The provincial government announced it is supporting businesses with less than 100 employees with $60 million in funding through its “PPE Grant”. Later this fall, grant applications will be available to small businesses with 2 to 9 employees to help with costs of PPE. One-stop-shop of resources for small businesses.

One of those resources and grant opportunities is the Main Street Digital program – now extended Ontario-wide. This program tech savvy advisors to consult with and help small business owners get, improve, and expand their digital presence. Squad services are FREE. The program also includes grants of up to $2,500 that can be used towards a website or other digital tactic. Importantly, the definition of “main street” has been expanded to include any small business in a commercially zoned area (in other words – not just a single designated downtown street!).

Lambton County has just signed their contract with the province and will be launching in the coming days.

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The Sarnia Lambton Chamber of Commerce and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce are looking for your insight on what matters to business during this pandemic. The interactive results from the first round are LIVE! Click here to see the preliminary results.

This survey will take a deeper dive on business confidence as well as other pressing issues. Tell us how confident you are in Ontario’s economy and recovery, and what your organization’s outlook is for 2021.

Share your views by taking a short three-minute survey here. This survey is being conducted by Golfdale Consulting, an independent consulting firm. All responses will be kept strictly anonymous and confidential.

DEADLINE: Thursday, October 22, 2020 at midnight

The Ontario Chamber of Commerce is committed to ensuring the government understands the issues impacting business in this province. That’s why we need your help to express the voice of business loud and clear at Queen’s Park.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that even in volatile times, it’s possible to maintain business continuity, boost your competitive position and, for some, even grow. And while most businesses have adapted on early on this year, you can now turn to the good habits you adopted and lessons learned during the first wave to get your business through the second wave. Keep these five areas of your business in sharp focus as you navigate this ever-changing business environment.

Prioritize the health and safety of employees and customers.

Many companies introduced ad-hoc safety measures in response to the first wave of the pandemic. These new security measures are even more important for a second wave. To formalize these plans, start with a quick assessment to see what’s working now. Map the daily routines of employees and their interactions with clients to understand how to employ best practices to keep everyone safe. Think about your physical space, how clients and employees interact with one another and how to limit contact.

Assess sales and operations plans to secure cash flow.

The second wave will likely have important effects on customer demand and supplier availability. Monitor customers needs to quickly scale operations up or down, depending on market requirements. Your sales and operations teams need to work together. Hold daily meetings to assess performance, forecast demand and avoid overproduction. These meetings can be short check-ins that help you stay on-track and adjust quickly.

Maintain your focus on working capital.

If you haven’t already done so. This is a good time to get a handle on your working capital, money you need to maintain day-to-day operations. In normal times, there is a continuous flow of cash coming in from receivables, as payments flow out to suppliers for materials and inventory. This allows you to replenish inventory on a continuous basis to support sales. In disruptive times, however, that flow could suddenly be stopped or slowed. Although you may have taken on new debt to replenish stocks or rebuild working capital, now is not the time to overextend. Instead, think about how to create a comfortable “cash cushion” that can help you weather a second shutdown.

Embrace digital technology and e-commerce.

Businesses that invest in digital technology are more productive and typically see accelerated revenue and profit growth, according to BDC research. The pandemic has furthered this trend as customers flocked to online stores and service providers during the shutdown. Increasingly, people expect to conduct business online. Embracing digital technology will not only help you weather the second wave, it will also help you remain competitive in the long term. Going digital doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with a solid foundation. From there, you can build complexities into your digital strategy over time.

Stay agile and adapt your strategic plan.

It’s clear volatility is here to stay until a safe and efficient vaccine is rolled out. To help navigate the uncertainty, review your strategic plan with a special focus on various scenarios and risk assessments.

Understand changing customer needs: Consider offering a new product or service, or adapting what you already offer, in response to changes in customer demand, like the clothing and textile manufacturers that shifted to local mask production as global supply dwindled. Connect with customers regularly so you can stay on top of new requirements.

Build resiliency into your cost structure: The new ebb and flow may mean ups and downs in production. Consider how fixed costs can be shifted to variable costs to allow more flexibility. Examples include outsourcing or using contract employees rather than taking on new employees, renting equipment instead of buying, and choosing established distributors over new investments in your own sales channels.

Nurture your network: Partnering with other companies to share technology, create robust sales, marketing and post-purchase nurturing can help keep costs manageable and allow you to pivot quickly as the economy shifts.

Be agile: The new change management environment demands incremental changes. Establish daily, weekly, and monthly targets for business development or operational changes, and regularly assess progress, so you can change course without putting the business at risk.

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The sixth annual South Western International Film Festival is going digital — but they need your help. Click here to participate – the deadline is today, Oct 8, 2020.

 For the past five years, the South Western International Film Festival has presented diverse cultural films that spark meaningful, nuanced conversations — conversations more important now than ever.

As theatres remain closed, the future of SWIFF is in jeopardy. The SWIFF team is small but mighty, and they want to keep bringing new voices, diverse stories, and the future of filmmaking to Sarnia-Lambton — but they need your help. 

When you make a donation of $50+, they’ll gift you a party pack to make sure your at-home festival experience is top-notch. The packs will be delivered straight to your home before the festival so you can enjoy some snacks and a crisp craft beer while tuning in to one of the SWIFF selections.

A huge thank you to SWIFF’s community partners: Burger Rebellion, Mexico, Sitara Indian Cuisine, Personal Touch, Paddy Flaherty’s, Grind Cafe, Greens Organic Cafe, Kernels at Lambton Mall, Refined Fool, Stonepicker Brewing Company, and Imperial City Brew House. And as always, thanks to you for your unwavering loyalty and support. Let’s make this SWIFF one for the books!

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The Ontario government is announcing the allocation of $35 million to provide additional immediate school board supports in the communities of Peel, Ottawa, Toronto and York Region to enhance public health measures and protection strategies as they confront higher rates of transmission in their communities.

This funding is part of the government’s robust and comprehensive $1.3 billion plan to safely reopen classrooms across the province, including additional resources to help school boards hire more staff, keep class sizes low, and enhance cleaning in schools.

To further enhance the safety of students and staff, this funding will be used for:

  • Providing increased distancing between students through the hiring of additional teachers, early childhood educators, and educational assistants; and
  • Providing increased remote learning support, including the hiring of additional teachers, early childhood educators and educational assistants, as well as devices for students who have chosen to learn remotely.

To read the full article, click here.

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Applications are now open for new government funding. Here’s what you need to know about the Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB) and the Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRSB).

Canada Recovery Sickness Benefit (CRSB)

To be eligible for the CRSB, you must meet all the following conditions for the 1 week period you are applying for:

  • You are unable to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week because you’re self-isolating for one of the following reasons: you are sick with COVID-19, you are self-isolating due to COVID-19, you have an underlying health condition that puts you at greater risk of getting COVID-19
  • You did not apply for or receive any of the following for the same period: Canada Recovery Benefit (CRB), Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRCB), short-term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, Employment Insurance (EI) or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP)
  • You reside in Canada 
  • You were present in Canada 
  • You are at least 15 years old 
  • You have a valid Social Insurance Number 
  • You earned at least $5,000 before deductions in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before the date you apply
  • You are not receiving paid leave from your employer

For all other eligibility details and how to apply, click here.

Canada Recovery Caregiving Benefit (CRSB)

To be eligible for the CRCB, you must meet all the following conditions for the 1-week period you are applying for:

  • You are unable to work at least 50% of your scheduled work week because you are caring for a family member 
  • You are caring for your child under 12 years old or a family member who needs supervised care because they are at home for one of the following reasons: their regular care services are unavailable to them, or the person under your care is sick, at risk of being sick or is self-isolating.
  • You did not apply for or receive any of the following for the same period: CRB, CRSB, short term disability benefits, workers’ compensation benefits, employment insurance or Quebec Parental Insurance Plan (QPIP) benefits. 
  • You are not receiving paid leave from your employer
  • You are the only person in your household applying for the benefit for the week
  • You earned at least $5,000 before deductions in 2019, 2020, or in the 12 months before the date you apply
  • You reside in Canada 
  • You are at least 15 years old 
  • You have a valid SIN 

For all other eligibility details and how to apply, click here.

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Accelerate the diversification of your supply chain and get your tickets to the business Diversity Economic Expo

The business case for supplier diversity in Canada is clear and has many benefits including more robust supply chains and increased economic development. At the Business Diversity Economic Expo, meet supply chain ready businesses which are Black-owned, Indigenous-owned, People of Colour-owned, Women-owned, LGBTQ2+-owned, and businesses owned by People with Disabilities.  

If you are a procurement officer or supply chain leader from a large private sector, public sector, or academic institution, accelerate the diversification of your supply chain and get your tickets to the Business Diversity Economic Expo. 

As a procurement officer, you will get access to the Business Diversity Economic Expo (virtual trade show event for diversifying supply chains & celebrating inclusivity) as well as the entire Ontario Economic Series!

Click here to purchase a ticket.

Click here to keep up to date on upcoming events.

Virtual Trade Mission

The Government of Ontario remains committed to creating opportunities for our business community to help them remain strong during these unprecedented times. As a part of this commitment, the Government of Ontario is exploring the possibility of organizing a virtual export business mission to MEDICA 2020. 

MEDICA 2020, will take place entirely online within the framework of ‘virtual MEDICA’. Decision-makers from all sectors of the healthcare industry can then expect a comprehensive range of products and services consisting of three focal areas: The Conference Area (conference and forum program), the Exhibition Space (for exhibitors and product innovations) and the Networking Plaza (networking/matchmaking). 

Virtual Exhibition

Cost: $1,650

  • 1:1 export advice and consultation
  • Exhibit space at the virtual trade show
  • Listing in the virtual.MEDICA and virtual.COMPAMED exhibitor product database (3 free product categories)
  • Matchmaking (free registration required)
  • Video meetings with a maximum of 4 people (during opening hours only)
  • Exhibitor video arena: Publish up to 20 company/product videos
  • Company and product news published in the industry portal MEDICA.de and in the Newsletter

In addition to the virtual exhibition companies may be provided with the following opportunities:

  • Online event with Ontario and Baden-Württemberg to provide market briefings and matchmaking/B2B opportunities.
  • Additional promotion and marketing support (videos, programming featuring Ontario companies, etc.) at the Canada booth.  

This is a great opportunity for Ontario companies to make international business connections.

To express your interest in this program and keep in touch for further details, please email Patrick.Barry@ontario.ca. Once details are confirmed, you will be sent a link to start the formal application process.

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Looking for a green, remote, and strategic advertising strategy? Look no further than Seedz! 

Seedz provides an integrated dashboard for businesses to easily create campaigns and add locations on the map. The app allows you to easily browse offers and deals on the map and follow its location to collect a Seed. These “Seedz” allow you to earn points that give exclusive discounts on events, promotions, and more. 

Seedz is offering Chamber members 20% off the regular price to allow you to benefit from their gamified environment.

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