The global economy is changing, presenting new challenges and opportunities for small businesses. With the increasing popularity of online commerce and business services, small and medium-sized businesses are sometimes left behind.
These businesses play a vital role in our economy and communities.
While we’re taking steps to reduce regulatory burdens (opens in a new window) and have created funds and grants to support small business, what initiatives or projects could help main street and small businesses adopt new technologies and online services in order to compete in this new environment?
Who we're trying to help
We want to help small businesses, with fewer than 100 employees, as well as the self-employed:
- adopt innovative technologies that help their businesses
- compete in the digital economy
- increase production of goods and services
- grow their business
- increase profits
What we're doing/have done
We advise small businesses, through the Ontario Network of Entrepreneurs (opens in a new window) (which includes Small Business Enterprise Centres). These centres across the province provide local advice to help you start, finance a business and commercialize your ideas. They also, help young people get entrepreneurial skills.
Reducing regulatory burdens
In 2016, we launched the Red Tape Challenge (opens in a new window), a two-year, online consultation that asks the public to help us identify and fix regulations that are unclear, outdated, redundant or unnecessarily costly for business.
So far, we’ve identified 171 actions we can take to make it easier for businesses to operate in Ontario and are taking action on:
- 63 opportunities in the automotive parts manufacturing sector
- 57 opportunities in the food processing sector
- 51 opportunities in the financial services sector
Money for small businesses
We’re helping small businesses access grants and loans through the:
- Eastern Ontario Development Fund (opens in a new window)
- Southwestern Ontario Development Fund (opens in a new window)
We’ve also created the:
- Business Growth Initiative (opens in a new window), a $650-million program to help scale up more small and medium-sized firms by helping them access grants and loans, resources and business expertise
- Scale-up Vouchers Program (opens in a new window), a $32 million program to help businesses with less than 500 employees access funding and coaching
The Ministry of Finance also lowered the preferential small business corporate income tax (CIT) rate (opens in a new window) from 5.5% to 4.5% to help small businesses remain competitive.
We’re updating legislation
This fall, under the proposed Cutting Unnecessary Red Tape Act, 2017, we are introducing changes to help build a smarter, more modern and more efficient regulatory framework. Some of the changes we’re proposing include:
- giving businesses the option to electronically submit any required documentation to the Government of Ontario instead of more costly paper submissions
- requiring all government ministries to offset every dollar of new administrative costs to business by removing old and unnecessary costs
- recognizing businesses that have a good compliance record and lowering their costs by reducing the requirements, such as the number of inspections, without compromising the environment health and safety, and other protections
Develop and testing solutions
In Winter 2017, we launched the Small Business Innovation Challenge (opens in a new window) which gives small to medium size businesses an opportunity to:
- develop, test, and demonstrate their products to help solve a real-world challenge
- sell their solution to other global markets
- increase their competitiveness
Helping companies grow
Ontario’s high growth companies create jobs, drive economic growth and help attract other companies to the province.
To support them, we are creating a Scale-Up Strategy to help them:
- identify and address the specific barriers they face
- expand domestically and internationally
To support this strategy, we will:
- host a leadership roundtable
- create issue-specific working groups
- host research, and regional consultations with senior executives
A number of government ministries are also working to help small businesses, including the:
- Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, partnering with northerners and communities to increase economic development, innovation, collaboration and invest in infrastructure
- Ministry of Energy, reducing hydro costs, to continue supporting small businesses
- Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development, through Employment Ontario, offers a suite of employment services and skills training programs designed to:
- help Ontarians find a job, upgrade their skills, enrol in training, or job
- help employers find workers with the skills they need and get support in the event of layoffs and closures