CanadianSME Small Business Magazine September Edition 2022

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CANADIANSME Empowering Canadian Small & Medium Businesses


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How AI is changing the SME landscape Page - 17

How technology is driving forward the next generation of small businesses Page - 12

CRA audits don’t need to be stressful

Page - 20 The future of Data Privacy for small and medium-sized businesses

Page - 27 All Images, trademarks, service marks and logos referred to or appearing in this magazine are the property of their respective owners.

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SMALL BUSINESS SUMMIT 2022 Embracing digital disruption

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Our September issue is officially here, and we are very excited about all the great content we have included in this month’s issue! We strive to be Canada’s top magazine, providing exclusive insights, strategies, and advice to small business owners and entrepreneurs. Our mission is to include the best of inclusive interviews and top business insights from reputable industry experts. Our team works very hard to deliver the most valuable content to our readers to ensure that you stay up to date on all the latest business trends. Empowering small and mediumsized businesses is our prime goal. This month, CanadianSME is focused on innovation and technology in Canada. In this issue, we have featured future tech trends, small business technology, artificial intelligence, and data privacy and security for small businesses. This issue will also feature the business women of the month and interviews, and specialist advice from industry experts. Learn “How AI is changing the SME landscape.” by Cubeler; “Open banking key to Unlocking Corporate Credit for SMEs in Canada” By John MacKinlay, CEO of Caary Capital; “CRA audits don’t need to be stressful” by Audit Shield. Learn more about Empower by GoDaddy in collaboration with Futurepreneur. And read our exclusive interviews such as How Technology is Driving Forward the Next Generation of Small Businesses with How technology is driving forward the next generation of small businesses with Mary Ann Yule; The future of data privacy for small and medium-sized businesses with Philippe Dufresne and Navigate your business through a rapidly shifting landscape with Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte. The CanadianSME Small Business Summit is coming on October 26th. Join us at the biggest gathering of Canadian small and medium enterprises on October 26, 2022, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, Toronto. Register today by visiting our website at! Our nominations for the annual CanadianSME National Business Awards 2022 have opened. We are delighted to continue to serve the business community and bring recognition to small and medium-sized businesses from across the country. Follow us on our social media for more information. Don't forget to subscribe to our magazine to get the latest trends and stay up to date on our events. 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

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Published by Cmarketing Inc 2800 Skymark Avenue, Suite 203 Mississauga, ON. Canada. L4W 5A6. Copyright © 2022 CMarketing Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or part of any text, photography or illustrations without written permission from the publisher is prohibited.

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

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.



Canadiansme small business magazine


What is the State of Canada’s Digital Skills Training? By Darian Kovacs


How Apple is empowering people with their health information


5 Of The Best New Technologies For Retailers


5 Simple Technology Solutions To Help Small Businesses Become More Efficient


Canadian innovation recovers and recycles energy from wastewater

How technology is driving forward the next generation of small businesses


Artificial Intelligence And Small Businesses: 5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Help Your Small Business

Mary Ann Yule


Authentic Leadership The Importance of Beining Genuine to Enhance Employee Engagement

President, and CEO of HP Canada


IN THIS ISSUE Canadiansme Small Business Magazine



5 Future Trends Every Small Business Needs to Follow


How AI is changing the SME landscape

The future of Data Privacy for small and medium-sized businesses

35 Open banking key to unlocking corporate credit for SMEs in Canada John Mackinlay - CEO of Caary

IN THIS ISSUE Canadiansme Small Business Magazine




Unlock $100K to modernize your business

GSoft's insights and perspectives on the future of work in Canada

BusinessWoman Of The Month: Devon Fiddler

Charles Gervais, Founder of iTransform


GoDaddy and Futurpreneur collaborate to support entrepreneurs in creating a digital presence and growing their businesses online.


CRA audits don’t need to be stressful

News EY Canada acquires sustainability consulting firm, AFARA ASSURANCE

EY is recognized as a leading provider of ESG consulting services. Research and advisory firm, Verdantix, ranked EY as a leader for ESG services and sustainability consulting services in its latest report, Green Quadrant: ESG & Sustainability Consulting 2022.

IKEA Canada assembles new brand storytelling to inspire Canadians Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst at Toronto Metropolitan University launches CyberStart Canada, a gamified cybersecurity learning experience for youth


IKEA Canada is proud to unveil a new brand platform that dials into the company’s mission to create a better everyday life for the many people. Anchored by the phrase, Bring Home to Life (La maison, c’est la vie in French), the new branding aims to tell compelling stories of how IKEA products and services help people bring the spaces that matter most to them, to life.


Rogers Cybersecure Catalyst, Toronto Metropolitan University’s national centre for training, innovation and collaboration in cybersecurity, launched CyberStart Canada. The new youth-focused learning experience seeks to increase cyber knowledge and safety among high school girls and close the gender gap in cybersecurity.

SmartONE wins KPMG’s Canadian Tech Innovator competition TAX AND ADVISORY SERVICES

This year’s competition was fierce and while all the companies were impressive, the judges concluded that SmartONE stood out from the crowd with their innovative business model,” says Sunil Mistry, Partner, Enterprise and Technology, Media, and Telecommunications, KPMG in Canada.

News Benefits Marketplace CloudAdvisors Set to Transform HR & Recruitment with Industry-Disrupting Product Relaunch MARKETPLACE

CloudAdvisors, Canada’s leading InsurTech disruptor and employee benefits

marketplace, announced a series of innovative product developments this week, including a complete overhaul of their core user experience.

Samsung Electronics Unveils a New Era of Connected Living with Updated Family Hub™, Global Launch of SmartThings Home Life SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS

The global launch of SmartThings Home Life and updated Family Hub connects users worldwide to an ecosystem of smarter living solutions that expand their home life experience.

How technology is driving forward the next generation of small businesses Mary Ann Yule President, and CEO of HP Canada

We got the chance to speak to Mary Ann Yule, President, and CEO of HP Canada, who shared her vision for the future of small businesses in Canada, the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face when starting their businesses, some of the ongoing frustrations SMBs face regarding technology, some of the benefits of using HP solutions for SMBs, followed by her advice to aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their own business.

Small Business 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. 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). Prior to joining HP, Mary Ann served as Vice President and General Manager of CDW Canada, Inc., driving business growth and national brand recognition. Under her leadership, CDW Canada was ranked as a premier technology solution provider in Canada, one of Canada’s Top 100 Employers, and among the Top Workplaces for Women. She holds a Kellogg-Schulich Executive MBA from the Schulich School of Business in Toronto, attended Ryerson University, and holds numerous professional accreditations, including Six Sigma Executive Champion.

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Mary Ann currently serves on the Board of Directors, Executive Committee, of TechNation (formerly ITAC), Canada’s national information and communication technology business association championing the development of a robust and sustainable digital economy in Canada. She is also a member of the 30% Club, an organization committed to building a strong foundation of business leaders to champion meaningful change in the gender balance of board and executive committees. Based in Toronto, Canada, Mary Ann is often quoted in the press and is a highly sought-after speaker on positive disruption driven by technology megatrends like 3D printing, sustainable impact, diversity, and inclusion.

What is your vision for the future of small businesses in Canada? Do you see a trend of more Canadians wanting to start their businesses? While Canadian small businesses have faced several

hardships over the last two years, they continue to rise to the occasion tackling ongoing challenges and proving their commitment to drive our economy forward. One in four Canadian small businesses were established within the past two years, meaning that not only are entrepreneurs navigating this pivotal moment in time, but they’re seeking growth opportunities too. My vision is for Canadian small businesses to continue driving the economy forward through innovation. These emerging leaders are attracting global talent and leveraging digital solutions to advance their business, reaffirming Canada’s position on the global stage as a leader in technology. Canadian entrepreneurs are as creative, resourceful, and ambitious as any in the world and I’m excited to support this future for the small business community.

Small Business

How do you think the barriers to entry for entrepreneurs have changed in recent years? What are the biggest challenges entrepreneurs face when starting their businesses? One of the biggest challenges

entrepreneurs face is equipping themselves with the right tools and expertise to run a business. The first few months of operating a business can be quite costly. Small business owners will turn to resources and tools that prioritize speed, leaving security as an afterthought. Fortunately, technology continues to break down barriers to entry by making these tools more accessible, easy to use, and secure. Between using devices that enable the flexibility to work from anywhere to managing business expenses through online dashboards, innovative solutions are changing the table stakes of owning a business and enabling organizations to meet the evolved needs of the small business community. 14 - CanadianSME - September 2022

The growing number of ways to connect online has also

opened doors for businesses and cyber criminals with a quarter of Canadian businesses saying they were victims of a cyberattack in 2021. Investing in secure-by-design solutions is fundamental for the livelihood of a business, which needs to happen right from day one to protect

customer privacy. By taking a strong cybersecurity posture, it protects not only the individual or business but the communities they serve.

What are some of the ongoing frustrations SMBs face regarding technology? Why do you think HP solutions can help alleviate these frustrations? HP recently commissioned a survey to better understand the current pain points of running a small business and found while over half of Canadian small business owners consider themselves to be tech savvy, 62 percent can feel overwhelmed by the need to keep up to date with technology. Most small business owners and entrepreneurs didn’t start a business to become a full-time IT department, which we offer HP Wolf Security and hardware that is secure by design, so leaders can focus on what matters most to their business. We recently evolved our HP+

Small Business Smart Printing System to meet the needs of this community by offering a smart, sustainable, and scalable solution that gives small businesses access to the technology they need to be efficient and successful in their day-to-day tasks.

HP+ offers effortless management through an automated printing system so entrepreneurs never have to worry about running out of ink and can instead channel resources into what they do best.

How important is it for SMBs to have a reliable technology partner? What are some of the benefits of using HP solutions for SMBs? Our recent study revealed that 74 percent of Canadian small business owners are involved in all aspects about technology and their business. We understand that being a trustworthy technology consultant, like an HP Amplify partner, isn’t just about leveraging new and faster products, but rather adopting a services-first mindset that simplifies the overall experience and allows small business owners to focus on what matters most to their business.

We take this a step further by building sustainability into every part of the experience which is what makes HP+ the most sustainable printing system. One of the ways we achieve this is through our Forest First program where we protect and restore forests for every page printed, throughout the lifespan of the printer.

44 percent of Canadian small business owners are demanding more environmentally-friendly options for their office and we have responded with the world’s most sustainable PC portfolio. Sustainability is no longer just the right thing to do – it’s a business imperative.

Small Business What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs looking to start their businesses? My advice is to prioritize building a strong purposedriven culture. I focus on fostering a culture of mentorship, where we can gain valuable insights and fresh perspectives on issues and opportunities by simply

listening to each other. The world of entrepreneurship is filled with resources, and it can be overwhelming to know where to start. From online publications to peers,

to friends and family, advice about starting and running a business is endless. But a dedicated business mentor with experience in a specific field can be a compass to navigating the landscape.

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Mentorship is a two-way street, where mentees learn new strategies through a fresh lens while mentors gain wisdom from this invaluable exchange.

What’s more, it’s also typically a free resource to help start and grow a business. Mentors are a guiding force for entrepreneurs as they take the first steps to carve out their business path and this type of relationship reinforces my belief that teamwork and creativity can triumph over almost any challenge.

Artificial intelligence is paving the way for SMEs (small to medium-sized businesses) to take advantage of new technology that will provide huge amounts of information. “The companies (SMEs) that will be able to adapt to the new environments and understand how to use and apply AI will survive” a quote taken from Dr. Luis Rocha (Ph.D. in AI), the Chief Analytics and Data Science Officer at Cubeler, sums up the value of AI and analytics. With AI you can gather and analyze every piece of data and put it to good use for the benefit of the business within minutes. More than simply using AI for analytics, but automating tedious, time-consuming tasks is not only a great way to optimize the expertise of those you’ve hired but will ensure the work they put their effort towards gives them satisfaction and your business a positive ROI.

According to Statista, the current global artificial intelligence for businesses’ market size has grown to 327.5 billion in global revenue and is expected to cross the 554.3 billion mark. With SMEs making up roughly 98.1% of all the businesses in Canada, it’s no wonder why companies are offering AI solutions and are so keen on accessing this market.

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Now, it’s time to look at the benefits this market can gain from AI, and there are plenty of very lucrative and competitive reasons. SMEs can benefit from more in-depth marketing intelligence, optimized supply chain management, improved production capabilities, and simply breaking down current customer dynamics to optimize sales. In short, AI can help SMEs optimize their functionality, maximizing profit, and it is all thanks to the data gathered and analyzed via artificial intelligence. There has also always been a stigma of SMEs not being able to compete with their larger, enterprise-level counterparts, and this is another reason that AI can revolutionize the SME market offerings. Incorporating AI into your business, as an SME, will allow you to pivot faster keeping up with customer demands, and the actual incorporation of AI into your business operations should be a lot simpler, easier, and quicker than any of your larger competitors. In this case, being smaller is mightier. Let’s look at some of the operational benefits AI can bring to your SME.

We’ve all seen the cost it takes to look for the right candidates, onboarding, training, and the time it takes to answer frequently asked questions about benefits and company policy. All these things often take time away from other needed tasks that your HR needs to get done, and AI can streamline this entire process. As much of these “HR” interactions can often be automated, either by way of matching the right candidates with your business based on certain criteria, delivering the

needed onboarding materials for them to review, or simply the process of taking new employees throughout the entire HR procedure, the average amount of time it takes is roughly 95 days to fully onboard an employee. Having plugged in some average numbers into, it can cost roughly We can start with something as simple as saving costs by

scheduling employees, the right number of employees, and their overall scheduled time to work. According to Paycore, one of the leading costs for small to medium-sized businesses is the cost of labour. With AI, you can look at where throughout your work schedule are more employees needed vis a vis high customer engagement of your business, but you can also break down your employees' time during their work shifts. Figuring out who is the most performing, who works better with whom, and how to capitalize on your employees’ work preferences and capabilities are all data points AI can help you gather in moments.

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$24,145 to onboard and train an employee. That is a hefty cost to bring on an employee who will most likely only become profitable to your business until after their training in 95 days or so. Using AI to speed this process up can not only save time onboarding new staff, but it also frees up employees allowing them to return more quickly to profitable actions for your business while still lending a needed hand to the new employees.

These complex algorithms (AI),

The Cubeler Business Hub™ is designed to facilitate SMEs'

While yes, there will always be some adjustment period as you onboard

financing by matching you directly with financial institutions to help your business grow and succeed. Moreover, we go even

function via extremely complex and meticulously researched processes to make sure no mistakes are had.

your new AI software, these are what we like to refer to as growing pains

at Cubeler. Take product QA. If your business offers specific products that require very particular standards in order to be functional, you can implement algorithms to test each of your products out automatically and see if it falls within a viable threshold for customer satisfaction and utility. Yes, you will be required to implement the initial steps and program what the parameters are, but just like with mathematics once a formula (or algorithm) is in place, every product verified under those parameters should come out functioning 100% and allow you to focus on more business-related tasks that cannot be automated and are often pivotal to your success.

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progression from inception to eventually becoming enterpriselevel organizations, should that be the goal. We use your shared financial information via our AI Business Hub to facilitate

further by helping you reach the exact kind of audience you’re looking to target. The Cubeler Business Hub™ will also act as the platform to help SME-only business executives and owners to create valuable networking partners, and finally, we will bring you insights and answers to ensure that all the business decisions you make lead to success.

Whether you like it or not, AI is something that you will need to implement to stay relevant as an SME. From developing customer segmentation models to understanding your audience segments, all the way to analyzing customer metrics, determining your KPIs, and creating predictive models to be deployed in real-time environments, AI can be and should be used to optimize your business. As mentioned previously, there are numerous different types of AI to optimize your HR or to even help boost your SMEs productivity, no matter what you end up using AI for, it is in your best interest and when possible should be onboarded into your operations. At Cubeler, we know that AI is the next big thing that will help all SMEs, and as we prepare for the launch of our highly anticipated Cubeler Business Hub™ going live in November, we are currently inviting all SMEs to pre-register with us here, so you can hit the ground running.

For anyone that has ever received one

of those infamous ’brown envelopes’ or digital communication from the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA), you know the uncertainty it can bring. You start by asking yourself; am I in trouble? I haven’t done anything wrong, but what’s this going to cost to make it go away? In Canada, we have a self-reported tax system. This means our tax authority – the CRA, has a duty to make sure Canadians are filing their taxes, both personal and corporate, correctly, and accurately. On top of this, our tax act is filled with special credits, deductions, and transfers. When the rules are complex; disputes are common.

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At any given time, more than 170,000 tax reviews are underway in Canada, often taking up large amounts of time, and money to respond, and resolve. On time, accurately filed, and compliant returns can still be randomly selected for reviews, audits, and investigations by the CRA. Even when the filing position is correct, there is no reimbursement by the CRA for costs you incurred to prove or defend your position.

The time and cost for your CPA accountant to respond on your behalf can be stressful and significant. However, there is a way to reduce the costs and stress of dealing with CRA and provincial tax reviews and audits. It’s called Audit Shield. Audit Shield mitigates the fees associated with unexpected, inconvenient, in most cases, unwarranted, and often stressful CRA reviews and audits.

Audit Insurance The premise of Audit Shield is very simple. Audit Shield is an optional service offered by many proactive Canadian CPA accounting firms that provides for the payment of professional fees incurred when you are selected for a review, audit, inquiry, investigation, or examination of filed returns instigated by the CRA or other provincial revenue authorities. That means if your CPA accountant offers Audit Shield, and you choose to join the program, all professional fees up to a prescribed limit are paid for when your CPA accountant represents you in those CRA review or audit activity matters. That means no surprise accounting bill for you.

“Accounting firms, and their clients, that have Audit Shield in place have a huge benefit when going through the process of a CRA review or audit,” Roman Kaczynski – Director at Accountancy Insurance.

Not having Audit Shield could prove costly. Simpler

matters like personal tax audits can cost a few hundred dollars whereas full corporate audits could

easily cost thousands of dollars. In between, there are numerous reviews and audits like GST/HST/PST/QST, payroll, reviews of travel expenses, vehicle expenses, and many more. The cost of each audit varies on many factors, such as, the size of the business, over how many years these reviews are focused on, what complexity exists in the data, or the transactions being reviewed. There is no price range as each audit is its own unique circumstance. The good news is that Audit Shield can cost as little as $310 for a Sole Proprietor and their family group per year, which can cover them for up to $10,000 of their accountant’s time to respond on their behalf, which is more than adequate for even the most complicated review or audit in their category.

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“A business is usually much more susceptible to a more involved review or audit by the CRA,” Kaczynski says. “Having Audit Shield ensures the matter is delt with thoroughly. This means that the client, nor the accountant, needs to cut corners to keep the time, and cost, down.”

The Audit Shield team is already seeing the CRA return to full capacity and indeed claim

numbers from CPA accounting firms responding to this review activity, are up when compared to pre-Covid levels. This is expected to continue as the CRA begins to review the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the

Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS) – reviews of which are both covered by Audit Shield.

Accountancy Insurance has been around in

Canada since 2016, specializing in Audit Shield. With a proven track record of 20 years established down under we have the history and depth of knowledge to ensure Audit Shield has you covered when it matters.

If you are interested in Audit Shield, ask your CPA accountant for more information.Send your CPA an email introduction on Audit Shield by clicking here, or visit

We recently had the opportunity to chat with Simon De Baene, Co-Founder and CEO of GSoft, who shared GSoft's insights and perspectives on the future of work in Canada and how workplaces will continue to evolve in the years to come, his opinion about the ways in which enhancing employee experiences can assist businesses in increasing their levels of productivity, how GSoft improved its

includes more than 350 employees – are continuing to work together to reimagine the future of work while delivering new and innovative tools to enable better, more collaborative work environments – whether they are at home or in the office.

bottom line and employee experience through access to its portfolio of offerings, followed by his recommendations for businesses seeking to evolve

With its unparalleled corporate culture, GSoft is recognized as one of Canada's Best Managed Companies and stands among the largest Quebec SMEs. In 2021 alone, GSoft saw revenues of

their practices in favour of more innovative and

more than $100 million.

contemporary workplaces in the context of the evolving hybrid work model. Simon De Baene is the visionary dreamer at the head of GSoft who, for the last 16 years, has inspired and mobilized his teams to build the next generation of tools to make work simpler, more human, and more efficient. These products – including ShareGate, Officevibe and Softstart – focus on laying the groundwork to change the employee experience through the digital revolution. GSoft’s products are used in more than 17,500 organizations around the world, and specifically, in more than 100 countries. Simon De Baene started GSoft while he was still in university, determined to lead the charge in changing workplace environments for the better. Through his ongoing commitment and dedication to this mission, Simon and the GSoft team – which now

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What led to the establishment of GSoft? And what successes have been accomplished since its inception, particularly in the midst of the pandemic? We launched GSoft in 2006 with a mission to provide enterprise customers new and innovative ways to improve their workplace practices, environments, and the employee experience they’re able to offer. Myself and two friends – including Sebastien Leduc, current Chief Operation Officer, and Guillaume Roy, current Director of Product – founded the company based on our joint belief that together we could shake up the status quo in favour of reinvigorating workplaces and helping them offer a better employee experience. We felt that many workplace environments lacked the excitement and collaboration needed to fuel innovation and productivity and we were excited to do something about that.

Small Business Since we started the company in those early days back in 2006 – when we were still completing our university degrees – we have always seen GSoft’s role as fueling more effective workplaces through offering software products that provide simple, scalable solutions to real enterprise pain points. With a team of more than 360 employees – and one that has grown significantly amidst the pandemic as our offerings become even more invaluable to our clients – we work to provide our enterprise customers

with solutions to make their workstreams and practices simpler, kinder and faster. Plus, with our innovation lab – our research and development branch – we never stop testing, learning and reinventing our product offerings and striving towards improvement.

Since 2006, we’ve gained the trust of tens of thousands of companies in more than 100 countries. It’s this support and enthusiasm for what we do that keeps us building the next generation of tools — tools that change work for the better.

What are GSoft's insights and perspectives on the future of work in Canada and how workplaces will continue to evolve in the years to come? While the digital transformation of workplaces has been strongly in effect for the last couple of decades, the COVID-19 pandemic really made it a necessity to evolve practices further. It was required – to continue

business per usual –employees had access to digital environments that prioritized collaboration, integration and their overall working experience. Many workplaces had to completely overhaul their ways of working to ensure their employees could operate effectively.

What we’ve seen from these changes is enhancements to how people and technology are interacting, and how employees are able to leverage and capitalize on their digital tools to achieve great things, all while having a bit more flexibility in their day-to-day. At GSoft, we’re proud of our involvement in supporting this workplace shift. It is through our innovative offerings that we have helped transform workplaces around the world to make them not only simpler, kinder, and faster, but also future-proofed and able to adapt with the changing times. Overall, GSoft has helped more than 17,500 enterprise customers globally migrate to new online environments that enable collaboration while also fostering productivity, innovation and positive workplace cultures founded upon belonging. We’re proud to be a global leader aiding in this positive digital transition and look forward to continuing to work with new enterprise customers to help them reap the benefits of our products.

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What, in your opinion, are the ways in which enhancing employee experiences can assist businesses in increasing their levels of productivity, employee retention, and revenue? Spurred by the pandemic, we’ve seen significant changes not only to workplace norms and practices, but also in terms of what employees’ value in their roles.

The ‘great resignation’ was said to be a natural consequence of five prominent factors that came to the forefront during the pandemic: retirement, relocation, reconsideration, reshuffling and reluctance. Employees were given the opportunity to pause and reevaluate how they were spending their time, and for many this meant leaving their roles. In fact, in 2021 we saw 57 per cent turnover rates, compared to the “healthy” rates pre-pandemic of about 10 per cent.

Small Business The challenge for employers – which persists currently – was not only finding new talent, but also determining which changes they would be required to make to attract and keep talent for the long term. With an employee’s departure costing a company an average of 33 per cent of an employee’s yearly salary, this pandemic-ignited trend continues to put added financial pressures onto companies globally. At GSoft, we’re proud to offer enterprise customers tools that help them enhance the employee experience they offer, while also ensuring they’re able to get the most from their employees. Through GSoft’s offerings, we help companies enhance collaboration, engagement, productivity, sense of employee belonging, all of which help businesses positively impact their retention rates and improve their revenue and bottom line.

How has GSoft improved its bottom line and employee experience through access to its portfolio of offerings as it continues to alleviate growing business pain points in Canada? Currently, GSoft offers three innovative products to enterprise customers – Officevibe, ShareGate and

Softstart. With each tool, GSoft supports its clients in creating simpler, kinder and faster working environments. Through our innovation lab (or GLab), we lay the groundwork for developing innovative solutions to company problems that make workplaces better. We innovate by first identifying common corporate pain points, and then set our sights on ambitious product visions to design unique, bespoke products that offer solutions. Through our ongoing commitments to GLab, we will continue to grow and drive further successes not only for our company, but for our clients. Our “intrapreneurs” continue to experiment to build the most effective solutions to address corporate pain points that are plaguing knowledge workers and the businesses they work for.

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What specific recommendations do you have for businesses seeking to evolve their practices in favour of more innovative and contemporary workplaces in the context of the evolving hybrid work model? My best advice for any company seeking to evolve its practices in favour of more innovative, modern, and collaborative work environments would be to jump right in and fully embrace the change.

With the digital transformations we’ve seen take place within businesses over the last two years, it’s clear there are no signs of slowing. Now is the time to get on board with adopting innovative tools developed for optimal collaboration so you can watch the benefits to your business become unleashed.

Unlock $100K to modernize your business Charles is originally from Drummond, NB. He enjoys travelling

Charles Gervais,

and camping with his wife and two daughters, Ariel and Dalia. He is also a member of the Moncton Squash Club.

Founder of iTransform $100K seems too good to be true; what’s the catch? We had the privilege to speak to Charles Gervais, Founder of iTransform, who gave us his valuable opinion regarding the estimated cost of the Digital Road Map, some examples of initiatives that might be coming out of iTransform’s Digital Roadmap, followed by the reason to choose iTransform. Charles Gervais is President and co-owner of Missing Link Technologies (MLT), a telecommunications and technology company that began in 2003 and is headquartered in Moncton. Since 2019, Charles has been Chairman of the Board of Directors of MLT and has launched a new company called iTransform: a company that aims to modernize, on a large scale, the digital sphere of small and medium-sized businesses. In 2016, Charles was selected to participate in the Entrepreneurial Leaders Program of the Wallace McCain Institute. The following year, he received the Business Leadership Award from the New Brunswick Community College, an award given annually to an alumnus.

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There’s no catch; a 0% interest loan up to $100K can be

unlocked to implement recommended digital initiatives. By working with a certified digital advisor (i.e. iTransform) under the Canadian Digital Adoption Program (CDAP), an adapted Digital Roadmap / Plan is first created. A digital roadmap identifies needs for different digital solutions that help grow revenue, improve efficiency, enhance the client experience and enhance employee engagement. The adapted digital roadmap identifies the organization’s issues that digital transformation could quickly address by stating clear action steps, timelines & budgets.

Ok, but how much does this Digital Roadmap / Plan cost? Great question the Digital Roadmap is subsidies via a 90% non-repayable grant (up to $15,000). It will cost you no more than $1,500.

Now I am interested, but it must be super complicated…

I understand, but why should I choose iTransform?

Actually, it can all be done in 5 easy steps that can be done between 4 to 6 weeks.

Fair question. iTransform delivers a modernized approach to help unlock the realistic potential of

1. Apply online and get approved 2. Select a certified provider to create your Digital Roadmap 3. Complete your Digital Roadmap 4. Upload the Digital Roadmap in the portal and get reimbursed 90% of the cost 5. Get a unique link to apply for the 0% loan up to $100K

SMEs to a refreshingly empowered state. Our main strengths are that we are: 1. Neutral – we are not selling anything else other than Digital Roadmaps, so there is no bias in our recommendations. We will focus on your business solutions and provide solutions

adapted to your business reality. 2. Experienced – we have delivered over 80+ Digital Roadmaps nationwide.

3. Effective – we have a unique repeatable

Can you provide some examples of initiatives that might be coming out of iTransform’s Digital Roadmap? Each company is different because iTransform leads with business objectives rather than technology. We assess the current state, identify gaps that are inhibiting reaching these objectives and finalize a custom plan to enhance the desired state of business performance. It could be from many perspectives, such as Human Resources, System Integrations, Operational Efficiencies, Sales & Marketing Automation, IT Infrastructure and Security, Service Delivery, Inventory Management, Online presence and more.

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methodology under ISO certification. This means you can trust us to produce the desired results. 4. Bilingual – we operate fluently in both French and English.

Any last words? I strongly urge Canadian SMBs to ACT on this opportunity. This is real and designed to help SMBs modernize to be more competitive in this digital age. Still unsure, please feel free to reach out to me directly; it’s important to make an informed decision.

Data Privacy

Philippe Dufresne Canada's Privacy Commissioner We recently had the pleasure to chat with Philippe Dufresne, Canada's Privacy Commissioner, who shared his valuable insights regarding some of the key things SMEs need to know about privacy, different services offered by his office to small and mediumsized enterprises, and the benefits of those services, how do they work with businesses to ensure their data is protected, the issues SMEs should consider when it comes to safeguarding personal information, and lastly his advice to small businesses during this challenging time. Philippe Dufresne was appointed Privacy Commissioner of Canada in June 2022. A leading legal expert on human rights, administrative and constitutional law, he previously served as the Law Clerk and Parliamentary Counsel of the House of Commons. Before that, he was the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s Senior General Counsel, responsible for legal services, litigation, investigations, mediations, employment equity and Access to Information and Privacy. He successfully represented the Commission before all levels of Canadian Courts, including the Supreme Court of Canada, in a number of key human rights and constitutional cases. Commissioner Dufresne is a member of the Bars of Quebec, Ontario, and Massachusetts. He holds degrees in common and civil law from McGill University’s Faculty of Law and has been a part-time professor with the University of Ottawa’s Faculty of Common Law and Queen’s University’s Faculty of Law where he taught international criminal law, human rights and appellate advocacy.

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Small Business What are some of the key things SMEs need to know about privacy? What are your thoughts on the future of data privacy for small and medium-sized businesses? SMEs subject to Canada’s federal private sector privacy law, the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) need to understand and follow PIPEDA’s 10 fair information principles. For example: Organizations must generally obtain an individual’s

meaningful consent before they collect, use, or disclose their personal information; People have the right to access their personal information held by an organization as well as the right to challenge its accuracy; Businesses can only use personal information for the purposes for which it was collected; and

They must use appropriate safeguards to protect the personal information in their care. Customers appreciate working with organizations that respect their privacy. We have many online resources to help businesses do this. In June, the federal government introduced a bill that would replace PIPEDA in an effort to modernize our federal privacy framework. We are in the process of analyzing the bill and will welcome the opportunity to share our views with Parliament in the fall.

Can you explain the different services you offer to small and medium-sized enterprises? What are the benefits of using your services? My office provides advice and guidance to businesses of all sizes on how to comply with PIPEDA. Our Business Advisory team offers consultation services involving a review of ongoing privacy practices or new programs and initiatives. We can help identify good practices and compliance risks and provide practical advice to proactively address those risks, including how to frame initiatives and practices to comply with PIPEDA. Our team can also arrange short meetings with businesses to address specific privacy questions. An advisory consultation may also be requested for more complex issues.

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How does your office help SMEs meet their obligations under the federal privacy law? How do you work with businesses to ensure their data is protected? Our website ( has many resources to help businesses better understand and meet their obligations under PIPEDA. For example, we have published the ‘Privacy Guide for Business,’ which provides an overview of PIPEDA and your responsibilities as a business. We also have many issue-specific guides and bulletins, including the ‘Preventing and responding to a privacy breach’ guide and ‘Interpretation Bulletin: Safeguards.’

Small Business

Could you elaborate on the issues SMEs should consider when it comes to safeguarding personal information?

A good starting point is to ensure that you do not collect or keep more personal information than necessary. Before or when collecting any personal information, SMEs must assess the purpose for collecting this information, and whether it is necessary for that purpose. Once the identified purpose has been fulfilled, the personal information should be disposed of, unless it is required to be retained by law.

Our guide on ‘Personal Information Retention and Disposal: Principles and Best Practices’ can help SMEs consider how to determine appropriate retention periods and securely dispose of personal information.

What do SMEs need to know about data breaches? A common challenge SMEs face regarding data security is understanding the threats and vulnerabilities in their environment. Our guide to ‘Preventing and responding to a privacy breach’ provides some best practices for preventing privacy breaches, such as conducting risk assessments to identify weak points in your organization and being aware of breaches in your industry. We also outline the immediate steps SMEs should take to contain a breach if one occurs and tips for preventing future data breaches.

We understand data breaches can occur, even when adequate safeguards are employed. Our ‘What you need to know about mandatory reporting of breaches of security safeguards’ guidance offers more information on breach reporting obligations, including how to submit a breach report to the OPC, and what kind of notice must be provided to individuals.

Dealing with breaches transparently is not just about

following the law, it sends a message to customers that even during challenging times, you take their interests to heart.

What is your advice to small businesses during this challenging time? We understand that it can be challenging for small businesses to navigate the privacy landscape, especially in an increasingly complex digital environment. We would encourage SMEs to take advantage of the resources on our website. For specific questions, a good starting point is to contact our Information Centre, toll-free at 1-800-282-1376. Our Business Advisory team may also be able to provide answers to specific or more complex questions.

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Executives also mentioned that collaboration is a necessary precursor to creating new ideas and knowledge. In addition, when asking executives how transformational management practices work best for them. The undeniable reason, they expressed, is being an enable of extenuating trust-based relationships. This kind of relationship is ideal for sharing tacit knowledge. This is not a novel issue and has surfaced as a scholarly idea for decades. It simply has more applicability today as we survive the pandemic and prepare for the post-pandemic. Managers’ ability to create knowledge and develop a more innovative climate is a product of employees’ trust in their managers’ decisions. After my discussion with executives, I also posit that sharing best practices and experiences (i.e.


include three dimensions collaboration, trust, and learning. These three keywords cannot make or break an SME but I have found that incorporating each of them together can begin to move an SME to COVID19 recovery. I asked executives how they felt about

the role of transformational management practices. They agreed that transformational managers enhance collaboration and dialogue by aligning subordinates’ interests with collective interests. With new and reborn technology, trusting a system that is secure with modern technology will help executives lead now and in the future. Executives that employ transformational management practices can engender trust by focusing on identifying employees’ individual needs within SMEs. This was confirmed in my conversations with executives in the pandemic world we live in. Furthermore, most executives agreed with my assumptions found in the literature that transformational managers provide freedom for employees to explore new ideas and knowledge. Thus, this kind of management can be applied to develop learning climates.

learning, technology, and presentation equipment) could play a crucial role in embedding organizational knowledge in

members and creating new knowledge for SMEs for the post-COVID-19 recovery. Thus, SMEs emphasizing the cultural aspect of learning are much stronger in generating new ideas and knowledge.

In closing, this article highlights the vital

importance of transformational management practices employed in improving organizational

innovation both today and in preparation for the post-pandemic. In addition, this article reveals that transformational management practices

have significant effects on organizational factors as managers navigate an iterative process of sustaining business. This article highlights the vital importance of transformational management practices to stimulate a culture of learning as many followers are working remotely, build upon collaboration, and provide an equal amount of trust for both managers and their remote workers.

Mostafa Sayyadi works with senior business leaders to effectively develop innovation

in companies, and helps companies—from startups to the Fortune 100—succeed by improving the effectiveness of their leaders. He is a business book author and a longtime contributor to business publications and his work has been featured in top-flight business publications.

GoDaddy and Futurpreneur collaborate to support entrepreneurs in creating a digital presence and growing their businesses online. 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. Before joining GoDaddy, Anne held a range of senior marketing

Anne De Aragon Vice President And Country Manager, GoDaddy Canada

and sales roles at Microsoft, where she worked directly with small and mid-sized businesses to drive revenue. Anne is now dedicated to helping other young professionals and women entrepreneurs discover their passions through regular speaking engagements and mentorship opportunities.

We got the chance to speak to Anne De Aragon, Vice President And Country Manager, GoDaddy Canada, who discussed about the "Empower" program launched by GoDaddy in collaboration with Futurpreneur, findings of the current study conducted for GoDaddy Canada by Logit Group, benefits that all the participants of Empower by GoDaddy program will receive, and her valuable suggestions for entrepreneurs to assist them in transforming their small businesses into financially sustainable enterprises. 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.

How would you describe your journey as Vice President and Country Manager at GoDaddy, where you consistently attract new customers and lead the business strategy? In my role at GoDaddy, I’m responsible for leading Canadian operations, business strategy, and growth. I oversee all Canadian campaigns to build brand awareness and deliver business results in the market. A large part of my job is also attracting and engaging new customers. It’s about working closely with small businesses to understand their needs and help them reap the benefits of having an online presence. I’ve always been passionate about helping entrepreneurs realize their full potential and about the crucial role small businesses play in the Canadian economy. If you’re in business to do something you’re passionate about, we want to make getting online less intimidating and provide the tools and resources for you to do so with success.

Small Business What are your thoughts on the "Empower" program launched by GoDaddy in collaboration with Futurpreneur? It’s an exciting time for the brand with GoDaddy having chosen Futurpreneur as its partner to launch Empower in Canada! Empower by GoDaddy is GoDaddy's global community and philanthropic program equipping entrepreneurs in underserved communities with training, tools, and peer networks to accelerate their journeys. The program began in 2017 and

launched in Canada for the first time this year with Futurpreneur as the inaugural partner. Not only is this the first year for Empower in Canada, but it is also the largest Empower program GoDaddy has done to date. We look forward to working closely with Futurpreneur to support Canadian entrepreneurs in learning new digital skills and launching successful businesses.

What are the findings of the current study conducted for GoDaddy Canada by Logit Group? And how will this benefit aspiring entrepreneurs? In GoDaddy’s most recent survey, we found that despite the continued challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, optimism is

stronger than ever among small business owners who now see the value in digital tools and maintaining an online presence. In particular, the GoDaddy survey found: 65% of small businesses made adaptations during the pandemic with the top 4 areas of adjustment being starting social media marketing, improving their online presence, creating a new website, and expanding their product and service offerings.

2/3 of businesses who sell online cite that the pandemic had a positive impact on their online sales.

As this partnership is aimed at providing multiple facilities to the entrepreneurs, what are the benefits that all the participants of Empower by GoDaddy program will receive? Empower by GoDaddy provides entrepreneurs and small business owners with a chance to learn new skills in key areas to improve their digital presence. The curriculum, which is offered in both English and French, includes workshops on website building, understanding search optimization (SEO) tools, digital marketing on social media – and more! 32 - CanadianSME - September 2022

Most importantly, Empower provides participants with a strong network of entrepreneurs and mentorship opportunities that will help their

businesses grow long after the program has been completed!

What is your opinion, are the barriers faced by entrepreneurs? What are the ways through which they can overcome those barriers? The recent GoDaddy survey found that cost, unfamiliarity, and a general lack of knowledge were the top challenges when it comes to adopting an online presence. All three of these perceived barriers are concerns we often hear. However, products like GoDaddy Website Builder with its free 30-day trial are great opportunities for small business owners to overcome these challenges and build a successful online presence.

What specific suggestions do you have for entrepreneurs to assist

them in transforming their small businesses into financially sustainable enterprises?

When looking to make a purchase, a company or brand’s website is usually the first place consumers will visit and it must make a great first impression. Surprisingly, there are still entrepreneurs who don’t see the value in having a website that’s easy to find, organized, and user-friendly. Even if your website does not sell a tangible product, it must give visitors the information they need to use your services or come back to in the future. I strongly believe investing in a website from the beginning is key to growing your business.

What is the State of Canada’s Digital Skills Training? After the rapid increase in demand for digital roles the past two years, it became evident that the training approaches for these roles differ across the country’s workforce. Recently, Jelly Academy ran a study, sponsored by Innovate BC, to evaluate the state of digital skills training in Canada and how individual businesses are approaching this form of training.

To collect data on this topic, Jelly Academy surveyed over 500 businesses across Canada in industries from industries such as Digital Applications, Agriculture,

Manufacturing, Retail, Food & Beverage, Financial Services, Clean Tech, Education, Advanced Health, Oil & Gas, and many more. Questions in the survey covered how these businesses are approaching digital marketing training and education opportunities, and what financial offerings they have for skills-focused opportunities.

The study pulled some key findings surrounding the state of training and highlighted potential discrepancies between different training. A mere 7.44% of respondents said they are actively providing digital marketing training resources. From this percentage of participants, 39.74%, provide partial funding to their employees to enroll in required training, 37.73% provide full funding, and 22.53% offer no funding at all. While the study couldn’t identify the exact reasoning why some businesses offer no funding at all, it could be due to lack of awareness surrounding available government funding opportunities, or potentially unknown individualized reasoning within the companies. Of the respondents surveyed that said they do offer training, 40.84% are sourcing it via external programs, and 32.05% provide it through internally developed offerings. The remaining 27.11% of respondents stated that they have the expectation their employees acquire credentials and relevant training before commencing their role versus offering it once hired. This points to a clear differentiation between businesses and can lead to lack of industry standards when it comes to training the workforce.

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Digital Marketing Despite having these differences amongst participants, the majority of all those surveyed stated that they had plans in the future to implement digital marketing training if they weren’t already. Prior to these businesses initiating training, it would be valuable to build out a standardized training model in order for the industry to have consistency amongst digital marketing candidates.

Suggestions that Jelly Academy presented in their study to achieve this level of standards,included having public and private stakeholders support in developing a regulatory framework . Additional funding programs are also valuable, such as the Canadian Digital Adoption Program, Ontario Go Digital, and WorkBC. Companies utilizing these available opportunities would be a huge asset to getting more employees trained.

When it comes to actual training programs, clear

guidelines for what offerings and skills are accepted as industry-recognized, would be a really valuable intervention from stakeholders. Similar to increasing access to available funds, it would be beneficial to boost knowledge on already recognized courses. Some existing programs that employers can enroll their employees in now include Jelly Academy, Meta Blueprint, SEMRush, Google Grow Certificates, and Hootsuite Academy. The digital workforce is only going to expand, and creating standards will be a really important piece of the puzzle. Having standardized training helps employers ensure they are acquiring appropriate candidates, and helps employees expand their own knowledge and feel confident in such a large industry. To learn more about the key findings and recommendations made by Jelly Academy, read the study here. 34 - CanadianSME - September 2022

Darian Kovacs is the Indigenous founder of Vancouver based SEO company Jelly Digital Marketing & PR and digital marketing school, Jelly Academy. He is the host of the podcast Marketing News Canada, he is a contributing writer for the Globe & Mail, Forbes, Entrepreneur, Canadian Business Quarterly, Future Economy and is on the board of NPower Canada. He was recently nominated by SME Magazine as Indigenous Entrepreneur of the Year. Darian lives in Fort Langley, BC with his wife and four children and likes to mountain bike, watercolour and read in his free time.

By John MacKinlay, CEO of Caary Capital Here’s a catch-22: when a small business in Canada applies for a corporate credit card, the bank typically looks at the owner’s business credit history to assess credit risk. But how do you build business credit in the first place? You guessed it – with a corporate credit card. The consequences of this are significant. According to new research from Caary Capital, Xero, and the Canadian Lenders Association, 70% of SMEs in Canada are either continuing to rely on a personal credit card for business expenses or providing a personal guarantee to access corporate credit. This means two-thirds of SME owners in Canada are putting their personal and family finances at risk to fund their businesses. But what if there was a better way of assessing the creditworthiness of a small business – one that didn’t rely on business credit history? That’s where open banking comes in.

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Banking Also known as consumer-directed finance, open banking allows you to securely connect your bank account with a third-party application with just a few clicks of your mouse or taps of your phone. Once connected, you can quickly and safely share the financial data of your choice without sharing your banking sign-in credentials or other sensitive account information.

As CEO of a Fintech, I’ve seen firsthand how open banking benefits SMEs. When we can get a clearer picture of your business’s financial position, we can look at cash flow and assets to determine credit worthiness instead of relying on credit history, which many small businesses don’t have. This means we can extend corporate credit to SMEs with no personal guarantees required, allowing Canadian entrepreneurs to build business credit while leaving their personal credit untouched. The benefits of open banking extend beyond credit and lending. Data sharing enables a wide variety of improved services for small businesses, from better accounting integrations to sophisticated spend insights and business intelligence. By choosing who to share their financial data with, SMEs can choose which financial products and services are most valuable to them. It’s about putting the power back in the hands of consumers and small business owners – and we’ve just begun to explore the possibilities.

In progressive economies, including the UK, Australia, and the European Union, open banking is alive and well and supported by a regulatory regime. Canada is a bit behind, which means service providers must be technically savvy to bring the benefits of open banking to their customers. At Caary, we’re working with forwardthinking fintech companies – like Flinks and Finicity – that are safely simulating an open banking environment until a regime is in place in this country. Fortunately, we’re seeing the early signs of adoption. The federal government recently

appointed Abraham Tachjian to develop a madein-Canada approach to open banking. I’m hopeful that we’ll start seeing the necessary policy shifts to allow open banking to progress in Canada. Open banking will open the door for innovation in Canada’s financial sector. We’ll undoubtedly see new products and services emerge, allowing the underserved SME segment to access the financial tools they need and deserve. SMEs have been forced to innovate time and again to stay afloat in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – it’s time Canada’s financial industry met them halfway.

John MacKinlay is a 25-year veteran of the investment, financial services and technology space. Prior to joining Caary, he held executive roles at PwC and IBM and served as an advisor to National Australia Bank and OMERS.

5 Simple Technology Solutions To Help Small Businesses Become More Efficient

Technology aids in the efficient functioning of businesses by reducing the time required to do effortful work and getting it done easily. In a survey conducted by Statistics Canada on Reasons for not adopting advanced technologies by small and medium enterprises, 55.3 percent of all small and medium enterprises with 1 to 499 employees said that adoption or use of advanced technologies is not applicable to the business’s activities, along with 7.4 percent not convinced of economic benefit. Some small businesses also shared the difficulty in integrating new advanced technologies with existing systems, standards, and processes, the lack of technical skills required to support this type of investment, and the difficulty of obtaining financing. The survey showed that only 1.6 percent of small and medium enterprises with 1 to 499 employees adopted advanced technologies more than 3 years ago. Small businesses' refusal to modernize their operations with technological solutions is their greatest setback in current times. Here are 5 simple technology solutions to help small businesses become more efficient. 37 - CanadianSME - September 2022

Remote Workforce Software Remote workforce software helps manage remote employees by providing smooth communication, innovative technology to coordinate the team, and features to assess employees' productivity. The software helps create a team mentality in the employees, thus helping to increase productivity and overall efficiency. The existing hybrid work culture makes it possible to hire staff from different areas of the world and manage them remotely. This requires remote workforce software that helps business owners track employee time, monitor their projects and completion, and access their work output for approval. In addition, it can assess the quality of work done by employees through productivity and efficiency assessments.

Inventory Management Software Inventory management software helps small businesses track inventory levels, orders, sales, and deliveries, which is usually a tedious process prone to errors when done manually. Hence, software that helps track, monitor, update, and process the stock list will make the business efficient.

Technology Inventory management software produces higher productivity as it helps to keep an organized and transparent stock list, which on assessment will show which products are popular and thus bring profit and which don’t. It takes off a huge responsibility that, when done manually, is time-consuming. Moreover, it closely checks the product numbers to ensure they are either replenished or the expired ones are removed, thus ensuring good customer service.

Payment processing software Payment processing software refers to a system that allows companies and individuals to send and receive payments automatically. It brings ease to payment transactions from any part of the world, as the growing ecommerce industry demands such a facility. Small businesses can tap into the opportunity to widen their customer base and product availability to a larger geographical area. The payment processing software helps systematize, simplify, and automate transactions, thus allowing customers from remote parts of the world to purchase your product with internet accessibility. It provides small businesses and customers with a secure environment for quick money transactions. Small businesses should ensure that the software they choose can support different modes of payment and upgrade with the changing transaction methods.

Collaboration Solutions. Growth and development are possible only through collaborative work. Technology provides platforms for likeminded people to collaborate to achieve their goals and ensure growth. Collaborative solutions help small businesses to link with professional circles, connect with fellow business owners, and develop a broader network. Collaborations are necessary to keep you updated on the latest developments in the business industry, understand changes at the federal and global levels, and team up for cooperative growth. As in-person meetings are becoming rare, collaborative apps offer improved remote communication that aids small businesses in expanding their networks, making new contacts, and meeting new people to enter new markets and stay competitive.

Cloud Security Businesses are increasingly running on technology. For small businesses to adapt to such innovations, cloud-based technology is the most suitable as it offers organizations a wide array of solutions made easily available and cost-effectively. Furthermore, as small businesses move towards digital transformation and incorporate cloud-based tools into their operations, keeping the data protected becomes important for the secure functioning of the enterprise. Cloud security refers to policies, procedures, technology, and applications designed to address threats that compromise business security and keep their data secure and

protected. The benefit of cloud security is that it enables monitoring of applications and cloudbased assets around the clock, giving visibility into their risk posture and how it affects the company's operations. As a result, cloud

security is always available to protect against

any cyber threat that causes small businesses to cease operations because it has enhanced threat detection that can quickly identify threats.

Small businesses should choose options that enable them to function effectively and

efficiently, with little but smart effort to deliver optimum results. Technology is the tool that will help small businesses achieve this objective. Therefore, it is essential that technology be integrated into business operations promptly so that business owners can concentrate on the tasks that require their attention without getting distracted by tasks that can be assigned to software solutions.

Technological incorporation is inevitable in the present business operations. To learn more about the available technological solutions for small businesses, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

Here are 5 Ways Artificial Intelligence Can Help Small Businesses 1. Artificial Intelligence is advancing most dramatically in small businesses in the back office. This area of business operations supports the organization's primary customer-facing divisions but does not interact with customers directly. It manages those aspects of business, including finance and accounting, human resources, supply chain, and logistics operations, IT, and support technologies. Many of these tasks include people and business processes that can be made better by using technology and systems that are intelligent and AI-enabled.

In 1955, the emeritus Stanford Professor John McCarthy coined the term Artificial Intelligence (AI), which he defined as “the science and engineering of making intelligent machines.” Almost seven decades later, Stanford University defines Artificial Intelligence as the field devoted to building artificial animals or people, or at least artificial creatures that appear to be persons in suitable contexts. Technology has come a long way, from creating clever machines to developing robots that can learn and behave much like people. Therefore, small businesses should advance and upgrade to understand and adopt artificial intelligence (AI) into their line of work because a revolution is taking place in this area that helps simplify human labour and thinking. Since the epidemic, most businesses have operated more productively and effectively inside the confines of their houses. Their increasingly digitalized workplace culture, supported by artificial intelligence, made this possible. However, small businesses can achieve this level of effectiveness if they incorporate artificial intelligence into their operations.

The back office handles the process from when a customer places an order to the point they purchase the product. The most crucial step in this process is creating and delivering invoices because it calls for payment-related systems and accounts receivablerelated systems and processes. Technology that uses AI to manage accounts receivable aids businesses in ensuring that they can be paid on time. AI ensures that a business is paid for its goods or services. Thus, AI assistance ensures financial records are kept accurate.

2. Business marketing is being transformed by artificial intelligence. AI technology can simplify and optimize numerous marketing processes, enhancing client experiences and increasing conversion rates. By examining target customers' profiles, processing enormous amounts of data, making precise predictions based on patterns and customer behaviour, and selecting and nurturing the most important leads, AI aids in providing target consumers with a hyperpersonalized customer experience. Digital marketing gets more tailored for customers when it is AI-enabled. This is accomplished by monitoring and forecasting consumer behaviour based on prior encounters with brands, web searches, and purchases. This enables companies to send marketing communications that are most likely to turn a lead into a sale and a target customer into a loyal customer. Customers get product recommendations based on their preferences, previous purchases, and the interests of other customers who have made similar purchases, increasing their likelihood of making a purchase.

Artificial Intelligence AI helps streamline marketing strategy by narrowing down to the potential customers who will use your product, helping cut down expenditure or using resources judiciously to increase customer base.

3. Artificial Intelligence helps small businesses improve customer relationships by using the latest technology for better customer engagement, sales insights, and social networking. CRM systems are essential for small business operations as they allow businesses to stay connected and accessible to their clients, resulting in higher productivity and efficiency. Through smart networking, AI enhances corporate relationships and connections. AI systems boost customer engagement by assisting with customer service and support tasks like chat and email bots, which guarantee that consumers receive quick replies and directions. AI maintains centralized marketing data, enabling more accurate sales forecasting and insights into how to plan and execute transactions. As CRM data can be viewed and comprehended in document and image formats as well as through speech recognition technology, AI delivers improved company operations.

5. AI facilitates the recruiting process by managing applications, streamlining the applicant search, and locating profiles that fit the requirements for a specific vacancy. Employee satisfaction and retention are improved as a result of relieving them of time-consuming administrative duties, so they can concentrate on the important components of their work, such as problemsolving, creative thinking, and customer support. In addition, AI assists in employee monitoring for productivity analysis, which improves performance outcomes. Time tracking tools help employees focus on priority work by eliminating distractions and ensuring regular timekeeping, which prevents employees from engaging in workrelated activities after work. AI-powered employee monitoring software gives valuable information like their performance, work ethics, and contributions, which may be used for quantitative assessment while considering employees for promotions.


Artificial Intelligence is becoming an

The advantage of utilizing AI in data analytics is its ability to sift through enormous amounts of data to extract insights and identify patterns that can be used to forecast probable outcomes. AI is excellent at quickly and comprehensively determining those insights. AI analytics systems can make recommendations for actions based on opportunities they identify in the analytics, forecast business strategies and market outcomes, and respond to inquiries you have about your website data analytics.

businesses should take advantage of AI's benefits, from planning a business, strategizing marketing, tracking potential customers, increasing sales, and monitoring customers to repeat purchases. It takes the burden off a lot of shoulders, from the back office administration to employees, and produces results more effectively and for less money.

Consumer preferences, product development, and marketing channels are topics covered by AI-powered data analytics. This technology also unifies data across platforms, using AI's speed and scale to collect all customer data into a unified view, including difficult-totrack data like call records. It forecasts product demand based on available inventory, seasonal trends, and previous purchasing patterns. Businesses can upgrade their stock products, purchase inventory and resources, and plan other business or marketing investments based on the data analysis.

indispensable part of business operations as it promotes efficiency at a lower cost. Small

Small firms should closely follow technological developments in order to incorporate the features that best meet their needs and make daily operations easier. To read more about related topics, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.


We had the privilege to speak to Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte, President and CEO of the CFI, who discussed about the Canada Foundation for Innovation, how SMEs in Canada benefit from its investments, how the Navigator has helped jumpstart one of these collaborations, and her final thoughts for the Canadian SME community on how research can support their innovation goals.

Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte President and CEO of the CFI

On August 1, 2017, Dr. Roseann O’Reilly Runte became the fifth President and CEO of the CFI. Dr. Runte has previously served as President and Vice-Chancellor at Carleton University, President of l’Université Sainte-Anne, Principal of Glendon College, President of Victoria University and of Old Dominion University. She graduated with a B.A. summa cum laude in French from the State University of New York and obtained her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. She is the author of numerous scholarly works in the fields of French, comparative literature, economic and cultural development. She is a creative writer and has received a poetry prize from the Académie française. Dr. Runte has been awarded the Order of Canada, the French Order of Merit, fellowship in the Royal Society of Canada, and is Commander of the Order of the Crown of the Kingdom of Belgium and Officer in the Order of the Academic Palmes of the French Republic, along with several prizes for her work on the environment, and for community and national service. She also holds a number of honorary degrees.

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Dr. Runte has served on numerous boards and commissions in Canada and the United States, including serving as President of the Canadian Commission for UNESCO, President of the Humanities Federation of Canada, a member of the Executive Committee of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons, Chair of the Board of the Foundation for International Training, Vice-Chair of the Board of the Gardiner Museum, member of the Virginia Industrial National Development Authority, the Virginia Advanced Shipbuilding Integration Center, the Advisory Board of SunGard SGT, the non-profit LifeNet Health Board, the Ontario Quebec Private Sector Advisory Committee, the National Bank of Canada, and the Executive of the Royal Society. She currently chairs the Board of Fulbright Canada-U.S. and is a member of the executive committee of the World University Service of Canada. She is a member of both the European and the World Academies of Arts and Sciences.


The Canada Foundation for Innovation was created some 25 years ago with a very specific mandate and role to play in our country’s innovation ecosystem. Tell us more about that. The creation of the Canada Foundation for Innovation in 1997 stems from a bold vision to make Canada a leader in cutting-edge research across all disciplines. For our organization, this means supporting researchers with funding to build the labs, provide the equipment, and create the environments they need to make discoveries and innovate. Since then, we’ve invested $9.5 billion in state-of-the-art research tools and spaces at 172 research institutions in 80 municipalities across Canada.

The results have been transformative.

“Research builds communities” isn’t just our

tagline, it is something we see reflected in our work every day, and which we bring into

focus through the stories we share about the researchers, businesses and communities who have benefited from these investments.

During your tenure as President and CEO of the CFI, you have helped navigate the organization through a rapidly shifting landscape, including the arrival of a global pandemic. How has the work of the CFI pivoted in response? Throughout these highly dynamic times, our role has been to ensure Canada’s research community continues to have the strong foundation of skills, expertise and equipment needed to respond to the increasingly complex challenges we face, nationally and internationally.

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For example, to help ensure Canada’s preparedness for future pandemics and other health emergencies, we worked with Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada to launch a new Biosciences Research Infrastructure Fund. This fund will ensure we have laboratories capable of handling contagious viruses. These laboratories will form a network of expertise where researchers will engage in discovery research and train students and where industry can receive the support needed to produce and market vaccines and remedial treatments. These investments will help build Canada’s talent and research pipeline, and support the growth of Canadian life sciences firms. The rapidly changing climate is another global crisis that demands our best research minds to better understand its impacts and find ways to mitigate and repair the damage it causes. We support an extraordinary community of researchers who are leading many important projects in this area. Among those who most recently received funding is Julianne Gibbs from the University of Alberta, who is exploring how the use of an ultrafast laser to can help characterize and optimize the performance of synthetic materials to create alternative sources of energy. Another example is Stephen Déry from the University of Northern British Columbia who is creating a new observatory that will help us understand and address how a warming climate affects individuals, ecosystems, infrastructures and socioeconomic activity.

Finance The CFI’s contributions to such urgent, large-scale issues are important. Closer to home, how do SMEs in Canada benefit from your investments? It can be challenging for businesses to know where to find the research services they need to show proof-of-concept, create a prototype, or more generally find the specialized knowledge and equipment they need to address an R&D challenge. At the same time, we are aware that researchers are interested in building partnerships and pursuing collaborative projects with industry and other partners.

Helping businesses find the researchers, students, labs and equipment that will increase their chances of success was our goal when in 2013 we launched the Research Facilities Navigator, the first national, open access tool of its kind. The Navigator is a searchable directory of research

facilities in universities, colleges, hospitals and government departments across Canada that are open to working with the business. It includes over 800 facilities from virtually every discipline, and the number is growing. For entrepreneurs and businesses of all sizes, it is a tool for finding research facilities that can help their business grow, stay competitive, design new or better products or processes, and foster relationships with highly skilled people. Helping to connect researchers with the private sector also helps students gain real-world experience and makes it easier for businesses to access a valuable talent pool for future hires.

Tell us how the Navigator has helped jumpstart one of these collaborations? One recent collaboration involved an entrepreneur from Quebec who needed to access equipment to test a new concept that had promising applications in health care, agriculture and potentially other sectors. His product employed what are called “nanobubbles.” Through the Navigator he located a research facility that helped him develop a proof-of-concept, and that was the start of a partnership the entrepreneur expects will continue as he tests and explores other potential applications.

There is also an entrepreneur whose team developed a new way of making and

breaking chemical bonds. He was looking for ways to apply this revolutionary

technology in PET imaging to accelerate the discovery of new disease therapies. The entrepreneur found a research partner in the Navigator who helped him save time

and money by avoiding the need to build out these capabilities in-house.

Entrepreneurs can find more inspiration on how businesses have achieved their R&D objectives on the Navigator’s story page.

Do you have any final thoughts for the Canadian SME community on how research can support their innovation goals? I would emphasize the value of developing trusted, long-term partnerships with researchers and their students. Innovation cannot happen in a vacuum. Finding the right partners in innovation pays valuable dividends for companies seeking to innovate and for researchers and students looking for on-the-job experience as, together, we build an ecosystem that supports business growth.

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The Chief Changemaker of SheNative As an Indigenous woman living in a society where women are either objectified or romanticized, Devon Fiddler’s path was not without hardships, and her experience was of racism and stereotyping. She has struggled with the realities of family violence, incarceration, and racism, leading her to grow up in an environment of self-doubt, lack of confidence, and hopelessness. However, her strength is in rising to build an authentic brand after almost going down the path of aimlessness.

Indigenous women entrepreneurs are a symbol of resilience and hard work. They work with motivation and a desire to improve, despite facing barriers preventing them from pursuing entrepreneurship. The most common hurdles in front of them include their inability to qualify for funding assistance from mainstream financial institutions. This is due to the lack of several criteria like property to use for collateral, access to capital for equity, lack of credit, education, and access to maledominated fields, along with personal barriers like the inability to work full-time in their business and lack of confidence. Despite all these challenges they have to face, one thing that makes Indigenous women stand out is their inspiring ability and strength to overcome the obstacles put in their way. One such Indigenous woman entrepreneur setting an example of resilience is the founder and chief changemaker of SheNative, Devon Fiddler.

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Devon Fiddler is a young Cree woman who grew up in the Waterhen Lake First Nation. She graduated with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Aboriginal Public Administration and owns a multitude of certificates in business and leadership. She landed her first career position as a Business Development Coordinator in 2011. During her career, she helped First Nations entrepreneurs, which inspired her to start a company of her own. Devon has always dreamt of being a fashion designer, which influenced her decision to create a company where she could create gorgeous genuine goods while helping elevate the status of Indigenous women. She has travelled to talk, mentor, and lead, and her works and efforts have received several honors, awards, and nominations.

The Company Named SheNative The motivation for SheNative is to educate the public about Indigenous issues and change stereotypes. In April 2014, Devon registered SheNative as a company, and one year later, in April 2015, she officially launched the brand that creates inspiring leather handbags and apparel that share the cultural teachings embedded with positive values passed down by their ancestors.

Women Entrepreneurship The inspiration for her brand primarily came from her work with First Nations Entrepreneurs during her career. She was also significantly impacted by the visions of her mentor, Kendal Netmaker, whose mission is to impact youth with sports. For Devon, her cause of action and mission was the socio-economic disadvantages that Indigenous women face. She started SheNative with the idea of apparel but moved to leather handbags as all women carry this staple accessory.

Devon believes mentorship is the most impactful aspect of her achievements. As a result, she enjoys imparting her business knowledge to girls and women, particularly during the ideation

SheNative employs Indigenous women in designing and manufacturing goods and involves Indigenous communities and customers in their design process. In addition, they share the experiences and perspectives of local, national, and international Indigenous female changemakers and donate 2% of revenues toward causes that positively impact the lives of Indigenous women.

phase, which involves the generation of ideas and solutions through prototyping, brainstorming, coming up with the worst possible idea, and a variety of other ideation techniques. Devon considers it important for future generations to model a successful Indigenous business.

The Social Impact Named SheNative

Devon Fiddler is a young woman of substance and wisdom who approaches business with passion

SheNative believes in giving back to the community and exists to instill inner strength and unwavering confidence in all women, using teachings from Indigenous nationhood. The company's primary focus is on instilling self-belief; to that end, they support Indigenous women by helping them change their mindset. As a way of giving back, Devon wants to assist other women in achieving what having her own business helped her do for herself- healing and selfimprovement. Indigenous women face systemic barriers and challenges, often encountering victimization, sexualization, and racial profiling. She has a deep desire to champion, inspires and elevate Indigenous women and believes that Indigenous women are leaders and lead with the intention of reconciliation. SheNative believes everyone has the inner strength needed to overcome obstacles and that everyone is capable of leading a rich, meaningful, and abundant life; and works towards it.

Mentorship of SheNative Devon Fiddler’s journey is a story of persistence, and she always wanted to share the steps of her journey as an entrepreneur. As a person who is open about her struggles and the work she has done and continues to do to grow, she wants women to know that one can break through limiting beliefs and fears. She continues to share her experiences and stories to instill that belief in every woman. This includes the common thread that Indigenous and all women share in the value of unpaid labour, especially the job of parenting that women fulfill, which is so undervalued.

and an intense desire to evoke change. She is a disrupter and an entrepreneur whose leadership extends far beyond fashion. For

these achievements and initiatives, Devon rightly deserves to be the Business Woman of the Month.

SheNative is a lifestyle brand led, made and created by Indigenous women. To know more about their products and initiatives, visit their website, The inspiring stories of successful entrepreneurs are always a motivation and a learning lesson for small business owners to grow. To read more on these stories, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

5 Future Trends Every

Small Business Needs to Follow The pandemic has changed the way Canadians do business. The most crucial aspect is the increased rate of adoption of digital solutions in business operations. The advantage of any digital adoption is increased efficiency attained in a time and cost-effective manner. Understanding the benefits that digitalization offers The Government of Canada announced the $4 billion Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) in Budget 2021 to help small businesses go online, boost their ecommerce presence, or help digitalize their business operations. CDAP provides funding and support to businesses, as well as training and work opportunities for young Canadians. Small businesses should take up these opportunities to stay competitive and grow. They must understand the new trends reshaping traditional work practices and culture to stay relevant in the market. Customers are looking for flexibility and convenience in their everyday practices and choose those businesses that can meet such demands and offer the required services.

Here are 5 upcoming trends that small businesses can use to stay up to date and competitive.

The Option of Hybrid Work Culture Since the pandemic, remote working, an occasional option given to employees, has become the norm in the work culture. Many companies have completely given up their physical workplace to coordinate and manage employees scattered in various locations.

This has benefits as it lowers operational costs, boosts customer satisfaction, and improves organizational culture stemming from hybrid and remote work. From the employees' perspective, this is a preferred work culture as it gives them flexibility and a work-life balance. It has also been shown to result in increased productivity and helps reduce the chances of employee burnout. In the backdrop of the Great Resignation wave, a hybrid or remote workforce helps employers retain their top talents for a longer period. Small businesses should understand the changing workplace trends and incorporate technology to support such novice practices.

The Necessity of Online Service Customer behavior and service demands have undergone a paradigm shift since the pandemic. As a result, there is an increased priority for a blended marketplace presence. Market trends show that online sales are crucial for driving revenue and business growth, even when a small business owns a brick-and-mortar store. Due to convenience and personal safety, consumers increasingly shop for groceries and apparel online or opt for blended shopping, where they order online and go pick it up in the store.

Small Business Small businesses should plan for investment to develop their company-owned online store. The latest digital presence is through omnichannel commerce. This multichannel sales method puts the customer experience first, whether the customer is shopping online using their devices or in a physical store. Therefore, small business owners must ensure that their websites are mobile-friendly, user-friendly, and have ecommerce features so that customers can easily locate the products and make purchases using their mobile devices.

The Expansion to Export Industry Opening a digital presence and engaging in online commerce enables small businesses to reach a larger audience and increase their customer base globally. Hence, small businesses should optimize their operations to attract international shoppers by providing premium shipping options. In addition, international presence is beneficial for small businesses as it makes them resilient to setbacks in one nation while protected by revenue from other economies, thus continuing operations. Small businesses can access overseas markets with governmental aid programs that provide funding to boost small business growth and expansion. The Export Impact and The CanExport SME project are some of the funding and export support offered by the Government of Canada. Small businesses should take up such opportunities to plan a systematic approach to export development that helps them achieve commercial success abroad.

The Adoption of Software Solutions Adopting software into business operations will help small businesses get their tedious and time-consuming work done efficiently and cost-effectively in a shorter time. Business software is readily available through desktop installation or cloud download; all it takes is choosing which software matches your requirements. There is software that helps small businesses get done with their money management, like accounting software, which keeps track of business transactions, software for customer relationship management that manages a company's customer interaction, that generates lead and sales and communication management, report generation, and data analytics and marketing technologies that reduce the execution time required for marketing strategies, allowing businesses to attain more results with fewer resources. Thus, software adoption helps small businesses be efficient and productive.

The Practice of Sustainable and Ethical Commerce Due to the increased environmental issues and extinction worldwide, a growing number of customers support brands that source their raw materials ethically, practice sustainable business and work with corporate social responsibility. As a result, customers are willing to change their purchasing habits to reduce their environmental impact, and many companies have adopted practices to reduce their carbon footprints. Small business owners should thus implement responsible and meaningful change in their business practices to emerge as role models for ethical and sustainable commerce. Taking a keen decision in the packaging, using sustainable ingredients and planning the disposal and afterlife of products are all small initiatives that can make a huge leap environmentally. Thus, being efficient and responsive to environmental pressures makes your brand unique and gives you the advantage of being sought after as an ethical brand.

The digital options available for small businesses to adopt and expand their business are immense. In order to prevent unforeseen expenses, this must be carried out in a planned and strategic manner. The digital requirements of the company and the knowledge of the employees should be taken into consideration while adopting digital solutions. Hence, any investment in digital solutions should be made judiciously while staying updated with the trends of post-pandemic business operations. Due to digital innovations, business operations are changing quickly. To read more about these developments, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

The Canadian retail market is in a continuous flux of structural change and evolution as foreign retailers increase their presence within the Canadian marketplace. According to Retail Insider, international retailers have entered Canada at a rapid pace over the past 12 months. Along with foreign retail competitors and the multinational corporations sweeping in e-commerce, making everything you need available under one roof and having it delivered while you sit in the comfort of your home is a great backlash for the Canadian retail industry. In the current market scenario, retailers must enhance their digital and technology capabilities to stay competitive and meet the expectations of changing customer behaviour and needs due to increased competition to recover from the pandemic's blow. Here are 5 new technologies that retailers can incorporate to keep their business innovative and meet the demands of the new shopping age.

Omnichannel Retail Experience Omnichannel retail, also known as multichannel sales, focuses on giving customers a positive online purchasing experience, whether using a mobile device, laptop, or brick-and-mortar store. It provides a joined experience of shopping rather than letting customers make purchases across numerous channels like offline stores, online, Facebook, and Instagram. In omnichannel retail, a customer can search for and order a product online and later pay and buy it from an in-store. Customers have the opportunity to save their favourite products in their virtual shopping baskets and then purchase them through any other digital channel or physical store, which is a growing trend in retail as it provides flexibility in the shopping experience.

Cashierless Shopping Checkout Stores that use the cashier-less model add numerous cameras and sensors to monitor customers' actions as they take things off shelves and put them in their bags. 48 - CanadianSME - September 2022

When the customer leaves the store, the products are automatically billed. Cashier-less shopping is an innovative checkout system that retailers can implement, though such a system might lead to human jobs being replaced by automated ones. The traditional checkout process with huge crowds and long queues quickly becomes outdated in the post-pandemic world, especially after social distancing and precautionary norms. As a result, retailers who don't use mobile point-ofsale technology in their stores will have long lines, which can be quite annoying for customers. This line-up situation can be resolved by contactless technology that speeds up the payment procedure.


QR code Alternative Quick response (QR) codes are tiny, barcode-like arrangements of black squares that may be scanned with a smartphone camera to retrieve information. Shopcodes, which retailers may post next to product shelving to allow customers to finish their purchases in the online storefront, are making waves in the retail world owing to QR codes. However, retailers must make QR codes mobile-friendly so that customers find the feature valuable. A QR code link has a very small margin for error because customers no longer need to enter any information to search for products, and it also eliminates the need for printbased marketing by directing customers to a specific landing page where they can digitally enter any information required. In addition to saving money by removing paper advertisements, QR codes also reduce waste.

Personalized Shopping Demand Personalization is the current retail trend and is a direct result of consumers' demands for personalization in all their interactions and transactions with retail businesses. It used to be mainly restricted to targeted segment offers but now includes the whole customer experience. As a result, customers are willing to work with retailers to create their preferences by investing more time and money. Personalization is also present in offers and discounts, with retailers and brands targeting specific customers with goods, promotions, and messages that are relevant and created for each customer. To customize such offers, businesses employ AI technology to provide insights and forecasts based on the data that is available about the customer. Customers' distinct and unique feeling from such personalized shopping is reflected in their return on investment and customer loyalty.

Virtual Shopping Convenience Retailers can provide virtual shopping, allowing customers to conduct

their transactions on a digital platform exactly as they would in a physical store. In order to help clients select sizes and style profiles that best suit their needs, it offers virtual fittings, which are custom-sized charts created by retailers. Technology is especially beneficial for apparel companies as it offers customers the ability to virtually try on

dresses and purchase them without having to leave the comfort of their homes. Visual search in virtual shopping is where a customer performs an

image-based search that leads to product discovery in the e-commerce solution. For example, customers can submit any photograph of a product or outfit they want. Then, the search engine takes them to a virtual closet where they can find the same product or visually similar goods depending on their image search. A digital upgrade is inevitable for retail businesses, not just to face the market competition but because that's what the customers demand. The convenience that online shopping provides has made it a preferable shopping option for many. Customers want variety and choices and consider online stores the first alternative when an option is not offered in-store. Retail businesses can become the first option for customers when they show their presence on both platforms by incorporating technological advancements and leveraging their benefits. Each of these technologies has the potential to revolutionize the way retailers operate and sell their products. So whether you're looking for a new way to market your store or improve customer experience, keep an eye out for these cutting-edge technologies. Subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

Statistics Canada reported 2019 data, that

most Canadian businesses continue to not report cyber security incidents to police services. The reasons businesses stated for not reporting were that the incidents were resolved internally, the incidents were too minor to be reported, or the incidents were resolved through an information technology (IT) consultant or contractor. Small businesses have increasingly started incorporating cybersecurity solutions into their business practices, realizing the intensity of these incidents and the impact they can have on the future of their business. As a result, Canadian businesses have implemented cybersecurity measures, including anti-malware software, email security, and network security, to protect their information and communication technology infrastructure. This can be seen as a positive trend as the internet has been a lifeline for many Canadians since 2020.

As small businesses involved in the cyber digital space

increase their efforts to promote their brands and make their products available, cybersecurity is increasingly becoming an issue of great concern. According to the International Telecommunication Union,

“Cybersecurity is the collection of tools, policies, security concepts, security safeguards, guidelines, risk management approaches, actions, training, best practices, assurance and technologies that can be used to protect the cyber environment and organization and user’s assets."

Virtual Marketplace The attack can happen through the small businesses’ connected computing devices, personnel, infrastructure, applications, services, telecommunications systems, and the totality of transmitted and/or stored information in the cyber environment. Some cyber attacks that small businesses are prone to are malware, phishing, spamming, spoofing, spyware, trojans, viruses, denial-of-service and distributed denial-of-service attacks, breach of access, and password sniffing, system infiltration, and website defacement. To prevent the means and methods of cyber attacks, cybersecurity strives to ensure the attainment and maintenance of the security properties of the organization and user’s assets against relevant security risks in the cyber environment. The field has become significant in current times due to the increased use of these aids in the growth of small businesses and our general lives.

Small businesses should act proactively to keep their data safe and secure from cyberattacks. This can be done by keeping themselves updated about the latest and innovative cyber attacks and risks reported.

They should strategize their cybersecurity practices, including training employees to detect malicious approaches, following a zero trust policy, and data backup and encryption, which will improve the response to data breach incidents and help recover lost data securely and safely.

In an article titled "Improving cybersecurity means understanding how cyberattacks affect governments and civilians," written by Debora Irene Christine, noted that “ the cyber incidents have impacted

organizations of all sizes, including those with less awareness and capacity to defend themselves, such as civil society organizations and small businesses.” Cybercriminals know that small businesses might not have the resources to spend on security staff and software as a much larger enterprise would. This makes them a prime target, as hackers see small businesses as particularly vulnerable, especially those without basic security measures like antivirus software. Along with the personal losses that cyber attack issues cause to small businesses, including monetary, integrity, and trust losses from customers, such an attack can lead to the shutting down of the company due to the huge ransom demand from the hackers. Hackers consider small businesses a means to reach large companies’ data systems due to their collaborative work or other partnerships. Due to the increased use of online accounting and digital checkout, the small business database is also a treasure box full of customers’ bank accounts and card details. Hence, cyber attacks on small businesses can cause personal damage and act as a medium for others' downfall.

Installing cybersecurity solutions that best suit the requirements of a small business enterprise and cater to its data security needs.

Along with software solutions to keep security high, seek the help of cybersecurity specialists who can provide expert help in conducting vulnerability assessments of the systems and security audits.

Ensure the implementation of a strong password that is not easy to hack and does not give access to unauthorized entry.


Guardio is a lightweight extension designed to help you browse quickly and securely. It is great for online security as it cleans your browser, speeds it up, and protects your private information. Guardio's solutions help combat new threats, create a highly secure environment, and improve users' online experience, thus securing the digital world for everyone.

Bitdefender is a cybersecurity leader delivering best-in-class threat prevention, detection, and response solutions worldwide and offers the best protection and lowest impact on performance by protecting

Guardio's flagship product focuses on the browser ecosystem as it plays a key role in storing the most

devices against malware without compromising speed. Bitdefender provides

information, cryptography, and e-commerce, to become the de-facto operating system. Their services include

leading security efficacy, performance, and ease of use to

valuable information, from messages, banking

providing advanced anti-phishing protection from emails

and web pages that attempt to steal personal or payment information, monitoring information leaks, stopping unwanted notifications, and removing malicious extensions.

cybersecurity solutions with

small and medium businesses, mid-market enterprises, and consumers.

Bitdefender is guided by the vision to be the world’s most trusted cybersecurity solutions

provider. They are committed to defending organizations and individuals around the globe SpamTitan Plus provides a leading-edge, AI-driven antiphishing solution with the latest “zero-day” threat protection and intelligence. With the lowest false positive rate of any product, it offers better coverage, a significant improvement in phishing link detections, and faster detection speeds. It is one of the best anti-phishing tools that can protect against malicious URLs and eliminate the risk of a “wrong click” that could result in stolen personal data, stolen financial card details, stolen log-in credentials, and the installation of malware onto your computer. Spamtitan Plus inspects all URLs to identify links to malicious websites. It also rewrites all URLs and provides time-ofclick analysis to protect against links to websites that appear to be safe on delivery but are later weaponized with malware.

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against cyberattacks to transform and improve their digital experience. Their multilayered protection keeps the devices safe from all new and existing e-threats, and the security software reacts instantly to malware without compromising the system's performance. Bitdefender provides complete protection to online privacy and personal information.


Barracuda CloudGen Firewall provides multiple layers of detection, including advanced threat signatures, behavioral and heuristic analysis, and static code analysis. It offers a comprehensive set of nextgeneration firewall technologies to ensure real-time network protection against a broad range of network threats, vulnerabilities, and exploits, including SQL injections, cross-site scripting, denial of service attacks, trojans, viruses, worms, and spyware. It offers cloud services that automatically offload resource-intensive tasks such as virus and spyware scanning,

Acronis Cyber Protection Solutions protect all data, applications, and systems wherever they are. With their unique combination of automation and integration, customers gain all the prevention, detection, response, recovery, and forensics capabilities required to safeguard their workloads while streamlining their protection efforts. They work with the belief that every organization's data, applications, systems, and productivity should be protected against loss, theft, and downtime, whether it’s caused by cyberattacks, hardware failure, natural disaster, or human error.

content filtering, and reporting to the cloud, so that network performance is not compromised.

Barracuda CloudGen Firewall offers services like DHCP that automatically assigns IP addresses to clients in the same network

and the forwarding Firewall service that handles all traffic for which the destination does not match with a listening socket on the firewall. The SIP Proxy server allows the

CloudGen Firewall to act as a (transparent) proxy for SIP and RTP connections. The Virus Scanner service provides virus protection, archive scanning, malware detection, and HTTP multimedia streaming. For administration of Wi-Fi networks, the Wi-Fi service provides configuration settings for the local access point.

Acronis Cyber Backup deduplication minimizes storage space by detecting data repetition, storing identical data only once, and offering data protection across 20+ platforms. Every system, physical, virtual, cloud, and all workloads are consolidated to safeguard data across all platforms. They empower IT teams with cyber protection solutions. 53 - CanadianSME - September 2022

Small businesses should always be vigilant and aware of their digital media presence, performance, and actions due to the number and methods of cyberattacks that

are rapidly expanding. One wrong click can lead to the loss of the business. However,

small businesses should also demonstrate a readiness to act in such circumstances. Small businesses should budget a reliable amount for developing such security

measures to protect their data and information, especially with a variety of digital solutions available for the secure operation of small businesses in the digital environment.

It is essential to keep small businesses safe and secure online. To read more on these topics, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

Samsung Electronics recently announced the global launch of SmartThings Home Life, offering consumers worldwide a more holistic smart home experience. Samsung’s SmartThings Home Life, introduced at this year’s Bespoke Home 2022 virtual event, is currently available in Canada and integrates the SmartThings Cooking and SmartThings Home Care services.

SmartThings Home Life is a new addition to the SmartThings app[1] [2], which provides centralized and integrated control over your Samsung appliances[3]. Connecting the convenience of SmartThings services, which includes SmartThings Cooking and SmartThings Home Care in Canada[4] [5], SmartThings Home Life expands the quality of your life at home and puts you in control, all from your smartphone. In the SmartThings app, users can simply tap the “Life” tab to navigate to SmartThings Home to unlock a new level of home connectivity. With 270 global partners and the ability to integrate with thousands of devices, SmartThings is currently enjoyed by close to a quarter of a billion registered users worldwide[6]. What’s more, Samsung’s updated Family Hub™ further adds to an expansion of experience at home with its new AI features that add convenience to your daily routine. 54 - CanadianSME - September 2022

Samsung Electronics “Our goal is to harness connectivity between smart devices to enrich and streamline everyday routines,” said Chanwoo Park, Executive Vice President and Head of IoT Business group of the Digital Appliances Business at Samsung Electronics. “The global launch of SmartThings Home Life will expand our services and empower users everywhere to focus less on their daily tasks and more on living in each moment.”

SmartThings Cooking[7] is a cooking service that does it all, from finding recipes and auto-setting appliances to managing shopping lists and preserving food[8]. Powered by Whisk’s Food AI, SmartThings Cooking recommends personalized recipes and meal plans based on users’ tastes, dietary needs and groceries on hand. SmartThings Cooking communicates directly with all of Samsung’s smart kitchen appliances[9], like Family Hub, ranges, ovens, and cooktops for a seamless cooking experience.

Since its launch in 2016, the Family Hub has been continually updated to offer the latest in connected experiences for Samsung refrigerator users, transforming refrigerators into

communication and entertainment hubs for the kitchen. What’s more, the Family Hub also doubles as a home control for the SmartThings app. Family Hub offers entertainment, smart features, and connectivity

to the kitchen. Art Gallery allows households to decorate their kitchens and refrigerator screens with stunning artwork, while Dual AI Voice Assistant enables consumers to access the

features of Amazon’s Alexa[10] and Samsung’s Bixby on a single

device. Family Hub’s food recognition technology allows for

food and drink identification and management, and Smart Recipes empowers Bespoke users at home to create delicious meals with easy-to-follow instructions.

SmartThings Home Care keeps tabs on all connected Samsung household devices, including Bespoke appliances, by checking their status and usage patterns, providing information about accessories and enabling convenient online purchases. This service sends notifications and guides users on regular maintenance based on the collected usage data such as cleaning each device and replacing specific components. By letting SmartThings take care of your home, you can troubleshoot home appliance issues independently without relying on a repairman for simple tasks. 55 - CanadianSME - September 2022

Apple shared a new report that offers a snapshot of the ways Apple products are empowering people to be at the center of their health, and acting as an intelligent guardian for their health and safety. Users, developers, medical institutions, and health organizations around the world are using Apple devices, features, and APIs to break down barriers between people and their health information, all while keeping privacy in mind.

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Apple’s efforts to advance health primarily fall into two categories, which are detailed in two corresponding sections of the report. The first section describes Apple’s focus on personal health and fitness features on Apple Watch and iPhone that offer actionable, science-based insights and help protect users’ health and safety. The second section shares Apple’s work with the medical community to support research and care. Both sections — along with an Extensions and Spotlights section at the report’s end — include a variety of examples of thirdparty developers, health institutions, and organizations innovating with Apple technology.

Apple Products

“We believe passionately that technology can play a role in improving health outcomes and encouraging people to live a healthier day, and we are excited about the many ways users are benefiting from our health and fitness features, and by the ways third-party developers, institutions, and organizations are using Apple technology to advance health and science,” said Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer. “Our vision for the future is to continue to create science-based technology that equips people with even more information and acts as an intelligent guardian for their health, so they’re no longer passengers on their own health journey. Instead, we want people to be firmly in the driver’s seat with meaningful, actionable insights.”

Since the release of the Health app in 2014 and the Apple Watch

With the release of iOS 16 and watchOS 9

to-understand, meaningful insights so they can be empowered to live healthier lives. The report outlines the four pillars of Apple’s health and fitness features: 1) giving users a central

and fitness, from heart health and sleep to mobility and women’s health, and more. Over the years, customers of all ages have

in 2015, Apple has introduced a wide array of innovative health and fitness features, with the goal to provide users with easy-

and secure place to store and view their health data in the Health app, 2) offering features that enable Apple Watch to act as an intelligent guardian for users’ health, 3) offering features that help users improve their everyday health and fitness for better health outcomes, and 4) fueling innovative third-party health and fitness apps with developer tools.

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this fall, Apple Watch and iPhone will offer features that focus on 17 areas of health

shared how these health and fitness features have, in their own words, changed their lives. Several share their stories in the

report, including customers who have discovered serious heart conditions, received emergency assistance after a fall, or dramatically improved their health through daily activity. Users can now store over 150 different types of health data from Apple Watch, iPhone, and connected third-party apps and devices in one central view in the Health app, in addition to available health records data from connected institutions in the US, UK, and Canada. There are now tens of thousands of apps on the App Store that use the HealthKit API, which allows developers to incorporate data users choose to share from the Health app to offer innovative health and fitness experiences, with rigorous privacy and data security protocols.

Apple Products The report spotlights examples of globally popular HealthKit-enabled apps like Nike Run Club, Calm, and WeightWatchers, plus an increasing number of HealthKit-enabled apps — including Qardio heart health and Withings Health Mate — that use connected accessories to allow users to track and monitor even more aspects of their health.

has collaborated with Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the American Heart Association, and the University of Michigan and the World Health Organization to offer users across the US the opportunity to participate in three first-of-their-kind research studies: the Apple Women’s Health Study, the Apple Heart and Movement Study, and the Apple Hearing Study. Early learnings from the studies appear in the

report, as well as information on other studies Apple has supported, like the Heart Failure Study with University Health Network and the Digital Mental Health Study with UCLA.

Health Records on iPhone in the Health app, along with apps and devices developed by third parties using Apple developer tools, help strengthen physician-patient relationships with meaningful data. Health Records is now available to patients at over 800 institutions across over 12,000 locations, making it easy for patients to see their

available medical data from multiple providers in the Health app whenever they choose. Research has shown that connecting patients with their care teams remotely results in better outcomes with the Corrie Health app, UVA Health care at home programs, and the US Department of Veterans Affairs loaning Apple devices to

Apple believes the strongest health innovations are possible only through direct collaboration with the medical community, and the report describes four categories of this collaboration: 1) building tools to enable researchers to make new scientific discoveries, 2) helping strengthen the physician-patient relationship with meaningful data, 3) collaborating with health organizations to promote healthy lifestyles at large scale, and 4) supporting public health and government initiatives. The ResearchKit framework gives researchers the opportunity to recruit study participants from a large user base of iPhone and Apple Watch users, and for participants to choose to share health data to help advance science. Through the Research app, Apple

veterans to connect them with their VA healthcare services. Care teams are better able to help patients with chronic conditions at Ochsner Health System and NHS Sunderland, and remote monitoring is reducing the cost and length of stays in the neonatal intensive care units at Odense University Hospital and the University of Virginia Children’s Hospital, where premature babies can come home with their parents but stay connected to care teams remotely.

Apple Products Health organizations and companies around the world — including Paceline in the US; Vitality Active Rewards in the US, the UK, South Africa, and Australia; and LumiHealth in Singapore — have collaborated with Apple to integrate Apple Watch into their wellness programs. There are currently 55 programs running in 17 countries with over a million users taking part in an incentive program leveraging Apple Watch. These programs have been successful in increasing participants’ physical activity levels and uptake of health behaviors, such as aiming for more regular sleep patterns, focusing on mindfulness, and swapping in healthier food options.

Finally, the report highlights Apple’s partnerships with clinicians and local governments on unique ways to support their crucial work to promote public health, including building apps and features during the COVID-19 health crisis.

All of Apple’s health and fitness features have been developed with two overarching principles: Rigorous scientific validation processes: Apple’s in-house clinicians are deeply involved in the product development process, and work handin-hand with engineers and product designers. This, combined with collaboration with experts from leading research institutions, ensures that products and features are grounded in science and userfriendly.

Privacy at the center: Privacy is a core value at Apple, and data privacy is critical for sensitive health data. Apple’s health and fitness features put users’ privacy at the center, and provide users with protections, including transparency and control.

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When iPhone is locked with a passcode, Touch ID, or

Face ID, all health and fitness data in the Health app — other than Medical ID — is encrypted, and any health data synced to iCloud is encrypted both in transit and on Apple servers. And if a user has a recent version of watchOS and iOS with the default two-factor authentication and a passcode, their health and activity data will be stored in a way that Apple can’t read it. Health app data is never shared with any third party without the user’s explicit permission, and if users decide to share their health data, the Health app provides users with granular control over the types of data they share and who they share it with. They can review and manage permissions at any time.

Discover why you should never 'sell your soul' for a paycheck, and the consequences for those who manipulate people with false flattery.

Here are a few examples:

We spend lots of time trying to understand the

One of my clients got told she was too noisy and was

conversation is on what to hire for and how to go about mitigating the cost of a wrong hire.

everything he said, and took his direction.

attributes of successful employees. What are the essential skills required to motivate teams and drive transformation? Much of the

Let’s turn this conversation on its head.

Employees are often grateful to land a job. But buyer beware because this gratitude can get in the way of not applying the right level of rigor and discipline when it comes to assessing whether the hiring manager is right for you.

Behavior sometimes gets skewed because of the self-imposed pressure or motivation to get ahead. Leaders are in a position of influence and power, and we expect them to adhere to what we believe is right and true. Yet sometimes leaders might fall short of embodying a good value set. For instance, there are times when the powers that be might make you feel boxed into a corner, hence running the risk of being a yes person or sucking up to them. In the spirit of what you believe is required to get ahead, you might compromise yourself. Be careful, as selling your soul always leads to significant regrets. It will backfire. It never works out, ever.

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required to speak less. When I spoke to her executive, it was clear he was asking her not to have a voice. She started to defer to him, outwardly agreed with

As a result, she got promoted. Her win, however, was short-lived because the executive asked her to

continue supporting him. The angst of living against her core values backfired. She knew she made a mistake. No amount of compensation or title was worth going against her good judgement.


A team I was advising wanted to challenge their boss and raise some concerns. Their chosen spokesperson ran scared and lost his nerve. When speaking to their manager, he minimized his own and the teams’ concerns. Going forward, this team member lost the respect and cooperation of his peers. It was impossible to earn back any integrity.

Great managers want their direct reports to challenge and offer a diversity of views. The objective is to create healthy debate and drive for best in class solutions. If you believe that winning the day is tantamount to agreeing with your boss, you run the risk of not being able to negotiate for what you need or what is in the best interests of the company. Your team will most probably view you as a sell-out.

He was no longer a trusted team member.

Trying to please and be liked means that you run the risk of An employee who continually runs ragged

by agreeing to every boss’s demand loses the ability to say no and set boundaries.

You end up accepting assignments that are either beyond your ability or your capacity. Overworking or failing to achieve your objectives is often the result. You will suffer a personal cost as an absentee partner and family member.

consistently altering your views. Most employees have more than one boss or at least some different stakeholders. By frequently changing your position, you create resentment. Divided loyalties emerge, and you are now perceived as being void of any independent thinking.

One of my colleagues whom I deeply admire recently

stated: “I must always speak my truth.” What she means is

that you must always be authentic and genuine to what you believe is right. People often compromise themselves or their guiding principles when they feel pressured or motivated to be fake.

Moreover, as you own your career, managing up requires you to collaborate and find creative ways to compromise or accommodate divergent views. We need to flex and be fluid in how we make decisions and achieve common ground. In conclusion, sucking up is different from being savvy. If you are prone to false flattery, you create a severe liability for yourself. The price you pay for compromising your value set hurts your self-esteem, your pride and your currency with others.

Cindy Wahler, PhD, C.Psych. is a leadership consultant specializing in executive coaching and talent management.

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With small businesses becoming increasingly

Body and Material

digitized, there is a demand for laptops and other devices designed to support and ease the operations of businesses. Especially since

Due to the heavy and daily use of business laptops, a

investigation is required to identify the system that would best support the respective business

choosing flimsy construction and low-quality materials. The majority of laptops are readily disqualified from

business requires set specifications for performance and operations, a thorough

operations. So the first question to ask is-

What makes a good laptop?

good system must be built to withstand the rigors of everyday use while conducting business. Durability should be given priority while taking care to avoid

meeting business standards due to their insufficient protection against drops and impacts.

Cooling Business laptops should have greater cooling since they

Business laptops come in a range of sizes and

shapes, but they stand out for their performance, design, and specifications due to the system's ability to fulfill operational requirements and lifestyle expectations.

are high-performance machines with sturdy construction. Slimmer laptop devices should be made with improved laptop fans that can cool the device and improve performance.

Processor Battery Life Working uninterruptedly and for extended periods of time without experiencing any inconvenience is one of the top priorities of business laptops. A business laptop should be able to run for at least 10 to 13 hours of office work, depending on the price range. It should be able to handle daily workloads quickly and efficiently.

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Business laptops should be equipped with the latest and high-performing processors to maximize performance, greater speed, and clock time.

Connections The laptop should be built with ports that can support different connections, such as USB and HDMI ports, and an SD card reader.


Weight Business laptops are designed to be lightweight to lessen the load while moving to support the traveling requirements of business owners.

Here are five of the best business laptops that can help in the smooth and efficient working and functioning of business operations.


Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3

Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 has all modernday professional needs. With a 12th Gen Intel Core i7 processor, the Lenovo ThinkBook Plus Gen 3 uses Windows 11 Pro. The 17.3-inch screen comes with Dolby vision with a multitouch option. The laptop has a memory of up to 32GB and battery life while LCD use is up to 11 hours.


MacBook Air 2022

MacBook Air 2022 is built with a 13.6-inch (diagonal) LED-

backlit display with IPS technology. With 8GB of unified memory and 256GB of storage, the laptop has an improved audio system, a 1080p webcam with better low-light performance, and MagSafe charging.

It is built with USB-C Thunderbolt™ 4, USB-C, USB-A, HDMI and Headphone/mic combo. The keyboard comes in a 13-inch backlit with a glass touchpad. It weighs under 4.4 pounds, it’s an ideal hybrid work solution.

macOS Monterey introduces powerful new features to connect, share, and create. It includes accessibility capabilities to enable people with disabilities to benefit from the new MacBook Air to the fullest. These features include built-in support for vision, hearing, mobility, and learning.

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Dell XPS 13 Plus

The Dell XPS 13 Plus is a minimalist laptop with high performance. The 13.4-inch laptop has a vibrant OLED display with a 12th Gen Intel Core processor, 16GB of RAM capacity, and 512GB SSD.

Technology With support for rapid charging, which can provide up to 50% of power in 30 minutes, the battery life can last for up to 16 hours on a single charge.

5 The system weighs around 2.77 pounds with a sleek design of dimensions 11.6 x 7.8 x 0.6-inch. The laptop is made of a dark carbon aluminum chassis that is fingerprintresistant with a comfortable keyboard and strong performance.


Asus ROG Flow z13

Asus ROG Flow Z13 comes with tablet features like 13.4 inches touchscreen. It is powered by a 12th Gen Intel Core processor with 16GB RAM and 512GB internal storage. It has a beautiful design made of lightweight and durable aluminum alloy that is built compactly. The laptop has a keyboard folio that gives a great typing experience. It has a good cooling time and is equipped with quiet fans.

HP Spectre x360 16(2022)

The HP Spectre x360 is a 16-inch laptop

powered by a 12th-generation Intel Core processor with a Windows 11 operating

system. It comes with 32 GB RAM and 512GB SSD. It offers temporal noise reduction, which helps with a high-quality video calling experience.

It is built with a fingerprint reader and a lighted keyboard. It has three USB ports, Thunderbolt 4 (Type C), an HDMI port, a multi-card slot, and jacks for headphones and microphones. 64 - CanadianSME - September 2022

It is built with a Thunderbolt 4 port, one USB 2.0 Type-A and one USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C port. The Asus ROG Flow z13 weighs around 2.6 pounds and has good screen options and excellent performance.

Small businesses should gain digital literacy in all realms of business operations and familiarize themselves with digital devices to optimize their outcomes. In the meantime, a thorough examination of devices that are appropriate for the business, that support and enhance operations, and increase results with minimal input must be selected for digital integration. In addition, investments made to incorporate digital devices into the business should be done judiciously so that it is efficient and cost-effective. Digital tool investments are long-lasting and rarely flawed business incorporations. To learn more about these improvements, subscribe to CanadianSME Small Business Magazine For the latest updates, visit our Twitter page at @canadian_sme.

Canadian innovation Lynn Mueller CEO of SHARC Energy Systems Lynn Mueller Bio – Lynn Mueller is the CEO of SHARC Energy Systems, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Lynn is a recipient of Clean50 Lifetime Achievement Awards and has been perfecting the science of wastewater energy recovery for over a decade. SHARC and its wastewater recovery technology is a multi-award-winning success, but Lynn is doing it for his family. He has four children and three granddaughters, Lynn’s personal mission is, “Do all he can to make the world more livable for them and others.”

Can you please describe what inspired you to develop Wastewater Energy Transfer technology? Not many people realize that wastewater just like solar, wind or hydro is a significant source of renewable energy. In fact, it is one of the most reliable renewable energy sources because unlike wind and solar, which are dependent on weather conditions, wastewater is everywhere, ready to be used at any time, in any climate. The idea of developing a Wastewater Energy Transfer (WET) system occurred to me when I realized in my own home, we were using approx. $1200 worth of natural gas for heating hot water, and then we are throwing it down the drain along with all the energy in it, that is only one home. Worldwide, trillion dollars worth of clean energy in form of wastewater flowing 6 feet beneath the earth’s surface is being thrown away. This inspired me to come out of retirement to try to develop the technology to recover heat from wastewater that actually works.

Today we are one of the very few companies that have the technology to access the untapped billions of dollars clean energy industry. In fact, I can confidently say we have the best technology and are the leader in

the WET industry because we have been perfecting the science of wastewater energy recovery for over a decade.

The energy we are discarding also has a major environmental impact, it is causing ocean temperature to rise leading to more intense hurricanes, heavier

rainfall, and snowstorms. I experienced climate change first during my travels to the far north installing refrigeration systems for the Hudson Bay Company. Before founding SHARC, I had 25+ years of career in

the green energy business and geothermal heat pump industry and I wanted to use my knowledge and expertise to find a solution to help fight climate change and do what I can to make the world more livable for my family and others

How does the incredible technology developed by SHARC Energy work?

The WET system we have developed is very simple. Wastewater, which consists of what gets flushed down toilets but is mixed with millions of litres of hot water from showers, dishwashers, washing machines, and more, maintains a constant temperature as it travels through sewers to the treatment plant—typically about 17.6° C, though this varies by geography and season In a WET system, a heat pump is used to capture the warmth of wastewater and transfer it to the clean water stream that is entering homes and businesses. It all operates as a closed-loop system, meaning that the dirty water never touches the clean water.

Manufactures & Supplies But the warmth of the sewage water helps heat the water that is then used in showers, washing machines, dishwashers, or even in radiators to help heat buildings. In the summer, buildings with sewage heat recovery systems can reverse their heat pumps and use the sewage to dissipate excess building heat and reduce a building's air-conditioning costs.

What are the various projects in which the SHARC

What are the benefits of this technology?

is actively being used or in process of being installed in close to 30 locations globally, supporting our customers to reduce

And how it can contribute to meeting

Canada’s target of Net Zero emissions by 2050?

Recovering and reusing the energy from

wastewater we are throwing away every day can significantly reduce the energy demand, energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.

Recovering energy rather than trying to create new heat is also four times more efficient and enables property owners and housing cooperatives to reduce their costs of conventional utility services and can entitle

them to government-funded, carbon offset programs. Every dollar of energy used to operate our system generates four dollars of output.

To achieve Canada’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050, we will have to generate approximately six times the amount of clean energy we are generating now to support the electrification of various sectors including buildings which are responsible for 17% of the annual carbon emissions and burning fossil fuels for space heating accounts for the largest share of these emissions. Our WET system has a proven record of reducing carbon emissions and is a sustainable option to replace the use of fossil fuels in buildings. By mandating the use of WET systems in buildings we could remove up to 54.7 million metric tonnes of Greenhouse gases annually which is equivalent to taking 18.6 million cars off the street. Despite having immense benefits, the WET industry has been relatively unknown, but the world has started to take notice and we are confident soon the WET systems will become a technology of choice for all buildings in the future.

system has been installed/will be installed in the future?

Recognizing the environmental and economic benefits of

recycling thermal energy from wastewater, several residential complexes, hospitals, hotels, micro-breweries & distilleries, commercial laundry and community activity centers around the globe have shown tremendous interest in adopting our technology to meet their sustainability goals. Our WET system

costs, energy consumption & greenhouse gas emissions. Below are a few examples -

Using our PIRANHA Series, a medium size WET system, specifically designed to meet the requirements of standalone residential and commercial buildings Seven35 building in North Vancouver reduced CO2 emissions to just 669 from 68,000 and its annual energy

cost by $10,000+. Lake Louise Inn, a hotel in Banff reduced its laundry water heating energy demand by as much as 45% and propane

requirement by 32,000 litres per year. Sustainable Living Innovations, known for building some of

the world’s most carbon-neutral residential buildings, selected SHARC’s systems for six new Projects in design or under construction in Seattle. Our SHARC Series is an industrial-sized WET system designed for large capacity requirements of energy districts, large multifamily residential, and industrial applications. Some of

our existing projects include – False Creek Neighbourhood Energy Utility in Vancouver uses waste thermal energy captured from sewage to provide 70 percent of its space heating and hot water to over 6.4 million square feet of residential, commercial, and institutional space as of 2021. In accordance with the 2018 NEU expansion plan, the service area will increase to 22 million square feet. National Western Center, an innovation 250-acer campus hub in Denver will source nearly 90 percent of its heating and cooling from a recycled source of thermal energy and prevent 2,600 metric tons of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere each year. King County in Washington (in Seattle few minutes from the Space Needle). The project will be taking advantage of the pioneering King County Wastewater Heat Recovery Pilot program which allows for private commercial property owners and developers to tap into the sewer line to create a low carbon and electrically efficient space heating, space cooling and hot water load for their buildings.

We had the pleasure to interview Lexi Miles Corrin, Founder and CEO of WAXON Laser + Waxbar, who shared her valuable insights on running a full-time business while also balancing wellness and navigating motherhood, her feelings after reaching an incredible 10-year anniversary milestone, how did she transform her passion into a profitable and highly successful business and much more. LEXI MILES CORRIN is the Founder and CEO of WAXON Laser + Waxbar, an innovative beauty concept specializing in hair removal for men and women on-the-go looking for convenient and highquality services without the steep price tag. Launched in 2012, WAXON Laser + Waxbar now includes 13 locations across the country, with plans for further expansion in 2022. In 2019, Lexi saw a gap in women’s intimate skin care and recently developed and launched an intimate skin care product line for women; South. Containing only clean beauty ingredients, South is created by Women for Women, made in Canada and covers all below the belt skin care needs. Recently adding ‘podcaster’ to her resume, Lexi launched a blog turned podcast called, ‘We Go There’ – Where there is no such thing as TMI. Inspired by women everywhere who have intimate questions and not enough answers. A champion for empowering women in business, Lexi has been a keynote speaker and panelist for various organizations and preeminent universities including the Rotman School of Management and Queen’s University, providing entrepreneurial advice and inspiration to aspiring female leaders. She is passionate about giving back to her community, supporting several non-profits including One Girl Can. Lexi is also featured regularly in the media speaking to beauty trends, how to run a successful business and life as a female entrepreneur. Lexi resides in Toronto with her husband, daughter, Piper, son, Clark and newborn twins Nash & Violet.

Lexi Miles Corrin Founder and CEO of WAXON Laser + Waxbar

When did you start your career? And what was the motivation behind starting WAXON Laser and Waxbar? While working as a consultant primarily in the U.S. I was exposed to the wax bar business concept. I found it such a fascinating niche to have a company that was more than the local dive shop that did your nails, and had a questionable wax bed in the back room; yet was more affordable than a high-end spa. I loved that the concept was simple and to the point - hair removal.

Upon returning to Canada, I searched for something similar and found there really was nothing. So logically, I abandoned my promising career with absolutely no esthetics experience to start my own company. Ten years later, here we are.

Since you are a mother of four, and a champion for women’s empowerment, what does it mean not only to run a full-time business but also to balance wellness and navigate motherhood? Balance is an interesting word. I do my best to find the time to commit to work, family, my relationships and myself. My business is my first baby and now, with the recent addition of my twins, that brings my count to 5 (WAXON and four human kiddos). I have learned to be okay with the ebb and flow. At times, much of my focus needed to be on the business. Now I have such a great team, that I feel more comfortable handing certain things over so I have more time and capacity to be a mom and to work on myself.

Small Business Waxon is the number one hair removal destination in Canada, with locations across the country. How do you feel after reaching such an incredible 10year anniversary milestone? I still pinch myself about it. 10 years is such an accomplishment, and what feels incredible is not only that we deliver our WAXON experience all across Ontario and currently out East, but we have delivered amazing impact to the teams who work with us, and to our customers. We exist

How important do you believe it is to listen to your customers and identify market gaps? How did you make your wax bar a safe space for everyone? It’s a huge part of what we do and why we exist. We are constantly gathering guest feedback in a myriad of ways. Many of our services and products come as a result of our clients’ suggestions. In terms of creating a safe space, this is something we take very seriously. We have a very active diversity and inclusion committee who is responsible for the education of our team and ensuring that we are always being as inclusive as possible. We have a strong HR program that supports team members and a very engaged culture where we create comfort and understanding. WAXON is a space for gender inclusivity, body positivity and zero judgment.

to create a safe space to help everyone feel more confident in their skin. To me, we are more than

As the pandemic affected numerous businesses, what effect

community, raises awareness for causes important to us (like One

During the pandemic closures, we really focused on engagement with our teams. We kept all our employees onboard. We had weekly

hair removal. We are a brand that empowers women, gives back to our

Girl Can), promotes equality - and ultimately changes lives because of it.

How did you transform your

personal experiences, needs,

and passion into a profitable

and highly successful business? I think it’s a matter of sharing my passion. To be honest, I have no esthetics experience and definitely didn’t think this would be my career path 10 years ago. What wakes me up everyday is the fact that WAXON creates positive impacts and the knowledge that what I do as a leader, and the decisions I make, affect so many people - both on our team and our guests. I think that our brand passion to create convenience, quality and equality ensures that our guests grow an affinity to our brand and continue to return to us every month.

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did it have on employee retention?

check-ins, donated a portion of online sales to them directly and supported mental health initiatives. Our goal was to help our

employees through this extremely difficult time. This resulted in a 93% return-to-work rate. Over the past months, we have seen some drop off with employees choosing other careers or moving away. Our focus now is showing how important and lucrative an esthetics career can be, especially with WAXON. We have employees who have been with us for 10 years and we want to continue that.