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Chamber launches free virtual series

It's helping businesses weather the pandemic and other storms
Timmins Chamber of Commerce president Rob Knox. Supplied photo

A new series is helping give businesses the tools to weather the pandemic and other storms. 

The Timmins Chamber of Commerce officially launched its Reimagined Resiliency Series today. 

The free virtual series is available to Northern Ontario businesses through the 27 northern chambers network.

There are five pillars of the series are:

  • Technology integration, supported by NEOnet
  • Financial literacy, supported by the Business Enterprise Centre and the Venture Centre 
  • Succession planning, supported by MNP
  • Brand amplification, supported by Link North and Caisse Populaire 
  • Diversity and inclusion, supported by OPG

Timmins Chamber president Rob Knox said there will also be an overarching focus on Indigenous-led or Indigenous-owned businesses and organizations, next-generation leaders, female entrepreneurs, and members of the BIPOC and LGBTQ2S+ communities.

Technology integration will look at ways technology can improve business.

Customer relations management software or an updated point of sale system are some of the examples NEOnet's MJ Filo said could help businesses.

“After seeing all throughout this pandemic the absolute need for small businesses to adopt technology to either enhance the way that they operate, adapt and maintain the way that they operate and to reach those consumers or clients. We definitely see the need to have updated technology in our area,” said Filo.

Financial literacy is an area the Business Enterprise Centre's Brenda Camirand has seen businesses struggle with both at start-up and when looking at opportunities to expand.

She hopes to help entrepreneurs understand their financial statements and make informed decisions. 

Understanding financials will also help people access the resources they need, said the Venture Centre's Roxanne Daoust.

Brand amplification will help small to medium-sized businesses bring their current branding into the digital sphere.

“The business climate’s changing and that’s been demonstrated a lot in the past 20-plus months and I think it’s important that we get clients to focus on their brand, their message that they want to get out there — particularly when they’re moving to online platforms to attract new customers and clientele,” said Link North's Ross MacDonald.

This pillar, said Knox, understands that small businesses or organizations lack the human resources to actively maintain an online presence.

"While Northern Ontario continues to be historically underfunded in broadband infrastructure and many owners and operators lack capacity within their organization to pursue viable tech platforms, the need to pivot to online is vital to their continuity and recovery," said Knox.

While succession planning can be daunting, Knox said access to information is one of the barriers.

"This series will provide participants with tangible workplans that assist in building capacity as it pertains to succession planning templates and frameworks. Through partnerships with local experts, these workshops will impress the importance of implementing a viable succession plan to ensure their businesses legacy and resiliency," he said.

The diversity and inclusion pillar will explore difficult discussions and give people the framework to promote diversity and inclusion.

Newmont Porcupine has also contributed $15,000, which will allow the Chamber to provide 50 Timmins businesses with access to the Diversity and Inclusion Foundations Certificate Program through the Canadian Centre for Diversity and Inclusion.

The first session for the series was The Right IDEA: Doing Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility Right presented by Michael Bach. 

More information on the series is available here.