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Small Business Briefing

Optimism wilts for fifth straight month: survey Add to ...

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Canadian small business optimism still on the decline

Optimism among small- and medium-size businesses in Canada continued to fall in August, according to the latest business barometer index from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

The index fell to 60 last month from 60.9 in July. It was the fifth consecutive monthly decline, according to CFIB chief economist and vice-president Ted Mallett in the release about the latest index results, based on a survey of a random 903 CFIB members.

“The survey results point to very slow growth,” he said in the release.

Still, “just to keep things in perspective, the index is still more than 20 points higher than the recessionary low of 39.9 in December of 2008."

The only provinces that saw some uptick in optimism were Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec. There were sharp declines in Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, Manitoba and British Columbia, and lesser ones in Ontario, Saskatchewan and Alberta. There was little change in Nova Scotia.

Mr. Mallett also noted increases in concerns about shortages of skilled labour, and the release said that full-time hiring plans were the “bright spot” in the survey, with 18 per cent of businesses planning to hire full-time staff in the next three or four months, versus 12 per cent who said they will cut back.

Guardly partners with U.S.-based Code Blue

Toronto-based startup Guardly Corp.’s expansion plans have gotten another boost with the creation of a partnership with U.S.-based Code Blue Corp.

Micihgan-based Code Blue is the maker of the blue-light emergency phones that dot university and college campuses, hospitals, airports and other places. The partnership will see Guardly’s mobile location-based personal-security app added to Code Blue’s products that can be used to report and respond to emergency situations.

“This partnership with Code Blue represents a significant opportunity for Guardly to reach and accelerate distribution and sales of its solutions in the commercial sector,” said Guardly CEO Josh Sookman in the release.

Guardly, founded in 2010, has been making steady inroads, including another arrangement announced last week that will see its mobile device rolled out at the Ontario College of Art and Design University (OCAD U), where students will be able to use it for free to call for help if they face an on-campus emergency. That followed a pilot program.

Guardly has also been the recipient of some financial backing, including from FedDev Ontario.

BCIC names 10 finalists for new-ventures competition

The British Columbia Innovation Council (BCIC) has named the 10 technology startup finalists for its “new ventures competition,” which will see the companies pitch to win $235,000 in cash and prizes.

The organization aims to advance innovation and commercialization in the province. It said all the finalists, from Vancouver and Vancouver Island, are “creating new technologies in the IT, life sciences and cleantech sectors.”

The finalists will now pitch in person to a private jury; the winners will be announced at an awards ceremony on Sept. 26. For a full list of the finalists and more, click here.

Three small-biz finalists named for HSBC international business awards

Three Canadian small businesses have been named finalists in HSBC Bank Canada’s second annual business without borders international business awards, meant to celebrate the est of Canadians doing business internationally.

The three finalists in the small and medium enterprise category include Olds, Alta.-based Barr-Ag Ltd.; Magog, Que.-based Boreal -Information Strategies; and Richmond, B.C.-based Norsat International Inc..Winners will be announced on Oct. 31. For more information, click here.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Entrepreneurship 101

Want to learn more about starting a business? Then you might benefit from a series of free, non-credit introductory courses on entrepreneurship being offered by MaRS Discovery District. The weekly lecture series will cover a variety of topics relating to entrepreneurship; register once at any time for the whole series. It runs from Sept. 26 to May 8 in Toronto. For more information, click here.

Business incubation conference

The Canadian Association of Business Incubation (CABI) will host its annual national conferenc, bringing together Canadian and U.S. incubators and business leaders, from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 in Saskatoon. This year’s theme is “incubation by design -- a world of possibilities,” and will focus on the diversity of incubators in Canada, according to CABI. It will include two days of workshops, round-table discussions and receptions. For more about the conference, click here.

Small Business Summit

The next Small Business Summit, presented by The Globe and Mail’s Report on Small Business, takes place in Vancouver on Oct. 4. For more information on the one-day event, click here .

EDITOR’S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Staff hard to find in shrinking community

This week’s Challenge: Business is booming at Port Hood, N.S.-based Galloping Cows Fine Foods. But with increased international attetion and new orders to fill, it needs to add more staff. And it’s having trouble finding the employees locally that it needs to keep up with its growth.

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

How to lure a big executive to a small town

Jakait Inc.’s founder and CEO Keith Pickard loves small-town life. But when he was on a search for a chief operating officer to join the company, based in Ruthven, Ont., he discovered that not everyone shared his passion for small towns. Read what the experts advised for that Challenge, which ran in August, 2011, as well as an update in October, 2011.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.comJoin The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzTOur free weekly newsletter is now available. Every Friday a team of editors selects the top picks from our blog posts, features, multimedia and columnists, and delivers them to your inbox. If you have registered for The Globe’s website, you cansign up here . Click on the Small Business Briefing checkbox and hit ‘save changes.’ If you need to register for the site,click here .

 

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