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Small Business Report on Small Business Newsletter: Ontario delays private-sector cannabis sales, women-owned businesses face bigger funding barriers and how to start a successful side hustle

Ontario delays debut of private-sector cannabis

The Ontario government will allow the private sector to sell recreational cannabis by April while also handing municipalities the power to veto stores from opening, a move that could create an up to six-month delay before consumers can purchase the newly legal products in person. Cabinet ministers said this week that the province will be in charge of wholesaling cannabis to retailers and managing the only legal online store starting on Oct. 17. Companies won’t be able to open bricks-and-mortar stores initially, but the new regime will be in place by April 1, 2019. The plan, which was first reported last month by The Globe and Mail, has stoked uncertainty over whether cities and towns will be ready to handle such a major policy shift in a short period of time and what the new model is going to look like. Story

Green rush: The race to sell cannabis in Canada

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In Spruce Grove, Alta., people camped out by city hall, waiting for the doors to open so they could apply to open a cannabis store. In other places in the province, retailers are signing leases with rents that are as much as twice the usual rate, in the hope they will eventually win the right to sell marijuana in those locations. It’s the next wave of the green rush: As legalization nears in October, the spotlight is shifting from marijuana growers to sellers. That has ignited frenetic activity among prospective store owners, commercial real estate players, cannabis producers and the federal, provincial and municipal governments that have designed a thicket of rules about how and when the drug can be sold to consumers. Story

Credit card firms to trim merchant fees, but some retailers ’underwhelmed’

Major credit card companies have struck an agreement with the federal government to trim the fees they charge to merchants in a move Ottawa hopes will provide a boost to small businesses. Ottawa announced last week it has reached voluntary, five-year deals with Visa, MasterCard and American Express to cut fees by about 10 basis points. Finance Minister Bill Morneau, who unveiled the deal at an Ottawa grocery store, said he expects the agreements to help small and medium-sized businesses save a total of $250 million per year. Story

Women-owned businesses face revenue gap, bigger funding barriers, surveys suggest

A lack of access to capital is one of the biggest challenges for women entrepreneurs, a new study suggests. The wage gap between men and women has been long-standing – with women on average making 74 cents for every dollar of annual salary made by men, according to the most recent Statistics Canada data – but research from by PayPal Canada and consulting firm Barraza and Associates suggests that this dynamic also applies to those who own small-and- medium sized businesses. Story

Indoor farming tech is growing on investors

There’s plenty of buzz around the coming legalization of cannabis, but behind all the smoke, another type of grow-op is catching the attention of investors and budding entrepreneurs. Indoor farming is taking root in Canada and around the world – in homes and businesses, cities and remote communities, in bone-dry deserts and in the frigidness of the Arctic Circle. These aren’t just greenhouses. Most of the growth has been around a subcategory called vertical farming, which involves the cultivation of leafy greens and other produce using surfaces that are vertically stacked or vertically inclined. Story

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WHAT WE’RE READING ELSEWHERE

Canadian residents hit by Trump tax dealt a new blow

Thousands of Canadian residents hit hard by a retroactive tax signed into law by U.S. President Donald Trump have been dealt another blow, CBC News reports. Newly proposed regulations issued by the U.S. Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service threaten to increase their tax hit. “It turns a very bad situation into the virtual liquidation of a corporation,” said Toronto lawyer John Richardson. A “transition tax” introduced by the Trump administration was intended to discourage U.S. multinationals from leaving vast sums in foreign subsidiaries. But the tax is also hitting Canadians with U.S. or dual citizenship who have companies incorporated in Canada. CBC

Smaller retailers lead exodus from Vancouver

Empty storefronts pockmarking Vancouver strolls such as Robson Street, Denman Street and south Main Street are the result of a mix of higher rents and taxes, development pressures and storeowners following their customers to the suburbs, analysts say. Small retailers are the most affected. Craig Patterson, editor of Retail Insider, who has been consulting with the City of Vancouver on the issue, pointed to the 1100 block of Robson, parts of Denman Street and the Punjabi market area around Main Street and East 49Avenue as retail areas that are struggling. “Certain areas of Vancouver are hollowing out,” Patterson said. Business Vancouver

It’s time for Newfoundlanders to seriously consider urchin farming

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You might know them as ozzy eggs, but maybe they’d be better referred to as a cash cow. Patrick Gagnon, an associate professor at Memorial University, says Newfoundlanders should consider sea urchin farming as a small-business idea. “I think it’s great for the province because, you know, fisheries are not doing so well,” said Gagnon. “We’re hoping this could stimulate the economy in the province by allowing people to start a small business.” CBC

5 tips for starting a successful side hustle

The side hustle is more popular than ever. According to a recent survey, 51 per cent of people between the ages of 18 and 37 occasionally moonlight, and 38 per cent make money from side hustles at least once a month. Whether millennials are looking for ways to boost their bank accounts, pursue a dream project or simply flex their creative muscles outside of their day jobs, “It’s never been easier in 2018 to start your own business,” said Erin Bury, the managing director and co-founder of the Toronto-based creative communications agency Eighty-Eight. Ad Week

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