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Report on Small Business Newsletter

Toronto's new innovation district and how you can take Fridays off and still be productive Add to ...

Hi newsletter subscribers, Quick question for you. If you're a small business owner or manager, do allow your employees to get personal packages shipped to work? Why or why not? We're gathering views for a potential upcoming story so email me at smallbiz@globeandmail.com. Thanks and here's the latest small business news from The Globe. -Sarah Efron, Globe and Mail Small Business Editor

Oxford Properties and startup incubator team up to create a new Toronto innovation district

Oxford Properties Group and technology startup accelerator OneEleven are aiming to turn Toronto into the next San Francisco with Union Park, a long-term redevelopment of Front Street meant to transform it into a downtown innovation cluster.

The linchpin in the plan is the official reopening in May of 325 Front Street West, a cavernous 250,000-square-foot space that used to serve as an RBC data centre. The five-storey building, currently in the midst of renovations, will eventually house hundreds of high-growth startups and development labs for blue-chip companies.

“It’s a catalyst for the innovation community,” said Oxford Properties executive vice-president Michael Turner. “We think we can bring all of it together to do something that is totally unique to this city.” Full story.

This is the weekly Report on Small Business newsletter. If you're reading this on the web or someone forwarded this e-mail newsletter to you, you can sign up for Report on Small Business and all Globe newsletters here. Have any feedback? Let us know what you think.

Maker of helmet sensors finds a buyer, and running room

Danny Crossman didn’t exactly get the response he was hoping for when he went to market with his Shockbox wireless helmet sensor in 2010. Helmet manufacturers, particularly those in contact sports such as football and hockey, warned that using such a device, which informs coaches and parents via an app when a player receives a hard hit, would invalidate the helmet’s warranty. Full story.

Canada’s top entrepreneurs to gather at the 2017 Globe and Mail Small Business Summit

Many of the top entrepreneurs in the country will gather at The 2017 Globe and Mail Small Business Summit on May 9th in Toronto. The annual event brings together hundreds of entrepreneurs to talk about growing their businesses. The keynote speakers are Michael Serbinis, founder of book technology company Kobo and benefits platform League, and Matthew Corrin, founder of the healthy restaurant chain Freshii. Full story.

How to take Fridays off (and still be insanely productive)

Let’s be honest. For most people, Fridays are a wasted day. Think of your typical workday on a Friday. It likely involves (quite a bit of) goofing off mixed in with some busy work. You’re mentally checked out and exhausted from the week, and e-mails start to pile up. Getting quality work done becomes harder and harder. Full story.

Program helps new immigrants find their footing in Canadian tech sector

When Rohum Azarmgin immigrated to Canada in April, 2015, he wasn’t fully prepared for the job hunt he would encounter. As an established and educated IT professional in Iran, he never had an issue finding work. But his new home was different, and he didn’t fully understand how the recruitment process worked. Full story.

More small business news from around the web

Timber tech takes wood buildings to new heights

Structurlam is indeed a B.C. success story, but it’s by no means an overnight one. Employing 170 people at its plants in Penticton and Okanagan Falls, the company’s engineered mass timber products have been used in the construction of the Richmond Olympic Oval and the world’s tallest wood building – the 18-storey Brock Commons at the University of British Columbia (UBC). Full story.

Cinema entrepreneurs return indies to their glory days

In its previous incarnations the room above the Spar in Clapton, Hackney, was a bingo hall, a shoe factory and a snooker hall. But in February this year the space in the east London art deco building returned to its original glory as a cinema. The rebirth was thanks to film fans Asher Charman and Danielle Swift. They threw their energy into a Kickstarter campaign to revive the old single-screen Castle Electric Theatre, which had closed its curtains in 1958 after a 45-year run. Full story.

The witty and weird of Passover products (matzo print bra to come)

Lately, Passover, the commemoration of the Jews’ liberation from slavery in Egypt, has been getting into the act. The holiday, which began Monday and continues until April 18, has become very attractive to entrepreneurs, who sell related merchandise ranging from the serious (like new versions of the Haggadah, the text that tells the story of Passover) to the ridiculous. (A matzo-print skullcap? A bargain at $8.99.) Full story.

Ontario manufacturers’ group says hydro bill cuts won’t help them

Thousands of businesses in Ontario that don't qualify for a 17-per-cent cut to their electricity bills are like the forgotten middle child, says a manufacturing group.The Liberal government's announcement last month applies to residential electricity customers and about half a million small businesses and farms on time-of-use pricing. The Industrial Conservation Initiative program for large manufacturers and businesses was also expanded so that more industrial customers would qualify. Full story.

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