Local Supreme Cheerleading Inc. Gets $10K Grant from Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Salesforce

Local Supreme Cheerleading Inc. Gets $10K Grant from Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Salesforce

(Burlington) – June 29, 2020 – The Canadian Chamber of Commerce announced 62 $10,000 grant recipients from its Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund today, including Supreme Cheerleading Inc., located in Burlington, Ontario.

“We are delighted to see a hard-working and dedicated Chamber member receive this $10,000 grant from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Salesforce. Owners Tracey Page and Vicki Seguire are active members of the Burlington community and among our membership. Supreme Cheerleading Inc. have adapted to the challenges that have been brought on by COVID-19 by offering virtual training options for their Supreme Cheerleaders at the onset of the outbreak. We are excited to see how they will continue to innovate over the next few months and beyond the pandemic.” said President & CEO, Carla Y. Nell.

More than 1100 small businesses across Canada applied for the 62 grants available. The lucky recipients were those that best demonstrated their financial strain, how the business will use the grant to change or innovate, how the change or innovation will sustain the business’s recovery and allow it to prosper, and how the grant will support the role each business plays in their community.

The fund was managed by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and made possible through the generosity of Salesforce (NYSE:CRM). The funding was designed to help small businesses across the country stay afloat and support their recovery efforts, paying salaries, retrofitting their workplaces and acquiring technology to adapt their business model. Salesforce has also provided grants to small businesses in Canada, the U.S., the U.K. and Australia, in addition to providing other resources.

“Reviewing the applications was both heartbreaking and inspiring, We saw how seriously small businesses across Canada have been hurt by the pandemic, but we also saw how determined these entrepreneurs are to preserve their employees’ jobs and to serve their customers and their communities. Today is a happy waypoint, not an endpoint, and we won’t stop finding new ways to help Canada’s businesses reopen and recover. We’ll be with them every step of the way,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber.

“It has been incredible to see the resilience coming from Canada’s small business owners over the last few months. We know it hasn’t been easy,” said Margaret Stuart, Canada Country Manager, Salesforce. “The applicants have further demonstrated what we at Salesforce already knew to be true – that Canada is rich with innovation and entrepreneurial talent. We’re hopeful that these grants will provide essential support to small business owners as they return to work.”

A complete list of the winners can be found here.


For more information, please contact:

Phil Taylor
Canadian Chamber of Commerce

Lindsay Stevenson
Burlington Chamber of Commerce

2020 Business Excellence Awards Winners

2020 Business Excellence Awards Winners

JUNE 24, 2020

Burlington, Ontario (June 24, 2020) – The Burlington Chamber of Commerce was delighted to host the 2020 Business Excellence Gala through a reimagined, community-driven, virtual experience. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the original date was set for April 2nd, 2020 and was rescheduled for last evening, June 23rd, 2020.

As the voice of business in Burlington and beyond, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce has been working tirelessly to create new virtual opportunities to connect leaders. We were pleased to continue the tradition of supporting Chamber members, showcasing leadership, and celebrating business excellence by transforming our annual Business Excellence Awards into a live, virtual awards ceremony.

As always, the Business Awards Task Force Committee was impressed by the calibre of companies represented this year and every company that is nominated receives careful attention. All nominated companies are evaluated based on the following criteria: Business Leadership, Technology & Product Innovation, Community Contributions, Environmental Leadership, Customer/Stakeholder Relations, Sales and Market Growth, Entrepreneurship, and Employee Welfare. This year, winners were chosen for the following categories: Not-for-Profit, Retail/Wholesale, Service – Micro, Small, Medium and Large, and Young Entrepreneur. A special award was also added this year at the Task Force’s discretion – the Heritage Award – to recognize an organization demonstrating an outstanding legacy of success in Burlington.

The 21 finalists have shown great resilience overcoming the challenges that businesses are currently facing by adapting their operations and stepping up as community leaders. We were thrilled to be able to celebrate and honour them during this particularly challenging time for business.

The Burlington Chamber of Commerce’s 2020 Business Excellence Awards Winners are:

The Mayor’s Community Service and Burlington Economic Development Award Winners who were also honoured at the Gala are:

Mayor’s Community Service Awards:

Burlington Economic Development Awards:

“We were pleased to move forward with this time-honoured tradition despite not being able to host in person. While this year’s award ceremony may have looked different, we were delighted to recognize and honour this year’s finalists through a reimagined, virtual experience. The priority for this event was to not only adapt to the changing landscape that COVID-19 has brought on but to showcase business excellence while at the same time reinvesting in our community and local economy,” said President & CEO Carla Y. Nell

Taking advantage of the opportunity to support and reinvest in our business community, ticket holders were given exclusive access to the live, interactive event production. As a part of this one-of-a-kind experience, each ticket holder also received their choice of an awards night 3-course meal and gift bags showcasing a broad array of products from Chamber members and the broader business community.

Thank you to our event sponsors and everyone who attended this one-of-a-kind experience! It was wonderful to take advantage of this opportunity to celebrate business excellence and leadership despite not being able to connect in person. Sincere congratulations to our 2020 Business Excellence Award Winners!


Media Contact

Lindsay Stevenson
Strategic Communications Coordinator
Burlington Chamber of Commerce

Spotlighting Ontario Small Business

Spotlighting Ontario Small Business

JUNE 22, 2020


(BURLINGTON, JUNE 22, 2020) – Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been at the center of the economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Faced with reduced revenue, poor liquidity, disrupted supply chains, and a host of unprecedented challenges, many small businesses have used this as an opportunity to pivot their business model and grow. The Burlington Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber of Commerce’s (OCC) latest policy brief, Small Business, Big Impact: How SMEs are Pivoting During COVID-19, highlights a range of Ontario’s SMEs that have successfully adapted during this difficult time.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and key to thriving communities,” says Carla Y. Nell, President & CEO of the Burlington Chamber of Commerce. “Ontario is home to almost 430,000 SMEs, employing 88 percent of the workforce. These small businesses create jobs, drive innovation, and generate wealth for communities in Halton Region and across Ontario.

Throughout the pandemic the Ontario Chamber Network has been highlighting #DifferenceMakers, businesses who are successfully pivoting their operations and finding creative ways of supporting their communities.

“Given the important role SMEs play, it is critical for organizations like the OCC to help shine a light on how smaller firms are showing resilience, despite the odds. Equally important is ensuring that policies and programs are developed with urgency for the SMEs in sectors and regions that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, an issue explored in depth in RBC’s latest report, Small Business, Big Pivot,” states Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

The OCC’s latest policy brief highlights 28 SMEs from the Chamber’s network that have adapted their operations and displayed tremendous leadership. Some quickly retooled their operations to manufacture essential products while others modified existing products or services to continue serving clients and remain resilient. Throughout the economic crisis, other SMEs featured in this brief found creative ways to support frontline workers in their communities.

“The SMEs profiled in this brief are true difference makers. Many of these companies recognized the shifting business environment and new economic trends, such as digital delivery, and took immediate steps to fill a gap, leverage technology, or develop critical partnerships during this challenging period. Together, they demonstrate the nimbleness, ingenuity, and generosity of Ontario’s SMEs,” explains report author, Catrina Kronfli, Senior Policy Analyst.

Small Business, Big Impact is the third in a series of COVID-19 policy briefs to be released in the coming months, providing insights on the impact the pandemic is having on the business community.

Read the report.

Data Innovation Critical to Ontario’s Economic and Social Well-Being

Data Innovation Critical to Ontario’s Economic and Social Well-Being

JUNE 16, 2020

OCC and Chamber Network report outlines need for strong data governance in modern, post-pandemic economy

(BURLINGTON, JUNE 16) – Today, the Burlington Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) released their latest report, In Data We Trust: Unlocking the Value of Data in Ontario. With the COVID-19 crisis rapidly transforming the modern economy, the report outlines the need for Ontario to unlock opportunities and manage the threats of its increasingly data-driven economy.

“Long before COVID-19, it was evident that data has quickly become one of the most valuable resources in our economy, revolutionizing traditional business models across finance, health care, manufacturing, and many other sectors,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the OCC. “The reality is that almost everything we do as consumers relies on and is made possible to some extent by data analytics and related technologies, from fraud detection to supply chain optimization. In many ways, the pandemic has accelerated this transformation, as the need for digitization and the integration of health data have become more critical than ever.”

In Data We Trust reflects on the value of data innovation, explores lessons from COVID-19, and outlines organizational best practices and policy recommendations focused on privacy, cybersecurity, data sharing, and artificial intelligence (AI).

“Digital contact tracing, adoption of AI technologies, and expansion of 5G networks: all of these will benefit our society, and will require mobilizing data in responsible and innovative ways,” explains report author Claudia Dessanti, Senior Policy Analyst at the OCC.

Key takeaways include:

  • Privacy frameworks should protect individual rights while encouraging data-driven innovation. Ontario and Canada should reinforce their principles-based approach with strong industry standards. Businesses and other organizations have an important role to play to ensure their own privacy practices enhance public trust.
  • Cybersecurity breaches are affecting organizations of all kinds. More can be done to build capacity and limit future attacks with stronger adoption of industry standards, information sharing, and best practices around risk assessments, staff training, technology adoption, and insurance.
  • Data sharing is an opportunity to improve efficiencies and spur innovation across the economy. Organizations should collaborate on shared standards and infrastructure to enable data sharing across all sectors, including health care, without compromising privacy. Meanwhile, governments should improve the use of their open data programs.
  • AI is a competitive advantage that Ontario should leverage. Going forward, the province should prioritize expansion of regional broadband infrastructure, translate AI research expertise into widespread adoption of the technology, prepare the workforce for an AI-driven economy, and mitigate ethical risks related to AI use.

“The data revolution does come with certain risks, including the erosion of personal privacy, data security breaches, labour market disruption, ethical challenges, and increasing regional inequality,” says Carla Y. Nell, President & CEO. “That is why the Burlington Chamber of Commerce is committed to working with our community to create an environment that encourages data-driven innovation while protecting against these very real challenges.”

In Data We Trust was informed by a Data Working Group composed of leading experts from a range of sectors across the province.

Read the report.


About the Ontario Chamber of Commerce
For more than a century, the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) has been the independent, non-partisan, indispensable partner of Ontario business. The OCC’s mission is to support economic growth in Ontario by defending business priorities at Queen’s Park on behalf of its network’s diverse 60,000 members.

For more information, please contact:
Michelle Eaton
Vice President, Public Affairs
Ontario Chamber of Commerce
michelleeaton@occ.ca or 647-261-4594

Haltech Regional Innovation Centre Partners to Support Small Businesses in Halton to Adapt to a More Digital World

Haltech Regional Innovation Centre Partners to Support Small Businesses in Halton to Adapt to a More Digital World


The COVID-19 pandemic has had a severe impact on businesses of all sizes across the country. In particular, retail-oriented main street businesses have suffered, with stores closed and in-person commerce halted. To regain revenues, many businesses are transitioning from traditional storefronts to online stores to serve more clients and capitalize on new markets.

With Ontario’s economy reopening, the federal and provincial governments have joined together to help small businesses go digital — both to recover and to generate revenue — through a pan-Ontario collaborative project.

Building on Toronto’s foundational investments into Digital Main Street and, most recently, ShopHERE, the federal and provincial governments today announced a $57-million investment that will extend the support to businesses across Ontario. Digital Main Street is a program that helps small main street businesses better promote themselves online and adopt digital tools and technology.

This investment includes $12.2 million from the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), targeting support to retail, hospitality and service businesses in Southwestern Ontario. The funds will be used to create digital service teams to help small businesses establish their online presence, implement e-commerce tools and develop digital transformation and digital marketing plans.

The partnership brings together CommunitechHaltech Regional Innovation Centre (Halton), Innovation Guelph (Guelph), Innovation Factory (Hamilton), Innovate Niagara (Niagara), TechAlliance (London) and WETech (Windosor Essex) to deliver a new Futureproofing Businesses program as part of the Digital Main Street Platform. The partners will work to ensure local businesses have access to all Digital Main Street resources — helping them pivot their operations to digital business models in order to regain lost revenue and become more resilient and competitive as the economy recovers.

To carry out this effort in Halton Region, Haltech Regional Innovation Centre is proud to partner with the Region of Halton’s Small Business Centre, Economic Development teams, the Chambers of Commerce and local Business Improvement Areas’s to help small businesses have the resources and support they need to adopt digital technologies to compete now and in the future. “Our effort has been working with innovation businesses to help accelerate their growth and navigate the challenges. Recently, the focus has been on helping them pivot and find the path from survive to thrive during and after the pandemic. We are excited to now be working with FedDev and our Halton partners to add increased support for small businesses in adopting the power of technology,” said Shann McGrail, Executive Director of Haltech.

As one of the leading innovation hubs in Southwestern Ontario, Haltech will work together with its partners to help enterprises from all walks of life to adapt their companies as they focus on recovery. The program will also create job opportunities for students. Over the summer and fall terms, students will gain valuable work experience creating online storefronts, developing digital marketing plans and supporting small businesses as they leverage e-commerce and other digital platforms.

For more information or to apply, visit the Digital Main Street website.

 Federal and Provincial Quotes

“As local economies across Ontario reopen, we’re focused on ensuring that our main streets don’t just survive but thrive. These businesses are the backbone of our economy, a source of local jobs – and local pride. Thanks to this major investment, they’ll be able to expand their offerings and seize the many opportunities presented by online commerce. Our message to “Ontario’s small businesses and those whose livelihoods rely on them is clear: we’re working with you to help our economy come back stronger than ever.”

  • The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“In southern Ontario, the stores along downtown streets are critical to a city’s identity. FedDev Ontario and its partners will offer the support these businesses rebuild and retool in the digital world, while providing valuable work experience to students that may have been displaced from other opportunities by the pandemic.”

-Kate Young, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario)

“Ontario’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and their economic recovery is critical to Ontario’s recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic saw thousands of small businesses across the province close their doors and halt business as many had no ability to shift sales or services online. I am very pleased, that together with Minister Joly and our federal partners, we are providing small businesses with the tools they need to not only adapt to the challenges of today, but to re-establish, recover and flourish throughout this phased reopening and into the future.”

The Honourable Prabmeet Sarkaria, Ontario Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction

Local Stakeholder Support and Quotes:


“Halton Region’s Small Business Centre has continued to work with community partners to support local businesses impacted by COVID-19. As the Province starts to reopen and small businesses continue to adjust to new ways of doing business, this funding will provide valuable assistance for those looking to boost their digital presence and support employers as they plan their recovery.”-Halton Regional Chair Gary Carr


“This global pandemic has been difficult on everyone, including our local shops. We’ve all had to find more digital and virtual ways to do the things we’ve been used to doing to carry on. This joint federal and provincial governments’ commitment to help our struggling small businesses thrive digitally is great news and another example of all levels of government working together to help those residents and businesses who need it.” – Burlington Mayor Marianne Meed Ward

“The last few months have put a tremendous strain on the business sector across Ontario. In Milton, our small business owners and retailers have shown their resiliency. The ShopHERE program is one of ways the Town is supporting our business community in Milton. The investment today ensures that even more independent businesses in our community will receive the help they need to move their products and services online.” Milton Mayor Gordon Krantz

Chambers of Commerce:

 “The impacts of the global pandemic are being felt by local small businesses and will be felt long after the state of emergency has ended. The Burlington Chamber of Commerce is pleased to partner to offer this timely support to equip small businesses with the necessary tools and resources to adapt to the changing landscape that COVID-19 has brought on. This much needed support is a significant step to prepare our economy for recovery and to ensure the viability of business into the future,” –Carla Y. Nell, President & CEO, Burlington Chamber of Commerce

“Early in the pandemic, many small businesses were thrust into the world of e-commerce, some by choice and some for sheer survival. As we emerge from the shutdown, these same businesses want to now take the time to create a more effective and sophisticated online presence. Digital Main Street will be an invaluable resource” – Scott McCammon, Executive Director, Milton Chamber of Commerce

“The Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce is pleased to see the additional funding for Futureproofing Businesses program targeting our hardest hit sectors: retail, hospitality and services and we look forward to working with Haltech to connect our community to these resources.” – Kathleen Dills, General Manager, Halton Hills Chamber of Commerce

 Quick Facts

  • The Digital Main Street Platform is funded by both the Government of Canada and the Government of Ontario.
  • Support through the Digital Main Street Platform will be offered in three tiers customized to the level of support required by each company to develop or strengthen their online presence. More information on the levels of support is available in the Backgrounder.
  • The strategic partners involved in this project have a broad reach to tens of thousands of the region’s businesses from all walks of life. They offer a wealth of expertise ranging from business improvement, technology, innovation, marketing and economic development. Therefore, they are best-suited to deliver this widespread support and make the greatest possible impact across the region. Read more about this pivotal project.

About Haltech:

Haltech is a not for profit Regional Innovation Centre funded by the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade. Haltech provides entrepreneurial education, advisory services and strategic connections to technology start up and scale up companies in Halton Region to help them accelerate growth and bring innovations to market. Since it’s inception, Haltech has worked with over 800 technology and innovation companies. In its last fiscal year, clients of Haltech generated over $63 million dollars of revenue, created 428 jobs, and raised $21.5m in capital.


Shann McGrail – Executive Director, Haltech
905 302 3519

Small Business Rebound Necessary for Economic Recovery

Small Business Rebound Necessary for Economic Recovery

JUNE 11, 2020

Small Business Rebound Necessary for Economic Recovery
Ontario Chamber & Burlington Chamber: RBC report underscores vital need to focus on small business recovery

(Toronto – June 11, 2020) – Today, the Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) released Small Business, Big Pivot: A devasting downturn, and how Canadian enterprises can transition. The report contains proprietary economic research which outlines how the landscape has shifted for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The document also includes a tangible plan to help Canadian small businesses thrive in a post-pandemic economy.

“The recession at-hand is unlike the one Canada or the world witnessed in 2008, in terms of both its structure and scale,” says, President & CEO, Carla Y. Nell. “The majority of our members are small businesses; businesses that are cornerstones of our community and the engine of Ontario’s economy. The data presented in RBC’s report echoes the concerns that we have been hearing from small businesses, one of the groups hardest-hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.”

RBC’s analysis found that small firms experienced twice the number of job losses in comparison to mid- and large-sized firms in Canada. Women, youth, minorities, and First Nations were found to have been particularly impacted since they tend to be are employed within the most disrupted parts of the small-business economy. The report also identifies which industries face significant challenges (i.e., accommodation and food service) and those that are in a stronger position to manage short-term losses (i.e., manufacturing and wholesale trade).

“Small Business, Big Pivot underscores that small firms need to leverage new technologies with the aim of adapting to the virtual economy. This will be further explored in our upcoming policy brief, Small Business, Big Impact: How SMEs are Pivoting During COVID-19, which will be released on June 22, profiling how various small businesses have succeeded in this regard,” says Rocco Rossi, President and CEO of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC).

Both reports identify the rise in e-commerce as Canadians take advantage of online shopping and home delivery options. Small businesses that have successfully leveraged technology and online platforms are identified as remaining resilient during this unprecedented period. Yet, changing consumer trends present challenges for small firms, especially those that are digital novices, have limited capital, or are located in parts of the province with poor or unreliable broadband internet access.

“As consumer behaviour shifts, the ability of small businesses to adapt and pivot will be a major determinant of Ontario’s long-term economic recovery. While the federal and provincial governments have taken swift action and extraordinary steps to keep small businesses afloat, permanent closures will have ramifications for local supply chains, workers, and communities alike. Policymakers, therefore, should consider the recommendations contained in Small Business, Big Pivot, as we continue to strengthen small businesses and work towards Canada’s economic rebuild,” Rossi added.

Read RBC’s Report.


Media Contact
Lindsay Stevenson
Strategic Communications Coordinator
289 208 2844