Future-Proofing Businesses through Innovation & Sustainability

A Small Business Forum with this year’s theme, “Future-Proofing Businesses through Innovation & Sustainability,” was hosted earlier this week by the City of Toronto at the Metro Toronto Convention Center to support entrepreneurs and professionals in building and growing local small businesses.

“To succeed in today’s local and global markets, Ontario businesses must be able to use innovative technologies that enhance their operations…helping to ensure that our province’s business community can thrive today and in the future,” Nina Tangri reported in a news release.

The forum was kicked off with Mayor Olivia Chow, Deputy Mayor Jennifer McKelvie (Scarborough-Rouge Park), Councillor Shelley Carroll (Don Valley North) and Councillor Paula Fletcher (Toronto Danforth) joined by the Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business for Canada and the Honourable Nina Tangri, Member of Provincial Parliament and Associate Minister of Small Business for Ontario.

“Small businesses aren’t ‘small’ – they represent 98 percent of all businesses in Canada…hosting this amazing forum and bringing together small businesses and business partners from across the city,” Rechie Valdez reported in a news release.

Participants in this free, full-day, in-person event will not only learn about government resources and small business supports but also have networking opportunities with experts and product providers to get practical tools to help plan, start and grow a small business in Toronto, Canada’s largest and most diverse city.

“Small retail businesses are essential to the vitality and success of Toronto’s main streets and neighborhoods. I encourage small business owners to take advantage of all these opportunities…to continue supporting local businesses,” Olivia said in a news release.

Featured in the forum included

  • Leading entrepreneurial keynote speakers
  • Panel discussions on trends affecting small businesses, including sustainability, artificial intelligence (AI), succession planning, and digital transformation
  • A trade show area with more than 80 exhibitors that support small businesses and start-ups
    Speed mentoring sessions with industry experts in strategy, marketing, energy, finance, insurance, diversity and inclusion, and entrepreneur mental health
  • The Nobellum Innovation Pitch, a competition whereby Toronto’s Black-led start-ups compete to win $10,000 in total prize funding
  • An Indigenous Market supported by the Ontario Federation of Indigenous Friendship Centres

Hosted by the Toronto Small Business Enterprise Centre. and supported by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, the Small Business Forum is sponsored by Desjardins.
More information about the Small Business Forum is available on the City’s website.

Free, year-round learning opportunities for entrepreneurs, small business operators and staff are offered by the City and its partners while the City’s business webinars are designed to improve participants’ business knowledge and skills.

“I encourage small businesses and operators to visit our city website to explore…and support small businesses and restaurants in our communities,” McKelvie said.