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Cynthia Dale as Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street at the Stratford Festival. (David Hou/Handout)
Cynthia Dale as Dorothy Brock in 42nd Street at the Stratford Festival. (David Hou/Handout)

Small Business Briefing

Stratford sheds reliance on food, theatre (and Bieber) Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by theReport on Small Businessteam. Follow us on Twitter@GlobeSmallBiz.

It’s not only about Justin Bieber

Small Business Week has arrived (the years fly by, don’t they?), and we started things off on a positive note with a new survey from BDC, which found a majority of businesses say they will boost capital investment in the coming year.

We also launched a week-long video series examining Stratford, Ont.’s efforts to transform itself into an ‘intelligent community.’ The city has invested heavily in a fibre-optic and wireless network, it has attracted a digital-media campus of the University of Waterloo, and it is aiming to attract more entrepreneurs, particularly in the technology space, by offering a mix of infrastructure, support and lifestyle.

The first video in the series features local entrepreneur Wayne Parker, the bass player from Glass Tiger, who also owns SkyShed POD, a company that sells personal observatory domes to amateur astronomers.

In the coming days, we will post videos with Ginny Dybenko, executive director of the University of Waterloo Stratford campus (Tuesday), and her school’s unique approach to education and business; Nikki Diebolt, vice-president of Abtron Automation (Wednesday), which specializes in installing ‘smart-home’ systems; and Mayor Dan Mathieson, who outlines his city’s economic development over the course of his term (Thursday); and because we couldn’t ignore the marketing impact, we’ll have Mr. Mathieson on the Justin Bieber phenomenon (Friday).

Follow the video series, and all of our related small business coverage, on the Report on Small Business website. We’ll also have a special section dedicated to small business in Wednesday’s Globe and Mail newspaper.

Number of self-employed women rises

“Women entrepreneurs are a driving force behind small business in Canada,” Ruth Todd, partner at KPMG Enterprise says in a press release. “From new mothers to young professionals who faced difficulty breaking into the work force, Canadian women are turning to innovative self-employment opportunities to support themselves and their families.” To back up this statement, KPMG cites figures from Statistics Canada indicating that there were 951,600 self-employed women in Canada as of July, an increase from 790,400 10 years ago. The company also identifies “key challenges and recommendations” for women looking to establish and expand their businesses.

Fast on his feet

Ed Fast, Minister of International Trade and Minister for the Asia-Pacific Gateway, and Brad Duguid, Ontario’s Minister of Economic Development and Innovation, helped raise awareness for Small Business Week on Monday by pointing out the benefits of a Canada-EU trade and economic agreement for entrepreneurs. “Our government’s top priority is job creation and growing the Canadian economy,” Mr. Fast said at a press conference at Mellow Walk, a shoe factory in Toronto. An agreement with the European Union is expected to bring a 20-per-cent boost in bilateral trade, according to a press release, and a $12-billion annual increase to Canada’s economy.


Innovation in financing

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week next month, North of 41 hosts an afternoon of discussion and expert insight from well respected American and Canadian financing innovators. Topics include crowdfunding (show me how to raise the money), and venture capitalists (what keeps me up at night), and panelists include Brian Meece, CEO of New York’s RocketHub, and Derek Smyth, managing Partner at OMERS Ventures in Toronto. The event takes place in Toronto on Nov. 13 from 1:30 pm until 6 pm.

Sunny day

Solar West 2012 will bring together the solar and renewable energy industry and community to share knowledge and experience advancements in Western Canada solar energy policy, markets and industry capacity. The day-long event takes place Nov. 1 in Edmonton.


The big buy abroad

While foreign mergers and acquisitions may seem the stuff of larger companies, a growing number of smaller firms are opening their pocketbooks to pick up firms overseas, says business lawyer Philippe LeClerc, a Quebec City-based partner with McCarthy Tétrault LLP. “It may have been less common before, but more and more small Canadian firms will look to purchase foreign assets as they expand into foreign markets.”


Entrepreneurs and oil

Over the course of 2012, the dozens of energy companies working to wrest profit from the dark, sticky sands of northeastern Alberta will spend $20 billion, much of it in new projects. How much money is that? It’s almost enough to run the governments of Manitoba and Saskatchewan for the year. It’s enough to make a stack of toonies 18,000 kilometres high, as Nathan VanderKlippe reported earlier this year.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com.Join The Globe’s Small Business LinkedIn group to network with other entrepreneurs and to discuss topical issues: http://linkd.in/jWWdzT

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Follow on Twitter: @seanstanleigh

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