurs through each phase of the business cycle and to simplify their day-to-day banking operations. As part of this process, we review their business plan, cash cycle, their financial snapshot and its impact on the business. We also look at other aspects of the business to see where we can add value. This could include human resources support or other key and critical issues a small business may have to deal with but does not have the infrastructure in house."

Can you give some quick facts about National Bank? To give you a bit of history, National Bank was founded by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. It has been a partner of choice for SMEs for over 160 years. We recognize the importance of supporting today’s entrepreneurs, whether they’re starting a new business, growing, diversifying or may want to purchase or sell their business. We're very big on advisory services at the SME level. Some clients are just starting their first business, while others are looking at how to finance further growth. Our goal is to help entrepreneurs through each phase of the business cycle and to simplify their day-to-day banking operations. As part of this process, we review their business plan, cash cycle, their financial snapshot and its impact on the business. We also look at other aspects of the business to see where we can add value. This could include human resources support or other key and critical issues a small business may have to deal with but does not have the infrastructure in house. In order to fully support Canadian entrepreneurs, we specialize in a wide range of industries and markets and work with both generalists and specialists. Our teams are exclusively dedicated to serving business clients and support them in areas such as international trade, cash management, etc. If you take the agri-food industry as an example, we provide customized support to enable them to conduct business locally and in international markets. We understand the risks associated with certain markets and help mitigate them. How does National Bank evaluate the entrepreneur’s business idea? We will review the management strategy, the industry and the markets in which the entrepreneur intends to operate his business. We will review the business plan with a deep dive on the projections to ensure they are reasonable based on the type of business and the markets.

The first few years of a business are critical. When a business plan is reviewed, we will pay attention to the cash flow cycle, the ease of operations, the investment strategies, the financing requirements for capital expenditures and for day-to-day operations, and more. NBC employees will guide entrepreneurs to ensure they are protected against risks. What is your advice to entrepreneurs who are building their business plans? It is recommended that entrepreneurs surround themselves with key partners, such as a financial advisor, an accountant, a lawyer. It is also important to ensure that projections are realistic. Are the numbers consistent with the industry and market? Are those numbers projecting all relevant expenses and revenues based on time and acquisition in the market? Key partners can support the entrepreneur to ensure all aspects surrounding a business plan is relevant and can efficiently provide the return on investment. National Bank maintains a very close relationship with its clients from the very first meeting and a continuous support throughout the entire business cycle. That's the most important part. In my experience, most businesses forget about that. At National Bank, continuous support is a key part of our service to our clients. We have contact points throughout the year and the frequency is based on the business needs. We also provide support to our clients with market intelligence on a variety of subjects. Our chief accountant hosts webinars on the economy and gives frequent updates on international markets. Based on the stage of our clients’ businesses, we arrange information sessions on topics that would support them for further growth. Where it is needed, we make introductions to external partners at EDC or BDC appropriately. We are always close to our clients to help them power their ideas and ensure they feel well supported.

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LUXURY

Toyota to begin producing the popular

Lexus NX compact luxury SUV in Canada

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada chosen to build yet another top seller starting in 2022

Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada (TMMC) announced that it will begin producing the top-selling Lexus NX and Lexus NX Hybrid compact luxury SUVs at its Cambridge, Ontario facility starting in early 2022.

"Building on our recent Toyota RAV4 announcement and our recent facility modernization investments, we are excited to announce that TMMC has been selected to produce the popular Lexus NX and Lexus NX Hybrid models for the entire North American market,� TMMC President Fred Volf told Team Members and dignitaries, including the Right Honourable Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and The Honourable Christine Elliott, Deputy Premier of Ontario and Ontario Minister of Health and Long-Term Care, at an event earlier today.

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LUXURY

In 2003, TMMC became Toyota’s first facility entrusted to produce Lexus vehicles outside of Japan – a tremendous honour within Toyota – and has since made more than 1.3 million Lexus RX and Lexus RX Hybrid vehicles. “Together with the company’s recent investments in our facilities, today’s announcement demonstrates the tremendous amount of trust that Toyota has in the Team Members here at TMMC,” Volf added. “It has been an honour to be producing a Lexus model, and now we’re being trusted to produce two of them.” In 2018, TMMC announced a CDN $1.4B investment (including supporting funds from the federal and provincial governments), converting its North and West plants to the company’s Toyota New Global Architecture (TNGA) platform to allow for increased flexibility, further production efficiency, and superior products. This strategic investment allowed TMMC to shift its production to meet the demands of North America’s rapidly growing compact SUV market, most notably through the production of the market-leading Toyota RAV4 and Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

“Our operations and Team Members in Canada have won multiple international awards for plant quality, and continue to play an important role within Toyota’s global production strategy,” said Jim Lentz, chief executive officer for Toyota Motor North America. “As the compact luxury SUV market continues to grow, building the NX in North America allows us to better serve our customers and dealers.”

TMMC has manufactured vehicles in Canada for more than 30 years and currently employs more than 8,500 team members at its facilities in Cambridge and Woodstock, Ontario. Committed to producing vehicles in Canada, Toyota has invested more than CDN $8.5B in its Canadian operations since 1985, and has built more than eight million vehicles over that period of time. About Toyota Canada Inc. Toyota Canada Inc. (TCI) is the exclusive Canadian distributor of Toyota and Lexus vehicles. Toyota has sold over eight million vehicles in Canada through a national network of 287 Toyota and Lexus dealerships. Toyota is dedicated to bringing safety, quality, dependability and reliability to the vehicles Canadians drive and the service they receive. TCI’s head office is located in Toronto, with regional offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax, and parts distribution centres in Toronto and Vancouver. Toyota operates two manufacturing facilities in Canada. Having produced more than eight million vehicles, popular Canadian models built at these facilities include Toyota RAV4, Lexus RX 350 and RX 450h hybrid. Recent investments at its facilities in Ontario will allow for increased production of the top-selling Toyota RAV4 and RAV4 Hybrid models.

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INTERVIEW

Patrick Diab talks about how Moneris contributes towards the growth of SMEs Patrick Diab, VP, Product & Client Solutions at Moneris, oversees the ongoing evolution of the organization’s product portfolio. Mr. Diab evaluates emerging technologies and how they can be leveraged to create more agile and robust business solutions. With over 16 years of experience in the payments industry, Mr. Diab has implemented solutions for a multitude of industry segments. He has also held roles in technology, product and client integration. Mr. Diab has a Bachelor of Science in both Software Engineering and Economics from the University of Toronto, as well as his certificate of Strategic eBusiness Management. Previously, he has also sat on McMaster’s Ecommerce Fraud Committee. Can you tell us about some of the strategies you use to help you evaluate new innovative technologies and how they can contribute towards newer more innovative business solutions? Moneris works closely with different groups in the payments industry, including card brands, technology solution partners and, of course, business owners. We leverage transaction data to identify emerging payment trends in spaces like ecommerce, card-present and B2B, and then work with our partners to deliver efficient business solutions that can help merchants capitalize on those trends. Some of these products are in the market today and simply need to be adapted for payment purposes, while other products call for design and development from scratch. By building strong relationships with our partners and merchants, we can stay ahead of the latest technology and serve the evolving needs of businesses. What can you tell us about the new launch that Moneris recently announced, Moneris Core, and how this will impact the business industry? Moneris Core is our proprietary software designed to power the suite of nextgeneration terminals. Developed in-house, it is a new payment application that comes loaded with enhanced features like text and email receipting, multi-level password protection, store and forward for offline payment acceptance. The full-colour, touchscreen navigation is unlike any other offering in the Canadian market today, and supplies a consistent, intuitive user experience across terminals. 44

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Patrick Diab VP Product & Client Solutions at Moneris Our small-to-medium enterprise owners have long wanted a solution that is easy-to-use and easy-to-train right out of the box. Moneris Core promises to speed cardholders through the transaction process and help business close sales faster. We are excited to see how it will change the way businesses and cardholders interact with payment terminals. What was the inspiration behind Moneris Core? We wanted to re-imagine what the user experience could look and feel like on a payment terminal and make it more engaging and functional than ever before. We looked at other consumer products in the market, like smart watches and smartphones, and recognized that what makes these devices so attractive to consumers is not just the hardware, but also the software that powers it.

We examined the payment flow of a sale and the primary functions that staff rely on before and after a transaction, such as daily reporting, to design an application that is user-friendly for staff, business owners and cardholders alike. Moneris Core aims to make the transaction process simplified for both the merchant and customers. Would you say that the launch of Moneris Core will be an innovative step for payment solutions? Moneris Core is a big step towards modernizing payment terminals to match the needs of businesses, whose operational success today depends on speed as much as size. It leverages cloud-based communication to upload user profiles and security settings within seconds of configuration, as well as automatic software updates as they become available. Using the Moneris Cloud, we are also able to extend


INTERVIEW

remote terminal management, which allows our 24/7 customer service team to correct device settings on behalf of the merchant and better assist with troubleshooting. Moneris is the only acquirer in Canada to offer a unified, bilingual experience across pointof-sale terminals. By streamlining the menu navigation and loading the software with improved payment and reporting functions, merchants can reduce the time required to train staff and interchange terminals without needing to retrain them.

"Moneris is the only acquirer in Canada to offer a unified, bilingual experience across pointof-sale terminals. By streamlining the menu navigation and loading the software with improved payment and reporting functions, merchants can reduce the time required to train staff and interchange terminals without needing to retrain them."

What would you say is the number one benefit for SME owners to use Moneris as their main payment solution? Moneris is committed to integrating the latest technology in an effort to provide products that can grow with your business. We believe that it doesn’t matter if you operate a global company or an SME; a robust payment solution is an essential component of every business and should be adaptable to new needs. Whether it is an iPad POS solution for retailers and restaurants starting out, or a customizable hosted payment page for ecommerce, our products can grow with businesses of all sizes and sectors. When you are ready to elevate your venture, Moneris will have an improved solution to help you get to the next level. Innovation is key to the success of any business. How does Moneris manage to stay innovative and competitive in the business industry market? Our company is supported by talented people with ambitious ideas, and professional experience within and outside of the payments industry. We constantly strive to diversify our talent pool, and one approach that we have seen work well is our university recruitment program, which allows us to visit Canadian universities every year to talk to graduating students about Moneris. We then invite those students to apply for a one-year placement at the company, and after an intensive two-day interview process, we handpick applicants to join Moneris. These students are keen and bring a fresh perspective to the advancement of our technology platforms. They help us scrutinize our existing products to ensure Moneris is utilizing the latest in technology to its full potential, and offer creative ideas to help our new products match or exceed competitive standards. Protecting the security of customer data information has become crucial for several

business owners. Especially when it comes to processing transactions securely to avoid any potential risks. What are some of the steps that Moneris is putting in place when it comes to the security of transactions? Security is part of our DNA. Our products undergo rigorous testing and certification to comply with mandates set by the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard (PCI DSS). We use end-to-end encryption to protect card data right from the point-of-sale when a transaction is initiated, and ensure it is transmitted and stored properly in our data centres. We also extend the benefits of our secure data storage to merchants in the form of our Moneris Vault and Tokenization services, so that they can process payments conveniently without exposure to sensitive data. In addition to technological safeguards, we also work diligently to educate our merchants on what they can do to protect their terminals and transactions. Some of these steps include taking advantage of password-protection features and fraud prevention tools, as well as practicing proper payment acceptance. These are small but important steps to help protect against security threats. Business owners face several challenges regularly. In your expert opinion, what is the biggest challenge that entrepreneurs face in the payment industry and how can Moneris help them overcome those challenges? Businesses are facing the same challenge as everyone else, the speed of payments and technology. Commerce is evolving rapidly as new advancements in cloud technology, smart devices and the digitization of offline-toonline experiences are introduced. The answer for entrepreneurs is to work with established companies that have the infrastructure to provide reliable products and services, and scale solutions as the technology environment changes. When it comes to payments, these companies are more likely to have integrated solutions that can easily support emerging technology and methods of payment that customers adopt, such as digital wallets. Rather than requiring merchants to maintain multiple hardware, accessories and software, an established company can implement support onto your existing system, and consolidate sophisticated new features and payment options to your existing equipment.

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INTERVIEW

You’ve been with Moneris for over 16 years. Throughout the years you’ve been with the organization, what would you say has been the biggest change that revolutionized the payment solutions industry? The biggest catalyst of change in the payments industry is technology. Payments and technology may seem synonymous to consumers today, but payments is just one part of the larger ecosystem sustained by technology that also includes mobile devices, computers and data security. Some of us can remember the days when cash and cheque were the most natural ways to pay; now it’s all about chip & PIN and tap cards. Our firstquarter transaction data for 2019 showed that more than half of all card-present transactions were contactless, which leverages the same NFC protocols that allow smartphone users to engage in multiplayer mobile games. Even the fundamental element of chip & PIN is not exclusive to payments, since we also use chip technology in SIM cards for our mobile phones. In fact, if you consider how much digital wallets has influenced our reliance on mobile phones to pay at the checkout, you can argue that mobile technology is revolutionizing the payments industry. Technology is a phenomenon that drives the way we live, work, and spend; the payment industry simply follows in its tracks.

What sets Moneris apart from other payment solutions companies? Our focus is on security, innovation and inhouse development. We are continuously looking for ways to enhance our products and make them work for businesses. We integrate the latest advancements in technology to simplify our payment products and data services, and build robust platforms on our existing infrastructure. Moneris Core is an example of this philosophy. By re-inventing the payment application, Moneris has created a framework that can support future upgrades to the payment flow, program interface and functionality, and allow us to control the complete POS user experience. By guiding our business decisions with these three key areas of focus, we can continue to remain ahead of other companies as a processor of choice for Canadian merchants. Can you tell us about any other exciting products that Moneris has planned in the near future? We are looking forward to the release of Moneris Checkout, our hosted pay page solution for ecommerce merchants. It offers a straightforward web integration process compared to API solutions and simplifies an essential component of any online business. We will also be releasing more devices powered

by Core as part of our next-generation POS suite, and offer support for semi-integrated and pay-at-table functionality. On a final note, did you always know you wanted to go into this line of business? Not exactly. I joined Moneris 17 years ago as a part-time customer service representative in the call centre with the determination to work my way into the technology team. I came from a technology background and initially wanted to become a coder. Now, in my current position steering the development of our products, I get to apply my technical knowledge to broader business strategies in one of the most exciting areas of the financial sector. I am consistently blown away by the ingenuity that is brought to the payments industry. There is always something new from our team, partners, customers and even competitors, and I feel privileged to have been able to come to work every day for the past 17 years and be inspired. Patrick Diab, VP, Product and Client Solutions, oversees the ongoing evolution of Moneris’ product portfolio. Patrick joined Moneris in November 2002 and has 17 years of experience in the payments industry. He has also held roles in technology, product and client integration, and has sat on McMaster’s Ecommerce Fraud Committee.

Our focus is on security, innovation and in-house development. We are continuously looking for ways to enhance our products and make them work for businesses. We integrate the latest advancements in technology to simplify our payment products and data services, and build robust platforms on our existing infrastructure. Moneris Core is an example of this philosophy. By re-inventing the payment application, Moneris has created a framework that can support future upgrades to the payment flow, program interface and functionality, and allow us to control the complete POS user experience. By guiding our business decisions with these three key areas of focus, we can continue to remain ahead of other companies as a processor of choice for Canadian merchants.

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Kirk Simpson

INTERVIEW

Co-Founder & CEO, Wave

The man behind Wave Kirk Simpson is the co-founder and CEO of Wave, a provider of cloudbased, integrated software and tools for small businesses. Kirk has led Wave to over 3 million small business sign ups from every country around the world and well over 12,000,000 in total users on the platform; Kirk has raised $80 million in capital and manages an incredible team of close to 175 of the best and brightest minds in North America.

What is your primary responsibility as CEO of Wave? I drive our vision to become the financial platform that helps entrepreneurs run and grow their business. To get us there, I make sure we are hiring and retaining the best people, continue to be relentlessly unsatisfied so that we all produce our best-possible work, and ensure the company is well funded so we can achieve all of our goals. Please describe Wave’s new Instant Payout Feature that is integrated with Visa Direct (Visa’s real-time push payments solution), and how is it unique in the marketplace? We know that cashflow is the life-blood for entrepreneurs. The new Instant Payout feature allows a small business owner to go from invoice to payment to money in their account in under 15 seconds. Small business owners are used to waiting for up to 30-60 days for their money so this is a game-changing product for them. Was the Instant Payout Feature specifically designed for SMEs, or large enterprises as well? "Wave is all about the small business owner. We don’t use the language “SME” here. We are all about SBs (small businesses). They are the lifeblood of the economy and are under-served because it’s traditionally been difficult to make the unit economics work in serving them exclusively." Please describe the early feedback that you have received from your customers regarding Instant Payouts? What is the number one aspect of the new offering that they have specifically enjoyed and has benefited their business most? Those who have used the product (it’s still in beta) now move almost 50% of their funds through Instant Payouts. It has been incredibly successful because it solves a specific pain point and serves that need really well. Why do you believe staying creative and “ahead of the curve” is particularly important in this industry? I don’t believe staying “ahead of the curve” is the mission. What we pride ourselves on is solving the pain points experienced by small business owners. We want to check them off one at a time to make it easier to start and run a small business. That is our goal. How have your previous work experiences helped you in your current role as CEO of Wave? And did those experiences inspire you to ultimately create Wave back in 2009?

First, I’ve always loved and have been drawn to using technology to solve problems. It’s been an important part of my career. I think technology, focused on the important areas, can be an enabler of good things in the world. Second, having been a small business owner who hated everything to do with bookkeeping, payroll, chasing payments, etc. I know the pain firsthand. Small business owners, like I was, are passionate about being a photographer or an electrician or a web designer, this other stuff gets in the way. We want to make it easier so they can spend more time doing what they love. Can you give us a sneak peak into the next big project that you are working on to benefit SMEs in Canada and worldwide? Or perhaps briefly describe the general nature of the products you are starting to work on? Our recent acquisition of Every, a fintech company that provides business accounts and debit cards to small businesses, is a sneak peek into the future. We’re advancing on our plans to integrate more financial products and services directly into Wave. It will help entrepreneurs improve cash flow, get paid faster, save time and money, and better understand how their business is doing. That’s where we are going. As CEO of Wave, where do you see the company going 5-10 years from now? What is the ultimate goal and vision of the company? It is all about making life easier for small business owners. We have so much to do to make the lives of entrepreneurs better. We want to remove as much friction as possible. But it’s complicated so these things take time. Unfortunately I’m not a very patient person, but we have to look at these things in multi-year increments in order to do them well. We’ve laid a very strong foundation for the company. Now it’s time to build upon it. On a personal note, what are your hobbies and what do you enjoy doing in your free time? I have three kids so I spend a lot of time chasing them around. When I have free time, I enjoy spending it with friends and adventure travel, like skiing, surfing, hiking and the occasional round of golf.

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CANTRUST

Canada’s Foundation of

Trust Showing Cracks Fourth annual Proof Inc. CanTrust Index reveals drop in trust levels across all categories After three years of stability, the 2019 Proof Inc. CanTrust Index reveals a significant drop in Canadians’ trust in major institutions, organizations, leaders and many sources of information. Overall, the study saw a decline in the average trust score for all institutions from 45 in 2018 to 39 in 2019. “Until this year, we could trust Canada to be different as other parts of the world fell into fear and cynicism,” said Proof Inc. CEO, Bruce MacLellan. “Our new study suggests that cracks are appearing in Canada’s trust foundation.”

Organizational trust declines

Trust in organizations declined from 2018 to 2019 in every category measured. Trust in the news media fell from 51 per cent to 40 per cent and large corporations from 28 per cent to 20 per cent. Not-for-profits, governments and small/medium-sized businesses saw declines of eight, five and nine per cent, respectively. Two of the most fundamental democratic institutions also saw a significant decline in trust. Trust in the court system/judges dropped four per cent to 51 per cent. Canadians’ trust in the election system dipped to just 47 per cent. New to the study this year was a measure of trust in Parliament, which received a score of only 39 per cent. Trust in the police remains relatively strong, with local police services holding steady at 64 per cent and trust in the RCMP dipping just slightly to 62 per cent. “From economic prosperity to democratic government, trust is the underlying foundation on which our society is built and this trust is slipping,” said MacLellan. “Canada is at an inflection point. Leaders have a choice: stem the decline and become trust builders or set 30

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the house on fire and become trust destroyers.”

The main street of mistrust: politics and geography

The Proof Inc. CanTrust Index reveals that while trust levels are lower across the board, the trust deficit is most pronounced along political and geographic lines. Specifically, the data show that Conservativeleaning respondents – and to a lesser extent, NDP-leaning respondents – are less trusting in almost every institution and system measured in the CanTrust Index. Conservative trust in news media stands at 33 per cent compared to 40 per cent among the overall population. Trust in governments is 36 per cent among Canadians, but only 21 per cent among Conservative-leaning respondents. Only 30 per cent of Conservative-leaning respondents believe that overall, people can be trusted, compared to a 40 per cent average among Canadians overall. In contrast, Liberal-leaning respondents have higher than average trust levels: 43 per cent trust news media, 63 per cent trust governments and 50 per cent say that overall, people can be trusted. “Philosophically, you’d expect small-c conservatives to have less trust in government and more trust in private enterprise,” said Greg MacEachern, Senior Vice President at Proof Strategies. “Yet while Conservativeleaning respondents do have higher trust in small and medium-sized businesses, when it comes to trust in large corporations, they’re as mistrustful as the average Canadian.” With an election around the corner, low trust levels should concern leaders attempting to connect with unaffiliated voters. Finding a means of connecting is all the more difficult

with fewer than half of Canadians saying that they trust independent news media to contribute to an honest debate about candidates’ positions on issues of the day. Geographically, Albertans demonstrate lower levels of trust in most institutions, including private enterprise and government. Only 16 per cent of Albertans trust large corporations versus 20 per cent of Canadians and 32 per cent of Quebecers. Only 22 per cent of Albertans trust governments, compared to 36 per cent of Canadians overall and 39 per cent of Ontarians. “In recent years, there has been a sense that it’s Alberta against the rest of Canada,” said MacEachern. “With a suffering economy, efforts to build pipelines stymied by court rulings and counterparts in other provinces, and no simple mechanism for progress, residents of Alberta are losing faith.”

Newcomers a bulwark…for a time

For the second year in a row, newcomers who have been in Canada for fewer than 15 years are more likely to trust everything from leaders and institutions to brands and content. However, at the 15-year mark, the CanTrust Index reveals that this window of trust closes and their trust levels decline to those seen among naturally born Canadians, or even lower.

CEOs and senior bosses lose ground to Mayors; trust in Premiers remains lowest

When it comes to trust in the leaders in their lives, for the first time, Canadians scored their own CEO or most senior boss (45 per cent) lower than their local Mayor (52 per cent). Following is the Prime Minister at 40 per cent,


employees do need to miss work, including notice requirements, whether the time off is paid, and requesting doctor’s notes. What should employers do when an employee lies about an appointment? Occasionally, employers may face a situation where an employee uses a doctor’s appointment as a cover for other activities that would not be approved by their employer as time off. The employer should have a conversation with their employee to address this concern in a timely and open manner. Such behaviour may also warrant disciplinary action. Employers should have a clearlywritten disciplinary policy to deal with these scenarios. https://www.peninsulagrouplimited.com/ ca/services/human-resources/online-hrsoftware/ Peninsula Peninsula is a trusted HR and Health & Safety advisory, serving over 75,000 small businesses worldwide. Clients are supported with ongoing updates of their workplace documentation and policies as legislation changes. Additionally, clients benefit from 24/7 employer HR advice and are protected by legal insurance. Contact us today to learn more about how we help employers succeed: 1-833-247-3652.

HAVE AN IDEA?

BRING IT TO LIFE! HELP FOR ONTARIO’S ENTREPRENEURS. "Employees with a disability may require more frequent appointments than others; employers have a duty to accommodate such employees up to the point of undue hardship, and denying them time off for doctor’s appointments could result in a human rights violation."

The Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (ONE) is a collaborative network of organizations across Ontario designed to help entrepreneurs, businesses and researchers commercialize their ideas. It provides a comprehensive suite of programs and services spanning the full commercialization continuum from idea to market. The ONE network was created to bring together the various resources for entrepreneurs, so you don’t have to search. The less time you spend finding and accessing programs and services, the more you can focus on “the business of running a business”. With a simple visit to www.onebusiness.ca, you can get connected with the right expert for all your business needs.

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BUSINESS

The Convenience Economy Is Forever Changing

The Way SMEs Operate – For The Better As the convenience economy continues to evolve, what seemed impossible just 10 or even 5 years ago is now not only possible — it’s expected.

DAVID HOWE

CEO and Co-Founder, Cribcut David Howe is CEO and Co-Founder of Cribcut - a marketplace startup connecting clients and stylists for athome and office hair services. Cribcut has raised over $1 million in funding and has stylists in over 25 cities across Canada and the U.S.

Armed with powerful mobile devices, and almost unlimited internet access, consumers in Canada and around the world expect the ability to purchase virtually any good or service, anywhere, within just a few clicks or taps of the finger. Moreover, what began with predominantly product-focused transactions has increasingly moved toward services, accelerating the rise to what’s been called the “convenience economy.” In addition to clothes, home goods, or electronics, consumers today can order a ride downtown, get a hot meal delivered from their favorite restaurant, or even schedule a haircut in the comfort of their own home. This has revolutionized the ways in which Canadians consume goods—and how smallto-medium sized businesses service their customers.

Today, “convenience” means digital Whether product- or service-oriented, the convenience economy is accelerating the transition from physical forms of money to digitally-enabled transactions. It is rapidly consolidating all points of purchasing to a single source: a consumer’s mobile phone.

"Digital payments simplify accounting for SMEs, allowing them to seamlessly track and manage their value chain and cash flow. Even as consumers spend more, businesses can maintain accurate accounts and projections without increasing personnel costs.

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entry and driven an entirely new business model. It has acted as a great equalizer for smallto-medium-sized enterprises, empowering them to compete with much larger brands on relatively even terms. Anyone who hosts a service or a product on an app—whether it’s a local diner on Uber Eats or an independent mobile stylist on Cribcut—has an equal chance of enticing prospects. Essentially, the convenience economy gives businesses of all sizes the opportunity to convert customers based largely on the quality and value of their offerings. It’s no longer all about how much you can spend on marketing. Through P2B apps for instance, SMEs are now able to tap into large markets that would have previously been out of reach. By digitally offering products to consumers, a significant market shift has occurred: companies can now seamlessly attract consumers who are actively searching for their delivery-based services with very few resources needed. Also important is the way in which the convenience economy has streamlined business operations. Digital payments simplify accounting for SMEs, allowing them to seamlessly track and manage their value chain and cash flow. Even as consumers spend more, businesses can maintain accurate accounts and projections without increasing personnel costs. In turn, better data on real-world consumer behavior leads to smarter and more targeted marketing. Because companies that collect digital payments know exactly which customers spend how much on what, it’s not hard to see why a company like Uber has a clear marketing advantage over traditional taxis.

In reducing traditional barriers to purchasing, the convenience economy is amplifying the rate at which people purchase and consume goods. This strong shift toward digitally-enabled offerings is something I’ve closely experienced—first with my ecommerce site Toothbrush Subscriptions and now with my most recent startup Cribcut.

What’s next for the convenience economy

With my first business, digital offerings were well under way but far from the norm; today, they've become non-negotiable. Businesses must offer their services and products digitally or get swept under the rug by those that do. For businesses, this has reduced barriers to

According to research from the IMF and World Bank, more than 81 million CAD will be processed through digital transactions in 2019 alone, a figure that is projected to grow to more than 107 million CAD by 2023. Another report by the UN points out that worldwide credit and debit


card use has declined since 2014—but not because consumers are going back to cash. Instead, more people, especially in China, are turning to e-wallets, mobile money, and alternative forms of digital payment for quick and seamless consumption. Across virtually all indicators, it’s clear that the move toward digital will only gain momentum from here. And from my experience, it’s not just millennials who are digitally ordering toothbrush subscriptions or getting at-home haircuts, but Generations X and Z as well. That’s why marketplace businesses like Cribcut are so valuable: they’re bringing the offline world online—to everyone. It already happened with innovative industries, but now the more antiquated service areas like hair and massage are primed to be disrupted because the one who has the power, the consumer, is demanding it. When even the late majority begins to expect faster, safer, and more convenient service, a wallet-less, service-driven world predicated on quality no longer seems so far-fetched. It’s hard to overstate how revolutionary the emergence and expansion of the convenience economy have been for the status quo. From mom-and-pop shops to multinationals, from established SMEs to growing startups like Cribcut, the message is clear: it’s no longer business as usual.

Canadian Export Challenge Application ROLLING APPLICATIONS OPEN FOR THE 2019 GLOBAL ENTREPRENEURS COHORT, UNTIL ALL ACCELERATORS ARE AT CAPACITY. Startup Canada, UPS, Export Development Canada, and the Trade Commissioner Service are coming together to support a cohort of 1,500 Canadian businesses to scale and succeed globally in 2019 as part of the Canadian Global Entrepreneur Cohort. Accepted entrepreneurs will: - Have a chance to pitch to win $2,500 and a trip to Toronto for a chance to win $25,000 and up to an additional $100,000 in in-kind scaling support; - Graduate from one of eight 1-day Global Accelerators across Canada in May and June; - Connect with Canada's entire trade ecosystem in one place, on one day;

- Receive the official graduate pin and certificate signed by Minister Ng, Minister Carr, Canada's Chief Trade Commissioner and the President's of Export Development Canada, UPS and Startup Canada. Accelerators will take place in: Winnipeg | May 9 Vancouver | May 13 Edmonton | May 16 Ottawa | June 3 Mississauga | June 6 (ALMOST FULL!) Fredericton | June 11 Montreal | June 17 This application form will take 9 minutes to complete.

- Get the latest information on Canada's trade agreements and how to leverage them to scale faster;

The team will be reviewing your application within the next 48 hours and a Startup Canada team member will get back to you with next steps.

- Gain privileged access to all partner programs/ offers and early access to global trade missions, accelerators and supplier diversity opportunities; and,

Should you have any questions, please email Andrea.knapp@startupcan.ca.


INSURANCE

How We’ve Kept People at the Centre of

Our Digital and Business Transformation

MATT ALSTON Co-founder, Surex Matt Alston is the co-founder of Surex, Canada’s fastest growing online insurance provider. Quote, compare & buy online, with access to instant proof of insurance. surex.com

When we started Surex, it was a brick-andmortar insurance brokerage in the small town of Magrath in Southern Alberta. We both have experience living and working in small towns, and we knew that we both wanted to stay there. However, we also had greater visions for expanding our business beyond Magrath and making an impact on our industry. We set out to build Surex as an online insurance provider (think Travelocity, but for insurance.) Today, Surex.com is Canada’s fastest growing online insurance provider. While we have been able to transform our brick and mortar brokerage into an online business with customers across Canada using technology, our success is largely due to the fact we have always put people first when making decisions for our company. Here are some examples of how we’ve put both our customers and our employees first.

1

Our customers are not just ‘users’ – they’re people.

LANCE MILLER CEO, Surex

Lance Miller is the CEO of Surex, Canada’s fastest growing online insurance provider. Quote, compare & buy online, with access to instant proof of insurance. surex.com

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Insurance, as we know, is a “grudge purchase” – no one wants to shop around for quotes and then pay for coverage every month. We all need some form of insurance at some point, so we wanted to give customers the power to choose the plans that work best for them. Surex’s model aims to cut the unpleasantness out of the buying process, and help customers make quick, easy decisions on a purchase they don’t necessarily want to make, let alone revisit to ensure they’re getting the best rates and appropriate coverage. Each customer is assigned a dedicated insurance assistant right from their first contact, ensuring they only need to tell their story once and are always in touch with the same licensed advisor who knows and responds to their growing needs. While other insurance providers represent and drive sales of their own product, we partnered with several great insurance providers to give our customers the freedom to choose plans that work best for them, regardless of the company offering it.

2

We set our brokers up for success.

Over the last few years we’ve had the privilege of working remotely with our teams across Canada who are not only sales superstars, they are also dedicated assistants to their clients. They are incentivized by customer satisfaction rather than sales quotas or benchmarks, and their service delivery is seamless from a tech standpoint. When we were looking for a CRM suite to work with, we found that there wasn’t a single solution on the market that could meet our needs. So we made our own, in tandem with the sales staff so every need is met with unique functionality. Our advisors are armed with custom tools to manage their workflow and convert sales. We’re completely anti-micromanagerial, and we encourage employees to work from home, trust them to meet their goals, offer mobility within the organization, and promote from within wherever possible.

3

We don’t sacrifice personal touch for growth.

We use customer data and input to make key business decisions. In 2016, we debated whether we should adopt the cheap and efficient call center model used by most of our competitors, or maintain our differentiator where each customer would speak to the same person about their policies and questions, rather than the first available agent at the time of their call. So we surveyed our customers and found that 98% of policyholders wanted to speak to the same person about their quotes, policies, and claims. Our decision to put customers’ wants and needs first, rather than having customers mold to our business model, was one of the most important decisions in scaling our business thus far.


4

Our long-term vision is to disrupt our industry to benefit the customer.

As we continue to expand Surex.com, our vision is not just to achieve incremental change, but to provide long-lasting change that will impact how we all buy insurance. Insurance is probably one of the last industries to adopt digital. While some carriers have created their own online insurance brands to capitalize on the direct-to-consumer approach, they ultimately can’t offer the same flexibility on pricing that we can because they’re still only selling their own products. We offer a marketplace of products, and our licensed advisors ultimately give the buying and decision-making power back to consumers. This lets us provide real transparency in pricing for our customers, allowing them to choose the best solution out there rather than settling for the best one that a supplier has to offer. This is a revolutionary concept, and we work everyday towards achieving this for more people.

INSURANCE

5

Our families and our community come first.

While we’re proud of the benchmarks we’ve achieved for the business, we’re even prouder that we’ve accomplished it all while keeping our small town roots. E-commerce technology enables businesses to be on a level playing field with their competitors whether they are based in a rural setting, or an urban metropolis. While we wanted to compete with our big city counterparts, we knew that we did not want to uproot our families or give up being part of the community in which we’ve grown over the years. Now, we’ve been able not just to stay in Magrath ourselves, but we’ve also been able to keep our employees in Magrath – and those who have lived elsewhere have come back to Magrath and continue doing the work that they enjoy thanks to technology. Our brokers have done the same from wherever they are in Canada. We’ve even put Magrath on the map – having one of Canada’s fastest growing businesses based in a town of 2,400 is no small feat. We’re evidence that technology has the capability to put any Canadian SME on a national or even global stage. But most importantly, we believe that you can leverage technology to grow your company and still keep people first and foremost in business and in life. Success with digital transformation can only come by prioritizing the people who have to work with the technology you are providing.

Learn how over 250 B2B companies have increased leads by 30-100% Contact us today to get on the path to accelerate sales and profit growth. Call us: 416-583-5831

themezzaninegroup.com


ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Top 30 under 30 Jesse Abrams Founder & CEO at Homewise

Recently distinguished by the American Marketing Association Hall of Legends as one of Canada's top 5 "Marketers on the Rise" and by Marketing Magazine as a "Top 30 Under 30" Marketer in Canada, Jesse is an accomplished Digital Marketer and Advertiser who has a passion for growing businesses and never settling for the status quo. Jesse brings this passion for change and growth as the founder of Homewise, where he looks to change the face of the mortgage industry. Prior to Homewise, Jesse was a Partner and VP of Client Services & Digital at Beyond Marketing Group (and the acquired Engagement Labs), where Jesse was instrumental in growing the business by 400%, while accounting for 70% of revenue. Before BMG, Jesse spent 4 years building the Digital Marketing Department at General Mills. His contribution was instrumental to the growth of integrated marketing, quadrupling digital spending, while driving the success of internationally recognized and business improving campaigns.

You’ve been recognized as “Top 5 Marketers on the Rise” and “Top 30 under 30”. How does this make you feel? It’s humbling. I’ve been very lucky during my career to work with so many amazing people and companies in both the marketing and advertising world. The mentors and teams that I worked with were invaluable to me learning many hard and soft skills that I honed to bring successes in my previous roles and today. These experiences have helped me realize my entrepreneurial dreams are now being utilized as my team and I build Homewise. What inspired you to create Homewise? What was the inspiration behind it? I worked with one of Canada’s largest banks on their mortgage business for years. During that time I got a behind the scenes view and discovered how underserved first time home buyers are as well as the huge opportunity there is to meet the needs of this changing home buyer demographic. It is a group that wants more transparency and continues to shift to doing personal finances online. Further, when I bought my first home I experienced first hand how complex, antiquated and time consuming it was to work with the big banks, rate aggregators and mortgage brokers to find a mortgage. There 54

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was a total lack of transparency and overall, I just couldn’t believe how I never felt in control. It was then that I realized there was a gap in the market for a more streamlined online mortgage process that put the mortgage seeker first - introducing Homewise. The fastest and largest growing audience in the home buying market today is first-time home buyers, of which, 75% are millennials. Going to the bank takes time and often will not find you the best mortgage. Further, with the new mortgage rules, chances are higher than ever that mortgage seekers may not even get approved by their own financial institution if they do not fit into their strict guidelines. Homewise takes tailored mortgage solutions to the next level, shopping around and negotiating for clients with more than 20 top tier lenders to ensure we are providing clients with the best mortgage (rate and features), while simplifying the process by bringing it online. Further, we provide an end-to-end solution that takes a client from sign up to approval and beyond. All supported by a personal mortgage advisor. What are some of the strategies that you’re hoping to put in place to change the mortgage industry? Utilizing technology to simplify and streamline

the process​- The current mortgage landscape is based on face-to-face meetings, waiting lines and paperwork. There is no easy solution for all home buyers/owners, let alone first-time buyers. This is why we have focused on building new technologies to digitize and simplify the process online. We are the only digitized mortgage solution that focuses purely on mortgages, has the fastest application process and works directly for and with the consumer, not for the banks. These differentiators are a key part to our strategy in changing the face of the mortgage industry. By focusing on a technology approach, we provide an unbiased mortgage choices from over 20 lenders, searching through thousands of options. Further, each client is supported by a personal mortgage advisor to provide the human touch. Our ultimate goal is to save our clients time and money. We also have many new technologies that will be released in the coming months and years to make the process faster, easier and better for mortgage seekers. Transparency -​the current options to get a mortgage are shrouded in a sea of complexity, jargon and fine print. We believe in providing clients with the full picture, enabling them to make informed decisions. We not only negotiate for our clients with over 20 lenders to find them the best mortgage for their needs, we also provide options that include explanations as to


ENTREPRENEURSHIP

why the mortgage products selected are tailored to their profile. Education​- Buying a home is usually the largest purchase of someones life, however, for some reason we are never taught about it in school. This is why we have focused on not only creating a simple process, but also educating clients along the way with informative content and explanations. Additionally, another issue in the marketplace is the fact that many millennials are paying thousands a month in rent because they think they can’t afford a mortgage. They may have been turned down by banks, given a rate they didn’t like or worse yet, convinced themselves that buying a home wasn’t possible before even looking into options. The big issue is this demographic does not realize they have other options. This is why we have over 20 lenders and we continue to add more, to ensure we provide a full financial picture to our clients and present them all the opportunities available to finance their home. Enabling them to realize their home buying dreams faster and more comfortably than they may have imagined possible. Speed and availability​- Homewise has the fastest application process in the industry. It takes clients only 5 minutes to complete a mortgage application and it is available 24/7. In fact, most of our clients fill out their application on the evenings and weekends, often from their phones. Life is busy, we understand that. That is also why each client is set up with a mortgage advisor that guides them every step of the way, allowing consumers to feel informed and empowered during the process, while we do the dirty work in the background. We also continue to build more tech products to automate more and more of the process to make it even faster. Support -​Homewise is not only online, but every user is also set up with a mortgage advisor that will take them through the process and provide advice on options, features and how to save the most money. Further, we provide support through call, text, email and chat. Making it easier than ever to get in touch with us. Throughout your career, you’ve had a huge impact on the marketing industry. Growing businesses by 400% and accounting 70% of the revenues are just some of your accomplishments. What approach do you use to make such a huge positive impact? Never settling for the status quo. Throughout my career, I have been a bit of a black sheep. I always like to look outside the box and see what the next big thing is, rather than feeling

comfortable and only looking back on what has worked in the past. I always believe in pushing for change and that measured risks drive the best long term successes. This led me to work on amazing new projects and lead positive changes both in larger marketing organizations as well as when I was in a leadership role at an agency. If you build a product for today, you lose sight of the opportunities of tomorrow. With your extensive background in marketing, are you a strong believer that marketing plays a crucial role in the success of any business? Definitely! Marketing develops the framework for consumer acquisition both in the short and long term. Be it through product development, consumer targeting, technical development or branding, marketing sets the tone on how your business will grow and drive conversions/sales which is the ultimate goal of any company. A compelling marketing strategy that connects with the consumer on a purposeful level and effectively presents the brand in a meaningful and memorable way is the key to the success of any business. In today’s competitive landscape, consumers have a plethora of brands to choose from in every industry, so the marketing strategy needs to make it easy for the consumer to understand the brands offering and value proposition within seconds. What are the most common marketing challenges that entrepreneurs face when they are in their startup phase? Putting the consumer first. Many business owners live and breathe their product/service. Their clients on the other hand, do not. So putting your client first and building a solution that meets their needs is integral to driving objectives. This ranges from developing a brand that resonates to building your website/app that focusing on a strong user experience and uses consumer friendly language (no jargon). It is so important to always think about your clientele and what would serve them best. It is important to realize that marketing is not only about creative and ad campaigns. It is also about determining what your product market fit is, as well as what new opportunities can arise to drive further conversions. This can be done through new products, features and targeting strategies. Thinking that spending money equates to better marketing is also a major mistake. I have seen million dollar campaigns that are less effective than ads that cost fractions of the price. Websites built by the top companies

that are over engineered and don’t provide the proper solution for the consumerbase. It’s’ all about finding ways to market your business strategically, always focusing on objectives and often with a scrappy and nimble approach. In your expert opinion, what are the three best marketing tools that SME owners should refer to when they want to grow their business? Google Analytics is such a useful tool. It’s not just about figuring out how many people are coming to your site, but also about determining where the traffic is coming from, where users are dropping off and what is attracting them most. In the end, the ultimate goal is conversion, so we consistently make big and small updates to our online product to better serve our clients and increase conversion. Testing and learning acquisition tactics, be it through Facebook Ad Manager or the Google Ads Campaign Manager, you can learn so much about what is working and what is not. Be it ad types, copy, placements, time of day, day of week, it is important to always optimize your ad placements to drive your business objectives. The advice of fellow entrepreneurs. The best tools are often free. This can be your own personal network, or the wealth of content on the web. Many mistakes are made by not utilizing the hindsight of others. I am lucky to have many friends and peers who are fellow entrepreneurs and industry leaders that I consistently speak with about their key successes and importantly, failures. This teaches me so much in minutes, rather than potentially learning the hard way in months (or more). The Canadian industry is amazing about helping each other out. There truly is a “high tide raises all ships” mentality. On a final note, you’re part of several charitable organizations and you’ve also founded a few of your own. Is there a reason behind your passion for charities? From a young age, my parents have always taught me of the importance of being charitable. So it has always been important to me to give back. It is such an amazing and fulfilling experience to see how much can be accomplished when people come together to help others in need. I can’t imagine being in a position to help and not taking action. Cofounding fundraisers like the Joel Schwartz Memorial Hockey Tournament as well serving for Sinai are only the beginning. I plan to keep the momentum and give back whenever possible.

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BUDGET

Doug Ford delivers a Bill Davis budget—and the right tone for Ontario

ARMANDO IANNUZZI Tax Partner at KRP Armando Iannuzzi is a tax partner at KRP LLP, a Markham, Ont.-based accounting firm for entrepreneurs. Learn more at www.krp.ca

The person sure to be most bemused by the recent Ontario budget is Justin Trudeau. While pundits on the left braced Ontarians for a hailstorm of program spending cuts, what they got instead was a red Tory special, as the Ford government took a surprisingly measured approach to fiscal restraint. That was bad news for a Prime Minister hoping to juxtapose his sunny ways against the draconian policies of Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservatives—the two are gearing up for a major battle over the federal carbon levy, against which Ford and his counterparts in Ottawa are already campaigning in the run-up to this year’s election. The province and the PM were treated to a Bill Davis-style budget in place of a barnstorming Common Sense Revolution, à la Mike Harris. In fact, many fiscal conservatives were left scratching their heads, giving a thumbs up to the ‘Open for Business’ outlook, but wondering if the budget didn’t go far enough to tackle the province’s massive debt. But at least they got a timeline for bringing the provincial balance sheet back to black (unlike the federal Liberals’ spend-now, pay-never approach). On that front, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli promised a modest surplus by 202324, with deficits of $11.7 billion scheduled for 2018-19 and $10.3 billion estimated for 201920. It’s unclear whether massive education protests at Queen’s Park spooked the Tories into tempering their budget cuts, but it is worth noting that program spending—while slashed in many departments—will actually increase over the next few years in priority areas such as health care and education. One of this budget’s most important victories was setting a new tone for business. Gone are the hostile attacks on the SME owners and large corporations that create the majority

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of Ontario’s jobs—even if much of the heavy lifting to restore that balance happened well before budget day. As the plan notes, Ford’s Tories had months earlier taken steps to: •

“Cancel the cap-and-trade carbon tax;

Keep the minimum wage at $14 per hour;

Reduce Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) premiums;

Help small businesses by not paralleling the federal government in phasing out the benefit from the lower small business Corporate Income Tax rate.”

Savings from these measures are estimated at $5 billion in 2019, but other moves such as the repeal of most of Bill 147, The Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act—burdensome legislation that introduced everything from increased vacation allotments to up to 10 personal emergency leave days for employees—and the passage of Bill 66, Restoring Ontario’s Competitiveness Act, which eases overtime rules and labour restrictions, are sure to provide additional financial breathing room to cash-strapped businesses across the province. Even if many of the budget’s business-friendly policies are largely undefined or symbolic, they send a message that the government is finally on the side of entrepreneurs with commitments to lower their tax burden and ease the regulatory red tape that tends to top most lists of governmental gripes. On the former, the Conservatives have taken steps to mirror similar incentives at the federal level with the Ontario Job Creation Investment Incentive. The program will provide $3.8 billion in corporate income tax relief over six years by allowing businesses to write off capital investments faster. The Tories hope cashhoarding companies will pour investments into areas such as research and development and new capital expenditures, thereby juicing the economy and helping key industries such as manufacturing remain competitive.


DIGITAL MARKETING

Exclusive Interview with

Alfie Atkinson Managing Director - Canada at MEDIA iQ Digital Ltd.

Alfie Atkinson launched the MiQ Canada team in early 2014 and has been the driving force behind the phenomenal growth of the Canadian business ever since. With more than a decade of digital media experience spanning UK and North American markets, Atkinson has built a career around innovation.

What was the inspiration behind the founding of MiQ Digital Ltd.? When Gurman and Lee founded MiQ in 2010 in London, they already had the core idea. They wanted to deliver more than highperformance digital ad campaigns - they wanted to generate insights that would drive real business change. When we founded MiQ Canada in 2014, this was our ambition too.

"Our first step of working with a business is to help them see the big picture. To take a look at all of the siloed data points within an organization – paid, first-party, partner, etc. - then work out how we can bring them all together to glean actionable insights."

So, the first step in that process was working out what meaningful insights our clients need. SMEs are working hard trying to understand their consumers through “intelligence”. Terms like Artificial Intelligence, Business Intelligence, Customer Intelligence, and Media Intelligence are tossed around, and these businesses use data aggregation tools, content recommendation engines, ad targeting platforms and so on and so on, to work through their consumer data. But all of this misses an important dimension: Human Intelligence. Don’t get me wrong, the technology is vital.

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These advanced marketing tools have helped to minimize marketers’ reliance on spreadsheets and they’ve streamlined data collection and analysis. But if we rely on technology too much, at the expense of intuition, and emotional or cultural context, we’re going to end up making bad business decisions. That’s why, in our business, interpreting data and making it work for a brand’s strategy is still largely a human endeavour: a job for our super-smart data scientists, analysts, engineers and so on. Can you tell us about some of the services and benefits that MiQ Canada provides to SME owners and how it can help them grow their business? Simply put, we can help SME owners use their marketing data better to get more, highervalue customers and tie marketing strategy to business strategy. A lot of SME businesses don’t understand the enormous potential of the data they have


INTERVIEW

VIVIDATA’S 2019 SPRING STUDY FINDS 9 OUT OF 10 CANADIANS READ MAGAZINE OR NEWS BRANDS WEEKLY, AND CANADIANS ARE INCREASINGLY ADOPTING THE CONVENIENCE OF SMART DEVICES AND RIDESHARING APPS

Vividata, (vividata.ca) Canada’s leading cross-media and consumer behaviour research firm, today released their latest findings. Surveying 43,266 Canadians (aged 14+) from January 2018 through to December 2018, Vividata’s Survey of the Canadian Consumer is the most comprehensive cross-media research study in Canada. A sample of highlights from the Vividata 2019 Spring Study include:

CONSUMER HIGHLIGHTS

MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS

Smart Devices:

Content Publishers:

74% of Canadian adults read newspaper brand content in the past week, with over half accessing content via a mobile device.

8 out of 10 read a magazine brand in the past month, with food, entertainment, and health magazine brands as the most popular among Canadians.

6 out of 10 read a community newspaper brand in the past month, with readership even stronger in smaller markets.

83% of Canadians have some form of smart device within their home. Household ownership of voice activated smart speakers has reached 7.5% of households in Canada, up from 6.8% since the last quarter. The top 3 voice commands used by owners of voice activated speakers are to: i. Obtain weather updates (57%) ii. Stream music (51%) iii. Set a timer or alarm (42%)

Rideshare: •

Nearly 2 million Canadians have booked a ride with Uber in the past month, while just over 320,000 have done the same with Lyft.

Greatest likelihood of using rideshare apps (i.e Uber or Lyft) is among those aged 25-49.

The top reason for booking a trip with either rideshare service is for ‘going out’ or leisure.

83%

of Canadians have some form of smart device within their home.

2 MILLION

Canadians have booked a ride with Uber in the past month

Streaming: •

2 out of 3 Canadians have watched or streamed video online in the past month, with movies and television programs as their top content choices.

36% of Canadians have watched content through Netflix in the past week, while 4% have watched content through Crave.

8 OUT OF 10 read a magazine brand in the past month, with food, entertainment, and health magazine brands as the most popular among Canadians.

Out of Home: •

Roadside billboards or digital screens are the most noticed out-of-home advertising platform, reaching 65% of Canadian adults each week; followed by ads appearing inside or outside retail stores at 49%.

1 out of 4 Canadian adults have noticed an out-of-home ad in an elevator in the past week, and nearly 1 million adults have seen an ad on a digital screen in an elevator where they work.

36%

of Canadians have watched content through Netflix in the past week

About Vividata: Vividata is Canada’s authoritative source for insights on multi-media and consumer behaviour. It is the leading provider of cross platform audience measurement for publishers. A tripartite, not-for-profit organization, Vividata is governed by a board of directors representing the interests of Canadian publishers, agencies and advertisers. Vivintel, the newly created custom research arm of Vividata, offers bespoke solutions to deliver ‘a closer look’ at unique research needs. Through syndicated surveys and reports, segmentations, custom studies, first and third-party data integration opportunities, and strong partnerships, Vivintel provides a complete suite of unified solutions for actionable data. To learn more, please visit www.vividata.ca


DIGITAL MARKETING

access to. So part of our mission is to help SME owners understand the value of their data and how it can be used to inform long-term goals and make smarter business decisions. Our first step of working with a business is to help them see the big picture. To take a look at all of the siloed data points within an organization – paid, first-party, partner, etc. - then work out how we can bring them all together to glean actionable insights. Then, once you start getting these insights, the really exciting stuff starts happening. We can help clients go beyond one-size-fits-all marketing tactics to really strategic campaigns that can reach specific customer groups with relevant messaging on the right channels at the right time. That’s the stuff that lets SME marketers really kick-ass. How can Marketing Intelligence help entrepreneurs better understand their customers and contribute towards the success of their business? Understanding your customer is a complex thing to do. You want to know who they are, what drives their decisions and what the best way to communicate with them is. The problem is you get one dataset answering one question, another dataset answering different questions and so on. Unless you have a complete picture of all your data, you’re never going to tease out the insights that lead to business-changing actions. Marketing Intelligence helps businesses connect their siloed data and uncover key consumer insights that are relevant to meeting business challenges. It’s all about getting to know customers in details: digging deep into the data to understand their daily habits, their online behaviours, their external influences, and so on, to produce the insights that lead to better targeting and optimized media spend. What sets MiQ Canada apart from other similar companies? Why should entrepreneurs partner up with MiQ as opposed to other companies? At MiQ, we’re all about the ‘why’. Marketing Intelligence isn’t just understanding what a consumer did, but getting into the ‘why’ behind a decision. And that means looking at everything: online browsing, offline location and purchases, multi-channel touchpoints even the cultural and economic trends around us - all offer part of the answer. And that’s why we need smart technology combined with even smarter people. The tech lets us process and analyze vast quantities of data, but it’s our global team of data scientists, analysts, engineers, and media experts, who deliver the juicy insights that are tailored to

"Technology is progressing at an exponential rate and every industry is affected. Business owners and entrepreneurs need to stop hiding away from the disruption coming from advances in technology and embrace the possibilities of innovation."

help our clients find solutions for their specific challenges. What are some of the strategies you use to help small business owners grow their brand? It all depends on the individual business. But in general, our strategies always begin with trying to get a better understanding of your customer and how they interact with your business. And then we’ll look at things like competitor data, so we know where your competitor offices and stores are and what their marketing efforts look like. So now we can do things like use our increased knowledge of your audience to conquest customers buying from your competitors – i.e. produce a really impactful business outcome. How important do you believe innovation is when it comes to the success of any business? The ability to move quickly and be adaptable is a must. If you’re content to stay still, you’ll quickly end up falling behind. Technology is progressing at an exponential rate - and every industry is affected. Business owners and entrepreneurs need to stop hiding away from the disruption coming from advances in technology and embrace the possibilities of innovation. How do you believe your past experience has helped you in your current role? Having a varied background across different media as well as a totally different degree (I studied Law) has helped me immensely. It’s given me a broader perspective on the world of business, and it’s helped develop my softer skills rather than any one specialism. In your expert opinion, what role does digital data play in the success of a small business? Honestly, I do think that making the most out of its data is the single thing that any small business can do to set itself up for success. Look at the examples across the globe of small businesses who have suddenly become very big and successful – they are disrupting

traditional larger businesses. The reason they can do this is because they’ve used their own data in really interesting and useful ways to know their customers better and improve the customer experience. What would you say is the most challenging part of marketing for business owners and how can MiQ help entrepreneurs overcome those challenges? The most challenging part of marketing can be the overwhelming amounts of data that we currently have access to. Entrepreneurs and most business owners still don’t understand the true value of the data and what it can unlock for growth. What are the top three factors that can help entrepreneurs have a better marketing strategy for the growth of their business? You’re already sitting on heaps of data that will let you get to know your customers better. Collect it, use it, and look for other widely available data sets which can also impact your business Scrutinize data for meaning. Data should be informing your business decisions. An entrepreneur has to take risks, but data can help you take more calculated risks. Demand more of your marketing budget. Don’t just expect it to deliver media metrics – demand it helps you answer your business challenges – because it really can. What has been the biggest accomplishment in your professional life? Building a phenomenal high-performing team who are passionate, incredibly smart and ambitious. On a final note, we hear that you’re passionate about cooking. What is your favorite part about cooking that has you so passionate? It really relaxes me, and I love cooking for my family.

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CanadianSME Business Magazine June Edition