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Idris Mootee to speak at Internationally Educated Professionals Conference Page 13

March 2013

Tenth annual conference for IEPs set for April 5 Five specific fields to be highlighted at downtown event REBECCA field

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Chris Taylor is the founder and president of Actionable Books. While he agrees having identifiable metrics are important when measuring the impact of training on staff, a small business owner shouldn’t ignore the intangibles, such as staff morale and overall engagement.

Managing and measuring the impact of your training programs Key question for small business owners: How do you know what’s working? GARY HILSON

Spending money on staff training is not a trivial expense for small business, so it’s important to measure its impact, particularly on the bottom line. Done right, training is an investment in your business and your employees and will deliver lasting returns in productivity and profits, said Hesham Shafie, president and CEO of Brand Momentum, a fast-growing Toronto-based experiential mar-

‘Establishing a definition of success for each training program is essential. Defining the return on investment is critical in the long term.’ – Hesham Shafie keting, sales and merchandising company. But you will only reap the rewards if your training programs are carefully planned and implemented. “Establishing a

definition of success for each training program is essential,” he said. “Defining the return on investment is critical in the long term.” However, said Shafie, getting

training programs off the ground is often the first hurdle. Once they’re in place, managers can and must monitor them to make sure they are providing employees with the skills they need and are being effectively used in the workplace. “You can learn over time as to what is working and what is not working.” Eli Lewin, a professor and program coordinator who teaches operations management, supply chain management and decision support systems at Humber >>>WATCH, page 11

The 10th annual conference for Internationally Educated Professionals (IEPs) is set for April 5 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Run by the non-profit Progress Career Planning Institute, the conference outlines strategies on integrating IEPs into the workplace in Canada. It will cover five specific fields of work: engineering; information technology; sales marketing and communications; healthcare and related professionals; and finance and accounting. “What we hope is that they will get a chance to talk directly to employers about what they are looking for in hiring,” said Silma Roddau, IEP Conference Chair and President. The conference runs from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and will feature keynote speaker Idris Mootee, CEO of the company Idea Couture. Roddau is hoping for 1000 attendees at this year’s conference, which opens registration on February 7 at noon. The size has been reduced due to a cut in government funding. Roddau has been seeking out sponsorship to fund the conference instead. “We are actually delivering this conference with organization seed money,” said Roddau. “Because the conference is more of a one-day event I think there’s more focus on programming that continues throughout the year.” >>>NETWORKING, page 11

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Tr a i n i n g


Top tips on scheduling training T

his month’s Listed feature contains tips for small businesses on scheduling training, courtesy Janette Mansour. Workplace training has become a necessity in today’s world for both the employees and the employers: to comply with the rapidly changing workplace demands and to remain competitive in the global marketplace. One of the challenges that I face when applying workplace training is the employees’ commitment to the training schedule and the disruption of day-today operations. These challenges are overcome by adhering to the following policies:


Magic Oven Pizza chain owner Tony Sabherwal stops in at his Danforth Avenue location. He notes that while employee education and training are important, they don’t necessarily need to be elaborate or expensive.

Training programs should improve staff skills and customer satisfaction GARY HILSON


ony Sabherwal doesn’t have a lot of dough to put into training, but as the owner of Toronto’s Magic Oven Pizza chain, he knows it can improve his bottom line. But the challenge for most small businesses, he said, is that they don’t have training departments or formalized training programs – not even so much as an internal manual. However, after making sure your business can stay afloat and make a profit, Sabherwal said investing in training for staff is just as important as advertising your business. “Training is definitely the No. 2 need for small business,” he said. “It’s something all businesses know, but they don’t focus on it enough.” Sabherwal said employee education and training doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive, however. For a convenience store, it could be as simple as making sure staff keep store shelves organized and making sure they always have enough change in the register so customers are happy. Any training program should not just improve the skills of the employee but also the customer experience. Sabherwal believes welltrained employees are as critical to profitability as advertising and marketing the business. While the latter will bring customers in the door, they won’t come back if your staff isn’t properly trained to take care of them. “Expensive as it seems, if you had to compare advertising dollars with training

dollars, I think they should be spent equally and not one at the cost of the other,” he said.

‘I want my team to come together, communicate better and look at work as fun, social and engaging and creative.’ –David Cohen Eli Lewin, a professor and program coordinator who teaches operations management, supply chain management and decision support systems at Humber College, said businesses should focus on a specific problem they are facing to determine what training is required, particularly those affecting profitability, such as late deliveries to customers or invoice mistakes that lead to late payments or no payments at all. Problems that need solving might be short-term or long-term. Another incentive for staff training is the changes happening within your industry, Lewin said. It’s important to stay competitive. Nathan Buhler’s company, BLDG Workshop Inc., provides architectural design services. He’s grappling with the evolution of software used to create architectural drawings. The industry is moving away from two-dimensional AutoCAD

drawings to a three-dimensional Building Information Modeling system. “I don’t use the system and could easily continue doing what I do for years to come,” he said, “but there are some ways that the new system will make my life easier and many ways in which it will make it more complicated, not the least of which is the time and money it will take to retrain.” Buhler often asks himself if not moving to the new system makes him look like those who still draft using paper and pencil. “The big picture consideration is do you care if your company very slowly starts to look and feel older and out of touch by ignoring ongoing training?” Even once a business decides training is required and has allocated a budget, finding that training can be overwhelming because there are plenty of options in Toronto. The city’s universities and colleges all provide a variety of continuing education programs that can be taken during evenings or for short, intense engagements during business hours. The Toronto Public Library also offers a variety of courses. Online courses are also an option. Businesses can also look to industry associations and their peers to find training outlets or coaches that cater to their specific needs. Local Chambers of Commerce can also be a resource. Businesses will see more benefits to one-time training if there is ongoing coaching on the job afterward, said Toronto-based business coach David Cohen. “With any train-

ing you provide your team you will see a spike in performance for a brief time afterward, but

N at h a n B u h l e r o f B L D G Workshop: ‘The big picture consideration is do you care if your company very slowly starts to look and feel older and out of touch by ignoring ongoing training?’ old habits tend to take hold again. Training without ongoing coaching or support is not money well spent.” Cohen said investing in training can be a great morale booster and contributes to a company’s culture; it’s not just about improving skill sets. “I want my team to come together, communicate better and look at work as fun, social and engaging and creative.” Magic Oven owner Sabherwal also believes training contributes to good morale and demonstrates to employees you are willing to invest in them. “They want to do well and want to be part of the organization. The employees feel they are empowered to do something.”

1. Linking training with the company’s overall strategy and the business plan and consequently obtaining the senior management commitment to training activities 2. The careful design of the training programs. In other words, providing training that best meets the performance requirements of the company 3. Linking workplace training with a specific schedule which defines the duration, the dates and the timing for each and every component 4. Assigning the right coach to the workplace training who has the right competencies to supervise the training activity 5. Conducting ‘Train the Trainers’ workshops for the supervising coaches in order to provide them with the required skills for the job 6. Establishing a ‘Model Workplace’ and providing it with the equipment simulators that are incorporated at the workplace in order to maximize training efficiency 7. Organizing field visits to the workplace in partnership with the Human Resources department to observe closely the training process and to adjust the training schedule if necessary 8. Applying the different methods of workplace training such as e-Learning which provides instructional consistency and reduces learning time and any anxiety that might occur due to daily operations disruptions 9. Supporting the workplace training by a variety of formal and informal resources including role playing, team building and case studies 10. Developing special reports to be filed by both the trainees and the trainers at the end of each training component to monitor the training progress and adherence to the training schedule and to make any corrective actions 11. Creating a reward system and incentives for both the trainees and the coaches: trainees are promoted to higher positions whereas coaches are compensated for their efforts By following these policies, workplace training can be implemented successfully in various training programs and prove to be very effective in providing the company with a continuous flow of competent professionals at all levels. n Listed is a monthly feature in Toronto Business Times. Janette Mansour is a Human Resources professional with more than 10 years of experience specifically in Training and Development, Talent Management, Career Development, Recruitment, Job Descriptions and Perfor mance Janette Mansour Management.





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The value of training

n this month’s edition, we take a look at workplace training in a variety of formats: articles, columns and our Listed feature all contain some great advice on how to approach an important facet of being an entrepreneur. There appears to be little disagreement that there is quantifiable value – and plenty of it – to be had for the small business owner who actively makes ongoing training a priority. There is a bottom line benefit. Also, for the harder-to-measure aspects of a thriving business, training keeps employees up to speed, and engages and inspires them. But training is not without its challenges, particularly for a small business owner who may not have the range of in-house

resources available at larger enterprises. This means the decisions a small business owner makes in this area are critically important. Time and money are at stake. So how does one approach the challenge? The experts on our pages have some good insights and we encourage you to read them. Certainly, it seems wise to explore all your options with the goal of finding the best fit with the needs of your enterprise. If something’s worth it to your business to pursue, it’s worth it to you to carefully review your choices and not dismiss anything out of hand. And most importantly, have a clear set of goals and outcomes from any training program you engage in.

That way, you’ll know you’re on the right track. n AWARD NOTES: Young entrepreneurs (between 18 and 35) have until April 2 to enter the Business Development Bank of Canada’s 2013 edition of the organization’s Young Entrepreneur Award. The top prize is $100,000. More details are available on page 8. Also, if you’re a business owner but not able to enter the Live Green Toronto awards this year (deadline March 3) in the small business or corporate category, still consider reviewing the entries and placing a vote to engage yourself in the process. The second round of voting wraps up April 19.

Guest Column


Necessary disruptions: deal with them by integrating them

Toronto’s development: council needs N to recover the necessary funds


aybe the memo about the slowing pace of highrise development in Toronto’s core hasn’t yet reached the development community. Late last year, one of the largest proposals ever in North America was unveiled, showing an expanded convention centre, hotel, plus additional retail, offices and residential towers along Front Street. Just steps away, another vision promises to transform part of King Street with three residential towers, each of which could be more than 80 storeys. During the summer there were almost 200 condo projects already underway in Toronto, which would bring another 50,000 units to market. All of this activity must be profitable for developers or they would not be risking their capital. And although sales for new units are slowing, there are still thousands of willing buyers every month. For all of the complaints about highrise development, it is the most efficient way for people to live together. In Toronto’s core, higher density residential construction produces a virtuous circle: additional people bring retailers, cultural attractions and jobs, which in turn creates further demand for homes. Already service-based companies are moving back downtown, to be closer to their workers. These downtowners are examples of urban living: they are knowledge workers in clean offices, they take transit when they don’t walk or cycle to work. With their higher average incomes, they

Beyond the headlines

david soknacki

enhance the vibrancy of our retail and cultural sectors. While many projects in Toronto’s core bring benefits, it’s a fair question to ask if redevelopment in general is good for our city. It’s easy to see the negatives, most of which centre on overburdened infrastructure: crowded transit, gridlock, few parks downtown and the like. The big challenge is to channel the incredible amount of funding and activity from development projects to build better transit, ease gridlock and create more green space. It’s a shame that council has the means to so, but is not using its financial tools as well as it can. Under provincial law, Toronto is entitled to charge new development the equivalent amount that new residents will burden our city infrastructure. Every term of council, consultants forecast how much each form of development will cost the city across the entire range of municipal services. For example, the additional burden caused by a household moving into a new two-bedroom condominium will be about $13,000, including about $3,800 for transit, about $2,300 for roads and about $1,800 for parks. This amount is usually recovered from buyers in the purchase

price. As you can imagine, when council considers development charges, every major developer and their advocates argue that charging the maximum will cause higher housing prices, lower employment and depress the Toronto economy. Council then levies rates at less than recovery cost. At present, it charges about $2,500 less than allowed for a twobedroom unit. There are problems with council’s position. The first is that these development charges are not for what would be nice to have, but are estimates of how much those new households will cost for current levels of service. Charging less than full cost means that present residents subsidize new purchasers. Doing basic arithmetic shows a gap well in excess of $100 million. We all recognize crumbling infrastructure is a problem. That council is not recovering funds available for that purpose just makes the situation worse. Allegations that higher development charges would make Toronto uncompetitive are wrong. Neighbouring municipalities to our west and north charge from double to almost triple Toronto’s levies. Even Oshawa, with all of its challenges, charges far more. Many of the plans for development in Toronto’s core will be great for our future. But let’s make sure they pay their own way. n David Soknacki is a former City of Toronto councillor and budget chief. Contact him at www.soknacki. com

o matter what walk of life we’re in, when it comes to being disrupted, none of us really like it, but some of us deal with it better than others. Especially when we recognize the opportunities that lie within. Our Page 5 experts talk about this when it comes to the challenge of scheduling workplace training. The disruption in this case comes from resisting the not-inconsiderable pull of the dayto-day task. Let’s be honest: it’s not as easy as it sounds. While everyone agrees on the benefits of training, it’s a challenge to pull yourself away from the more seemingly immediate concerns. It’s a challenge that becomes even more difficult when the results from your training might not be immediately apparent, but are more of a long-term strategy. So how do you deal with it? You know you need training. In a business context, there’s a lot that’s changing around you, the small business owner: there’s the marketplace, there’s technologies and there’s always competition. If you’re staying still, chances are overwhelmingly strong you’re actually falling behind. Forget about getting ahead: sometimes you have to move just to keep up. That’s where training plays a critical role. In my view, there’s two significant challenges involving training. The first, as mentioned above, is scheduling. The second, has to do with its application; ensuring the learning material is applied in the worker’s


Paul Futhey future tasks. Two different challenges, but one common thread between them is they both deal with disruption and integration: there’s integrating training into the schedule, and then there’s integrating that training into your role. Both involve disruption – taking you out of the day-to-day pattern you’ve worked hard to establish, but the idea is it’s about establishing a new and increasingly superior pattern for you to meet the ever-changing needs of your business. Disruptions will always happen for small business owners. Not all of them are necessary, but some of them are. Some can even be capitalized on. Training is about dealing with disruption (perhaps channeling is a better word?) and finding the best ways to accommodate and integrate. It takes work. It takes effort. But it does get results. n Paul Futhey is the managing editor of the Toronto Business Times. His Notebook column appears every month. He can be reached at

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op in ion Each month, Toronto Business Times solicits opinions from experts on a question of relevance to the small business community. This month’s question is: One of the challenges with workplace training is making it part of the schedule - by minimizing the disruption to the day-to-day operation of your business. How do you suggest a business owner/manager approach this challenge?

Training: Understand what Two steps to follow when you your deepest commitments are need to make time for training


our decisions, or lack thereof, can either infect or affect your business. Here is how it works. Every business owner has competing intentions. For example, you may be deeply committed to making more money this year, but you may be more deeply committed to playing it safe. Hence, this makes you risk-averse. You may also be deeply committed to increasing your sales, but you are more deeply committed to putting out current fires and hence avoid disrupting your current productivity. Are you taking the short term view or the long term view? Which is better? One basic fundamental law of success is: what you focus on expands. If you are focused on putting out fires, you are not focused on creating new business. Hence, you are infecting your outcome, and not affecting positive growth. This short term view may negatively infect the team, decrease team spirit, and even set an undertone of fear in your company culture.

Training BusinessPros Paul TOBEY If one of your goals is to train your team to improve their R.O.I, but you fear this type of initiative may compete with your dayto-day operation of your business, then assess your priorities. Where is your deepest intention or focus? Imagine that you are a pedestrian. You begin walking through the four-way intersection at a green light. All of a sudden, in the middle of the intersection the light turns yellow. You have a choice to make now. Do you deeply commit to crossing the road and jogging through the rest of the light, or do you slow down with full confidence that you will stop traffic and it will wait for you or do you turn around to go back to your starting point to play it safe? What do you do? How deeply committed are you to crossing the road? It’s all about making

a decision. And then committing to it. I have worked with teams that chose to train evenings and weekends not to conflict with their day-to-day operations. However, that was deep commitment driven by the CEO which positively affected the team all the way down to the lead generation team. Everyone was enrolled and engaged and accountability was threaded throughout the entire team – like a close to perfect hand-made Turkish rug where every stitch counts. Where is your focus right now? What is your deepest commitment? Does your team need to be infused with new knowledge and/or training? Do you need an amber light to motivate you to cross the road? n Paul Tobey is CEO of TrainingBusinessPros, Canada’s leading business training company with thousands of clients world-wide such as Sony Columbia, Royal LePage, and Mannatech USA. View recommendations on Linkedin in/paultobey10 or Follow on Twitter @paultobey


ime management is something that is difficult for everyone; especially for business owners. But training is important for everyone. So how do you make the time? Step 1: Know that it is a priority Without training, continuous improvement comes to a complete stop and you could lose your competitive edge. In fact, it is so important that there are metrics tracking the training dollars spent per capita by country to determine the future competitiveness of the country. This is a strong statistic supporting that training leads to long term success. Why should training be a priority? • Without training, employees are less productive, soak up management time, and provide less value to the growth of a business • Workplace training increases the consistency of your service and improves customer service levels • Creating a training program can increase your awareness of your process, helps you capture best practices, and allows your team to continuously improve

Small Business Solver CARLA LANGHORST upon this • New ideas often come to light through training, especially as new employees often have a fresh outlook • Initial orientation training for employees is one of the biggest reasons for retention Step 2: Embrace what works for your team Things are evolving. There are now options on how, when and what to learn. Embrace what works for your organization to optimize workplace training. Customize how to learn. There are more learning platforms than ever before, so there is no need to use methods that don’t work for you. Some examples include webinars, live streaming, face-to-face, videos, worksheets, books, blogs, eCourses, forums and more. It is easier than ever to record your own custom content for the workplace. Customize when to learn. Often employees are the

least productive during certain times in the day or week. Friday afternoons, just after lunch, and other slow times in the day may be best used as training periods. With all of the different training options, this could even be done at 2 a.m. Customize what to learn. Learning is now available in more bite-sized versions than ever before. Even Amazon is promoting 10,000-word books! This helps create more customized learning tracks from existing content developers material. Plus it enables your employees to learn specific information quicker. In summary, training is becoming easier and more affordable than ever before, reducing a lot of time commitment barriers. If you think training is disruptive, what about the disruption to your business if you don’t do it? n Carla Langhorst is President of Small Business Solver, an elearning hub for entrepreneurs. Her background is in all forms of learning, from college instruction and corporate training to studying overseas and training development.

Approach your training policy with Maximize results with clear goals, ‘tact, patience and understanding’ communication and smart strategy


ne of the challenges with workplace training is making it part of the schedule – by minimizing the disruption to the day-to-day operation of your business. Employers usually invest in workplace training because they have an expectation that by upgrading their employees’ skills both the quality of their products and the rate of productivity will increase. Business owners/managers should approach the challenge of workplace training with tact, patience and understanding since there is ‘no one size fits all’ solution to it. The main reason is that every organization’s training needs vary based on the size of the enterprise, sector of industry, organization’s values, particularities of job requirements, labour relations, homogeneity of workforce mix, rate of technology adoption and innovation. In order to maximize the utility of workplace training, owners/managers should, first of all, set clear, viable and achievable learning goals and objectives, so that the outcome of their efforts will be the expected one, meaning providing instruction suitable for the specific roles and job requirements of their

Centennial College LAURENTiu DAVID employees. Second of all, they should properly set the stage for successful instruction by motivating their subordinates so that they have a vested interest in participating willingly in the workplace training. If for job-specific training, the owners/managers should support the costs from the firm coffers; for general skills training these costs should be transferred to the trainees, especially in a competitive market. For company-specific training the best way is to look for a compromise where on one hand the wage of the workers will be increased, while on the other hand the training costs will be shifted to the training participants. Thirdly, owners/managers need to work diligently on establishing an internal environment conducive of good and effective work habits. If the training is given by an experienced employee, supervisor or co-worker, careful selection should take place since sometimes bad habits can be passed on to others.

Moreover, since training can be delivered in a number of ways, the owners/managers should agree upon a method of instruction that is geared towards best practices and/or proved successful in the past, a method that promotes continuous improvement and is based on structured learning, prompt feedback and proper learning assessments. The dangers that might arise from neglecting or relaxing the above suggestions, though prescriptive in nature, could result in employees’ burnout, increased level of stress, loss of interest or costly non-value added. After all, one can say that workplace training challenge is like a can of worms; once it is opened the consequences are (in the Ontarian spirit) “yours to discover!” n Dr. Laurentiu David is a professor in the area of decision sciences at Centennial College’s School of Business. Besides his doctoral degree, he holds an MBA degree from Concordia University (Mjr. Project Management) and a MEng degree from University of Toronto (Mjr. Logistics and Supply Chain). Presently, he serves as a coordinator of the Business Operations Management, Project Management and Logistics Management programs.


eetings, phone calls, shuffling through papers, email correspondences... Chances are, your employees’ days are packed full. How then do you squeeze time out of them for training? How do you justify the time and cost for it? These are the questions that many business owners/ managers struggle to find answers to, especially in organizations that are growing. Here are a few simple things you can remember to maximize your results. 1. You need to clearly understand what you are trying to achieve and stay focused on them In the corporate world, we often see meetings taking place without a clearly defined agenda or purpose. Many times the managers have to come up with less important topics (sometimes even creating unnecessary topics) to fill up the time. Same thing could happen for trainings sessions. You need to remember that activity does not equal productivity. In many cases, less is more. Remember the Italian economist Pareto’s 80-20 principle. Make sure 80 per cent of your training sessions focus on the top 20 per cent of the contents/topics that are most important,


International Andrew Woo which will directly affect the productivity, revenue, or anything else you want to accomplish through the training. 2. Make it fun and engaging Training often is an opportunity for the employees to come out of their regular routine and recharge. If it is delivered poorly, it may have an opposite effect of draining their energy instead of boosting up the productivity. The meaningful interactions with the participants are what keep them engaged throughout the entire session. Never deliver components that are just full of data. Instead, let the attendees try out and practice what is being taught. Have them get on their laptops and try it themselves or get them into pairs to practice and role-play what they are learning. 3. Make sure you always get the feedback from the attendees If you do not ask, you will never get it. You have to prepare a feedback form to ask how the attendees felt about how useful

the training session was to them and what other training needs they may have. Put some time and thoughts into this and make sure it is easy and effortless for them to give their honest feedback without feeling like it is extra work for them. 4. Strategically choose the most appropriate time Depending on your unique business situation, you may be able to identify when your employees’ productivity levels are at the lowest. This is when you want to give them a break and get them out of their regular routine. Going back to their usual routines after this training break, the trainees’ productivity level will often increase for the rest of the day. If it does not conflict with your business schedule, consider choosing Friday afternoon or Wednesday lunch for these training sessions. Do not be afraid to cater sandwiches and snacks for the attendees during these sessions, when it is appropriate. n Andrew Woo is a Serial Entrepreneur and Managing Director of AW International. With his passion for training and entrepreneurship, he has taught entrepreneurs on various topics. Contact him at wooandrew


Op i n i o n

Gratitude is good for business


our co-worker picks up lunch on a day of heavy deadlines. Your employee offers to stay late to photocopy work for you and you know it is definitely below their pay grade to do so. For both of these experiences, you are grateful. Simple, right? Well ... the answer is both yes and no. Gratitude, on the surface, seems like a simple – even trite – emotional experience. However, there is a growing body of scientific evidence that supports the positive effects of gratitude, including gratitude in the business environment as an expression of strength – rather than weakness. Gratitude in the workplace is cleverly disguised as rewards, incentives, compensation, benefits and perks. You may think that your company is offering employees these items because it is just what you have to do in a Canadian business to stay competitive. And, while this may be true, these “rewards” are also the ways that companies show gratitude for strong performance, loyalty, effective service and improved productivity. If employees feel that these are simply lawful entitlements then they will view them as such. If companies position their reward systems as a means to show their gratitude, then employees will increase their own connec-

Coach’s Corner

Sonia Byrne tion to the rewards and the work they do to earn them. Gratitude begets gratitude. To up the gratitude scale in your workplace, consider changing your company’s approach to rewards in some of the following ways: n Recognize Service Some companies do it informally with a $10 coffee card, while some companies write up the best service story each month in the company newsletter or blog. If someone makes a difference to a customer, saves the day, goes the extra mile ... and many other clichés ... tell the world about it. Share it! n Create Tiered Rewards Ensure that every employee has goals and objectives built for them that not only makes them individually accountable but encourages them to contribute to team goals and larger, strategic business goals. Tiered compensation and incentive plans improve morale through a common goal and may even create positive peer

pressure among teams. n Be Transparent Every company is part of an industry in a certain geographical area. How do you compare to your competitors in your employment offering? How does your benefit plan compare to most benefit plans in your geographical area? Seek this information and be transparent about where your company stands. Do you pay in the 75th percentile in your industry? Is this your intention? Are you offering flexible benefits while most companies in your geographical area simply offer traditional plans? Approach your rewards as a total compensation offering. Such rewards can account for an additional 20-40 per cent of equivalent income on top of the average employee’s salary. Why not make them aware of it? Everyone loves a good news story. When it comes to expressing gratitude in the workplace, most companies already have the mechanisms to do so – they may just not be conveying their offering in a way that shows employees they are appreciated. Consider any of these three approaches and watch the results occur. n Sonia Byrne is a business and life coach. She can be reached at

Entropy: Facebook and the Second Law of Thermodynamics


t’s not often that a columnist can use abstract scientific principles to explain a troubling business problem. Yet I think my supplied analogy is pretty apt in describing a real – and potentially serious – long-term issue for the great social media Leviathan of our time: Facebook. Anyone familiar with high school-level science knows the Laws of Thermodynamics. The second law states, in layman’s terms, that in a closed system, all energy exchanges in that system that neither leave or enter that system will always be less than that of the initial state. In other words: entropy. An irreversible state of decline. This kind of rhetorical equivalence can be applied in many ways, even as a statement on the brutal contradictions of shareholder-driven capitalism in 2013. In theory, a company has to be constantly expanding to be profitable, yet these efforts to get rich often involve doing things that seal the company off from valuable new ideas. This isn’t just through hard and fast legalese, like suing competitors over patent infringement or targeting people who download media over BitTorrent. Over time, the energy that


GREG HUGHES initially drove a company to great success in the marketplace may become a form of hubris. Sooner or later, voices that drive innovation and evolution get pushed to the sidelines in favour of an unquestioned belief in a company’s ‘brand strength.’ This is what is happening with Facebook. These are gloomy days for Mark Zuckerberg’s digital monolith. There are signs he and his product team are not only losing sight of what made Facebook great in the first place – an unwavering commitment to user experience – but that the suits have taken full control. Entropy is setting in. Take Facebook’s new Graph Search. Unveiled in January, Facebook’s search tool may be the culmination of Mr. Zuckerberg’s goal to outline every user’s ‘social graph.’ Graph Search maps out Facebook users’ interests, locations and recommendations, allowing users to search through Friends’ posts to find common

connections among these linkages. It’s not hard to see why such a service would be launched: it’s an advertiser’s dream platform. With Graph Search, every advertiser has powerful new ways to reach users. Of course, as a user, you’d be right to be alarmed by this kind of deep-linking; poll after poll indicates that Facebook users are already concerned about their privacy online, let alone a new search platform that effectively opens up their entire profile pages to searches. Whatever’s happening at Facebook these days seems more focused on appeasing investors than creating a good product. Everything from the company’s declaration of owning Instagram photos for ‘future use’ to Graph Search shows that the company’s hedging its bets that its billion-plus user base will stick around in the face of these changes. Still, if the Internet’s short history has taught us anything, it’s that users won’t put up with changes that make them feel uncomfortable. A business is nothing without a customer that keeps coming back. Facebook should take heed of this very real, long-term problem. n Greg Hughes is a writer, editor and Web 3.0 junkie. Follow him on Twitter at ghughesca


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2013 ACCE Lifetime Achievement Award Winner: Mr. Michael Lee-Chin Keynote Speaker: The Honourable Victor Oh, Senator of Canada


awa r d s

Live Green Toronto Awards: small business, corporate categories

Young entrepreneur honour: $100,000 prize

Entry deadline March 3; final round of voting ends April 19

The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is accepting applications for the 2013 edition of the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award. To win a $100,000 Grand Prize, entrepreneurs aged 18 to 35 are invited to present a turning point their company has reached and the solution they propose to take their business to the next level. A second prize, consisting of $25,000 in consulting services, will be awarded to the BDC Young Entrepreneur Award runner-up. The deadline for submit-



t’s not easy being green. But the Live Green Toronto Awards can help make it a little easier. They’ve revamped the awards program to help them find Toronto’s Greenest in five categories: youth, individual, group, small business and corporate. “In the previous awards program the categories were quite narrow,” said Nancy Ruscica, the Manager of Partnerships and Innovations for Live Green Toronto. Last year’s contest had an overwhelming nine categories. “We had the traditional program for eight years and we felt that this year in 2013 the program had run its course. The idea behind this was not to have quite so many categories and also make it broader in many ways.” All entries must answer the question “What makes you Toronto’s Greenest?” through video and in 500 words. Judges will be looking at the entries’ environmental impact, innovation and creativity. This year’s contest

‘What we’re looking for, particularly in the corporate category, is staff engagement.’ - Nancy Ruscica, Manager of Partnerships and Innovations for Live Green Toronto kicked off in January and the deadline for participants to join in, and for first-round online voting, is March 3 at midnight. The second and final public voting round ends April 19. The use of social media platforms to gain voters is also encouraged this time around and is a first for the awards program. “We wanted to do the awards in a way that it’s shared with a broader audience,” said Ruscica. “The ability to share (the videos) and the aspect of public voting will add an interesting element.” One of last year’s winners in the Water Efficiency category was Water-on-Wheels (WOW), a start-up company whose

win helped expand the service of their company. “In addition to adding new stations for the 2013 season, WOW is expanding our transportation logistics and adding to the inventory of materials that accompany each WOW station that allows our service to provide fresh, chilled and filtered water at every event we serve,” said WOW owner Rebecca Cotter. “Winning the City of Toronto Live Green Award has also allowed WOW to develop a great partnership with the City of Toronto Water Department and various city events in Toronto.” This year’s cash prize is $2,500, but it won’t come easy to those entering in the business category. Participants in the small business and corporate category will be judged differently according to Ruscica. It’s not just the green products available or used by the company that are being considered. “What we’re looking for, particularly in the corporate category, is staff engagement,” said Ruscica. “I think that’s an oppor-

Putting Your Tax Refund To Good Use: Decrease What You Owe or Increase What You Own By Richard Bruton TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice

If you’re expecting a tax refund this year, I have a suggestion to make. Think about what you’re going to do with the money before it arrives, not after you get it. If you are expecting a sizeable tax refund, you have a choice. You can decrease the things you owe or increase the things you own. Try to make a decision that will protect and increase your net worth, which is what you own minus what you owe. Consider the following options: Pay Down Debt. This is key. If you have high-interest debts, reduce or get rid of them completely. Compare the rate of interest you are paying on your debt to what you are earning on your savings and investments. If you’re paying more interest than you’re earning, it makes sense to reduce that debt as quickly as possible. Mortgage Payment. Your home is, almost certainly, your single biggest asset, so it makes sense to retire your mortgage debt as quickly as possible. Depending on the terms and conditions of your mortgage, you may be able to make a lump-sum payment to reduce your mortgage and pay it off sooner. Tax-Free Growth. A Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) is a new way for residents of Canada to set money aside, tax-free, throughout their lifetimes. While contributions to a TFSA and the interest on money borrowed to invest in a TFSA are not tax deductible, the income generated in the TFSA is tax-free when it is withdrawn.

Emergency Fund. It’s a great idea to have some cash available in case of an emergency or to meet unexpected expenses (new roof, auto accident, or in the event of a job loss). The rule of thumb is to try to set aside an amount equal to 3 – 6 months’ pay. Keep this money in a liquid money market mutual fund to earn competitive rates of return until you need it. Education Savings. Contributing to a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) for your children can go a long way towards paying for a post-secondary education. The Federal Government will top-up your annual contribution by 20%, subject to certain conditions. RSP. Avoid the rush of next year’s RSP contribution deadline. Get a head start by taking your refund and putting it directly into your RSP and your money will start working for you sooner. These are just a few of the options available to you and your potential tax refund. If you feel that you need help to tackle this process, the answer’s really quite simple. Start a conversation with a professional investment advisor about your long-term financial goals. It is never too soon to put a wealth building strategy in place. You are invited to call us to set up a private appointment to discuss your specific situation.


Investment Advisor

THE RICHARD BRUTON WEALTH MANAGEMENT GROUP TD Waterhouse Canada Inc. 79 Wellington Street West, 11th Floor Toronto ON M5K 1A1 T 416-982-3517 TF 888-576-4447 C 647-400-1262 E

Richard Bruton is an Investment Advisor with TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice. This article is for informational purposes only. It is not an offer or solicitation with respect to the purchase and sale of any investment fund, security or other product and does not provide individual, financial, legal, investment or tax advice. Please consult your own legal and tax advisor. The Richard Bruton Wealth Management Group is a part of TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice. TD Waterhouse Private Investment Advice is a division of TD Waterhouse Canada Inc., a subsidiary of The Toronto-Dominion Bank. TD Waterhouse Canada Inc. – Member Canadian Investor Protection Fund. ®/The TD logo and other trade-marks are the property of The Toronto-Dominion Bank or a wholly-owned subsidiary, in Canada and/or other countries.

tunity for the business sector to really shine. What are they doing with their staff ? Or, what are their staff doing or excited about regarding the environment?” Companies that are involved in their community also plays to the judges favor, whether it’s tree planting, cleaning up at parks, or building natural playgrounds. As a part of the awards program reconstruction, there will be no award ceremony this year. Instead along with the cash prize and bragging rights, the winners will get a chance to share their idea on television. It gives participants the perfect opportunity to share their vision with Torontonians, which was Live Green’s ultimate goal. “At the end of the day the city can present awards to these green leaders, but if nobody knows about it then it’s not providing that inspiration and others are not learning from it,” said Ruscica. “This is about providing inspiration to others.” “It’s about saying ‘it’s not hard, I’m doing it and you can too’.”

Submission deadline is April 2 ting applications is April 2 at noon. Applicants are asked to create a short video describing a turning point their business has reached and the solution that will help them achieve future growth. This video – which need not be professionally produced – should clearly explain the turning point solution, have good image and sound quality and be memorable. All entries have to describe a project that has yet to be implemented. For contest rules and timelines visit

City program wins award T h e C i t y o f To r o n t o ’s ‘Welcome to Toronto...We’ve Been Expecting You (WBEY)’ hospitality excellence program has won an Economic Development Council of Ontario (EDCO) award in the category of product development/workforce development. The awards were presented during the EDCO annual conference in London in February. “Toronto is a fantastic city that has so much to offer visitors,” said Mayor Rob Ford, in a city media release. “This award recognizes the City’s commitment to providing businesses with the tools

they need to succeed in the tourism industry.” WBEY was developed in 2011 by the City of Toronto with the support of Tourism Toronto and the Province of Ontario, to instill a culture of hospitality excellence throughout the city, and to help support and unify organizations and businesses by providing training and tools that connect and inspire visitors around the common message of ‘Welcome to Toronto’. More than 1,000 participants representing 144 organizations have participated in the program to date. For more information, visit



NEWS Hall of fame inductees

Roundtable discussions to look at problem of WSIB’s $14-billion unfunded liability ERIC HEINO


At its 15th Annual Toronto Gala dinner at the Fairmont Royal York Hotel in February, the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business (CCAB) introduced this year’s inductees into its Aboriginal Business Hall of Fame. C.T. (Manny) Jules, chief commissioner and CEO of the First Nations Tax Commission, left, and Jim Thunder from Buffalo Point First Nation, right, are welcomed by J.P. Gladu, CCAB president and CEO.

Toronto Business Times is a monthly business publication and has won the Local Media Association’s Award for Best Business Publication in 2011 Established in 2000, Toronto Business Times has been providing outstanding content to help the business community with the resources and ideas needed to run and grow their business

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The Workplace Safety and Insurance Board (WSIB) has a $14 billion problem. As it stands, their books show $14 billion in unfunded liability looming over both the WSIB and business owners in Ontario who pay premiums to the insurer. Businesses haven’t failed to notice premiums steadily increasing and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) hasn’t been silenton the issue either. The CFIB recently announced a series of roundtable discussions where some of their 42,000 members in Ontario and 5,000 in Toronto will be able to meet with WSIB brass and discuss their concerns. The CFIB is a not-for-profit and non-partisan group that aims to provide a voice for independent businesses across Canada. Their Director of Provincial Affairs, Plamen Petkov, says the relationship between the two organizations has been rocky in recent years, saying the WSIB’s solution to their financial problems has been to steadily increase premiums on businesses owners. “WSIB premiums are, in fact, payroll taxes for small and medium sized businesses.

‘WSIB premiums are, in fact, payroll taxes for small and medium sized businesses. Payroll taxes are job-killing taxes.’ - Plamen Petkov, CFIB Director of Provincial Affairs Payroll taxes are job-killing taxes,” said Petkov. “The problem is that the system, over time, has become unsustainable. Right now the WSIB has $14 billion unfunded liability. That is bigger than the provincial deficit. When you put things in perspective it gives you an idea of how badly the WSIB has been run. Up until now.” Petkov is referring to a change in leadership at the WSIB in May 2012, when former Deputy Premier and provincial Minister of Labour Elizabeth Witmer took over as Chair. Witmer pledges big changes for the operation of the WSIB. She notes it has actually registered a budget surplus

under her leadership. “Our forward numbers are very, very good. I believe we have turned a corner recently,” said Witmer. What is on the other side of the corner? Witmer wants to develop a healthier WSIB through modernized service delivery, streamlined decision making, increased transparency and paying more attention to financial responsibility: all lofty but complex goals. She has high hopes that roundtable discussions hosted by the CFIB will be able to provide her with strong ideas on how to continue that evolution. “Their advice will be critical as we transform into a bold new board,” said Witmer. The transformation is necessary as the government has mandated that the WSIB reduce their unfunded liability – the shortfall between the money needed to be in WSIB’s Insurance Fund to pay the benefits owing workers and the money that is there – by 60 per cent by 2017, 80 per cent in 2022 and eliminate it entirely by 2027. Firm dates and locations for the roundtables have yet to be set by the CFIB but they have confirmed that several locations, including Toronto, will host meetings between March and May.


News Kicking off Red Tape Awareness Week

Networking and social media to figure prominently find jobs, and will apply these skills in practice settings, said Roddau. “It’s one thing for me to say to you that you need to network in order to find work,” said Roddau, “We’ll show them how.” “Historically we have received feedback that IEPs have found work,” said Roddau. “Most of the ones who have found work are in the information and technology field.” Those looking to register or find out more information should visit www.

Watch out for creating internal conflict >>>from page 1 College, said it’s important to have a baseline of what you are trying to improve through employee training before it’s implemented so you can understand how effective it is, if it all. “What you measure depends on your organization. What are your problems and what are your issues?” And what you measure should not be complicated and it should be quantitative, said Lewin. “Put a figure to it.” If you are trying to reduce the number of mistakes on invoices because they lead to late payment or non-payment, keep track of the instances before and after the training. It’s simple to measure, and if it’s successful, it has a positive effect on your company’s cash flow. One pitfall to keep in mind, said Lewin, is that one department’s criteria for success may negatively affect another department’s success. For example, your customer service department may be looking to have more delivery options while the transportation department wants to cut costs by only sending out a truck once a day. “Make sure you don’t create conflict.” Big businesses have

‘What you measure depends on your organization. What are your problems and what are your issues?’ – Eli Lewin HR departments and systems in place to measure the effectiveness of the training programs, noted Chris Taylor, founder of Actionable Books, which provides leadership training and coaching with a focus on soft skills. However, small businesses often struggle at gauging whether an employee training initiative was effective. He agrees tangible metrics that can be tracked are important, but the non-tangible benefits of training should not be ignored. “What do you feel it will do for employee morale? What do you feel it will do for customer satisfaction?” he said. This information can be gathered in an anecdotal fashion during and after the training, Taylor said, and for a small business owner, may be one of the best ways to understand how training is working and how it affects staff engagement and morale.

Staff photo/Dan Pearce

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MP Corneliu Chisu wishes the business community a very Happy March break.




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>>>from page 1 The IEP Conference will hold panel discussions on the various sectors, as well as discuss cultural nuances that IEPs may not know coming into Canada, said Roddau. “Things like initiative, what does it look like,” said Roddau. “Because if you’re coming from a hierarchical country, you wait for your boss to tell you what to do. Here we expect you jump in and know exactly what to do.” The conference will address how to network, how to use social media to

Tony Clement, the federal minister who heads the treasury board, helped kick off the Canadian Federation of Independent Business’ Red Tape Awareness Week with a January announcement that promised to reduce red tape and save businesses across the country $10-million a year. About $8.7 million, he said, would be saved by the initiative he announced at Snowdon Pharmacy on Bloor Street – essentially allowing pharmacy technicians to handle administrative prescription transfers instead of pharmacists.

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Former Toronto start-up hopes to expand self-serve option In 1986, two young brothers opened a frozen yogurt retail concept in Toronto: Yogen Früz. Today, it’s a world leader in the frozen yogurt category, with more than 1,300 locations operating in more than 40 countries around the world. According to the company, it is expanding what it hopes will be a revolutionary option: self-serve frozen yogurt.

The Toronto-based company founded by brothers Aaron and Michael Serruya has rapidly expanded its unique self-serve option – which allows customers to ‘customize’ their purchase on a pay-by-weight basis – into 20 new countries over the past year. In Canada, Yogen Früz has eight ‘Ü-Serve’ locations and intends to convert 17 more by the end of this year.

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N e w s , N otes & Na me s Toronto Region Board of Trade’s 125th annual dinner


Nick Goupinets, right, from UpTheStaff Ltd. explains his presentation to thenprovincial minister for economic development and innovation Brad Duguid and Ontario Centres of Excellence president and CEO Tom Corr during the Experiential Learning Program showcase at the University of Toronto’s Hart House recently.

Experiential Learning Program helping to fill the gaps for budding entrepreneurs REBECCA field

Ontario Centres of Excellence took time to celebrate the successes of its Experiential Learning Program (ELP) earlier this year. Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Innovation Brad Duguid spoke at the Jan. 22 event, which was held at Hart House at the University of Toronto. Also invited were investors, program mentors, and some of the companies involved. The two-year, governmentfunded pilot program began in 2011, and runs until June. During that time, 1,700 students have gone through the program, 479 start-ups have been made or helped with the ELP, and $10 million has been raised in follow-up investments by these start-ups. “On behalf of all Ontarians, I want to thank you for your creativity, your innovation, for your drive, for your courage, and for being young entrepreneurs

because you are so important to our economic future,” said Duguid in a speech. Duguid said that Ontario is now in the top 10 in the world when it comes to business start-ups, calling it a “hotbed of research and innovation. We have one of the most educated, skilled, and talented labour forces anywhere.” The programs in Toronto are run through the University of Toronto, Humber College and Ryerson University. Peyman Moeini, founder of Peytec – a company that has developed an anti-shoplifting product – received a grant of $25,000 from the ELP. They presented to a panel of judges to win the award. They found out about the funding opportunity through Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone, a multidisciplinary workspace for young entrepreneurs. “I think the ELP program is actually very well designed,” said Moeini. “They fill the gap between company development and com-

Habitat Right at Home

mercialization.” Cynthia Goh from the University of Toronto’s Institute for Optical Sciences Entrepreneurship Education Program said that the ELP has contributed to their already established program that focuses on research in physical sciences. “I’m sick of seeing our brilliant students moving to California because that’s where the interesting jobs are,” said Goh at the event. “There’s nothing worse than seeing a fourth year student, and they’re really worried about the uncertainty.” “They’re wanting to leave with a degree and a job and a company so if you can do that these days when you’re getting out of school that’s a pretty good deal,” said Tom Corr, OCE President and CEO who notes that the program allows for entrepreneurs to be mentored and brought forward. “We’re very enthusiastic about the program, as you can see the students are as well. I wish I was 19 again so I could do it myself.”

Photos/Peter C. McCusker

Top, newly-minted Ontario Liberal leader and Premier Kathleen Wynn, left, Mississauga Mayor Hazel McCallion and Toronto Region Board of Trade president and CEO Carol Wilding at the board’s 125th anniversary dinner at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in late January. Above, board chair Bill MacKinnon, left, Scotia Bank CEO and keynote speaker Rick Waugh, Wilding and board vice president-policy Richard Joy. In addition to Waugh’s keynote speech, the gala evening also honoured Leo DelZotto, president of Tridel, with the board’s inaugural Toronto Region Builder Award for his lifelong contributions to the region. More than 1,400 of Canada’s business and political leaders were in attendance. There were also musical performances throughout the evening by Jarvis Church (inset). For more photos from the event, visit

G ood Deed s It’s an Ice Wave!

Habitat for Humanity Toronto CEO Neil Heatherington, left, accepts a $55,0000 cheque from Right at Home Realty president and brokerof-record Don Kottick and Right at Home Realty’s co-founder and vice president/broker Howard Drukarsh on Jan.24. Habitat for Humanity is the company’s principal charity of choice, with more than $100,000 donated since 2008. Their current donation helped sponsor a safe and decent Habitat home in 2012. The company has offices in Toronto and throughout the Greater Toronto Area.

Photo/Peter C. McCusker

Tek Systems returns the ball against Dalton Pharma during the 17th annual Ice Wave Volleyball Tournament for Toronto SickKids at the Beach Blast volleyball facility earlier this year. Funds raised went towards SickKids efforts to fight childhood cancer.


i n c on versa tion

Idris Mootee: the state of innovation

Opportunity is there for innovative start-ups to flourish

and countries, particularly in Asia Pacific regions. I think that generally there is not enough of the entrepreneur mindset. Secondly, I think that if there isn’t that much opportunity then people don’t know how to create their own opportunity. Q: When you’re speaking at an event, how do you try and connect with your audience?



fter working as Chief Strategist for five major global companies, Idris Mootee decided to create his own vision for a global strategic innovation firm in 2007. He is now CEO and President of idea couture, a multinational company that advises dozens of Fortune 500 companies on how to solve complex problems with a synthesis of creative, operational and economic thought. He is a successful author, publisher and has been lecturing for many years. On April 5 he will be the keynote speaker at the 10th Internationally Educated Professionals (IEP) conference, hosted in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Toronto Business Times recently spoke with Mootee to discuss innovation, integrated markets and entrepreneurialism in Toronto. Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. A: My experience has always been in the world of strategy, whatever that means to whatever people. My undergrad is in economics, my MBA is in technology management and I have a masters of business management from London Business School and I also went to Harvard. That’s kind of what my background is so basically now I’m a consultant. I help companies solve very, very complex problems. Q: What is idea couture? What does it do? A: It’s a company that we started on the idea that we have a lot of problems and I think that currently almost everything is not working. Companies are looking for new solutions. You can’t approach problems in old ways to find new solutions so you need to look at completely different ways to look at problems. The problems that we work on are way beyond the capabilities of any specific discipline. When people read about innovation, every company talks about innovation and governments want innovation but there is not a discipline called innovation. What the company does is bring in two distinct cultures into a single company and that helps them solve problems. Sometimes a traditional management consulting firm will have

Idris Mootee is the keynote speaker for the Internationally Educated Professionals conference being held in Toronto on April 5. all the MBAs and they are useful but in a very limited fashion. In the other world, that of the creative people, they come up with ideas but have no idea how to implement them and no idea why people don’t like their ideas and no idea why their ideas don’t work. So the way we bring in creativity and discipline give us this toolkit and within a specific framework we can solve almost any problem presented to us by a business. Most of our clients are Fortune 500 companies in different disciplines. We do electronics with Samsung, LG, Blackberry, and all the big names. In consumer products we work with Kraft, Pepsi, D’Angelo and many others. In financials we work with TD, Scotia Bank, Aviva Insurance and also Burburry, MIT and various pharmaceuticals. These are very large, global, Fortune 500 companies that we work with.

internationally educated people this is probably the best time to have a career. It has never been easy because most people struggle with their credentials not being recognized or they have a different way of working or for many other reasons. It has never been easy, particularly if your education is from somewhere else than the US or the UK and also in the case of Canada. I think today it is quite different and that people realize that things are very globalized and there is a shift in the market to emerging markets. Those are not even really emerging markets anymore; they are all now integrated markets. Another one is that there has never been a demand so high in terms of development and opportunity for young, internationally educated professionals to come together and create new business. It’s always been very difficult to create new companies because large companies have dominated the market but now we are at a particular point in time and point of reflection where most big business models have stopped working and that provides an opportunity for people with innovations to create a start-up and create companies that grow in a short period of time. That is

‘...every company talks about innovation and governments want innovation, but there is not a discipline called innovation.’

Q: Can you tell us a bit about what you’re going to talk about at the Internationally Educated Professionals Conference? A: I’m going to talk about the new workplace and new demand for international minds. There was probably never as high a need for global thinking and global experience. For

basically the theme of the presentation. Q: For a long time Toronto has been a hub for immigration and for internationally educated professionals. Can you tell me more about how global markets have become fully integrated and how that affects Toronto in particular in terms of innovation? A: Toronto has always been more conservative and the industries here are mostly limited to financial services and some manufacturing. There has never been enough diversity in industries. With the diversity of people we have here we will never be able to truly benefit from the knowledge that people bring to our economic community. I see this as a big opportunity to start thinking about looking at jobs from a less conventional way and looking at creative ways of creating opportunities. A lot of immigrants are very conservative and many look for a job with a big company working nine to five or ten to four or whatever that is. I think they should take a little more risk and start thinking about how this is really a very good time because you are now in a country with a pretty good safety net and healthcare. Other places without healthcare you can be in very serious trouble but here there are various safety nets in place and people can take a little more risk. People can think about the cultural connection that we have to many different markets

A: I think that at any time you need to open up and show them the larger world out there. Most people are really in the world of a big corporation but I am showing them and inspiring them and opening up their understanding to get a taste of where the world out there is going. Most people live in a very small world. The first thing is to open them up to see the bigger world and explain to them the logic of what it means to you in terms of opportunity. Once you show them there is opportunity to participate then they will start to think about how they can be part of it and what they can learn to be able to think differently to turbocharge a career or development path. You need to show them from the first moment they arrive to see the possibilities. Sometimes possibility is very different from probability and most people with their logical mind think there might be only a one per cent chance of doing something but possibility is quite different. When everyone starts doing something it becomes a very different story so they need a lot of inspiration. They need someone to show them what is going on out there so they feel comfortable taking the first steps. Q: Describe your impression of the environment for small business to develop innovations in Toronto.

the first step is to be rid of that mindset. Number two, there are things that you need to do in all innovation like the coupling of supply chain, ideas of global knowledge network and flexible manufacturing. All of those things are creating opportunity, especially if you are in manufacturing. There is a renaissance in manufacturing in Canada and the US. In the last 30 years it had been migrating out to places like China or other places. This is all very relevant to look at historical evidence of innovation in small business. In the next years you will probably see the most growth come from small and medium businesses as opposed to the big ones. Q: What is strategic innovation. Why is it important for a business owner? A: The reality is that you can’t be thinking about competing with big companies. You don’t have the access and you don’t have the capital and all of that. When you are running a small or medium business in Canada or the US you have to focus on innovation. If you don’t start thinking of that there is almost no reason for you to exist other than you can be earning low profit and barely making a salary for yourself but that is not good business, that is just providing employment for yourself. For a small business you need to think of innovation and obviously you won’t be going into the world and hiring a company such as mine but you don’t have to because the entrepreneur is already someone who sells innovation. People need to think about what they can innovate for themselves within the knowledge they have themselves and the luxury they have of not operating in the constraints of a large company. They are the ones on the front lines and there are lots of advantages they have if they learn how to use it. Learn how to create and implement them. Learn to use speed. Speed is an advantage over a big company, you can move a lot faster than a big company. There are lots of advantages but most small to medium businesses do not have the education or the knowledge or advice of consultants and this is something they need to think about. How to apply the knowledge and innovation they have to their lives. If there is no innovation there is no reason for small business to exist.

‘People need to think about what they can innovate for themselves within the knowledge they have themselves and the luxury they have of not operating in the constraints of a large company.’

A: Toronto is very concentrated with people and is one of the biggest cities in North America. We have very strong cultural ties to other places in the world like India, Japan, Korea, China and all of those great countries. You think about innovation for small business and nobody knows where to start. They all think it is very hard and in my presentation I will show them why it is actually easier for small businesses to take on innovation than larger companies. I show them evidence that the larger you are the more difficult it is to innovate. For small business, the mindset is that they can’t innovate but



on the following dates: March 11, June 10, Sept. 13 and Dec. 2. For more info, contact Michael Wolfson at or by calling 416-392-3830.

■ WOMEN OF INFLUENCE luncheon speaking series at Hilton Toronto, 145 Richmond St. W., 11:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. Visit www.

MONDAY, MARCH 4 ■ BUSINESS NETWORKING INTERNATIONAL (BNI), referral skills workshop, 7:30 a.m., 515 Consumers Rd., Suite 312. Visit

TUESDAY, MARCH 5 ■ TORONTO REGION BOARD OF TRADE, part of the CMA Financial Series, noon to 2 p.m., Canada’s Capital Markets: A Look Ahead at the Opportunities for Growth. Visit

WED., MARCH 6 ■ PROFESSIONAL INDEPENDENT COMMUNICATORS presents Websites 2013: What’s Hot, What’s Not, 6 to 9 p.m., Room 302, Metro Hall, 55 John St. More info at

THURSDAY, MARCH 7 ■ TORONTO REGION BOARD OF TRADE event, 7:30 to 9 a.m., part of the Accenture Energy & Natural Resource Series with Duncan Hawthorne, President & CEO, Bruce Power. ■ TORONTO REGION BOARD OF TRADE event, 11:30 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. With Pierre Bergevin of Cushman & Wakefield. ■ YOUNG WOMEN OF INFLUENCE event, 5:15 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at Toronto Board of Trade, 77 Adelaide Street West. Two sessions. Visit www.youngwome-

WED., MARCH 13 Submissions to the Business Agenda can be emailed to The deadline for the April edition of Toronto Business Times is Friday, March 15.

■ ABORIGINAL BUSINESS DAY Workshop and 11th Annual TABA Awards 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Gladstone Hotel. Visit www.

■ NATIONAL HOME SHOW & CANADA BLOOMS at Direct Energy Centre/Exhibition Place. Visit www.nationalhomeshow. com

■ INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BUSINESS COMMUNICATORS/TORONTO presents the 2012 Communicator of the Year, 8 to 10 a.m., Toronto Eaton Centre Marriott, York A and B, 525 Bay St. Visit http://toronto. ■ EMPIRE CLUB OF CANADA presents David Naylor, President, University of Toronto, at Royal York Hotel, Ballroom, at noon. Visit ■ INTERESTED IN DOING BUSINESS WITH GOVERNMENT? Attend this free half-day Enterprise Toronto event, 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at North York Civic Centre. Visit

MONDAY, MARCH 11 ■ HOW TO START A FOOD BUSINESS: this workshop is hosted by The City of Toronto Economic Development and Culture Division and delivered in partnership with Enterprise Toronto at the North York Civic Centre, Council Chambers, 5100 Yonge Street, 9:30 a.m. to noon

MARCH 15-24

WED., MARCH 27 ■ THE CANADIAN ASSOCIATION OF WOMEN EXECUTIVES AND ENTREPRENEURS (CAWEE) presents International Women’s Day 2013 - Celebrating Women in Business Leaders. It runs 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at The Holt’s Cafe at Holt Renfrew, 50 Bloor St. W. CAWEE welcomes a panel of Canada’s Most Successful Business Women. Visit www.

MaRS ■ A charitable downtownbased entrepreneurial support group known simply as MaRS. Check out all of their seminars, as well as other services, at http://www. • March 5, Privacy and Your Business: Getting it right; • March 6, Entrepreneurship 101 (Board of Directors and Other Advisors);

• March 6/7: DX3 Canada 2013, Tech Leadership Conference; • March 7: Communitech Tech Leadership Conference; • March 11-15, MaRS Future Leaders March Break Session; • March 20, Entrepreneurship 101 (Financial Planning/ Budgeting); • March 22, Entrepreneur’s Toolkit Workshops (Launching Customer Development); • March 23, Engineers Without Borders (EWB) - Global Engineering Innovation Challenge Symposium; • March 27, Entrepreneurship 101 (Recruiting); • Apr 3, Entrepreneurship 101 (Building and Managing a Team).

ENTERPRISE T.O. ■ ENTERPRISE TORONTO is an innovative public and private sector alliance created to provide one-stop sourcing of services and programs tailored to meet the needs of Toronto’s entrepreneurs and small businesses. Among its many offerings are these seminars for March. Be sure to visit their website for a complete outline of resources at http:// • March 5, Starting a Business, The Essentials; • March 5, Planning for Success - A Business Plan That Works; • March 7, Interested in Doing Business with the Government? • March 7, Accounting – Basics and Best Practices;

• March 12, Market Research: Will Your Idea Work? • March 19, Marketing & Operations: How to Get and Keep Customers; • March 19, HR Essentials for Small Business; • March 21, Top 10 Steps to Ramp Up Your Business; • March 26, Tax and Cash Flow: Ensure your Business is Profitable; • April 3, Small Business Bookkeeping; • April 4, Asset Protection 101.

PUBLIC LIBRARY TORONTO PUBLIC LIBRARY has numerous programs, classes and exhibits related to business, legal and personal finance. Below are some of the business courses in March. Visit their website for complete schedule (and to register) at http://www. business-legal-finance.jsp • March 11 and 25 (ongoing), 6 to 7 p.m., at Toronto Reference Library. Small Business Success: How Small Businesses Use Twitter and Facebook; • March 5, 6 to 8 p.m. at Maria A. Shchuka. How Businesses Use Twitter; • March 5 at Nor thern District; March 6 at Albion; and March 7 at Agincourt, all 6:30 to 8 p.m. Business Inc. Orientation Session. Attend this orientation session to find out more about the eight-week business program offered at Toronto Public Library in partnership with the City of Toronto and the Toronto Business Development Centre; • March 6, 13 and 20 (ongo-

ing) at Bridlewood. Business Communication Circle. Improve your business communication skills and obtain knowledge of the Canadian Workplace Culture by participating in this weekly group meeting. Co-sponsored with Microskills; • March 4, April 8 (ongoing), 10 a.m. to noon, at Toronto Reference Library. Small Business Success: Launching Your Business Online; • March 12, 6 to 8 p.m. at Maria A. Shchuka: Market Research Online; • March 20, at Don Mills, 6:30 to 8 p.m., Fraud: Recognize it, Report it, Stop it!

Promote your event online You can get the word out about your business event through our online calendar. Sign up online at to submit your events (click the Sign Up link in the top right corner of the page). Call 416-774-2256 if you have any questions.



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