CanadianSME Small Business Magazine January 2022 edition

Page 1




Empowering Canadian Small & Medium Businesses Banking partner

Shipping partner

TRENDS THAT WILL DRIVE Small Businesses in


All Images, trademarks, service marks and logos referred to or appearing in this magazine are the property of their respective owners.

Black Entrepreneur of the Year



Hello readers! Happy New Year! Our January issue is finally here and it talks about the tough times small businesses and entrepreneurs have faced due to the pandemic in the past two years. Although we are now accustomed to the new normal, we cannot yet totally keep aside the ruthlessness of the virus in our lives. However, business owners need to keep up with the new trends in business. We, as a whole team, are excited to share with you all some of the most amazing content on small businesses and small business owners in Canada, and how the entrepreneurs have shown amazing zeal to keep up with the changes during the past two years. We have been striving hard to become the top small business monthly magazine in Canada. And we wish to offer all our readers just the right kind of strategies, ideas, inputs, tips, and tricks of doing business the right way. CanadianSME’s mission is to bring forth the best interviews and insights from the top small and medium business owners in the country. Our team has been working effortlessly to provide you all with the most valuable content related to different industries. And we are striving hard every day to deliver you the latest business trends so that you are well-informed about everything that’s happening in the business world of Canada. This month, CanadianSME is focused on showcasing the determination and courage of all the small business owners who have fought hard in the past years. We wish CanadianSME to be the perfect stage to portray the good works done by the small businesses and we are just here to help them shine with their accomplishments. Learn 6 Key Trends that Will Drive Small Businesses in 2022 and access exclusive content from Ricoh Canada The 5-step guide to breaking down business silos; As businesses grow bigger, silos become stronger . Read our exclusive interviews like “Entrepreneurs need to be prepared for disruptions in their industries” with Dr. Valentina Fomenko, Founder and CEO at Strategy DNA, Inc.; Managing Businesses Efficiently for an Exponential Growth with Tom Greenwood President and CEO, Evolve Business Advisory, Why Entrepreneurs Are Made, Not Born by By Christan Hiscock. We, at CanadianSME, trust in bringing forth the efforts of all such amazing entrepreneurs in Canada who are taking every day as a challenge and trying their best to reach where they actually belong – the top. Especially in the past two years, when the whole world was at a standstill due to the global pandemic, these small business owners didn’t lose hope and strived hard to march ahead with a lot of enthusiasm, passion, and positivity. We are here to address them our way, through our monthly magazine. We understand that the post-pandemic phase is going to be tougher for various small and medium enterprises to buck up and gear. And with the third wave currently shaking our bases once again, it’s tough to look at the positive side. So, with our magazine, we are here to make them aware of every tool and technology which could be mandatory for every business owner, big or small, to keep up with the industry trends. We hope that this month’s issue will provide you with the knowledge and information that you need to stay ahead of your competitors. Do not forget to subscribe to our magazine to get the latest trends and to stay up-to-date regarding all our events. Until next month, happy reading! All Images, trademarks, service marks and logos referred to or appearing in this magazine are the property of their respective owners. canadiansme canadian_sme canadiansme canadiansme

Editor & Publisher Shaik Khaleeluddin (SK) Consulting Editor Shiraz Siddique Creative Design Cmarketing Inc Client Manager Maheen Bari Social Media Cmarketing Inc Sales Abdul Sultan Shaik Photography Deposit Photos Web Cmarketing Inc

For Advertisements Cmarketing Inc 2800 Skymark Avenue, Suite 203 Mississauga, ON. Canada. L4W 5A6 Call us at 1-855-966-2995 / +1 416 655 0205

ISSN (International Standard Serial Number) ISSN 2562-0657 (Online)

Published by Cmarketing Inc 2800 Skymark Avenue, Suite 203 Mississauga, ON. Canada. L4W 5A6. Copyright © 2021 CMarketing Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part of any text, photography or illustrations without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. The contents in CanadianSME Magazine are for informational purposes only. Neither Cmarketing Inc, the publishers nor any of its partners, employees or affiliates accept any liability whatsoever for any direct or consequential loss arising from any use of its contents.

17 Going paperless: A cost-saving must-have in 2022 for any Canadian small business



Canadian Tech Startup Helps Charities keep up with our cashless society By Chris Greenfield Founder and CEO of tiptap


5 Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace By CanadianSME


Propagating a Mindful Bathing Ritual for Everyone! TikTok for small business

Helen Yin Co-Founder, onova


The evolution of Entrepreneurship


Access to influential networks within the entrepreneurship ecosystem Dr. Golnaz Golnaraghi Founder, Accelerate Her Future


The 5-step guide to breaking down business silos As businesses grow bigger, silos become stronger


6 Key Trends that Will Drive Small Businesses in 2022 By CanadianSME

98 The leaders in

Home Inspection since 1978 Alan Carson CEO & Founder of Carson Dunlop




Managing Businesses Efficiently for an Exponential Growth!

Ron Benegbi, Founder & CEO, Uplinq Financial Technologies

Tom Greenwood President and CEO, Evolve Business Advisory

Entrepreneurs need to be prepared for disruptions in their industries Dr. Valentina Fomenko Founder and CEO at Strategy DNA, Inc.

Dr. Valentina Fomenko is a business strategist and expert in helping organizations respond to rapid change, including the myriad strategic, organizational, and regulatory challenges related to ESG. As founder and CEO of Strategy DNA, a decision-support company at the intersection of opportunity, sustainability, and impact, Valentina helps startups, enterprises, and investors identify points of growth, predict disruptions, and adapt to market shifts.



Making Hijabs a Style Statement in Canada!


Making Baking a Passion for Living! Emma Hammon, Founder, HAMMOND BAKING CO.

Azelefa Khan Founder & CEO, Azelefa Co.


72 Get on TikTok and start growing your brand

Why Entrepreneurs Are Made, Not Born

Polly and James owners, Tastely Box

By Christan Hiscock


How on develop A Female-led Enterprise Andrea Oh CEO at MOVE Improve


Making Energy Efficiency the New ROI! Megan McCarthy President and Co-founder ROCarbon Labs



Marketing Appliances Better with TikTok

Power of building a Business Network

Corey McMullan

Anu Bidani

Retailer at McMullan

Founder and CEO

Appliance & Mattress

of STEM Minds

Small Business Of The Year UP TO 10 EMPLOYEES



News CFIB and Restaurants Canada issue open letter to Premiers calling for more business support amid Omicron fears SMALLBUSINESS

Blue Owl Capital Announces Launch of U.S. Direct Lending Capabilities to Canadian Investors

The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) and Restaurants Canada issued a joint open letter to all Premiers urging them to provide financial support to small businesses facing renewed lockdowns, restrictions and loss of business in the face of the Omicron variant. The full statement is copied below.

Canadian Premier enters agreement with Sun Life to grow association, affinity, and group creditor business


Doug Ostrover, CEO and CoFounder of Blue Owl said: “We are extremely excited to bring our direct lending solutions to a new market and offer Canadian investors access to one of the most attractive segments of private markets. In the current market environment, where yields are low and returns are difficult to find, our strategy can offer value for investors looking to generate income.


Canadian Premier Life Insurance Company (“Canadian Premier”) has entered into an agreement to acquire the sponsored markets business from Sun Life Assurance Company of Canada (“SLA”), a wholly owned subsidiary of Sun Life Financial Inc. (“Sun Life” or “SLF”). Sponsored markets include a variety of association & affinity, and group creditor clients.

Chamber Calls for Long-Term Plan and Enhanced Supports Amid Concerns about Omicron TRAVEL

Rocco Rossi, President & CEO, Ontario Chamber of Commerce, released the following statement in reaction to Canada’s travel advisory against non-essential travel and Ontario’s latest public health measures announced this week in response to the Omicron variant.

09 - CanadianSME - January 2022

News Tax Tip – Filing your taxes on paper TAX

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) strives to help millions of Canadians with different personal situations to easily understand and manage their taxes. No matter how you decide to file, we’re committed to making sure you get the benefits and credits you’re entitled to.

GoDaddy Spotlights Small Businesses Overcoming Obstacles in Renewed ‘Unstoppable’ Campaign SMALL BUSINESSES

GoDaddy Inc. (NYSE: GDDY), the company that empowers

everyday entrepreneurs, launched the second phase of its marketing campaign that highlights the unstoppable spirit of small business owners.

Ontario Continues to Support Families and Businesses during COVID-19 Pandemic SMALL BUSINESSES

Employment in Ontario increased by 46,900 in

December, almost all of which are full-time jobs. Although today’s numbers are good news, they are tempered by the reality of a new COVID-19 variant. Our priority remains to protect the health of Ontarians and our economy and we are taking action to protect both

Hyundai Motor and Unity Partner to Build Meta-Factory Accelerating Intelligent Manufacturing Innovation INNOVATION

Hyundai Motor Company, the global mobility innovator, and Unity (NYSE: U), the world’s leading platform for creating and operating real-time 3D (RT3D) content, today announced at CES 2022 a partnership to jointly design and build a new metaverse roadmap and platform for MetaFactory.

10 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Entrepreneur of the year



6 Key Trends that Will Drive Small Businesses in 2022 By CanadianSME

The Covid-19 pandemic has made living an unpredictable endeavor for all of us. For

entrepreneurs, the upcoming year is all about a series of hope and emotions. Similarly, 2022 is

going to be a year of anticipation, fear, and worry. Why? You’d ask! The answer is, every small

business owner will tell you that they are looking forward to a better future but there’s a lingering worry in their hearts. It has been an

unprecedented year and a half, and the

pandemic has challenged small businesses, more than anything else, to think differently.

According to a survey by PNC, there has been a rise in the level of optimism for small business owners after the

vaccination drive. In the wake of Covid19, small businesses worldwide entered into a phase of despair and distress.

However, a lot of them are beginning to recover as new trends are emerging

under an all-new form of normalcy. Still, there are a number of other trends on

the horizon that small business owners need to check out! Here are 6 key

trends that will drive small businesses towards success in the year 2022.

13 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Small Business

ENHANCED DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGIES Undoubtedly, digital marketing is here to stay! And believe it or not, small businesses are slowly

accepting the same. You, being a small business owner, need to embrace it as well. However, the

trend will also not replace traditional, face-to-face

interactions. However, there has to be a perfect mix between the two. With digital marketing, you will be

able to better market your products and services in less time. In 2022, digital marketing trends are sure to skyrocket. Gartner’s 2021 marketing report has

also suggested that many businesses will fall on the budget-friendliness of digital marketing in order to grow their revenue and sales in 2022.

ADOPTION OF SAAS Small businesses are often facing the challenge of

technological advancements. They lack the needed technology solutions and IT resources. Most of 2021 found businesses of all sizes have deployed technology for empowering a disseminated

and individuals have realized that it is now more important than ever to look out for

blind spots in their strategies. Reports have also stated that around 77% of coaching

professionals have agreed to the fact that coaching will remain a huge part of

businesses. This, in turn, would fuel the

battle for online course hosting podiums.

Business owners are also trying newer things to train their employees and make them

more adept with the change in technologies.

workforce for meeting altering market trends and customer demands. Fortunately, this enthusiastic

shift to SaaS solutions has kind of leveled the field


against their larger counterparts. In 2022, it is said

Exhibiting emotional transparency and

that has allowed small businesses to better compete that small businesses would adopt SaaS solutions at a lightning speed. This is also because of the kind of affordability and flexibility attached to the lower subscription-based models. Whether it’s about

managing the remote employees, enhancing the overall customer experiences, or automating

workflow processes. Simply put, adopting SaaS solutions would mean getting more done.

intelligence will be crucial for small

businesses in the upcoming year. For

business owners, empathy would play a vital role in managing a team. The employeremployee relationship is vital to have a

strong ground for success. The deeper the understanding would be between the

entrepreneurs and their team members, the

better will be their work culture. Although it’s

BETTER TRAINING & COACHING OF EMPLOYEES The Covod-19 has given birth to better technologies as well. So, businesses will now focus more on

coaching and training their employees for a better work environment. Over the past year, businesses

14 - CanadianSME - January 2022

not necessary to learn about the entire

situation that an employee might be facing,

the employer should at least recognize their behaviors and address them well. Small business owners should make genuine

efforts to show concern to their employees and them feel included.

Small Business

IMPLEMENTING AI Today, a lot of Artificial Intelligence (AI) systems

perform tasks that are usually meant for humans. This has even raised a lot of questions related to the job

security of the employees. However, as a small business owner, you need to find the right balance between human intelligence and AI machines. You should

incorporate AI in your day-to-day business essentials and make your employees better equipped with the change. In order to include automation in your workforce, you need to train your employees

accordingly. So, you need to evolve the nature of your work to better introduce AI and machine learning in your business in 2022.


Networking is a big trend that you cannot afford to

miss. Small businesses should enhance their efforts and strategies by collaborating and connecting with other businesses instead of going solo. Networking will earn your business referrals from industry players. You will

get to learn more about market perspectives, tap into other businesses’ experiences and shape up and improve your business game. Competition is

unavoidable at this stage and one of the biggest ways to spreading your wings would be to network with likeminded people. Meet your competitors, join webinars,

participate in small business award functions. Basically, try everything to collaborate and network with your fellow business owners in order to drive business growth.

SUMMING IT UP Now that you are aware of these top 6 business trends for 2022, it will be easier for you to gauge success for your small business in Canada. Based on the trends

that we’ve shared above; you can expect your business

to see some considerable growth in the upcoming year.

15 - CanadianSME - January 2022

To know more about small businesses in Canada, do not forget to subscribe to our monthly CanadianSME Small Business Magazine.

Best Business Innovation



Going paperless: A cost-saving must-have in 2022 for any Canadian small business Every day, small and mid-sized businesses that rely

It’s a long list of challenges to overcome, and

unnecessary costs, and productivity challenges

of hours and labour costs related to creating

on documents to power their operations face risk, that impact their day-to-day, which can include: The inability to access information easily, quickly and efficiently Processing contracts or delivering services that rely on paper

Losing (or finding) physical documents and receipts Maintaining data security Dealing with IT distractions Meeting the needs of work from anywhere employees Increasingly rising costs due to inflation

we haven’t even talked about the thousands and maintaining these documents every year...

With many workplaces no longer needing to

be a central location, many business owners and small teams are finding it harder than ever to do their work the way they always have without the right technology. At the

same time, standing still is the same as taking a step backward.

While small businesses recognize the

importance of digitization – or document

management – many haven’t yet taken the important and necessary steps because:

Small Business 1)Solutions are often designed for large organizations and are expensive

2)It can be overwhelming to implement change: both in cost and in effort

3)They lack technical expertise, understanding and support

When these obstacles are removed, most Canadian

SMEs are well-positioned to get the most out of their

technology investments, information, and employees. However, the challenge – until now – has been for

providers to deliver a solution that didn’t only solve

Ricoh is excited to announce that, in

collaboration with DocuWare (a wholly-

owned Ricoh subsidiary), we have designed a solution specifically for Canadian small and mid-sized businesses like yours.

THE SOLUTION Ricoh’s Document Management Foundations package is an all-in-one cloud document management solution that turns paperbased processes into digital ones while

allowing for the automation of repeatable tasks and workflows.

for one isolated business process or need (think: just

It combines everything business owners

change, providing an immediate impact on the day-

adopting a technology solution for a team,

accounts payable or just contracts) while justifying to-day operations and delivering a quick return on investment.

need to feel confident and secure about department or their entire organization.


Professional Services

Could your business use cost savings like this to redeploy staff and eliminate the headache of having to hire more staff to deal with everyday operational ‘gotchas’?

18 - CanadianSME - January 2022



Small Business In as little as 1-week you can:


Access digital versions of your paper documents anywhere, anytime, and from any device

1)Set up virtual filing cabinets according

Spend less time searching for files by storing documents in a centralized repository

2)Digitize paper documents into

Simplify & accelerate the processing of incoming documents using Intelligent Indexing to automatically capture, sort, digitize and store your data securely in the cloud

service, or even operations)

Secure business-critical information with multiple layers of redundancy Provide better data accuracy and controlled document access to relevant staff, stakeholders, departments, and even business partners. Reduce operational costs due to: Storage costs

Copying and printing costs Staff time Business process costs

to business process

electronic forms to be stored

accordingly (accounting, HR, sales,

3)Leverage pre-configured forms and templates to automate workflows like

invoices, contracts or sales proposals, time off requests, and importantly: secure document archiving

4)Act as an engine for future timesavers and affordable business

accelerator add-ons like electronic signatures, invoice processing,

employee management, and many more

Security and disaster recovery costs

HOW IT WORKS Foundations is a turn-key solution that can be deployed in 5 just days. Ricoh’s Professional

Services team will work with your team to get you up-and-running - without hassles or headaches. If your business is still relying on paper-based

processes in areas like accounting, HR, sales, or even

Talk to us to learn more about Ricoh’s

easier, faster, and better.

package for small business.

operations, then it’s time for a change to something

19 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Document Management Foundations

Digital & E-Commerce Business Of The Year



Advice for Small Business Owners for 2022 The new year is a good time to reflect on what small

businesses have been through and where they would like to go. It is time to celebrate the success of the past year and free themselves from adversity and troubles. It's time for optimism. This gives small

business owners the right to be bold and ambitious

about the future since this year is the time for them to think big. Entrepreneurs are up for ideas that will steer innovation, create jobs and have a positive impact on communities. Small businesses have been, and will always be, the engine that has propelled Canada forward.

In light of the above, successful business leaders from across Canada have a special message for small

businesses in Canada. A lot can change when you're just starting out as an entrepreneur and while there

are no one-size-fits-all solutions or answers on how

best to go about doing your thing, we thought it might be helpful if these high achieving individuals were

able to say something specific - some advice for how

you can make it through these trying times as a startup entrepreneur with success!

Innovate, Pivot, Adapt Over the course of the pandemic, Canada’s SMEs have stepped

up for the health and safety of their communities, continuing to innovate, adapt, and pivot in order to provide goods and

services to Canadians, from coast to coast to coast. As we look to 2022, I know our nation’s SMEs will continue to step up, both in the face of new challenges and fantastic new opportunities alike. Our recovery will be dependent on you, and the good

work of CanadianSME magazine which will continue to provide resources, guidance, and a community for Canadian entrepreneurs and small businesses to thrive.

Hon. Mary Ng, P.C., M.P.

Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development From promoting Canada to the world as a great place to do business to help our entrepreneurs and businesses stay competitive and access new markets to ushering in an inclusive and sustainable recovery from COVID-19 – Minister Ng is focused on helping Canadians succeed. First elected the Member of Parliament for Markham–Thornhill in April 2017, Minister Ng was first appointed to Cabinet in July 2018 as Minister for Small Business and Export Promotion. After being successfully re-elected in September 2021, she became Canada’s Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business, and Economic Development. Prior to serving as a Member of Parliament, Minister Ng worked in government provincially in Ontario and federally including as Appointments Director for the Prime Minister. As well, she worked as Executive Director for the President of Ryerson University where she oversaw the creation of a world-leading business incubator for tech start-ups. Throughout her 20 years of public service, Minister Ng has been a devoted community leader with a focus on creating jobs, fostering entrepreneurship, and empowering small businesses to innovate and grow. 22 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Small businesses are essential to Canada’s recovery and growth After nearly two years of the pandemic in Canada, two years of lockdowns and sacrifice, small

businesses remain a shining example of the resilient spirit that is the fuel of Canada’s economic engine.

Despite facing a disproportionate amount of hardship in the wake of COVID-19, it is also the ingenuity and hard work of Canadian small businesses and their

employees that have carried us to a point that we

can cautiously begin to peer beyond the pandemic and set our sights on the future.

Many of you have fought tooth and nail to weather

the storm, and it is your passion and dedication that fills us at the Canadian Chamber with hope and

renewed energy as we forge ahead into 2022. While

we know it may take years for your balance sheets to fully recover from the pandemic’s worst economic

impacts, we will work tirelessly to support your path to recovery. When the business community comes

together, there can be no doubt that we will succeed in putting the economic damage of the pandemic

behind us and continue down the road to sustained, inclusive economic recovery.

Small businesses are at the heart of communities from coast to coast to coast. You are essential to

Canada’s recovery and growth, and we will continue to work to provide the support, tools, and resources you need to keep Main streets across the country vibrant and flourishing.

On behalf of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, I look forward to working with you to build a brighter, more prosperous future for all Canadians.

Perrin Beatty President & CEO Canadian Chamber of Commerce The Honourable Perrin Beatty is the President and Chief Executive Officer of the 200,000-member Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canada’s largest and most representative national business association. Prior to joining the Canadian Chamber in August 2007, Perrin was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME). A descendant of one of Canada’s most prominent manufacturing families, Perrin grew up in Fergus, Ontario, and graduated from the University of Western Ontario in 1971. Perrin was first elected to the House of Commons as a Progressive Conservative in 1972. During his 21 years in Parliament, he served as Minister in seven different portfolios, including Treasury Board, National Revenue, Solicitor General, Defence, National Health and Welfare, Communications,

23 - CanadianSME - January 2022

and External Affairs.

CFIB - with small business owners 24/7

We’ll be working hard to get the economy back to normal by

pushing for reduced restrictions and improved government

support programs until the economy is fully open.

If no one else has said it to you recently, thank you.

Thank you for everything you’re doing to keep your business, staff, and community going during these incredible times.

We are also working hard to

address other important issues like higher payroll taxes, rising

costs, and the shortage of labor.

These haven’t been easy days for business owners. And,

with governments and public health officials issuing fresh warnings and restrictions over Omicron, the challenging times are clearly not behind us.

Many Canadians see busy streets or busy parking lots and jump to the conclusion that things are back to normal for

small businesses. This may be true for some, but for a huge chunk of Canada’s small business community, things are

nowhere near back to normal. According to data from the 95,000 members of the Canadian Federation of

Independent Business (CFIB), only 36 percent of small firms are back to normal levels of sales.

I want you to know all of us at CFIB are in your corner. We’ll be working to ensure you have our support to get through

the months ahead. We’ve taken 140,000 calls from members like you since the pandemic began and have the capacity to serve even more in 2022.

Dan Kelly President and 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). In this capacity, Dan is the lead spokesperson and advocate for the views of the Federation’s 110,000 small and medium-sized member businesses. Dan has served on dozens of provincial and federal committees and task forces and has represented Canada’s small businesses at the International Labour Organization in Geneva. He currently serves on Finance Canada Payments Consultative Committee (FINPAY) and the Canadian International Trade Tribunal Advisory Committee. Dan is a regular speaker in Canada and around the world on topics like international trade, the payments industry, and skills and labour shortages.

2021 was CFIB’s 50th anniversary – and while I didn’t have much time to reflect on our history, I am

incredibly proud to be leading an incredible team dedicated to

supporting small businesses at this incredible time.

Place employees at the centre of the conversation Hybrid work is here to stay. In 2022, hybrid work will continue to inform how businesses are run, no matter the size. With increased productivity,

improved employee satisfaction and growing

employee demand for flexible workplaces, hybrid

work is the way of the future – but it won’t look the same for everyone. Hybrid work is not a one-size-

fits-all approach. For small businesses to effectively navigate the modern workplace, it’s critical that

leaders tailor a hybrid work model that works for their business, employees, and customers.

Shannon Leininger President of Cisco Canada As President of Cisco Canada, Shannon proudly leads a diverse and innovative organization that consistently ranks among Cisco’s top markets globally and acts as a proving ground for some of the company’s most advanced and leading-edge technologies. She is an innovative, entrepreneurially minded leader with a long-term view on vision and strategy who believes that great results come from careful planning. Shannon believes that in order to help Canadian organizations accelerate their digital journey, there must be a commitment to solution innovation, world-class technology architectures, and a relentless dedication to mission success.

To do so successfully, SMBs need to put employees at the centre of the conversation. Leaders should

invest the time to speak with their teams and define what new ways of working will mean for their small business, the physical spaces they operate in and how it can become part of their work culture.

In addition to the voice of the employee, hybrid work models need to be underpinned by strong

technology that allows for safe and secure

communication, collaboration and connection. This is core to driving an inclusive and productive work experience for all employees, whether they work

from home, the office, the car or the coffee shop. Small business owners must ultimately take the lead and role model the type of culture, behaviour and

practices they want to see employees adopt. Doing so will instill confidence in the team that they really do have a flexible work environment and help ease the transition to hybrid work.

Embracing hybrid work is a key operational and cultural shift to ensure that businesses can keep up with the demands and expectations of the modern workplace. SMBs have an opportunity to move nimbly to adopt these practices and reinforce them as the way forward this year.

25 - CanadianSME - January 2022



New year, new investments The new year provides a great opportunity for small and

medium enterprises (SMEs) to consider potential futurefocused investments. Companies of all sizes are

increasingly embracing digitalization to reduce costs,

increase productivity, and enhance customer service and the user experience. This shift has been significantly

accelerated as a result of COVID-19 and shows no sign of slowing down. Customers and clients now expect more

seamless, accessible, and responsive digital interactions at all times.

For SMEs in particular, digitalization can help them

compete by driving their growth potential, reducing labour

costs, and creating leaner internal processes. Digitalization can provide enhanced access to information, which

ultimately helps these organizations grow and scale faster. In Deloitte’s Catalyst 2030 report, we share how SMEs

require not only innovation, but also investments in digital infrastructure including data, AI, automation, cloud

software, and other technologies and tools to improve

Duncan L. Sinclair Chair of Deloitte Canada & Chile Duncan Sinclair is the Chair of Deloitte

productivity. However, making the shift to digital business

Canada and Chile, and a member of the Deloitte Global Board. Throughout his 32-year

is lagging in making these investments. Even before the

career, Duncan’s professional activities include serving public and private global

requires investment both in time and money, and Canada pandemic, Canadian businesses trailed behind their global counterparts in software investment by a considerable margin - Canada is 5.2 percent behind the US in this

respect. Canadian businesses are also more likely to report slowing down their investment in AI due to perceived cyber risks, compared to their global counterparts.

For the new year, my advice to small and medium-sized

business owners is to start taking the necessary steps to make the investment now and to be careful when

evaluating and selecting technologies and vendors to

provide long-term and sustainable solutions. Companies

that fail to keep up with technological advancements such as these may find themselves obsolete and simply unable to compete in the future.

This cannot be the sole responsibility of entrepreneurs;

government participation, through funding and access to digital training and tools, is also key to ensuring that our SMEs continue to thrive and that we build a competitive and resilient future economy.

businesses in the mining, telecommunication, consumer business, manufacturing, real estate, and construction industries, as well as national and regional governments. Duncan is passionate about developing those around him and building a better future for Canada and Chile. Duncan currently serves as Chair of the Long Term Investment Organization and sits on The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation Board of Directors.

Creating Canada's Entrepreneurial Community Despite the tremendous disruption Canadian

businesses continued to face in the last year,

we’ve seen an inspiring show of entrepreneurial spirit, innovation, and sense of community as

business owners relentlessly looked for ways to

turn ambiguous challenges into new opportunities. Rallying the support of Canadians, and providing entrepreneurs with resources to help them start, adapt and grow will be critical to keeping this

spirit, determination, and growth mindset alive as

businesses continue to navigate the uncertainties of an evolving pandemic that we had all hoped would be in the rear-view mirror by now.

Looking forward to 2022, Canadian SME Magazine is focused on doing just that, and it’s one of the many reasons why RBC is proud to partner with them this year as the Exclusive Banking Partner

Don Ludlow

Vice President, Small Business, Strategy & Partnerships at RBC

Sponsor. Successfully building toward a postpandemic future of greater inclusion and

economic resilience will require us to tap into the diverse talent, learnings, and perspectives that have always been at the heart of Canada’s

entrepreneurial community. Through Canadian SME Magazine’s rich editorial content, events,

podcasts, and recognition programs, we endeavor to create that diverse community where valuable stories, insights, and relationships can be shared with fellow entrepreneurs to support their growth journey.

In doing so, we’re excited to showcase all the ways in which small businesses are making a big

impact on our innovative potential and economic prosperity as Canada looks to emerge from this pandemic, stronger than ever.

28 - CanadianSME - January 2022

As the Vice President of Small Business, Strategy & Partnerships at RBC, Don provides strategic oversight and leads a team that is responsible for delivering marketing-leading solutions, partnerships and client experiences that go beyond traditional banking to help Canadian entrepreneurs successfully start, manage and grow their business. Don also manages the development of RBC’s strategy for the broader Business Financial Services portfolio, including the group’s client experience, CRM (client relationship management) and data analytics strategies.

Work together with your partners to foster new ideas 2021 was another year of uncertainty and challenges,

overshadowed by your resiliency and determination. While uncertainty may remain in this new year, as the backbone of our Canadian economy you have already shown your ability to adapt and overcome.

Many consumers have made online shopping their new

norm and there is no doubt that Canada is now leading the charge in e-commerce growth. Within the past decade,

retail e-commerce was progressing overall retail growth but now, the pandemic has added rocket fuel to surge it ahead by many years.

Shifting online and global supply chains continue to be a priority for our small and medium-sized businesses and this will not slow down in 2022. We, at UPS, share these

priorities with you. I urge you to ask questions and work

together with your partners to foster new ideas and look for

Paul Gaspar

opportunities for growth.

Director, Small Business,

We continue to look back at this past year to learn and

Paul Gaspar was appointed director

remember what we did right and what we can work on to

do better. This exercise is something we all should do, while always keeping an eye on what potential opportunities are

next. As I look back, I think of all the great stories that have come our way on how our customers have adapted, much better and stronger than they were before. They have become an unstoppable force who will not rest but continue to get better with our help.

Our focus will continue to be to offer services and support for your business. We will be present at events, webinars and wherever our Canadian businesses need us to be. Our team is always here to help and answer any questions you have. Visit to connect to one of our UPS Ambassadors whose purpose is to assist with your business needs.

I wish you great success, good health, and happiness in 2022 and beyond and thank you for all that you do.

29 - CanadianSME - January 2022

UPS Canada of small business for UPS Canada in 2011. He is responsible for educating and informing small businesses about the customized services, technologies and innovations available to them at UPS. He works with a team of small business ambassadors who help communicate how to better leverage UPS tools to help them grow and expand both domestically and internationally. Paul’s 29-year career with UPS began in 1991 in operations. Through several roles and responsibilities Paul’s appetite for working with small businesses and educating them on the opportunities available in other markets grew. He soon realized that through his growing network of entrepreneurs, and the focused learnings of SME global supply chains, that he had a wealth of knowledge he can share to improve the success rate of businesses looking to scale and go global.

Young Entrepreneur Of The Year



Embracing collaboration and innovation is the key “Canada’s small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Canadian economy, employing more than 10

million people across the country. As a non-profit organization

in the unique position of building bridges between industry and academia, Mitacs recognizes the importance of collaboration and partnership to find new ways of boosting productivity for better results. As Canada’s small- and medium-sized

enterprises (SMEs) navigate significant challenges, including

the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mitacs is committed to

John Hepburn

growth in Canada. Last year, by partnering with the federal

CEO of Mitacs

creating opportunities that drive innovation and economic

government and provincial and territorial governments across the country, we created 17,000 internships that provided students and postgraduates with valuable professional

experience and allowed SMEs facing financial barriers to access competitive talent at an affordable cost. Since the beginning of the pandemic, more than 2,000 businesses – about 70 percent of which are SMEs – partnered with Mitacs for the first time.

With academic expertise in Chemistry and Physics, coupled with formative training in both Canada and the USA that has led to an academic research career in three different countries, John Hepburn deftly

With $708 million of funding announced by the Government of

Canada in last year’s budget, Mitacs is poised to provide even more innovative internships and build more collaborations in the coming years. As provinces and territories continue to

reopen, Canada’s SMEs will be critical in ensuring the success of Canada’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. At

Mitacs, we will be there to support them in any way we can. To show our commitment, we are once again offering significant

price reductions to SMEs that access our programs. As students and post-graduates from across the country helped countless SMEs pivot and adjust their strategies during the toughest

months of the pandemic, Mitacs is dedicated to providing them with the talent and expertise they need to innovate and grow. We understand the challenges that small businesses face especially at this crucial moment and that they might not

always know where to turn or how to overcome them. We are

living in unprecedented times and embracing collaboration and innovation is more important than ever. That’s where Mitacs comes in. I’d like to invite all SMEs to learn more about our

programs and let Mitacs help find the next great idea.” - John Hepburn, CEO of Mitacs.

31 - CanadianSME - January 2022

navigates uncharted waters. Having taken the helm at Mitacs just one month before the COVID-19 lock-down, he has led the Canadian not-for-profit in fostering growth and innovation by solving business challenges with research-based solutions. During this unprecedented time of COVID-19, John has overseen the development of new initiatives that support economic resiliency. Enabled by connecting Canada’s talent pipeline of highly qualified personnel with industry to deliver data-driven innovations, these Mitacs initiatives and internships address global challenges to deliver solutions for cleantech, pandemic preparedness, and food security to name just a few.

Make 2022 a year of gratitude. Change is an opportunity and 2022 will continue to be a

year of great change. We may start a return to normal or

adapting to covid might be continuing as the new normal. We have seen many climate disruptions – floods where

there were none before, record high temperatures in some places, drought, forest fires, etc. The disruptions in the

supply chains have been unprecedented. The number of

refugees and climate refugees will only continue to climb. It all sounds depressing…but it is not for entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurs thrive on change. We find things we can do

based on the changes. There are business opportunities in this change.

It might sound opportunistic (and it is) that Danby sells

window and portable air conditioners. We sell fridges and freezers – both in high demand when people are

concerned about the food supply. We sell dehumidifiers.

Jim Estill

from the air but for covid too. Danby will profit from the

President & CEO, Danby Appliances

concerned with the macro environment and what is

Jim Estill is CEO of Danby Appliances.

We sell air purifiers – not only good for cleaning smoke current situation. That does not mean we are not happening.

Now is the time for all ethical businesses to take a stand

and do the right thing. We can all do a little more to help reduce our impact on the environment. No action is too

small. Every time you purchase you are voting with your

dollars. Use your buying power to support companies that help the world.

Small businesses can move faster than larger ones. Small businesses tend to be more entrepreneurial. There has

never been a better time to be a small business (which is why even Danby has to act small).

In the past few years, I have learned the secret to

happiness. That is “Be grateful for what you have. Not

ungrateful for what you may have lost and not ungrateful

for what other people have”. Make 2022 a year of gratitude.

Danby Appliances is a niche manufacturer of specialty appliances, which manufactures and distributes over 2,000,000 appliances per year. Jim Estill is leveraging his tech background to create new markets and products for Danby such as the Danby Parcel Guard. Jim is a Canadian technology entrepreneur, executive, and philanthropist. He started his first computer distribution business from the trunk of his car while in university and grew that business to $2 Billion in sales. Jim has invested in, mentored, and advised over 150 technology companies including Blackberry.He joined their board before they went public and served for 13 years.

32 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Small businesses are cornerstones of our local economies and key to thriving communities—creating jobs, driving innovation, and generating wealth for us all.

Meanwhile our policy and advocacy priorities

have evolved in tandem with the crisis, providing timely and evidence-based analysis on pressing

issues including municipal financial sustainability, access to capital for small businesses looking to grow, strategies and resources for companies to address mental wellness in the workplace, and the systemic threat of climate change on

Ontario’s business community. Beyond this, we continue to inform and influence public policy

Faced with a host of unprecedented challenges throughout the pandemic, some businesses are still struggling while others have thrived. Some used the crisis as an opportunity to pivot their business models and grow, while others have constantly been on the brink of closure. As Ontarians, we should all be concerned about the thousands of small businesses overwhelmed by cash flow constraints and uncertainty as the impacts of the pandemic continue to hobble the economy. Our own survey data suggests business confidence in Ontario’s economic outlook had improved significantly in Fall 2021 from last year’s record low. However, labor shortages, supply chain issues, rising inflation, the Omicron variant, and further restrictions are dampening that initial optimism. Still, we look to this New Year with hope and optimism. As part of our continued commitment to the business community and to support regional economic recovery, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce offers a variety of programs and resources to our members. Together with our network of chambers across the province, we delivered a Shop Local program to encourage Ontarians to support local small businesses. Our Student Work Placement Program (TOP) supports businesses with their talent needs and provides students with work-integrated learning opportunities. Our work with the Discover Ability Network continues to supply resources and training for businesses to become more inclusive.

decisions with our councils on critical files such as health, infrastructure, cannabis, energy, and workforce development.

Together with 157 member chambers of

commerce and boards of trade and our network’s diverse 60,000 members, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce is the indispensable partner of

business. In 2022, we will continue working with

our members to advance business prosperity and support small business across the province.

Rocco Rossi President and CEO Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC)

“A successful entrepreneur and business executive, champion fundraiser, and dedicated public servant, Rocco Rossi joined the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) in 2018 as President and CEO. Prior to joining the OCC, Rossi most recently served as President and CEO of Prostate Cancer Canada where he helped to advance the research, advocacy, education and awareness of the most common cancer in men. Mr. Rossi also served as CEO of Heart and Stroke Foundation – one of Canada’s largest nonprofit organizations – overseeing consecutive years of record fundraising combining for over $600 million in total and launching many new, life-saving initiatives.

33 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Wishing you all a bright and promising start to 2022. The new year is an opportune time to reflect on the

path we’ve been on and to consider where we want to go. It’s a time to celebrate the past year’s

success and move on from the hardships and challenges.

It’s a time for optimism. It gives us a license to be

ambitious and bold about the future. It’s a time to think big—and we as a society need big ideas

more than ever. Ideas that will drive innovation,

that will create jobs, that will positively impact our

communities. Small businesses have been and will continue to be the engine that drives us forward.

Colin McIsaac Vice President and General Manager, Lenovo Canada

As Vice President and General Manager of Lenovo Canada, Colin is responsible for sales, operations, culture, strategy and customer satisfaction of the region. He has overall P&L responsibility for Commercial, SMB and Consumer products through all major routes to market. Colin’s 23 years of experience spans multiple roles, opportunities, and experiences in the technology business. He has held numerous key leadership positions in both Canada and the US at both Lenovo and IBM. He is passionate about driving broad market engagement and has a strong desire to help enable the customer journey to successful business outcomes. Colin has a Bachelor of Commerce degree from the University of Toronto, Canada and sits on the Board of the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) and First 34 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Robotics Canada.

Go into 2022 supporting the businesses around you Small Businesses in Canada are without a doubt the backbone of the economy, making up 98% of all

Canadian businesses. Creating relationships, supporting one another, and helping the growth of your

local business is important for success and growth for everyone. 2021 has been a rough year for many and that may continue into 2022, but sticking together and supporting one another is how we all succeed and grow.

As we all move into the new year, take time to look back on 2021 and reflect on your hardships, your

successes, and the growth you have experienced yourself and in your business. Learn from both your success and your mistakes, and move forward with that experience and knowledge to grow.

With 2022 potentially being a hard year for many once again, think about how you can support your own business; your employees. What support do your employees need to do their best, what support do they want? When people feel supported and looked after, stress levels drop, and productivity rises. Go into 2022 supporting the businesses around you, and everyone helping those businesses thrive with their hard work.

Shawn Leslie Founder and CEO of The Leslie Group Shawn Leslie is a recognized expert and thought leader on North American employee benefits and retirement issues. Shawn is the Founder and CEO of The Leslie Group, an employee benefits, and group retirement consultancy with offices across Canada. The Leslie Group is also a founding member of The Benefit Advisors Network (BAN) in Canada with offices across the United States. For over 35 years, Shawn has been advising government, trade groups, multinational corporations, SMEs, and entrepreneurs on how to provide best-in-class, best-in-value coverages for employees and their families.

The future is ‘phygital’ 2021 was particularly tough on retailers and with the ongoing uncertainty of rolling lockdowns, supply chain shortages and

price inflation, many have struggled to deal with the economic fall-out from the pandemic. However, retailers that embrace innovation and create a seamless connection between the physical shopping experience and digital technologies are more successful in navigating the negative impacts of the

pandemic. And let’s face it, with no real end to this pandemic in sight, the future of retail is ‘phygital’.

Here are three things retailers can do to adopt a ‘phygital’ model in 2022: 1. Retailers need to simulate the tangible shopping experience online

Katie Bolla Partner, Customer and Digital Experiences, Greater Toronto Area (GTA) Consumer and Retail Industry Lead at KPMG

Katie is passionate about designing, building, and activating innovative customer experiences and helping clients transform to become more customer-centric and digitally enabled. She is a seasoned facilitator, aligning multiple stakeholders around a common vision and transformation path to propel future growth. She combines strategy, innovation, market insight, co-design stakeholder sessions, creative design, and digital solutions to bring clients’ customer vision to life through front-office transformation

by adopting new technology like virtual reality (VR) dressing rooms with augmented reality (AR) and artificial intelligence (AI) so

consumers can see what an outfit looks like without physically trying it on. Having a personal virtual shopping assistant or chatbot is also a great way to provide that in-store shopping advice and replicate the browsing element of in-store shopping by using AI to provide

customized curated recommendations. That is where data comes in. 2. Utilize data and information along with AI and machine learning to provide a personalized shopping experience that caters to individual consumers’ expectations and needs. These interactions will also create insights that will help retailers reduce returns and make

smarter inventory decisions. For example, one person’s experience

(items, offers, and ads) would be completely different from that of another on the same site. It can even be taken to the next level so that when a consumer visits a brick and mortar location their preferences are already known by the consultants.

3. Finally, while the autonomous vehicle or drone delivery is in our not-too-distant future, for 2022 recreate that instant shopping

gratification which can be mimicked by leveraging last-mile delivery from the store through third-party delivery apps, so consumers can receive their package in hours as opposed to days. These services could also be utilized to process returns.

By going ‘phygital’ retailers are shortening the distance between screen and product, ultimately creating a more seamless, personalized, and enjoyable customer experience.

36 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Investing in yourself is investing in your business. After a challenging two years, it’s important for small business leaders to use January as an

opportunity to establish new personal routines

for the year ahead that can help set themselves, and their businesses, up for success. While there’s no silver bullet to managing your

wellbeing during these unpredictable times, it

may be helpful to identify key moments in your day that you can positively influence.

At Xero, we encourage both customers and

employees to take the time to intentionally build their best day at work. For example, pausing for self-reflection: what does an ideal day look like for you and how do you feel when you achieve it? Also, setting up your environment for

success: can include using sensory triggers to enter 'focus mode,' making routine work hours,

and switching off tech to separate yourself from work. You should also make time for energy

healthy, practicing mindfulness, staying active or keeping a regular sleep routine. Finally,

strengthen your interpersonal connections to increase team wellbeing overall.

Putting all of that into practice, let’s say you

know that this next month is going to be busy. Plan ahead by making time for socializing,

setting times for exercise, and prioritizing a

healthy diet. Connect with your team and share how you are going to implement recovery

moments in your day. Build accountability with one another.

While it may seem like you don’t have the time

to focus on tactics like the above with all of the other ‘to-dos’ you have on your list, the truth is that you won’t be able to do your best work if

you’re not prioritizing your own wellbeing. As a small business owner, investing in yourself is investing in your business.

We’ve always known that the road out of this

pandemic would be tough, but the resilience of small businesses across Canada has been

awe-inspiring. Regardless of what 2022 brings, I encourage everyone to use these techniques

to help build your best day at work for this year and beyond.

recovery, which can mean: eating

Faye Pang Canada Country Manager for Xero Faye Pang is the Canada Country Manager for Xero, the global small business platform with more than 3 million subscribers worldwide that are dedicated to making business beautiful. Faye brings nearly 15 years of experience building businesses from the ground up. Prior to joining Xero, Faye helped launch Uber Freight into the Canadian market. She also helped launch the Uber Eats app in Toronto in December 2015, scaling the business from 80 restaurants on launch day to 20,000 partners by the end of her tenure.

let’s stand together to uplift one another This year, we saw small businesses swiftly and confidently adapt to the times, implementing

curbside pickup, investing in an online store, and managing the supply chain to keep up with

shortages. All the while, GoDaddy continued to

adapt to the new normal alongside its customers. We worked closely with them to integrate

eCommerce capabilities and incorporate new

offerings like Marketplaces. We celebrated the rise of young “side hustlers” for Small Business Month.

And we reminded our customers of the importance of prioritizing self-care amid the chaos.

What we have all learned during this time is that

resilience, determination, and passion unite us. In fact, a GoDaddy survey earlier this year revealed that passion was the driving force behind millennial women starting their own small

businesses. Witnessing this passion firsthand from

so many entrepreneurs as they overcome obstacle after obstacle has been a true testament to the strength of the small business community.

The new year ushers in a renewed sense of hope and an opportunity to reflect on how far we’ve

come. To all the Canadian small business owners that have worked so tirelessly this year, I

encourage you to take some time to reset and

reflect on all the hard work you have put into your passion day in and day out.

In 2022, let’s stand together to uplift one another, nurture one another, and support one another in pursuit of our passions. GoDaddy is proud to

support and empower Canadian small business owners, like yourself, today and every day.

38 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Anne De Aragon Vice President and Country Manager, GoDaddy Canada

Anne De Aragon is the Vice President and Country Manager for GoDaddy Canada, the company that empowers everyday entrepreneurs. In this role, she is responsible for all GoDaddy operations in Canada, leading the charge on business strategy and growth. Throughout her tenure at GoDaddy, she has worked closely with Canadian small businesses to understand their needs to help them reap the benefits of having an online presence. Anne has also been a driving force behind GoDaddy’s partnership with the Toronto Raptors resulting in some of the most successful branding campaigns in the company’s history. This past year, she spearheaded the "Don't Stop Being Unstoppable" campaign, highlighting real Canadian small business owners and Olympian Andre De Grasse.

On a mission to help small business have safer online presence It’s been quite a year of ups and downs for all, and we are still very grateful for front-line businesses who have kept us going over this time. I am

incredibly proud of our customers who have prevailed and even thrived, despite it all.

It’s been a busy year for hackers, it seems, with

record breaches…apparently lockdown means they have even more time on their hands. Because of this, we are excited to announce our new

Anne Geng e

to the cyberattacks with a new line of amazing

CEO of Alexio Corporation

CyberSchool. We’re very excited to be responding training products built for SMB’s.

Anne is 2020 CDM ‘Most Innovative

Next year is going to see some more changes in

Woman in Cybersecurity’. She is a

As the world changes, we need to change too. But

Professional with a specialization

people have a safer online presence by teaching

certifications for HIPAA Security

and customer data.

years of experience, Anne knows

privacy legislation, but we’ll keep you up to date.

Certified Information Privacy

we’ve got your back, and we’re on a mission to help

in healthcare. She also holds

them to recognize and avoid risks to their personal

and PCI Compliance. With over 20 the challenges healthcare providers face with technology. She and her team at Alexio Corporation work with small businesses and healthcare professionals to minimize data risk and keep business systems running smoothly.

39 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Excellence in Data Privacy & Security



Digital Transformation is essential for business growth What a year it’s been! – I think we’re all looking

forward to new opportunities for togetherness with

our work colleagues, friends and extended family in 2022.

One thing’s for certain – the way we work has changed forever. Canadians and Canadian

businesses are strong, resilient and adaptable. In the past year, we’ve seen digital transformation

progress rapidly as the need to transition from inoffice work to a virtual setting has become the

norm. Small and mid-sized businesses I’m speaking to are finding themselves adopting extraordinary new ways to connect, communicate, collaborate,

and share information. Hybrid work environments

are here to stay and allow many teams like my own Virtual Sales Team to work smarter and more

efficiently while securely managing information and the evolving needs of customers.

The transition to digital transformation is an

important one, but let’s always strive to enable technology that puts people first. That means

understanding what it takes to empower people to do their jobs better and supporting the needs of customers. Things that help people share

information more easily. Things that make your life a little easier. Things like cloud-based tools and software that foster collaboration, streamline workflows and help people stay connected.

With over 85 years of imagining change at Ricoh,

we've learned a thing or two about changing with

the times – especially when it comes to workplace technology. If there’s one thing I’ve learned this

past year, it’s the importance of staying connected. Whether with family, clients or local businesses in

my neighbourhood, staying connected continues to make a difference in all our lives on a daily basis.

41 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Andrew Graham Vice President of Virtual Sales, Ricoh Canada With over 16 years of experience at Ricoh Canada, Andrew knows Canadian small businesses. As a champion of entrepreneurship and home-grown Canadian business, Andrew effectively translates this passion into empowering his team with the innovative technology Ricoh is known for so they can help our customers redefine work and transform their business. Through his visionary approach, thoughtful relationship-building, and quick-witted humor, as a business leader, Andrew brings a unique style of effectiveness that resonates with all who work with him. When Andrew isn’t busy advocating for and enabling digital transformation in Canada’s small to mid-sized businesses, he’s an avid follower of F1 racing and loves to travel.

Businesses should continue to innovate, experiment, and grow their audience I’m hopeful 2022 will be the year we regain a sense of

normalcy. We know that many Canadian businesses were forced to pivot online at the outset of the pandemic. But others were born out of the pandemic as digital-first

businesses - and they’ve given a generation of young

entrepreneurs the opportunity to transform their passions into livelihoods.

As a company, what we’re most excited for in 2022 and

beyond are the opportunities the metaverse will open up for businesses big and small. The metaverse will be an

immersive experience and is the next evolution of the

internet. Just as the shift from desktop to mobile created

Garrick Tiplady

with personalized experiences, so will the metaverse.

VP & Country Director, Meta in Canada

While many of the technologies we’re envisioning will take 5

Garrick Tiplady is a global business leader

new ways for businesses to reach people and provide them

to 10 years to be fully realized, businesses can start to

with twenty years of experience managing and advising businesses at innovative,

of the skills businesses are using today to grow will apply in

mission-driven companies. As Vice President and Country Director at Meta in

prepare for this future now. It’s important to note that many

the metaverse. Every business has now operated in a hybrid world of offline and online and that will still apply. The

metaverse isn’t about replacing in-person experiences; it’s about making what we do online better and more meaningful.

In the near term, the main way people will experience the

metaverse is through 2D apps, which will eventually evolve into more immersive, 3D experiences. First and foremost,

businesses should continue to innovate, experiment, and grow their audience through 2D apps because the

connections that they're building on these platforms now

are the building blocks for the experiences they will create

in the metaverse. Second, with the rise of digital commerce, businesses can start to imagine ways for people to

experience their products and brand as they would in a

bricks-and-mortar shop. Lastly, with AR/VR becoming more mainstream, businesses can experiment with AR filters and

ads, or virtual try-on options to help customers get a sense of the products from their homes. As we start off the new

year, I look forward to seeing what incredible contributions Canadian businesses make to building the metaverse. 42 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Canada, Garrick ensures that Meta is a positive contributor to Canada’s economic, social and cultural fabric. He leads the Canadian team with a longterm vision and a strong sense of purpose in all areas of the business - whether impacting the innovation agenda in Canada, working across industries with businesses both big and small, or building community at a global scale. Garrick is a strong advocate for the power of technology to enable small businesses and has been deeply involved with Meta’s efforts to support small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Build a strong online presence It’s been a bumpy few years for Canadians, navigating the effects of COVID-19. This rings particularly true for small

Tristan Lee Head of SMB Marketing, Google Canada

businesses, who employ 90% of our private sector, are the backbone of Canada’s economy, and had to find ways to

develop and scale their online presence in order to adjust to our new reality. We know that businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour were disproportionately

impacted - almost 80% of Indigenous business owners say Tristan is Google Canada's Head of Small and Medium Business Marketing. He and his team are dedicated to helping small and medium businesses embrace the power of digital to succeed in Canada and abroad. Prior to joining Google, Tristan spent 6 years in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble, leading marketing for a number of the company's health and beauty brands.

their revenue decreased by 30% (vs 68% of all businesses). As we enter a new year, we have an opportunity to build back a more inclusive and resilient digital economy.

Pre-pandemic, we saw only one in five businesses in the retail sector selling online. Now Canadian e-commerce has almost

doubled since 2019, making us the second fastest growing ecommerce market worldwide. In fact, through our ShopHERE powered by Google program, over 25,000 Canadian

businesses, 64% of which identity as women-owned and 33% of which identify as BIPOC-owned are now selling online.

The next step for small businesses is to think about how their business can grow sustainably, in such an ever-changing,

unpredictable environment. With 75% of Canadians spending

more time on the internet, small business owners need to both

actively manage their digital storefronts and continuously stay in touch with consumer behaviors. It’s more important than ever to show up where customers are searching.

To help more small businesses succeed in this increasingly

online world, we have a number of free tools and resources like Google for Small Business, Grow My Store, and Market Finder that help you optimize your online presence and marketing strategy in Canada and abroad.

I feel optimistic that 2022 is going to be a safe and prosperous year for Canada’s small business community and it’s

encouraging to see more and more business owners get on

board and really understand the opportunity that building an online presence can create. 43 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Technopreneur Of The Year



Maintain CX as a top priority for your business As we head into a new year, it is vital that we

By maintaining CX as a top priority for your

challenges overcome, and the many

changing expectations, you can ensure your

take stock of the year before and the many

opportunities that arose for innovations and strategies.

business and listening to your customer's

business will remain at the top of mind with the people that matter most to you.

With our country facing more challenges than

Beyond the general prioritization of CX, a couple

businesses in Canada are and how well they

business should keep focused on in 2022,

ever before - we have seen how resilient could adapt to a completely changed landscape.

Those who were able to embrace the many

changes within their industry and tackle the

new ways of working wholeheartedly with an openness for change found themselves

succeeding in ways they never believed

possible and opening up even more avenues

of other vital aspects stick out to me that including:

1. The pandemic has changed the fundamental nature of markets - namely customer

expectations and availability of talent - and

understanding those needs and adapting to

meet them will be essential for staying ahead of your competition in 2022.

for success in the future by positioning

2. As has been proven by the pandemic, Digital

the present.

and can no longer be simply a CIO's priority; it

themselves with technologies and strategies in

While the year ahead is filled with many

unknowns, I see a few key trends businesses should focus on to continue their success.

Firstly, despite the countless changes we have already seen and the many more we are still likely to see – customer service will always remain at the top of the list.

Transformation is now a necessity for businesses needs to be a CEO's priority too.

3. Businesses need to continue to optimize the

customer journey, and in 2022 that will result in them investing more heavily in self-serve and conversational experiences.

Here's wishing you and your loved ones a prosperous and blessed 2022!

Chandrashekar LSP Zoho Canada Evangelist Chandrashekar LSP (a.k.a LSP) is a senior

evangelist committed to creating and spreading awareness of Zoho. He cut his teeth in the

software domain with the WebNMS division of

Zoho. LSP holds a master's degree in information systems and applications.

Adapt quickly to change and foster supportive work environments If the past 22 months have taught us one thing, it’s that strength is not reflected by the size of a business, but

rather by the resilience - and the heart - of the people behind it.

Throughout the pandemic, we’ve continued to keep our finger on the pulse of Canada’s small business - the

keystone of our economy. With recent ADP Workplace Insights survey findings showing that 79% of small

businesses who reduced their workforce during the

pandemic have re-hired employees, it looks like 2022 is going to be the “Year of the Employee”.

We’ve also seen a shift in the priorities of Canadian

workers, with the pandemic leading many to re-evaluate what is truly important to them and their families - a

healthy work-life balance, closer workplace relationships, and flexible schedules.

With the ability to quickly adapt to change and foster supportive work environments that promote personal

relationships with both colleagues and business leaders, there’s been no better place in time than now, for the

Canadian small business to meet the needs of this reinspired labor force.

On behalf of ADP Canada, I’d like to thank Canada’s SME

community for their ongoing efforts in what has been an incredibly difficult time. Thank you for your creativity,

resilience, and inspiring commitment to all Canadians. Canadian small business is bouncing back. And with this

resurgence comes a unique opportunity for you to shape the future of work, and your community. With gratitude, Ed.

46 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Ed Yuen Vice President Strategy and HR Outsourcing, ADP Canada

Small Business Of The Year UP TO 50 EMPLOYEES



Cybersecurity is an opportunity to build resilience Over the course of the pandemic, small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) proved their adaptability and openness to new technology, allowing them to become more agile and focus on the things that matter most. The pace at which companies embraced new digital tools was remarkable and planted the seeds for future innovation and growth. Just as digital innovations opened doors for businesses, they also opened doors for cybercriminals. Cyberattacks increased during the pandemic, reinforcing the need for strong, dynamic security solutions – from VPNs and firewalls to securing end-point devices in a hybrid workplace. While complex, cybersecurity is an opportunity to build resilience into the core of small businesses. As we optimistically plan for a better year ahead, SMBs that put the right tools in place now will operate smarter, more securely, and invest in a brighter future.

Mary Ann Yule President & CEO at HP Canada Co. Mary Ann Yule is the President and CEO of HP Canada Co., a seasoned leader in the technology industry, with more than 20 years of experience. She is a trailblazer in innovative personal systems and printing technologies, including 3D printing, digital manufacturing, and related services and solutions. A leading technology company in Canada, HP is focused on creating technology that makes life better for everyone, everywhere while championing diversity, sustainability, and corporate responsibility in every community where it does business.

48 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Since joining in 2016, her proven track record of driving results continues to deliver breakthrough market outcomes across HP’s portfolio. Mary Ann is credited with establishing HP as the most sustainable technology company in Canada as well as one of Canada’s Best Diversity Employers. Mary Ann is committed to spearheading inclusive best practices both as the co-executive sponsor of the Global Young Employee Network at HP as well as a founding member of The Coalition of Innovation Leaders Against Racism (CILAR).

Visa - A longstanding partner to support Canada's small businesses It is undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic

means being nimble and capable of

small businesses in Canada. Yet, the struggles

landscape. This is a challenge but

has been an incredibly challenging time for

they have faced raised our awareness of this critically important sector. Small businesses are the backbone of local communities and

the Canadian economy, accounting for more

adaptation in a shifting consumer

must be seen as an opportunity to

compete in an incredibly competitive retail ecosystem.

than 98 percent of Canadian businesses and

Visa takes great pride in being a


businesses, with initiatives like the

nearly three-quarters of Canada’s

The pandemic hit this vital element of our

economy and society hard, but small business

owners have shown tremendous resilience over the past two years. They have had to adapt to a much-changed economic landscape – in a rapidly digitizing world, e-commerce has accelerated at a remarkable pace.

Customer demands have also changed with

longstanding partner to small

She’s Next Grant Program which

launched in Canada earlier this year. We are focused on providing the resources and support small

businesses need, and building

effective, easy-to-use tools that

support owners to ensure they not only survive but thrive in a postpandemic world.

more flexibility in payments offerings like

As we look ahead to 2022, we are

the customer experience. Small businesses

bounce back. The road ahead will be

installments adding a whole new dimension to need to stay aware of such trends and

constantly think through the purchasing journey.

As we look to a post-pandemic world, a

excited to see small businesses

challenging but Visa is committed to supporting our small business

partners every step of the way in the next year, and beyond.

significant driver of economic recovery will be

how quickly small businesses in Canada return to pre-pandemic levels – and that

Sarah Steele Senior Director, Small Business, Visa Canada

Sarah is an award-winning financial professional, with over 15 years of experience leading product strategy, complex projects, and thought leadership. Her accomplishments and experiences are varied, spanning the consumer and institutional groups, front and back office, consulting, and product management. As Senior Director of Small Business at Visa Canada, Sarah is responsible for the development and roll-out of Visa’s products, platforms, and resources in the Canadian marketplace.

Resiliency is the key for small business success Small businesses power our communities and fuel our local economies. Without them, we lose an

important part of the neighborhoods we call home. As we kick off 2022, we celebrate Canadian small

businesses and their many contributions. They have continued to demonstrate a remarkable ability to adapt and grow to service their customers in

unpredictable times. This past year has shown us the resilience of small businesses, and now more than ever, we will continue to support them as they

evaluate how technology can help fuel their new business norms.”

Mary Peterson Vice President of IT & Enterprise Solutions, Samsung Canada

Senior Sales and Business Development leader with proven accomplishments in Enterprise & SMB Sales, building High-performing Teams and delivering Top-producing results with Channel Ecosystems and Strategic Alliances. 50 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Ideas are seeds that materialize in the mind, and they tend to form quickly. Following that

sudden jolting flash, a need to research soon takes hold, research that often leads to

others who have had that same experience. Who had an idea, and went with it.

Founder stories are an important resource for deriving inspiration when beginning a

business journey. Underneath the headshot of a CEO, replete with beaming smile, is a

story of success, peppered with reflections on a few challenges confronted along the

way. They often fail to communicate just how bruising those challenges can be or how

Q&A WITH Ron Benegbi, Founder & CEO, Uplinq Financial Technologies

rewarding it is when they are finally conquered.

With that in mind, I hope to provide a different kind of story. Earlier this year I founded Uplinq Financial Technologies. Uplinq delivers a

comprehensive suite of analytics for small

business lenders globally, thus assisting them to make the most accurate lending

One of the most exciting events in an

entrepreneur’s journey towards building a

successful business is the very first one that

occurs. That moment – sitting in a downtown

coffee shop, standing at a bus stop, reading the Sunday paper when, out of nowhere, it hits… “I have an idea”.

decisions. Our platform allows lenders to gain insights on all SMBs in their portfolio

while supporting the underserved, unbanked,

immigrant and minority small business owner by providing insights on the global SMB

landscape that no other company worldwide can come close to offering.

Getting here wasn’t easy but it’s incredibly exciting to think about the impact we are

going to make by helping lenders change the lives of small business owners all over the world.

51 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Small Business

I’ve been very fortunate to date throughout my startup journeys. I’ve had a couple of

successful exits, a horrific flop (not perfect) and met some great people along the way.

Uplinq is the fifth startup I have been involved with. I thought my fourth would be the last. In early 2020, I was sitting in a local coffee shop in downtown Toronto called ‘Le

Gourmand’ when the person with me asked if I

was feeling ok. When I asked why, he said that I looked like I had seen a ghost and was turning pale. I said to him you don’t

understand, “I see a company”. That vision

turned into a company very quickly when I

assembled a team with two other fellow tech professionals to help me bring it to life.

What followed was months of rising tensions, poor communication, and

conflicting visions for the company’s

future. It culminated in me, having built the foundation for the business to

thrive, being unceremoniously informed my services were no longer required.

The manner in how things ended has

been especially painful for me and my

A lot of milestones were quickly achieved. We got the company to market in less than 90 days, brought in two highly credible and influential Clevel advisors, and subsequently went on to raise a Seed financing round 90 days post-market launch.

The scene was set for a great story to unfold, yet problems began to arise that form the

basis of the learnings I share with you here. At the core of the problem, I realized I had

gotten involved with people I didn’t know very well. In fairness, none of us knew each other

all that well and beginning such a journey at

the onset of a global pandemic made things all that much more difficult.

52 - CanadianSME - January 2022

family. Not being able to properly say goodbye to the employees, and the

investors and advisors who supported me left me feeling the process didn’t

allow me to walk out the door with any dignity. It wasn’t an easy pill to swallow.

Cast adrift, I began providing consultancy services for different tech businesses. Just as I was forging a new space for myself in the industry, I was contacted by my previous company and told to not pursue specific types of projects. Not only had I been barred from a company I had co-founded, but now my ability to earn a living in the industry I cared so much about was in question.

Small Business Despite having been mentally dented by the experience,

6. Building a good culture and a strong

everything I had and, today, I’m proud to announce our

from having empathy for people. As an

when the idea of Uplinq hit me, I pursued it with soft launch as a company and look forward to onboarding our first customer in early 2022.

company comes from kindness and

immigrant to Canada in the early 70’s,

my parents instilled such virtues in me at an early age. These core virtues

were further developed in my early 20’s through my military service. You can and must - be resolute, serious, and

willing to hold people to account, but The experiences I’ve had while working within startups

offered many lessons and my goal is to provide advice to

the many founders, or founders-to-be, out there. My hope is to share a few learnings so that you might potentially avoid any pitfalls I have made over the years.

1. Though honesty may see certain doors close in your

face, a staunch sincerity backed by unwavering ambition will be rewarded.

2. Invest in your reputational brand. These qualities

served me well when I found people who appreciated my candor and did their diligence on me and my body of

work over my 25+ years in startups, as I looked to raise capital for my latest venture.

3. Be brave - and armor-plate your bravery with

optimism. It may be that your idea doesn’t work out, but

it’s the empathy you demonstrate that

allows people to flourish, and that’s the

quality I look for in any person I engage with professionally.

7. Remember, it might not work and that’s ok. What isn’t ok is to let any regrets get the best of you. The mistakes I’ve made and the

experiences I’ve had are essential

components in what has allowed me to prosper. Rather than letting them

define me, I used them to become better and stronger.

8. Believe that you have the toughness and commitment to see things

through, no matter how difficult things may appear to be.

that doesn’t mean it’s the end. Remain strong-willed, resolute, and maintain a laser focus.

4. Do what you believe to be right but accept where your strengths lie, and where they don’t, improve your self-

awareness, and be willing to ask for help - it is not a sign of weakness.

5. Understand that the people you surround yourself with will be the difference between success and failure. My experiences have taught me that when you find good

people, you must allow yourself to believe in their spirit

and – essentially – develop a shared vision, grounded in values that align with that vision. It is vital that there is

that collective desire to want to do something together,

something that’s special; and that this desire be genuine and authentic.

53 - CanadianSME - January 2022

I hold no ill will towards my previous co-founders and hope they go on to build a successful company, one the industry can be proud of. Though we all face challenging situations and not every startup works out for all parties, I wake up every morning more excited than ever to get in front of the computer and start plugging away at my latest venture. Does that glass everyone always talk about? It really is half-full.

Canadian Tech Startup

Helps Charities keep up with our cashless society

By Chris Greenfield Founder and CEO of tiptap

The second holiday season of the pandemic is here, and more

Canadians are filling the streets again to enjoy the colorful lights and decorations, shop for gifts, and other festivities this time of

year has to offer. The spirit of the holidays also boosts Canadians’ giving nature. Charities across the country have been deploying

their volunteers to collect in-person donations, whether at popular shopping malls, holiday markets, or on the street.

The problem is, our society has been becoming increasingly digitized over the past few years, and the pandemic further accelerated a shift toward a cashless society. In 2020 alone only 17 percent of all transactions were fulfilled in cash, and contactless payment increased by 13 percent this year.

Small Business To help charities keep up with this change, Canadian

startup tiptap is partnering with organizations like The Salvation Army and The Canadian Legion to secure

touchless, digital donations using its devices. In 2018,

tiptap was founded to introduce an easy, secure way for Canadians to tap to give™ with devices that each

have a predetermined fixed contribution amount, from as low as 2 dollars, which makes the transaction

process fast, simple, and secure: what you see is what you pay. Donors can easily tap their card or e-wallet on their phone. Removing the barrier to give has

proven to be a seamless way to boost fundraising.

With fewer Canadians carrying cash, this

The technology was invented to help those who are

fundraising challenges for charities that

devices are supporting initiatives that feed the hungry,

cultural change created significant

have historically relied on these in-person

donations, as they have been left behind in our increasingly digital economy. Most Canadians no longer reach into our

pockets, grasping at whatever loose

change to make small contributions for

those in need. This trend partly contributed to a 55 percent reduction in funds raised by Canadian charities last year.

helping others, and the funds being raised through the

shelter people experiencing homelessness, and provide care to the unwell. When partnering with those

charities, tiptap sees itself as an extension of those

organizations, thinking and delivering on the potential

of its technology and ways to maximize contributions. One of these ways is through its dashboard feature

where the charities can monitor donations in real-time. Having access to the average payment amount, the

locations of high-performing devices and the times of transactions allow organizations to make betterinformed decisions.

With fewer Canadians carrying cash, this cultural change created significant fundraising challenges for charities that have historically relied on these in-person donations, as they have been left behind in our increasingly digital economy.

The pandemic has deeply affected the disadvantaged

members of society, and they need our generosity now

more than ever. People and organizations are expected to play roles in bettering their communities through

giving. As we get to experience the holidays the way

they’re intended, Canadians should keep an eye out for

donation spots on the street using touchless devices. In less than a second, a single tap can go a long way to make someone’s life a little bit brighter.

Most Canadians no longer reach into our pockets, grasping at whatever loose

change to make small contributions for

those in need. This trend partly contributed to a 55 percent reduction in funds raised by Canadian charities last year.

The 5-step guide to breaking down business silos As businesses grow bigger, silos become stronger.

Even the most innovative organizations – big, small, or somewhere in between –

struggle to connect teams around common missions, visions and goals. When

information isn’t being shared, it’s your bottom line that takes the hit.

In an ideal world, every team member would be on the same page, in the loop about important projects, and focused on

initiatives that move the needle. Information

would flow freely, employees would have the resources that they need on-demand, and there would be zero organizational redundancies.

However, the harsh truth is it's going to be

impossible for businesses to eradicate team silos. There are initiatives, however, that leaders can implement to position their team in the right direction. Accelerate

change through impactful, methodical

steps. Here are 5 ideas to get you started

on breaking down your own business silos.

56 - CanadianSME - January 2022

1. Enable smart file sharing One of the biggest challenges that teams face is

the absence of a unified file sharing platform and

collaboration tool. Rather than storing information in a central place, employees are sharing files through email — often generating confusion about up-todate versions. A cloud-based, enterprise content management (ECM) or collaboration (ECC)

platform can help you streamline communication

and eliminate confusion. A company-wide system and robust administration features will help with

breaking business silos, ensuring that people have

open access to the right information. And don’t be scared off by the “Enterprise” in its name – ECM is

for everyone and there are solutions built especially for small to mid-sized businesses!

Small Business

2. Design a mobile device management strategy

5. Invest in education

With the mobile revolution, team members are

hubs are valuable information management

accessing information at all hours of the day, no matter where they are in the world. Even still,

companies of all sizes are lagging in implementing official BYOD policies — leaving team members confused about how to best stay connected.

Eliminate potential confusion by setting expectations upfront and have a robust BYOD policy in place that all employees sign off on.

Webinars, knowledge centres and resource tools for breaking down business silos.

Employees are eager to learn about the big picture. As fast as you’re running, it’s

important to take a step back and ensure

that every employee has quick and efficient access to the information they need.

Empower teams to self-direct their own

communication and learning, both through technology and processes.

3. Create a ‘global’ view of your workforce

After 85 years of imagining change, at Ricoh,

At any given time, the business owner, manager

also taught us that technology needs to put

and/or leaders should maintain an operational view of your workforce. Take time to evaluate ongoing

we’ve learned a thing or two about changing with the times – especially when it comes to workplace technology. But experience has people first.

initiatives in depth and spot potential redundancies and areas of overlap.

Whether you’re a bigger operation or just a handful of people, find opportunities to break down

information silos and building bridges between team members — help them share resources, assets and information. Awareness is your first step to efficiency.

4. Encourage open dialogue One of the biggest barriers to transparency is a fear of making mistakes. From a process optimization

perspective, it’s crucial to build a culture that allows your team members to openly communicate changes in direction, experiment results and learnings openly, all with a positive mindset.

Practise team discussions, coach your teams and actively solicit feedback. Open dialogue is a

practice that takes time to master — and will be crucial to your organization in the long run.

Our people are here to help yours do their jobs better, faster, and more securely. We connect our customers with the right technology and back it with the expertise to support your success. If you need help, call on us.

5 Benefits of Diversity in the Workplace By CanadianSME

Workplace diversity might sound like business

jargon for many. However, the truth is, diversity needs to be an ingrained goal for each and every organization out there. It’s solely not

about the reputation, though. It’s also not about the social goal of being inclusive. But a diverse

workforce can have several tangible benefits to you and your business.

According to a study by BuildForce Canada,

20% of the labor market will shut down in the

next decade. Hence, in order to replace them, the businesses need to employ people from

underrepresented groups, Indigenous natives, women as well as new Canadians. Workforce

diversity can help your business attain several high-level goals like increased innovation with magnified results.

So, what is this workplace diversity all about?

Simply put, it is about employing people from

all walks of life. If you are an entrepreneur and if you are thinking about implementing a

diversified workforce in your company, you should be okay with employing people

irrespective of their backgrounds, ages,

genders, religions, abilities, and races. Basically, it’s about having a team from different socioeconomic statuses.

Small Business

Why is Workforce Diversity a Win-Win?

2. Increased Creativity

Companies that can have a diversified workforce will

Touching the same vein, workforce diversity

and perspectives towards the company’s growth.

there is a sameness in the office, you will

together various talents, skill sets, experiences, to

creative outputs. By employing only

Whereas, a group of people from similar

similar cultures and socioeconomic

same way.

creativity and innovation of your firm.

On the other hand, a culturally diverse team can

background, you will be able to bring

of positivity for the benefit of the company. And how

achieve one common goal – the goal of

offer a variety of newer ideas, learning opportunities,

will boost creativity. Think about it; when

Diverse employees, from all walks of life, will bring

get similar solutions and similar kind of

bring forth creative and innovative solutions.

heterogeneous groups, with people from

backgrounds will probably solve a problem in the

backgrounds, you will limit the overall However, with a diversified employee

create a kind of esprit de corps, along with a feeling

diverse solutions to your problems and will

does it help? Well, a diversified solution to a problem

your business.

will create a feeling of camaraderie amongst the team members and they will be encouraged to

cooperate more during the upcoming ventures of the company.

3. Improved Performances As per the Harvard Business Review’s

5 Sure Shot Benefits of Workforce Diversity

research, a diversified work culture goes a long way towards helping the employees

feel included, no matter where they come from or who they are. Such inclusiveness

When you can put a variety of ideas and world views

helps in breaking barriers and reducing the

ideas. Here are 5 benefits of having a diversified

ideas they share. In fact, a diverse

in one room, you’ll come out with many profound

fear of getting rejected because of the

workforce –

workforce can see 60% better improvement in decision-making. As per a report by Deloitte in 2013, when employees feel

1. Enhanced Productivity According to a study by McKinsey & Co., the public companies in the US with a diversified workforce

have a 95% higher ROI on equity as compared to the homogenous brands. Hence, it’s been proved that

workplace diversity will not only breed creativity but will also enhance the productivity of your teams.

Also, creativity will lead to better output and more

diverse brainstorming sessions. Also, you will benefit

from diversified solutions from a diversely productive team.

59 - CanadianSME - January 2022

included, they provide better work and innovative solutions by 83%.

Small Business

4. Better Marketing Opportunities

5. Essential Global Impact

Touching the same vein, workforce diversity

Touching the same vein, workforce diversity will

there is a sameness in the office, you will

sameness in the office, you will get similar

will boost creativity. Think about it; when get similar solutions and similar kind of creative outputs. By employing only

heterogeneous groups, with people from similar cultures and socioeconomic

backgrounds, you will limit the overall creativity and innovation of your firm. However, with a diversified employee

background, you will be able to bring

diverse solutions to your problems and will achieve one common goal – the goal of

boost creativity. Think about it; when there is a

solutions and similar kind of creative outputs. By employing only heterogeneous groups, with

people from similar cultures and socioeconomic backgrounds, you will limit the overall creativity and innovation of your firm. However, with a

diversified employee background, you will be able to bring diverse solutions to your problems and

will achieve one common goal – the goal of your business.

your business.

To Sum it Up, Achieving a diversified workforce doesn’t happen

in a day or two. It will take years of perseverance to be able to build a team of people from all

walks of life. Also, the more effort you will give to create a diverse team for your better, the better you will be able to reach your business’s full

potential. Also, with a diverse workforce, you will

be encouraged more to have an innovative talent pool, unlike your competitors.

So, aren’t you ready to make this shift towards

diversity? Do share your thoughts in a comment below. Also, to learn more about the small and medium-sized businesses in Canada, do not

forget to subscribe to our monthly CanadianSME Small Business Magazine.

12 - CanadianSME - January 2022

The evolution of Entrepreneurship Starting a business isn’t easy. It takes an incredible amount of work and perseverance, as well as the fortitude to go out on a limb. Starting a successful business is even more difficult, requiring the vision to identify a viable market

opportunity and, more often than not, a healthy amount of luck. According to the Government of Canada, on

average, 98 percent of new firms survive the first year, 63 percent survive the past five years, and just 43 percent see ten years.

61 - CanadianSME - January 2022

There’s a wide range of variables that

can contribute to the success or failure of new businesses. Many of the major forces, such as the health of the economy or the tax and policy

environment, tend to be fairly cyclical. However, there’s one significant

element that has improved at an

accelerating rate over the past few

decades and made it much easier to start a new business today: technology.

Small Business

Flexibility and scale The benefits of modern technology for new

businesses can be seen most acutely in the cloud. It has leveled the playing field for enterprise

technology by allowing smaller organizations to tap into software and infrastructure that would have

been extremely expensive through a traditional onpremises purchase.

Something like an email server that used to require an upfront investment along with ongoing

maintenance and upkeep can now be “consumed” on an as-needed basis. Cloud capabilities have

enabled a software-as-a-service delivery model that’s perhaps the technology breakthrough for entrepreneurs since the internet.

The cloud eliminates the need to predict what your technology requirements will be months or years down the road—just adjust your subscription

The logic makes perfect sense: an

organizations can be more agile, adjusting

technology increases flexibility

Another benefit is that technology shifts from a large

quickly with less risk of over

expense, simplifying cost projections in the process.

those benefits could be expanded

All of this has contributed to a rapid increase in

to other parts of the business.

whenever they increase or decrease. As a result,

“asset light” approach to

technology to meet changing business requirements.

and allows you to scale more

capital expense to a manageable operational

extension. It stands to reason that by applying the same approach

cloud adoption for small and midsized businesses over a short period of time. In fact, IDC estimates

that it has gone from below 20% just five years ago

When starting a new business,

midsized organizations today.2

critically about the parts of their

to roughly 75% of small companies and 95% of

entrepreneurs should think

business that are central to what their company does, and which

Everything as a service

ones can potentially be “best-

sourced.” This might be commonly outsourced services such as

accounting and legal, or day-to-

Extending beyond technology, the benefits of the

day necessities such as non-core

seek out services-based models across other areas

comprehensive IT management.

cloud have also primed savvy new companies to of their business.

62 - CanadianSME - January 2022

office services and

Small Business Even the concept of the workplace itself has become

These organizations also don’t have to

technology have made it easier to work remotely

or real estate that may not have “paid

less rigid. Advanced collaboration and communication without negatively impacting productivity. An entire

industry has developed around the concept of shared workspaces, which provide businesses with access to

a flexible work environment that is easily adjusted to fit

consider legacy investments in technology themselves off” yet, freeing them up to

choose the approach that’s best for their business today.

their needs.

Offloading non-critical business and

Solutions like this can make it far easier for new

experts can help entrepreneurs create a

companies to grow or expand geographically without

shackling themselves to long-term investments in real

estate. Even if you prefer sticking to a more traditional office model, certain functions like workplace services can be easily outsourced.

technology support functions to outside

leaner, more agile organization. The ability

to do this from the start is one of the main reasons why there’s never been a better time to start a new business.

Ricoh empowers digital workplaces by

enabling individuals to work smarter. Let

New companies reap major benefits Cloud technology and the managed professional

services model are particularly beneficial for new

businesses because they can reduce the number of

significant investments required during a time when funding may be tight.

63 - CanadianSME - January 2022

us help you redefine work and change. For better.

Learn more about our products and services, here:


TikTok for small business

Making Hijabs a Style Statement in Canada! Azelefa Khan Founder & CEO, Azelefa Co. Azelefa Khan is currently a fourth-year life science undergraduate at UofT and also the founder of Azelefa Co. Azelefa Co. is a Toronto-based hijab brand that has been providing premium and uniquely designed hijabs to the market since 2020. Despite facing several hardships during the pandemic, Azelefa was determined to step into the growing world of ecommerce.

Small Business A few sentences on how you’ve used TikTok for your business and the success you’ve seen because of it: As a small business owner, I wanted to grow and share my message and products with as many people as

possible. When I first started, it was daunting to think, how can I get my story out there, but TikTok let me create funny, short, and informational videos that

helped share my message with the world. I started

creating videos that would actually help my audience in their day-to-day life. This let me grow my brand while

also helping others see value in what I do. I did not just

want to have a store to sell hijabs. I wanted to create a connection with my audience and share valuable

information, information that helped people learn

something new and increase their knowledge. Tiktok has helped generate more traffic to my website, convert Hijabs are often associated with female oppression in western

more of this traffic into potential customers, and has allowed me to considerably increase my sales.

countries, despite the truth being quite the opposite. The hijab

provides women with an opportunity to feel confident and empowered

while staying modest. The purpose

behind Azelefa Co. is to represents cultural diversity and female

empowerment, both values that are vital for building a stronger

community. Azelefa has focused on emboldening young women to

platform, to bring together Muslim

What was your motivation for starting your small business?

form a hijab community.

Growing up, my mom always encouraged me to be

embrace their hijab through her

women from across the world to

independent and to follow my passion. I believe this is

one of the reasons why, since childhood, I have always had a habit of taking on challenging tasks and risks.

Last year, after I turned 20, I saw a need for innovative, affordable hijabs and accessories in the market. Not

only that, but I always wanted to do something special

for the women that wore a hijab, that would make them feel proud and empowered to be a Muslim women. I knew firsthand, the struggles that come along with

wearing a hijab, especially in Western countries, and I

wanted to build not only a business, but a platform for Muslim women to feel comfortable.

Small Business What are some strategies you have found helpful when it comes to running a small business? If you’re a student like me, then scheduling your day for studying and your business is the best thing you can do. Another useful strategy is to budget. This will not

Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own business?

only make you value your hard-earned money but will also put you in a habit of saving up, which is an important life skill.

My advice for anyone out there, especially young people like me, is to stop thinking and just

Which, if any, of the following has been the most difficult aspect in handling your small business over the past year: Marketing/Brand Strategy, Passwords/Security Passcodes, Employee Policies/Relationships with Other Employees One of the biggest challenges I’ve experienced over the past year running my small is managing my time

effectively. I have been taking a full course load at the

University of Toronto while also working a full-time job.

do it. It’s as simple as that. Believe in yourself and it will work out just fine. Another piece of advice is to utilize platforms like TikTok because with your creativity and personal touch, you can reach the hearts and minds of millions.

When I first started my small business, I was alone and had to wear a lot of hats; website designer, managing inventory, writing, filming content, managing multiple

social media accounts, and fulfilling customer service

needs. It was extremely difficult for me to stay on top of everything. However, every day brings new challenges and new responsibilities and I love every bit of it.

What are the benefits, both in terms of marketing and resources, of having an account on TikTok?

As a small business owner of Azelefa Co., I wanted to grow and share my message and products with as

Share some of the best and worst parts of being a small business owner! One of the best parts about being a

small business owner is that I can be my own boss. I can set my own schedule,

work from anywhere I want, and always stay connected with my business.

many people as possible. When I first started, it was

In my opinion, the worst part about being

TikTok let me create funny, short, and informative videos

It can either be a total success or a

daunting to think of how I could get my story out there. that helped me share my message with the world. I

started creating videos that would help my audience in their daily lives and this helped me grow Azelefa Co. I

did not just sell hijabs, I wanted to create a community where people could learn. TikTok has helped me

generate more traffic to my website, convert more of this traffic into potential customers, and so far, has allowed me to considerably increase my sales.

66 - CanadianSME - January 2022

a small business owner is that it is risky.

failure. If your business idea is not based

on something that is high in demand, you can easily start losing money after a few months instead of gaining profits. To be honest, the thrill of it is what keeps me going.

Propagating a Mindful Bathing Ritual for Everyone! TikTok for small business

A few sentences on how you’ve used TikTok for your business and the success you’ve seen because of it:

Helen Yin Co-Founder, onova

TikTok's ability to blow up small businesses like mine has been quite astounding. I had zero expectations when I started my TikTok account. Less than a year later, our business has been seen by millions of

people, we have hired our first couple of employees, Helen is a serial entrepreneur from Canada. She is the Co-Founder of Inoki Bathhouse, a

modern bath company built on tradition and

and we've secured our first retail deal. We've truly accelerated our timeline to build a business and we're more than grateful.

mindfulness, the Co-Founder of Onova, a

boutique innovation consultancy that helps

Fortune 500 innovate like startups, as well as

the Co-Founder of an angel fund that invests in high potential early-stage startups.

What was your motivation for starting your small business?

Raised by her single immigrant mother, Helen

In early February, the idea for Inoki Bathhouse came

upbringing what decades of sacrificing one's

the social isolation, non-stop work lifestyle, and

witnessed first-hand throughout her

health can do. During the pandemic, amidst

social isolation, when Helen was at the lowest point in her own mental health, the idea for

Inoki Bathhouse came to life - a business that helps people prioritize their mental, physical,

and spiritual well-being. After gaining traction on TikTok and receiving validation of her

business idea, Helen began creating, testing,

and eventually launching her bath experiences with others.

67 - CanadianSME - January 2022

to me. During the winter months of the pandemic,

lockdowns resulted in insomnia and mental health challenges. As a bath fanatic, I carved intentional

time to help bring my spirit balance and, out of all the remedies I experimented with, this is what brought me the greatest sense of peace and

comfort. During this time, I realized I never took time to prioritize myself – I was constantly working and feeling burned out. I aspired to build a bath

company that helps people prioritize their mental, physical, and spiritual well-being.

Small Business What are some strategies you have found helpful when it comes to running a small business?

What are the benefits, both in terms of marketing and resources, of having an account on TikTok?

Constantly Seeking to Improve: I constantly ask

With limited capital and connections, it

feedback (positive and constructive) helped me

time to build Inoki Bathhouse. I’m immensely

for feedback from our customers. Asking for

improve and iterate the product experience for

the better. My goal was to re-imagine the bath experience and I wanted to ensure that I reimagined it alongside our customers.

Being Resourceful with Marketing and Finances:

It’s incredibly important to be savvy with business financials, especially in the early days when

would have taken me a significantly longer grateful for the advantage that TikTok

offered me (as so many others) in the early stages of our business. TikTok single-

handedly removed one of the biggest barriers to entry that help keep large companies dominate in the industry.

budgets are tight. To this date, we haven’t spent a single dollar on ads and have only promoted

primarily through TikTok and, although this won’t

Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own business?

resources that were available to me to the best of

I leveraged my savings to build Inoki Bathhouse

be the case forever, I wanted to leverage free my abilities.

Defining My Brand Vision Early On: At the start of building Inoki Bathhouse, I was committed to

sourcing premium ingredients. I tested the same ingredients from numerous vendors and made purchasing decisions based on the quality. By

prioritizing quality, I have selfishly built a product I’m proud of and our small business built a

reputation for ingredient integrity with our initial customers.

initially and I don’t anticipate paying myself until our business grows much larger (which is longer than a year). Building a small business and growing it is not a luxurious experience and being comfortable financially is the first step to being ready for entrepreneurship. I am extremely introverted, and I struggle to network, but I suggest building a community of entrepreneurs around you to support you through this lonely process.

Which, if any, of the following has been the most difficult aspect in handling your small business over the past year: Marketing/Brand Strategy, Passwords/Security Passcodes, Employee Policies/Relationships with Other Employees

Share some of the best and worst parts of being a small business owner!

Building Inoki Bathhouse’s brand strategy was very

The worst part is the uncertainty, fear,

process is behind closed doors – you have an idea,

with being an entrepreneur – there’s no

distributors, etc. I had an idea, immediately posted

that can create a lot of mixed emotions.

The best part is growing something in

your vision – feeling full ownership and fulfillment in everything you touch.

difficult, and it took many iterations. Normally, the

and negative emotions that can come

work on it, create a brand around it, find suppliers,

one directing your business but you, and

about it on TikTok, then scrambled when our videos picked up steam. I wish I took the time to properly think through my idea first so that I didn’t have to make so many mistakes. 68 - CanadianSME - January 2022

TikTok for small business

Making Baking a Passion for Living! Emma Hammon Founder, HAMMOND BAKING CO.

Emma Hammond was born in Orillia, Ontario as Emma McIsaac and attended school in Orillia for her entire academic career.

Now, as she continues to work as a Sales rep for Cadbury, her free time is spent in the kitchen experimenting with bread. Even though her current passion is Sourdough and artisan

bread, she has vast experience in cakes, pastries, and other dough.

Emma Hammond has been passionate about baking for eight

years, switching her focus from cakes, to pastries, to the everpopular soft pretzels. Now with a newfound interest in artisan bread and dough, she has widened her business model to reflect as such. In addition to teaching various bread and

dough classes through Orillia Parks and Rec, she has had a booth at the Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers Market for 5 years.

She even made it to the final round of auditions for the Great Canadian Baking show two times!

Emma's newfound social media success has drastically grown her business with close to 15,000 followers on TikTok (growing

each day!) she now sells 15 hours’ worth of baking in less than 3 hours at her local farmers market – attracting customers

people from all over the province to her small town market.

69 - CanadianSME - January 2022

A few sentences on how you’ve used TikTok for your business and the success you’ve seen because of it I started using TikTok to show my process. Sourdough is such a

learned art, with so many different components to make it just right. I

never thought that my page would

bring in any kind of success above and beyond my regular local

customers. The more I shared, the more my views went up, followed by my followers, followed by real

life customers. Being able to meet someone who got their friends

together for a 3-hour road trip at

6am on a Saturday just to get my

baking that they saw on TikTok has been the most tangible success a business could possibly ask for.

Small Business What was your motivation for starting your small business? Five years ago, I decided I wanted to have a

farmers market booth. With no marketable talents, I began taking courses through my local town’s

Parks and Recreation. The great thing about selling products at a farmer’s market is you’re able to

bring various things each week to see what sells well and what doesn’t. In the infancy of my

business, I was selling small cakes. As my business grew, I began experimenting and I stumbled upon the soft pretzel which did exceptionally well. In

those early days, I’d bring 20-30 soft pretzels to

the market. Now, 5 years later I have fine-tuned my products to Sourdough, Soft Pretzels, and English

muffins. Each market I bring (and sell out of) 250300 soft pretzels. I never would have imagined my business growing to what it has, seeing as it was just something I wanted to do for fun!

What are some strategies you have found helpful when it comes to running a small business? There are a lot of things I attribute to the success of my business. In the early days, it was my grit that carried me through. It was persevering

through the difficult days—failed bakes or days

where I didn’t make enough money to cover the cost of my booth.

When my business was established, I leveraged my creativity to help run it. Experimenting in the

kitchen, bringing different things to the market

each week to see what did well and what didn’t, and listening to feedback.

Present-day, with a thriving business that sells out at the market each week I’m there, I find it helpful to create a schedule and carefully plan out each

minute of the day, so I am optimizing bake times.

This way I’m able to get the baking done without it interfering with personal time with my family.

70 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Which, if any, of the following has been the most difficult aspect in handling your small business over the past year: Marketing/Brand Strategy, Passwords/Security Passcodes, Employee Policies/Relationships with Other Employees I would say that Marketing and Brand

strategy has been the most difficult aspect of my business this year. I had spent years

building my business only to have the entire

thing put on hold for 2020. Not only because of COVID-19, but I was also pregnant, so I

couldn’t get back to baking until early 2021.

After an entire year off from my business, it was daunting to return. Marketing was the most useful way to remind people of my

products and I threw myself into creating

content for Hammond Baking Co. and built up a huge following. My business is better

than it ever has been because I overcame this obstacle.

Small Business What are the benefits, both in terms of marketing and resources, of having an account on TikTok?

Share some of the best and worst parts of being a small business owner!

Marketing through TikTok has been a complete

owner is creating something with your own

page had zero videos. I knew that TikTok was a great

Everything that I sell is a product that I have

didn’t think it was for me as I wasn’t shipping out my

being able to go at your own pace. I was

creating content. I didn’t know who this content was

and sick or dealing with a baby who

#canadiansmallbusiness #muskoka

Working for yourself you’re able to give

The best part of being a small business

game-changer for my business. Initially, my TikTok

two hands that people want to purchase.

tool for promoting small business content, but I

made from scratch. Another great part is

product. Shortly after creating my account, I started

able to take days off when I was pregnant

for, but with helpful local hashtags (#orillia

wouldn’t sleep, or just need a week off.

#orilliafarmersmarket) I was able to gain followers

yourself grace.

at the market.

The worst part is not wanting to give

Now as my account has grown to over 16,000

dollar you make you must produce products

power and reach. Each week at the market I listen to

and take time off. It’s important to set

purchase bread from me at 8:00 a.m. on the dot

schedule days and weeks to allow me to be

making that kind of effort just to buy something

but also the best wife and mother.

who were local to me, and who were able to find me

yourself that grace. Knowing that every

followers, I am seeing tangible evidence of TikTok’s

to earn, it’s very hard to say no to orders

customers tell me how far they drove to come and

business boundaries and for me to

when my booth opens. Seeing real followers of mine

not only the best business owner I can be

they’ve never tasted before has been such an experience.

Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own business? My advice to those starting out is to push through the growing pains. There may be days where it

seems like success isn’t in the cards for you or days where you don’t make a lot of money, or everything seems to go wrong. I still have days where I open

my oven and 12 loaves of bread didn’t rise and I feel like quitting altogether. Working through those pains

and annoyances and getting back into it as soon as your wounds have healed is what will grow your skill set, your customers base, and your business.

Get on TikTok

and start growing your brand

Polly and James owners, Tastely Box

Polly and James are the owners of the newly established

A few sentences on how you’ve used TikTok for your business and the success you’ve seen because of it

Tastely Box. Tastely Box was an idea born out of a simple

From the moment Tastely Box was

Every Christmas Polly would build several surprise-date-

TikTok to see if she could use the

try. Their love for sweets is almost comparable to their love

their new business. Polly was

unique candies and snacks they were finding started budding

she would be too awkward to

continued to get in the way and halt their plans for years.

such a rapidly growing platform

and take their someday plans and turned them into reality.

see how quickly TikTok helped

James wanted to bring one of the best parts of traveling

the app was. Within their first two

with their business is to find unique and international candy

grow a following of over 10k

Tastely Box started selling only their uniquely themed curated

taste test videos and box packing

grown into offering a wide selection of individual

to over 200k people and counting.

family tradition that started after their two kids were born.

officially born, Polly jumped onto

night-boxes for the year to come with unique new treats to

app to get the word out about

for each other you could say. Their interest in these new

hesitant as she was concerned,

the idea of growing a business together someday, but life

make waves for their business on

After the pandemic hit, they decided to take a leap of faith

but was pleasantly surprised to

During a time when travel was and still is restricted, Polly and

them grow and how user friendly

right to your home -- the food! James and Polly's main goal

months TikTok had helped them

that isn't always easily found within Canada. Originally

people. As of today, Polly's quirky

candy boxes, but since starting six months ago, they have

videos have grown their following

international goodies and have even opened a storefront of their own.

72 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Small Business What was your motivation for starting your small business? We were motivated to start our business because we

What are the benefits, both in terms of marketing and resources, of having an account on TikTok?

had grown tired of saying “someday.” When the

The biggest benefit to TikTok is that you

chose to look at the positive side and take a leap of

people's For You pages. Small accounts

pandemic hit, we figured it was another setback, but we faith. We knew we had a unique idea, we just never

imagined in such a short amount of time it would grow to the lengths it has!

What are some strategies you have found helpful when it comes to running a small business? Staying on top of your content. Obviously being

organized and keeping your mind open to more fun

ideas is important but keeping up with your content and social media is super important. People are quick to

forget about a business if that business doesn't find a

way to stay top of mind. It also takes a delicate balance when doing this, as people do not like being sold to all day or being annoyed by a business trying to sell to

them constantly. You want to make sure when they see

your face or brand, they are eager to stop and see what you're talking about/doing that day.

don't need a huge following to land on can blow up with just a single video.

Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own business? My advice would be to get on TikTok

and start growing your brand before you even know your launch date. Let

people get to know you, let them see

what you're planning to offer them, and

just make it as natural and authentic as possible. Be easy on yourself though!

You may not blow up overnight and that is okay! Learn the app, take inspiration (don't copy), don't push sales by

throwing pity parties, and let videos fail - it's going to happen.

Which, if any, of the following has been the most difficult aspect in handling your small business over the past year: Marketing/Brand Strategy, Passwords/Security Passcodes, Employee Policies/Relationships with Other Employees

Share some of the best and worst parts of being a small business owner!

I personally didn't find any of these things super hard.

a double-edged sword too. You will be

from the moment we talked about starting this business.

where you start running on empty and

They know we are beyond grateful for them, respect

breathe - even when a customer is

what kind of bosses we wanted to be because we know

moment. You must take time for

to work and enjoy being here.

huge challenge.

Best part of being a small business

owner is being your own boss - BUT it's

We've been on top of branding and building that brand

working ALL. THE. TIME. There are days

We love our employees dearly, and they are wonderful.

must learn to take a step back and

them, and show our appreciation for them. We knew

demanding your attention in that

if we take care of them, they will look forward to coming

yourself but finding that balance is a

Marketing Appliances Better with TikTok A few sentences on how you’ve used TikTok for your business and the success you’ve seen because of it We began TikTok in March 2021 more out of

curiosity and to post videos on our Facebook page. By August we started seeing an

immediate and direct impact on the TikTok content on TikTok instead of Facebook.

Customers were driving further than ever

before. One customer drove 459km each way

Corey McMullan Retailer at McMullan Appliance & Mattress

to buy a washer from us. Today, we have a

customer in Nova Scotia asking to purchase a washer from us and he would have

someone pick it up and bring it back to the East coast.

Our videos were basically polished sales A family-owned business, McMullan Appliances

demonstrations that I use in-store and

its first opening in the 1970s. After a nearly 20-

knowledge/learning aspect as well as the

marketing industry, Corey McMullan returned to

“authentic” aspect of the TikTok videos we

has been in Smith Falls for over 50 years since

people seem to be most attracted to the

year successful career in the appliance

humor. Many users mention the “honest”

his hometown to be a part of the family


drive sales within the business. Through social

TikTok had an immediate impact on our

stores and for their personable and humorous

are coming in far more pre-qualified. The

Appliances has seen a surge in sales and

their next purchase has me worried about

business. There he got to work to upgrade and marketing, they grew local awareness for their

business, customers who watch us on TikTok

content online. Since the pandemic, McMullan

number of people promising to visit me for

demand for appliances.

what we can handle as a single store, mostly

74 - CanadianSME - January 2022

due to delivery distances than anything else.

Small Business What was your motivation for starting your small business? My dad started the business in 1990 after the store he was working for closed. McMullan’s

have sold appliances in Smith Falls since 1970, so it was the logical next step for him.

What are the benefits, both in terms of marketing and resources, of having an account on TikTok? TikTok is bringing us, customers, from farther than ever before. Being a local store, it’s not

reasonable for us to ship goods very far. We’ve had so many customers asking us to ship to

What are some strategies you have found helpful when it comes to running a small business? You must be an expert buyer and understand

Toronto, that we may have to look at what options are available to service them.

Customers who are exposed to our TikTok

videos enter the store far more pre-qualified (closer to making a purchase) than ever

what your customers need, before being an


mind and think about what will sell.

With the added media attention, appliance

Be prepared to weather bad retail climates,

is possible through our channel on TikTok.

expert salesman. Always keep the customer in

as you don’t know what could happen, anything is possible.

Lastly, know where you fit into the market and charge for your services accordingly–

delivery, disposal, door swings, re-delivery, etc. – current retail margins can’t absorb those costs, so know your worth.

Which, if any, of the following has been the most difficult aspect in handling your small business over the past year: Marketing/Brand Strategy, Passwords/Security Passcodes, Employee Policies/Relationships with Other Employees In my line of business, there are many factors that were difficult this past year, including

staffing, product availability, and increased

operating expenses across the board (from

light bulbs to fuel to equipment to vehicles).

75 - CanadianSME - January 2022

vendors are now showing more interest in what

Small Business

Do you have any advice for people who want to start their own business?

Share some of the best and worst parts of being a small business owner!

Opening a new brick-and-mortar retail

that you have no boss, no one to report to, you

entrepreneur can do in today’s marketplace.

someone else rich – it’s all on you.

as your competitors. If you need staff make

On the other hand, you get no vacation days, no

managing a team – salaries, disputes,

matched RRSP, you might work long hours, and

business is one of the riskiest things an

You must know your market inside out as well

The best part of being a small business owner is make the decisions. You are not working to make

sure you are up for the challenge of

sick days, no health benefits, no company-

accidents, sick days, hiring/firing, etc., or else

no one gives you credit.

that cost you money.

As a retailer, living up to unrealistic customer

Be prepared to wear many hats and you may

is a reality to shoppers. Don’t open a new

to your POS on the same day you take your

remember if you work smart those things will

you risk keeping a team of low performers

expectations is very difficult because perception

clean the toilet and re-upload your inventory

business just to get rich or work less, always

truck for winter tires and renew your business

happen on their own.

URL – multitasking at its finest.

76 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Managing Businesses Efficiently for an Exponential Growth! Tom Greenwood President and CEO Evolve Business Advisory

As the President and CEO of Evolve

What are the top three business trends for Canadian entrepreneurs in 2022?

Business Advisory, Tom Greenwood is

Paying it forward – Some corporations are

scaling small or new businesses for

only expected that it is individual’s responsibilities

an expert in managing, structuring, and explosive growth organically or through strategic partnerships. Over the past 28 years, he’s passionately provided

starting to realize their sheer power. No longer is it to “Pay it Forward’, it is a corporate responsibility as well.

entrepreneurs with the horsepower and

Splurge, invest in technology. It’s not optional -

dreams come true. Tom’s commitment

Microsoft’s Office 365, Google Workspace or

mentorship they need to make their

to diversity and social responsibility,

combined with his talent for selecting, leading and motivating his team are

the driving force behind his success.

Invest in collaboration tools apps such as

Adobe Acrobat Cloud. They’re essential since they improve productivity, collaboration, and provide flexibility when you can’t be in the office.

Small Business 2022 will be the end of Remote work, I hope – Before the

The reality is that 20% of

had plans in place to start bringing people back to the

year and 60% will fail within 3

current variant, many large corporations and municipalities office. Those plans are on hold now but it shows how ‘working from home is not a long-term strategy or plan. Therefore in 2022, the trend will be companies reconsidering their

“working remote” policy. It’s not great for collaboration,

innovation, efficiency, and can impact your bottom line! The best ideas stem from ‘creative tension – that in-person magic that happens during an office brainstorm.

Canada has one of the biggest start-up ecosystems in North America, but what types of businesses are currently thriving here?

businesses will fail in their first years. Big banks offer no

assistance to startup businesses

unless they are willing to provide their house, children and family dog as collateral and

government programs to help

fund new businesses are difficult

to receive as they are a red tape nightmare. Entrepreneurs need to look at incubators and

accelerators whose main focus

is to provide the horsepower and financial assistance needed to

Aggregator apps with AI – Taking a service that people need

get to that ‘safe’ spot of success.

choices into one easy to use the on-demand app

entrepreneurs will find good

Social causes – Companies that support social causes are

are not out to crush their dream

(dentist, real estate photography, etc.) and aggregating the

thriving now more than ever. This is because they connect

If they do their research, new

incubators and accelerators who or take equity without earning it.

with their customers on a deeper, more personal level.

Companies that engage in philanthropy are not only making a difference, but they have a major competitive advantage

because they are able to build brand loyalty by establishing trust and credibility, which lays the foundation for any longterm relationship. Social responsibility can also help with employee retention and attracting investors.

Connecting people – We have seen what the last 2 years

have done for people’s social lives. New apps and some outof-the-box ideas are changing the way people connect

based on very specific and targeted personal preferences (philanthropy, animal lovers, etc.)

What opportunities might Canadians have been overlooked because they believe it's too difficult or too risky to make a go of it on their own? The unfortunate reality is that Canadians are missing out on a significant amount of amazing opportunities every single

day as it is VERY hard and risky for most new entrepreneurs to start off.

78 - CanadianSME - January 2022


Small Business Uncertainty will always be a part of an

entrepreneur’s reality. For me, and most

entrepreneurs, we start off on our journey with almost reckless abandon. We are so focused on our dream that we make

decisions and sometimes with not a lot of thought. Basically, the decision-making

process is ‘Fuck it, let’s give this a shot. To me, that is the true definition of an

entrepreneur. Whether you are just starting out or you have been in business for 10+

years we all have to remember where we came from and what got us to where we

What are your thoughts on the recent impacts of government regulation reductions? How do you feel about this change? I’m ambivalent when it comes to government

are. To this day, we use ‘Fuck it’ as our

corporate mantra to assure that all of our team members have that entrepreneurial

decision-making vibe and it is been one of the most important parts of our success.

regulation. In an ideal world, the government

wouldn’t have to impose restrictions on businesses However, it is clear that, in order to ensure the

Your advice to young entrepreneurs during this challenging time.

safety, civil rights, etc., some degree of government

If you have a product or service, don’t give

well designed and respect the fundamental role of

for the faint of heart. In our incubation and

to society and erode the public’s confidence in our

criteria is to assure the entrepreneur has

because everyone would volunteer to do their part. protection of the environment, public health, and

intervention is necessary. These regulations must be

up. Being a successful entrepreneur is not

the free market, or they may actually be detrimental

acceleration services, one of our qualifying


experienced ‘The Suck’ and is still at it. If

you believe in what you are doing and it

truly is your dream, then experiencing ‘The

Do you have any anecdotes or meaningful personal stories related to managing growth for an organization in times of uncertainty that illustrate key lessons learned throughout this conversation? I left corporate life over 11 years ago to start my

entrepreneurial journey and it is the best decision I have ever made. There are always going to be

struggling, dark times but if you truly believe in what

you are doing then you know there will eventually be the light at the end of the tunnel and amazing days of celebration. I still walk out of our global HQ and shake my head as I can’t believe what we have become.

79 - CanadianSME - January 2022

Suck’ and then keeping going, is a defining

characteristic of successful entrepreneurs. Another piece of advice…get help….but get the right help. There are incubators and accelerators that are passionate about

helping new and small businesses succeed

without crushing the dreams of the founder. Do your research, ask questions and then make informed decisions on whom you

want to partner with as this is your dream that you need to protect.

Why Entrepreneurs Are Made, Not Born By Christan Hiscock

You either have it or you don’t. How many times have you heard that? Or, a business owner said, “I was

Natural Abilities vs. Learned Skills

born to be an entrepreneur.” But in

It’s true — the founders of today’s top companies were

that black and white.

take the entrepreneurial path. For example, some were

In my experience of launching

themselves up after they get knocked down, and they

companies over the last 4 years, I’ve

matter how many times it happens.

whether entrepreneurs are born or

As an entrepreneur, both traits are must-haves because

people think. I’ve found that it’s not

your business ideas or tell you that you’ll never be able to

actually a combination of

confidence, aren’t something you have or you don’t the

abilities and your habits, as well as

can naturally build them faster than others, but

muscles. That’s what really makes

dedicate yourself to it, anyone can make them stronger

business and life, things are rarely

Kardia and 14 other impactful realized that the question of

born with certain abilities that made it easier for them to born with the natural capacity to continually pick

have the confidence to keep going in spite of it, no

made goes a lot deeper than most

there will most likely be those people who’ll shut down

one or the other. Instead, it’s

bring your big vision to life. Skills, like resilience and

developing your natural-born

day you’re born. Both are like muscles — some people

your dedication and resilience

regardless of your natural ability at the start, if you

an effective entrepreneur.

over time. It just takes commitment and practice.

80 - CanadianSME I January 2022

Small Business In my experience, and that of the other business

so you can connect with people on a deeper

is more about your ability to keep yourself focused

going to do it, and then keep doing it every

owners in my network, excelling at entrepreneurship on your mission than it is about being born to it. You must look deep inside yourself, decide what you

level. You just have to decide how you’re day, until you reach your goal.

really want, and then adapt your mindset to get the

The best entrepreneurs don’t hope they’ll

reach your goals.

get there. It’s the level of determination and

motivation, confidence, and momentum you need to

Entrepreneurship is a combination of continuously

improving your natural abilities and a commitment to learning the skills that you don’t have. Both are

make it to the top; they do what it takes to

dedication to developing the habits to excel,

and then following through on them, that sets the best entrepreneurs apart from the rest.

habits that all great business owners develop.

To Wrap It All Up Entrepreneurs Are Made Through Building Habits No matter what talents you’re born with, or which

skills you decide to develop, you also have to create the habits that support your entrepreneurial journey, or you won’t go far. That’s why it’s so important to

decide which habits you personally need to put in place to move you forward faster as an

entrepreneur. Because everyone has different strengths, talents, and skillsets, we all start in

different places. Only you can decide which habits are the ones that’ll get you where you want to go.

Once you decide on the habits to put in place, it all comes down to your consistency and dedication to

them. If you’re not all in, it's unlikely that you’ll make it.

The entrepreneurs who are at the top of their game

are usually obsessed with bringing their big vision to life. They’ll do almost anything it takes to go the

distance. You have to be willing to do the same.

That might mean waking up at 5 am every morning,

starting work at 7 am, and scheduling time into your calendar for everything you need to do, including

the time you spend with the people in your life who matter.

It will definitely mean regularly getting out of your

comfort zone, trying new things, actively looking for ways to meet new people, developing your sales skills, and improving your communication skills,

Anyone can become an outstanding

entrepreneur if they’re willing to build on their natural-born abilities, be open to learning

what they don’t know, and develop the habits that will consistently keep them on track with their goals to bring their big vision to life.

When you’re willing to do the work and stick

to it no matter what obstacles you face, you will excel as an entrepreneur.

Christan Hiscock is on a personal mission to change the conversation in the business world, moving away from the pursuit of success, to focusing on fulfillment instead. Because if you’re fulfilled, success is a given, but not so much the other way around. He can often be heard saying, “You mean more than you know,” because he believes that as people learn to understand their worth, their fears fade, and amazing feats become reality. He considers this the foundation for all his achievements as the Co-Founder and CEO of Kardia and leader of 14 thriving companies. Through Kardia, which means heart in Greek, Christan is determined to bring more heart into the business world. Heart in the form of kindness, compassion, and altruism. The heart that fuels, roots, and guides each company to do the right things for its team members, clients, and for the greater communities they serve.


Dr. Valentina Fomenko

Founder and CEO at Strategy DNA, Inc.

Dr. Valentina Fomenko is a business strategist and expert in helping

organizations respond to rapid change, including the myriad strategic, organizational, and regulatory

challenges related to ESG. As founder and CEO of Strategy DNA, a decision-

support company at the intersection of opportunity, sustainability, and impact, Valentina helps startups, enterprises,

and investors identify points of growth, predict disruptions, and adapt to market shifts.

In addition to her work with Strategy

DNA, she serves as a consultant for the World Bank on their environmental

initiatives. Valentina has over 15 years of experience directing strategy and

sustainability projects across over 20 industries, with a particular focus on

environmental economics and policy, enterprise sustainability, energy, and cleantech. Valentina has a Ph.D. in

Environmental Sciences from Oregon State University, an MBA from Duke University, and MSc from Central European University.

Small Business As a result, the range of insights and possibilities

considered is inherently limited. Particularly among strategy consultants, the process becomes

backward-looking and consists of "repackaging"

conclusions or compiling best available approaches, while still being confined by the boundaries of a

single industry. The situation ultimately results in lower decision quality and slower growth and

innovation, especially in established organizations. This is how we end up with 70% of corporate

strategies failing to deliver (University of London)

and only 10% being fully executed (IBM). And this is

why the old joke about a consultant counting sheep has a kernel of truth to it.

What was the inspiration and motivation behind the launch of Strategy DNA, and what are you trying to accomplish through the work that you do? I come from a “traditional” consulting

background – MBA, working for a large,

global consulting practice, and then an

energy industry-focused boutique. It is quite common for experienced consultants at

some point in their careers to begin thinking about going solo, and I was no exception.

What is less common is my methodological break from the mainstream consulting

industry. Over the years, I grew increasingly frustrated about the expectation for

consultants to specialize – most commonly,

by serving a specific industry, such as, in my

case, energy, and sometimes, by focusing on a particular corporate function like

procurement, HR, etc. I wondered if this compartmentalization of managerial

expertise and business acumen was actually serving our clients who needed help “seeing around the corners” in the rapidly changing market and competitive environments.

The corporate strategy development process typically draws insights and reference points from the same industry. 83 - CanadianSME I January 2022

It is common to think of a strategy’s failure to deliver results as a failure of execution, but in my

experience, part of the challenge is that myopic, industry-focused strategies simply do not make

sense. Think about some of the biggest strategic

flops like Blockbuster refusing to buy Netflix back in 2000 or Groupon passing on the acquisition by

Google, or EDS failing to appreciate the potential of the fledgling company called Microsoft. At the core of all these truly historic miscalculations lies the

tunnel vision of industry-focused strategic thought. This uber specialization also makes strategy

inaccessible to smaller companies. Not only do they not have the resources to fund lengthy in-depth studies, but also need actionable insights a lot

faster – and with a lot better sense of the sources of disruption in their market spaces, many of which

come outside of their industries. As a result, they are often left to fly blind and waste time and money on

marketing and business development initiatives that lead nowhere.

Strategy DNA is working to democratize strategy. We do it in three ways. First, in our work with small and midsize companies, we focus on injecting strategy into marketing and bridging the gap between

business strategy and brand strategy, producing

better market and competitive insights to enable rapid decision making. Second, we focus on

producing cross industry insights to help companies

Small Business of all sizes see around the corners by

Unfortunately, many companies approach

from previously untapped sources which are

The outputs of such “box-checking” exercises are

leveraging case studies and best practices cross-sector, geographically diverse, and

goal-specific. Finally, we insist on bringing a strategic lens to cross-cutting issues such as Environmental, Social, and Governance

(ESG) management and climate readiness. We work with companies to help them pinpoint optimal market positioning,

developing business strategies as an afterthought. often formulated in ways that lack fluidity, so they become impossible to execute when there is a

deviation from expectations. Will the future look like

the past? The entire premise is laughable now in the wake of COVID-related disruptions, but it is still a common and rarely challenged assumption in strategic planning.

customize their strategies based on specific

Staying agile is the single most important thing for

others rather than industry stereotypes, and

simply surviving tectonic market shifts. Agile

goals and most relevant experiences of

make sure they are not outmaneuvered by more open-minded competitors.

Just like amino acids combine in DNA to

create the foundation of the multitude of life forms, there are strategic “building blocks” that allow us to consider structural

similarities among seemingly disparate

market spaces. Helping clients – both large and small - capitalize on these insights is what we are all about.

Do entrepreneurs need to be prepared for disruptions in their industries? What is the one thing that every company needs to do in order to improve its chances of remaining viable? Absolutely, and now more than ever. The need to prepare and adjust to industry

disruptions has been so widely recognized

that it has become a cliché even before the COVD-19 pandemic. Yet the last two years

have demonstrated in very dramatic ways,

that a rising tide doesn’t lift all boats – and the receding tide doesn’t sink all, either. There are structural transformations

underway that can spell doom – or create

tremendous opportunities for those paying attention.

84 - CanadianSME I January 2022

companies interested in “playing to win” and not

approaches emphasize short cycles with feedback and evaluation to guide the next cycle. They may

enable organizations to pivot or adjust more quickly and therefore achieve better traction. Agile

companies and decision-makers adjust their

strategy to incorporate the lessons learned from implementation and constantly scan the

environment for new opportunities and threats.

Agile strategists are data-driven yet not beholden

to data blindly. They know how to ask the right questions, understand the difference between correlation and causation, and cultivate the

business acumen to gut-check key assumptions.

Now more than ever it is important for leaders at companies large – and small – to adopt this

approach to developing and implementing strategy.

Small Business Given your expertise, what are the three things you need to do when attempting to identify threats or disruptions facing your strategy? One tool that can help companies stay agile is scenario planning. It is the key to our ability to

adapt to changing environments. Making the most

out of it requires discipline to use it consistently to guide strategy. Here are the key steps to take:

customer research project, we uncover

something that surprises our clients, helps them serve their customers better, and

ultimately helps insulate them from disruption Finally, cultivate diversity of thought, culture, and experience in your organization. In a

world where business leaders are constantly challenged to pay attention to an ever-

increasing number of factors, you need your team to become the source of market and customer intelligence, bring different

Begin by defining the key factors affecting your business model. What societal changes are likely to impact your customer base? What

perspectives to the table, and think creatively about potential solutions. They will help you cast your net wider – and think bigger.

shifts in the economic and political environment are likely to impact your bottom line? What

technologies hold the potential to upend your

market? What stars, when aligned, can create disproportionate value for your customers?

oLook for similar patterns, trends, and solutions across industries, geographic boundaries, and time frames to learn from.

Bring in deep industry expertise to fine-tune and prioritize options and to plan implementation Repeat often and make sure to question assumptions. Do not be afraid to rethink

business models and market fundamentals.

To do this well, you need to have a very good understanding of your customers. Today,

customer-centricity is a powerful source of

competitive advantage. In my experience, most

leaders in the small business space do not have a clear picture of what their customers truly want and need. Many get deterred by the exorbitant

costs of customer research projects, others are

understandably skeptical about their usefulness in cases when researchers failed to ask the right

questions, and many believe that they already

have a good sense of where their customers are. Yet every time Strategy DNA embarks on a

85 - CanadianSME I January 2022

What are some growing technologies that will disrupt industries in the future? What predictions do you have for the future of this industry? Innovation has been really speeding up over the past few years, and there are many

exciting spaces to watch. But even more importantly, there are groundbreaking

technological advances that have been with

us for a while yet have not fully “arrived” as we do not have a good sense of what their

impacts on the entire world of business – and the fabric of society are yet.

For example, artificial intelligence and

machine learning are now quickly spreading to power up new products across a wide

range of industries. In the coming years, we will see a lot of value being derived from using AI – with a lot of disruption for

companies that lag behind the pace of

adoption. Homegrown AI solutions will become more affordable for many mid-size and perhaps even small businesses, and

companies will have to be able to quickly

reimagine their products or services to take advantage of this trend.

Small Business Blockchain also has the potential to impact virtually every aspect of the business. With the growth in

cryptocurrency and the NFT market, despite taking some grotesque forms (remember the latest South Park: The

Return of COVID special?), blockchain is something with a very broad range of potential applications and a source of disruption and growth across industries.

What will impact businesses in the future is not only the

“push” of new technologies, but also the “pull” of societal changes, radically changing customer preferences, and

regulatory shifts. Talent and skill shortages will continue leading to further automation and reshuffling of

business models. Climate disruption will also continue to create new risks and regulatory pressures – but also

new opportunities. Finally, social tensions and political

polarization will continue having an outsized impact on brand perception, particularly around social impact.

Staying agile and open-minded will become a matter of survival for many companies.

86 - CanadianSME I January 2022

What changes would you recommend investing in for this coming year to prepare yourself for the future? Invest in strategy-driven marketing. Make sure you take time to analyze and fully

understand the market you are in - and

the markets you want to enter. Very often, I see companies focusing on boosting

their marketing and sales without a clear understanding of their customer's needs or the markets in which they operate.

Unfortunately, chasing “shiny marketing objects” often results in confusion,

overwhelm, and wasted resources. This is

why I recommend starting with the basics and developing a solid business strategy as the foundation of a marketing and sales strategy.

Access to influential networks within the entrepreneurship ecosystem Dr. Golnaz Golnaraghi Founder, Accelerate Her Future

Dr.Golnaz Golnaraghi is an award-winning Leadership and Equity and Inclusion expert, social entrepreneur, TEDx speaker, and author. She is the Founder of Accelerate Her future, one of the leading career accelerators in Canada dedicated to advancing Black, Indigenous, and self-identifying women of color pursuing early careers in business and tech. She holds an MBA from the University of British Columbia Sauder School of Business and a Doctor of Business Administration from Athabasca University. Her areas of research interest include racialized and intersectional identities in the workplace, women of color in leadership, Muslim women’s identity construction in North America, transformative learning, among others. Golnaz has presented her research at international conferences and published in peer-review journals and books including the International Journal of Cross-Cultural Management, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion: An International Journal and The Oxford Handbook of Diversity in Organizations. Her commentary has been featured in CTV News, Liisbeth Media, and Women of Influence. Golnaz was recently recognized as a top 50 Reporton Business 2021 Changemakers.

87 - CanadianSME I January 2022

What are your thoughts on using a business growth platform to help take your business forward? I think that entrepreneurs should use business growth platforms for a number of reasons: access, a

methodology, and an approach that

has been kind of perfected based on years of experience are just some of them.

Business growth platforms like Imaginal Ventures and the work they do is

needed, particularly in our case, as we

are seeing growth, we don't necessarily always have the experience or

expertise around all the different elements within a conscious

business/social impact business that

we need to be mindful of as we scale to deepen our impact and growth.

Small Business By connecting with not only the Imaginal community but

But coming into the entrepreneurship

holistically and more strategically around the things

whatsoever, I found that, there is a bias to

the platform that they have, it's helping us to think more that we need to either consider, put in place or do more of as we scale.

It's nice to have access to that expertise because

they've been doing this for quite some time and they

have an amazing framework in place that we've been

benefiting from and learning about. Instead of trial and error and learning things as we go, we have access to

the expertise, the tools, and the learning in order to be able to propel us towards our growth.

What are the barriers to women entrepreneurs? Have you faced any struggles or barriers in your pursuits of success throughout your career?

ecosystem with no experience in it

tech entrepreneurs, which is fine. That's great, and we do have a technology element to our work. That's really

important. But there isn't as much that's

tailored to the needs of women, as well as those that have a social enterprise or a

social impact connected to their work. I've found the ecosystem to be really

fragmented and hard to figure out. I think my persistence and resourcefulness are

what have brought me and the team, our work to where we are today. I just kept at

it, found the right communities, found the

right incubators, found the right programs that really were aligned with our values,

aligned with our work and focus on social

To answer the first question, I think there have been and

impact. And I've kind of cobbled together

because we tend not to fit the dominant profile of what

communities that have been essential to

tech entrepreneur. First and foremost, women face

been essential to our work. So it's just

continue to be many barriers for women entrepreneurs

a whole list of resources, services,

an entrepreneur is an example is the stereotype of a

our work, as well as mentors that have

barriers to funding. That's number one. And I think for

taken a lot of perseverance.

women like me who come from racialized communities, Black entrepreneurs, Indigenous entrepreneurs, etc

those barriers can be even more significant. The latest stat shows that 2 to 3% of women receive venture

capital, and that number is even smaller for racialized communities. So again, I say funding, even financial

products, fundraising, access to financing. All of those I think can be a lot more equitable. That's number one. Secondly, access to influential networks within the

entrepreneurship ecosystem. It isn't always as available to women. And also access to programming, resources, and support that can be really tailored to our needs.

To answer your second question, I actually stepped into entrepreneurship later in my life, so in my 40s. I come from a background working in large corporations and

then within post-secondary as a professor. And so this is really the third chapter - my legacy work that I feel

very passionately about, and everything I've done has led me to this point.

88 - CanadianSME I January 2022

Small Business What is the power of building a network? Do you have any success stories about finding new business through your networking?

How can women entrepreneurs maintain wellness and achieve work/life balance?

I think networks are everything. Everything.

my life. I kind of navigate different circles or aspects

impact entrepreneur that's been doing this

family, as a working mom, there's family - and there's

found entrepreneurship can be very

that I just take time for myself to integrate. I'm

started looking into different communities,

I'm fully working with the team on work, but then

And that was kind of my first step into a

slow down and making sure that I take time.

and doing things differently. Over time, I've

One of the things that I've been really prioritizing is

the work that we do at AHF, where we're all

walking and fresh air are so important. I have a

other communities of women, through

been pursuing for many, many years. When it comes

cohort is a community and a network that

me really well. Making sure that I take downtime over

to me, are everything. Not only in terms of

to look after my wellbeing. So I don't know if I have

learn about opportunities, grants, funding,

individualized, and each entrepreneur, each woman

essential. But also just in terms of

on what works best for them, quite frankly.

really important to the work that we're

I find that when I'm really feeling really exhausted, if I

This is a big one. So I'm not sure work-life balance is possible daily, right? Each day I'm going to balance

In life, period, but particularly as a social

of life. There's work and entrepreneurship. There is

work. When I first left my full-time job, I

me in the center of all this. I think, for me, it's ensuring

isolating if we allow it to be. As a result, I

prioritizing myself. There are pockets of time where

and the first one that I found was SheEO.

being mindful when those sprints kind of come to a

community that really is about the network not only developed my own network through

going for walks regularly to clear my head. I think

about a community, as well. I’ve also found

mindfulness and meditation practice, which I have

Imaginal Venture’s Scale Up program our

to my chapter of entrepreneurship, they have served

has gelled together really well. So networks,

the weekends, to be with family, to look after myself,

learning how to navigate the system, you

the perfect recipe. I think for each person, it's very

learn about different programs. It's been

needs to kind of figure that out for themselves based

resources, supports, etc., it's been really, doing.

take the time for self-care, for rest, to nourish myself,

I would say really the most notable for me,

I'm actually even more effective because I have

connected me to different individuals, there

formula to it. I think each person sort of needs to

invaluable. But I would say the most

and their needs.

to integrate, to pause, when I come back to the work,

and I mean, of course, my networks have

clarity and I have rest. So I don't think there's a

are connections being made and it's

figure out what works for them based on their lifestyle

important network has been our own

community at Accelerate Her Future, where fellows or as mentors have been

Reflections on a journey, important moments, and realizations.

organization or into their connections for

One of the realizations I've had is that community is

helped us grow. And so I think that's been

everything. The people that we work with within our

many of the women that have joined as phenomenal at referring us into their

partnerships, for different aspects that have my experience.

89 - CanadianSME I January 2022

everything. My team, the team that I work with, is

ventures, so important. And really choosing to do things differently as a team. So being very

Small Business collaborative, creating an environment together, co-creating an environment that's psychologically safe for everyone to contribute. And that goes from an intern to those that may have more experience. The one thing I've learned, and I really, truly prioritize, is that the team is critical to all of this.

mentors, has been really critical. Making sure

Secondly, I think the community is important. This

Encourage others: Share your know-how on developing a female-led enterprise

work can feel very isolating, and I know many

entrepreneurs talk about this. So connecting to the right communities and creating our own

community within the work that we do has been

huge. I don't believe in the “hero” mentality of the

“entrepreneur that did it all”, that's never the case,

and I think it's so important to celebrate, recognize, and honor every single person that has played a role in getting us where we are - and there have been so many people.

Thirdly, co-creation. It's so important with the work that we do, and I would say for any entrepreneur

or venture to center the voices of those that they serve. Whether it's their customers, their

beneficiaries, their community, whatever it may be, to center the voices and co-create with them.

And lastly, I would say this journey is not for the

faint of heart. It can be very challenging and it can be very rewarding. And it's not a straight path or a straight line. There are so many curves, and good days, bad days, all kinds of experiences. And so keeping the mission at the center of everything you do, really just one step at a time, being

resourceful, being determined, knowing your “why”. And again, co-creating with a group makes it all easier to navigate, I would say. It's one of the

hardest things I've ever pursued, and also one of

the most rewarding paths I've been on. Make sure that you’re tapping into expertise because we're

not going to know it all! And different stages of a business or a venture will require different things, skills, priorities, etc. So tapping into programs,

resources, supports that can help at kind of each stage, as well as

90 - CanadianSME I January 2022

that as a founder, I'm honest with myself

around my strengths and areas where I may

need support to kind of move us through the things that we're prioritizing has been also

essential. A healthy sense of self-awareness

and honesty about what the business needs or the venture needs is really important, too.

Trust your own knowledge with what you want

to do. If you have an idea or if you're looking to launch or if you have already launched, first and foremost, trust your own inner knowing

and do things on your own terms. That said, couple it with accessing the resources and

programs and opportunities that are available. When I first set out to do this work, one of the

first coffee chats that I had with someone that has expertise in my area, her advice, at the

time, was, "Stick to your day job. This will never

work." And they had the best of intentions, but I remember walking out of their office and

thinking, "That doesn't resonate for me. I really do believe in what I'm doing." And had I

listened, I wouldn't be here with the team doing the things that we're doing. So I think that's partially why I say really listen to your own

intuition and inner knowing and do things on your own terms.

Couple this with surrounding yourself with

great mentors and access to resources that are available. Take advantage of them. And

just go for it. If you see a funding opportunity, don't talk yourself out of applying. Just apply. Or whatever the opportunity may be, take

advantage and apply and just keep at it one foot in front of the other every single day.

Again, as I said, it's one of the hardest things I've done, but it's also one of the most

rewarding, and what keeps me going is the

why and the mission, and the impact that we hope to have.


Anu Bidani

Founder and CEO of STEM Minds Anu Bidani is the founder and CEO of STEM Minds, a social enterprise that empowers youth to

develop a love of learning through STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) education. Prior to starting STEM Minds, Anu worked as an executive at Scotiabank for 20 years, becoming

their Head of eStrategy and Solutions. Anu is an award-winning entrepreneur who is passionate about empowering the next generation of global leaders and innovators. Anu has a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, an MBA from Dalhousie University and has completed the High Potential Leadership Program from Harvard Business School.

Small Business What are your thoughts on using a business growth platform to help take your business forward?

How can women entrepreneurs maintain wellness and achieve work/life balance?

I am a big supporter of building processes using

I truly believe to be successful in times of

you are setting up your business for a growth

juggle, self-care is really important. Work-

successful frameworks. I think it is really important as trajectory to spend the time and build proper

processes. This not only will bring stability to the team with clarity but also allow you to be efficient with resources and processes.

What are the barriers to women entrepreneurs? Have you faced any struggles or barriers in your pursuits of success throughout your career?

today when there are so many priorities to life balance is all about choices we have in our control to make. Taking downtime

for yourself with no meetings and emails,

going for walks and practicing meditation, having fun with the simple thing in life all

contribute to happiness. We all need to do that from the lens of what works for you. There is no right or wrong way of doing self-care. It is all about what works for you.

There are many barriers that women entrepreneurs face from accessing funding to dealing with

have been patronized by so many male investors that

Reflections on a journey, important moments, and realizations?

opportunities for changing the dialogue, albeit is very

The journey of an entrepreneur is not easy.

fundraising for my startup. This journey is testing my

lows. In this journey I have realized no

will cross this path with renewed learning and hope.

there for me. I cherish those moments and

unconscious biases on the capabilities of women. I

I have lost count. I have always looked at barriers as hard to work through. My biggest struggle has been

It is a rollercoaster ride with highs and

resilience at levels I did not expect. I am hopeful that I

matter what happens, my family is always will always hold them close to me.

What is the power of building a network? Do you have any success stories about finding new business through your networking? I have grown my business through networks. When I pivoted from my corporate career to

entrepreneurship; from a financial service vertical to education vertical; I found myself with no network. I worked through the community, small business

programs, government programs, accelerators to build my community. I have seen the power of

Encourage others: Share your know-how on developing a female-led enterprise?

Building a female-led enterprise is

community to uplift you, fill in knowledge gaps, give

about believing in yourself and others

an SHEO activator and a venture. That community has

be their best in their own skin.

you support when needed. It allows you to grow. I am

given me so much support that I am grateful for. From access to funding to contacts and guidance – all in one place.

92 - CanadianSME I January 2022

around you. Letting people grow and

How on develop a What are your thoughts on using a business growth platform to help take your business forward? Founding a company and turning a startup into a

viable business is not as sexy as everyone makes it out to be. I remember watching “Working Girl” and “The Secret of My Success” when I was young and dreaming about what it would be like to run my

own company. I would think about the problems I

would help solve and the team that I would build. Unfortunately, the journey is more like what Tom Hanks goes through in “Outcast”!! Alone on an

island, feeling stranded, delirious (some days), but always believing it will all work out in the end.

Andrea Oh

CEO at MOVE Improve As the Chief Executive Officer, Andrea is

responsible for leading the development and

execution of short- and long-term strategies,

assessing, monitoring, and minimizing risks to the company, to increase shareholder value. She is the primary voice of the company,

communicating with shareholders, government entities, potential investors, and the public. As a social enterprise, she is focused on

maintaining integrity to social responsibility in

Now that I’m on my next startup, working with a

business growth platform makes the journey feel a

lot more like “A League of Their Own”, where I’ve got a coach on the sidelines who’s been through the same struggles before and who can help me

navigate through the “stuff” that you can’t read

about in textbooks or business workshops. Granted, I’ve had experience with several business

accelerators and accredited programs and have walked away from each as a better Founder and CEO but finding the right platform is important …

one that meets you where you are at and guides you along the zigzag path ahead.

all business activities. With a passion for

getting more people moving, more often, for a

industries. Companies include: STOTT Pilates,

What are the barriers to women entrepreneurs? Have you faced any struggles or barriers in your pursuits of success throughout your career?

Cancer, and Power Plate. Outside of her role

As a “serial” entrepreneur, leading technology-

focused and an active contributor with her

faced many barriers along the way. Many of them

healthier world, Andrea has spent the last 20

years of her career using technology to solve problems in the health, fitness, and wellness

Microsoft, iTECH Fitness, The Ride to Conquer as a career professional, she is community

time and efforts in creating positive impact in a wide variety of ways. She also loves the

outdoors, lacing up her running shoes, and getting miles under her feet

focused companies for the last twenty years, I’ve (I believe) is consistent with what all

entrepreneurs face, regardless of gender. But there are struggles that come to mind that I don’t

believe would have occurred if I wasn’t a woman.

Small Business The struggles that hindered the advancement of

and entrepreneurs are proud parents. And it

led I feel have centred around the lack of

and outsiders to help provide support, insight,

my career or the progress of the companies I’ve women on the other side of most decisionmaking conversations. Few companies with

women in a position of authority to make key

decisions. Few women investors to pitch to. Few

takes a village to raise a child. It takes people feedback, perspective, recommendations, and

even capital to help grow a startup into a selfsustaining, viable business.

women-led accelerator programs or groups.

For women entrepreneurs, who are often afraid to

I have met and spoken with so many women

peers (like I was), the first thing to do is to be

over the years who ended their entrepreneurial journey far too soon … because they didn’t feel supported, understood, heard, or respected.

Although I share in their frustrations and echo similar experiences … I’ve endured to keep my company alive and inching forward.

What is the power of building a network? Do you have any success stories about finding new business through your networking? It wasn’t until recently that I realized how

important and invaluable the “right” network can be … and that it begins with me. For so many

years, I hindered my ability to connect with likeminded business acquaintances because I was too proud to accept help and support from

others. I felt like I had to do it on my own to be respected by my peers.

Over the past year, my growing business

network has been really helpful in providing

valuable perspective and honest feedback. I am confident that, as my network continues to evolve, success stories about finding new

business will come. Currently, my network has created leads for pilots with high-profile

organizations, including lululemon, with the goal of converting these pilots to paying customers.

How can women entrepreneurs maintain wellness and achieve work/life balance? Entrepreneurs can’t be successful if they build their businesses in a silo or bubble. A new business is essentially a child … and 93 - CanadianSME I January 2022

show vulnerability and weakness amongst their okay with asking (and receiving) help from others. This was the biggest shift for me in

creating more self-awareness, putting the focus on self-care, and prioritizing balance between

my personal and professional life. I got out of my own way, I put my pride and fear of “social

failure” aside and really began to breathe life into my startup … to help it grow and mature.

Making Energy Efficiency the New ROI! Megan McCarthy, the President and Co-founder of ROCarbon Labs, always had a passion for environmental sustainability. She loves to educate people and find out ways to curb waste and save money. She even continues to do so via her work with ROCarbon Labs. She is also the Board member of Circulatory Forum, which connects sustainability professionals to network and drive a change in their respective communities. Apart from that, Megan serves as the Director of the Sustainable Growth Society, a group that builds high-performance rental apartments in rural NS. Being the Co-founder and President of ROCarbon Labs, she combines her two passions: Blockchain technology and energy data to create a powerful solution to validate energy data for carbon credits, and provides turnkey energy analytics and training on energy data.

From an early age, Megan was dubbed Captain Planet by friends and family. She was passionate about

environmental sustainability; always teaching others and thinking of ways to reduce waste and save money. She

continues to do this today through her work with ROCarbon Labs.

After completing three years of an engineering degree and spending 10 years in the energy industry in Calgary, she

relocated to Halifax, Nova Scotia and completed a Bachelor of Management, majoring in Environment, Sustainability, and Society at Dalhousie University. At that time, she

completed a thesis under Dr. Larry Hughes in collaboration with the electric utility in the City of Summerside, PEI. The

overarching goal of the project was to use wind turbines to

heat homes using Electric Thermal Storage Units for the first time in the world. This research saw homes using 90% wind

power to heat their space while saving an average of $900 annually on their heating costs and netting the utility an

average of 65% extra revenue per customer. Combined with her thesis, Megan studied Master’s classes focusing on Energy Security and Energy Systems Analysis.

95 - CanadianSME I January 2022

Megan McCarthy President and Co-founder ROCarbon Labs

Small Business What are your thoughts on using a business growth platform to help take your business forward? I used to draw out these diagrams I would call ‘mind maps’ for my co-founders to help decipher what was going on in my head and to show how all of the puzzle pieces fit

together. Imagination has nailed an extremely simple and

visual model that has helped me to sort and organize this ongoing chaos in my brain. Compared to my mind maps,

however, there is also a carefully structured approach for scale-ups to follow to ensure we have all of the tools we need while mapping to catapult our businesses forward.

What is the power of building a network? Do you have any success stories about finding new business through your networking? The power of building a network is

everything for women entrepreneurs as we often have to break off from

traditional networks and build our own to find success. After not feeling safe

at the local accelerator, I got together with other female founders and we

started a shared office space together

What are the barriers to women entrepreneurs? Have you faced any struggles or barriers in your pursuits of success throughout your career? I have experienced it all from being threatened with an

NDA from a tech accelerator if I spoke to anyone about

their shockingly poor treatment of women, to being fired from a C-level position a week after reporting sexual harassment. Being a data person though I look for

patterns, and the biggest barrier is one of the most consistent and insidious things women encounter: Gatekeepers.

These are individuals in positions of power: over funding,

access to networks, and acceptance to accelerators who flex their decision-making powers as they please. I have seen this manifest when women turn down sexual

advances, when women outwork their male counterparts, and when women speak up about unequal treatment. Coupled with having a harder time accessing the

resources we need, is that time is our most precious resource as entrepreneurs.

Studies have shown it takes much longer to find a woman credible than a man and to be willing to collaborate with her. This can be a killer for so many women-owned

businesses simply not being able to keep up with male-

owned companies, with all of the added hoops we need to jump through, let alone the other barriers we face. I hope

investors and diversity heads can remember what we’re up against when they continue to look around and ask where

all of the women in STEM are while scratching their heads.

96 - CanadianSME I January 2022

for sustainability entrepreneurs. We

started hosting networking events to

meet others like us and leveraged one

another’s contacts to start doing tours

of sustainable buildings. One such tour

was at IKEA where I happened to notice they had some of the top-of-the-line equipment in my field. I asked them how they were using these devices,

and they said they didn’t know how to best incorporate them in their day

today. This led to me signing IKEA as

one of my earliest clients, enabling us to build our credibility quickly.

Small Business How can women entrepreneurs maintain wellness and achieve work/life balance?

company. Startups can take on a life of their own, so I’ve found

Encourage others: Share your know-how on developing a female-led enterprise

the culture of our company. For example, we don’t have a number

When I was first starting

breaks when they need to heal. This can help ensure we have the

to absolutely every startup

the phrase ‘you’re nothing without your health’ truly means.

event I could find in the

Finding balance and maintaining wellness has seemed like a nearly impossible task at points as I have had both freak

accidents and immune disorders to contend with while running my that wellness needs to be something that is made a big priority for of sick days, we hire passionate people who want to work and take

off my career, I showed up

stamina for success as I have realized through health issues what

and cleantech

city. After a year or two, I would end up knowing

Reflections on a journey, important moments, and realizations. It may sound odd but one of the biggest things that have helped me succeed is humor. Business is all built on relationships and

certain groups of people face more assumptions than others. I have found on many occasions, if I am able to come up with a

quick and witty response, it can not only help me to build these relationships more quickly, it can also help earn respect when used carefully. For example, at a tech dinner with all men, a

waitress didn’t bring a man what he ordered and so after she left he elbowed the guy next to him and said ‘no surprise, women

never listen to me. I quickly hollered down the table, ‘What’s that,

Jack!?’ Everyone laughed, but what’s more important is that they involved me more in the conversation after that, despite me pointing out some of Jack's outdated language.

more than 80% of the

people at the average

meet and greet. This not only positioned me as a permanent fixture in the

scene, but I was also able to establish a large

network of key players

early on in my career. This has served as the

backbone of access to

crucial resources for any

business I have operated over time.

The leaders in

Home Inspection SINCE 1978 Alan Carson

CEO & Founder of Carson Dunlop Alan Carson lives home inspections. Since he cofounded Carson Dunlop in 1978, he has focused his professional life on the development of this

profession. For the last 43 years, Carson Dunlop has performed hundreds of thousands of home

inspections, helped train thousands of inspectors, and provided the reporting system for millions of

inspections. Alan has helped grow the profession, taken a leadership role in North American

associations, and works with postsecondary institutions and allied professions.

What was the inspiration and motivation behind finding Carson Dunlop? And what are you trying to accomplish through your work? What was the inspiration and motivation behind Carson Dunlop? Bob Dunlop and I were working as Fire Protection engineers for a large insurance company in the 1970s and our role was to inspect buildings to

ensure they were safe. When Bob bought a house, he and I went through the home, inspecting the

systems and components. The real estate agent later asked if we could help other buyers do the

same thing, and an idea was born! The concept was simple - help people make an informed decision when purchasing a new home.

As we started to research, we discovered an emerging home inspection profession in the eastern United States. We traveled to

Washington, DC, and spent time visiting and

riding with inspectors. We came home with an

idea to start a business and hung out our shingle in 1978.

The inspiration and motivation came from asking the question, “How do people protect themselves when buying a resale home, and how should

people make an informed decision about one of the largest financial and lifestyle investments of their life?” The answer that we kept getting was “caveat emptor” - buyer beware. The need for

this seemed obvious, and that need was filled in other parts of the world.

What are we trying to accomplish in our work? Carson Dunlop’s goal is to provide people with the necessary information to make great decisions

when buying and selling a home. We provide a key piece of the puzzle, which is understanding the physical condition of the home. We focus on

whether the home and its components were built and installed properly and are performing their intended function. For over 43 years and

completing hundreds of thousands of inspections, we have helped many families stay warm, safe, and dry.

What are your thoughts on the Liberal government’s plan, the Home Buyers’ Bill of Rights, and how this will impact the real estate market, especially for first-time homebuyers? One of the main elements from the Home Buyer's Bill of Rights that Carson Dunlop is passionate about is, “establishing a legal right to a home inspection to make sure that buyers have the

peace of mind that their investment is sound.” It’s positive that the federal government recognizes home inspections are a critical element in the

home buying process; however we need specific actions to address this.

A pre-listing inspection should be required before any home is offered for sale. We are seeing many

cases across Ontario where prospective buyers are only allowed 30 minutes in a home before submitting an offer.

It’s not fair that a person would not have a chance to understand what they are buying before committing to the largest investment of their life. At Carson Dunlop, we cannot understand why anyone would be put in a position where they spend more time buying shoes than buying a home. Why home inspections have become rarer in today’s heated market – and what this means for buyers and sellers? Home inspections have become rarer in today’s real estate-heated market because of the

competition for a limited supply of homes,

which has resulted in bidding wars. There are

many more buyers than sellers, which has led sellers and their real estate agents to be

selective about what offers they entertain. Buyers are being told they can have no

conditions for home inspections or financing if they expect their offer to be considered.

Homebuyers are making outrageous financial commitments without the basic information

they need to make an informed decision. The

situation is aggravated by the fact that many people put all their funds (and often their

parent's funds) into a down payment and have no money available for unforeseen expenses that could arise once they move in. The

situation is completely unfair to buyers who are being expected to buy blind. There are several

ways to level the playing field without harming either party.

Small Business Sellers are often comfortable with bidding wars

and many are selling their homes for more money than they ever expected; however, when sellers purchase another home, they quickly find

themselves at a significant disadvantage in their role as a homebuyer.

How can the home inspection save both buyers and sellers thousands of dollars during the transaction process, helping to eliminate any unnecessary costs? A professional home inspection provides a clear picture of the physical condition of a home,

allowing buyers to decide wisely and reducing the

liability for sellers. The home inspection also serves as a course in homeownership, helping buyers

understand their home and how to maintain it, making sure it is safe, comfortable, dry, and performing efficiently.

Unforeseen costs are one of the greatest

challenges of homeownership and there is no

worse time to face these costs than during the first year in a new home. Sellers who perform a pre-

listing inspection can position the home ideally for sale, address any small issues, maximize price, minimize time on the market, and avoid any

potential liability from home-buyers coming back to them.

What is your key advice to buyers and sellers during this challenging time? Our home is the most important purchase most of us will ever make, from a financial and lifestyle perspective. Basic table stakes should have all

parties understand the condition of the property to allow for a fair and transparent transaction. A home inspection is one critical element of the

process. Canadian homeowners deserve no less.

100 - CanadianSME - January 2022