By Priya Pandey
These days, you wonder if it’s ever been more difficult to run a business.
Across Canada, businesses of all sizes are navigating a shifting terrain. It’s a terrain marked by acute challenges. If you’re reading this, you know those challenges well—talent shortages, rising costs of doing business and inflationary pressures. At the same time, broader economic challenges are leaving many SME operators wondering what the future holds. That uneasiness really should be concerning to all Canadians, given that SMEs represent the overwhelming majority of Canadian enterprises and provide the largest source of employment in Canada.
SMEs are the businesses that make up Mainstreet in communities across the country – including my own community of North Bay.
But these businesses need support and resources. Which is why we’ve been working at the Canadian Chamber of Commerce to come up with a solution. To create something that represents that long-term commitment to SME success. To design a service that will ensure Canadian SMEs can thrive.
And we’ve called it the SME Institute.
We created the Institute to help SMEs prepare for a rapidly evolving future while facing the challenges of today. The Institute offers training, support and advice to SMEs, while leveraging the Canadian Chamber’s Business Data Lab’s insight on the economy.
It’s a one-stop-shop that gives SMEs the resources they should have had years ago.
And it’s part of our work at the Canadian Chamber, with the support and insight of local chambers of commerce across the country, to transform ourselves and expand what we do beyond advocacy for business. The SME Institute is also an example of how we’ve taken inspiration from the SME owners and operators we learn from every day, as we work to be increasingly entrepreneurial ourselves. Because we get it—business is personal, and business is about people—it’s about you.
With training programs tailored to the size, maturity, and sector of your business, a network of trusted service providers to consult, offer advice, expertise and resources, as well as networking and mentoring, the Institute is a one-of-its kind opportunity to tap into a library of resources. Whether you need help recruiting, retaining and training talent, finding and attracting investors, using technology to grow your business, or boosting your business performance through diversity and sustainability, the Institute is designed for you.
It’s our way of thanking you for everything you do in your communities, using the power of our national network of chambers of commerce and boards of trade to give you useful tools and services. No other organization can connect businesses of every size, stage and sector the way we can. And we’re excited to be bringing together a community of partners, mentors and peers who are committed to your collective success, all under the umbrella of the SME Institute.
It’s a big umbrella, but one under which we can weather any storm—together.
Priya Pandey is Executive Director of the SME Institute by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.