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Helping small business compete in the digital economy

Browse creative ideas to help small businesses in Ontario succeed in an increasingly digital economy.

graph representing economic growth

View the ideas submitted to Small business

The problem

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

Business advice

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window), a two-year, online consultation that asks the public to help us identify and fix regulations that are unclear, outdated, redundant or unnecessarily costly for business.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:

We’ve also created the:

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

Learn more

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
  • Ministry of Finance, cutting taxes and lowering compliance costs to encourage investment and job creation

72 ideas submitted to Small business


Minimum wage increase affect

This idea did not move past government review because it would duplicate a service that is already available, work that has been completed or work underway.

With the significant increase to minimum wage, study the short and long term effects on small businesses.

Read more
Created on October 24, 2017 by mreles.

Minimum work hours for people under 18.

This idea did not move past government review because it does not align to the Government of Ontario policies and/or priorities.

During peak hours employers should be able to bring under 18 year old employees help for a minimum of 2 hours instead of the required 3. I.e. for dinner rush at a restaurant 6 to 8 to combat a high minimum wage and low staffing levels.

Read more
Created on October 24, 2017 by Lucwarmie.

Mobile Recycling

This idea did not move past government review because it would not help support any of the Budget Talks focus areas.

Residents without cars, have a more difficult time getting to recycling

Read more
Created on November 3, 2017 by LouC.

Motorcycle Safety Campaign across Canada while creating Jobs promoting creators

This idea did not move past government review because it did not meet the guidelines for a Budget Talks submission.

Search for Motorcycle examples or GW250 Suzuki These motorcycle are design on Japanese Cartoon Character. In a nut shell Clothing already existing in Fan Expo / Cosplayer which match these motorcycles in a virtual world.

Read more
Created on October 24, 2017 by AJ.

Office paperwork innovation

This idea did not move past government review because the Government of Ontario does not have access to the services, equipment and/or technology required to deliver the proposal.

Build digital document library, including legal, contract, accounting, administration template etc.with search, upload, edit, save, download functions, anyone can upload or write a new document, anyone can also edit and improve existing documents,

Read more
Created on October 31, 2017 by TomDocsDigital.

OHIP+ for Microbusinesses

This idea did not move past government review because it would exceed $1 million in one-time funding and/or require ongoing funding.

There are many risks involved in starting a new business. There are many costs as well. Often it takes many years of running in or near debt, cheque to cheque for a business to survive its infancy.

Read more
Created on October 29, 2017 by Kusanivy.

Olalacar - carpooling app

This idea did not move past government review because it would not help support any of the Budget Talks focus areas.

My idea is creating an application that help people to share their ride with others. It can starts from 10 km to unlimited. Inside the and between the cities travel options.

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Created on October 22, 2017 by Helia.

Ontario Professional Assistance and development Program

This idea did not move past government review because it would not help support any of the Budget Talks focus areas.

There are lots of published reports available that skilled immigrants with international experience are finding it hard to get the desired job as per their skills and experience.

Read more
Created on November 2, 2017 by khateebzaidi.

Payroll tax credits for companies hiring NEW employees

This idea did not move past government review because it would exceed $1 million in one-time funding and/or require ongoing funding.

ISSUE: Higher minimum wages may reduce total employment.
IDEA: Offer a payroll tax credit for companies that INCREASE employment.

Read more
Created on October 31, 2017 by jeffbaryshnik.

Product delivery network for small businesses

This idea did not move past government review because it is not solely within the jurisdiction of the Government of Ontario.

With the proliferation of social media, instant messaging and mobile apps, small and local businesses are now more connected to customers than ever.

Read more
Created on November 3, 2017 by dasbipulk.

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