Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development’s Business Advisory Centre is celebrating Small Business Week from October 15 to 21 in a big way with the launch of a one-stop hub of community resources and events for local business owners at investptbo.ca/small-business-week.
The Small Business Week hub includes awards ceremonies, competitions, workshops, and networking events offered by partner organizations including the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), Community Futures Peterborough, the Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas, Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce, and the Peterborough Downtown Business Improvement Area (DBIA). Businesses and customers are encouraged to use #SmallBizWeekPtbo on social media when participating in any business events between Sunday, October 15th and Saturday, October 21st.
Taking place during Small Business Month in Canada, Small Business Week is an annual entrepreneurship event organized by BDC for nearly five decades to celebrate the 10,000-plus entrepreneurs and 1.2 million small and medium-sized businesses in Canada. According to BDC, 98 per cent of Canadian businesses in Canada have 100 employees or fewer and the week provides a dedicated time to recognize their impact on communities.
“The small businesses in our community are our backbone,” says Madeleine Hurrell, Manager of the Business Advisory Centre. “They hire people, they support sports teams, they give back to our food banks, they fill our storefronts, and they provide that lifeblood and that creativity. They’re so important.”
With so many local events taking place during Small Business Week, the Business Advisory Centre wanted to provide a single online location where people could find them.
“We saw this as an opportunity to unite those small business support organizations by showing all of the events taking place during Small Business Week in one place, making it easier for businesses and supporters to navigate,” Hurrell explains. “We understand that it can feel very overwhelming if you’re looking for support or you want to dip your toes into networking or attend an event. Our goal was to make it a streamlined, one-stop shop.”
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The Small Business Week hub at investptbo.ca/small-business-week also includes workshops taking place during Small Business Week, part of the Business Fundamental Workshop Series presented by the Peterborough & the Kawarthas Business Advisory Centre in collaboration with Community Futures Peterborough and the Innovation Cluster, as well as tools and resources from all six of the partner organizations.
“We live and breathe small businesses all the time, so we really felt it essential to include these resources,” says Hurrell. “We want people to know we’re always here, beyond Small Business Month.”
As for the events listed, Hurrell assures that there is something for everyone, no matter the type of support you’re looking for or the stage of your business.
“There’s a nice range for those who are potentially looking to move on from their business and are preparing to sell it or pass it on, to those who are still working a full-time job with a side hustle as a creator,” Hurrell explains. “The full life cycle of a business is represented.”
For example, the “How To Sell in Canada” masterclass with Jonatan Morgenroth of Avansa, presented by the Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (October 18 from 10 to 11 a.m. at the Innovation Cluster) will provide insight on securing those first clients, while the free “Learn to Buy, Sell, or Transition Your Business” breakfast seminar hosted by Community Futures Peterborough and BDC (October 17 from 7:30 to 9:30 a.m. at the Peterborough Golf & Country Club) is designed for business owners thinking about their future with tips for valuation, succession, and sale.
The Peterborough and the Kawarthas Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Business Excellence Awards — “the Oscars of the business community” as Hurrell calls it — also takes place during Small Business Week, recognizing the achievements of local businesses of all sizes and local entrepreneurs, including the prestigious Business Citizen of the Year. The awards ceremony takes place at 7:30 p.m. on October 18 at Showplace Performance Centre in downtown Peterborough following a pre-show celebration at The Venue at 5:45 p.m.
The 2023 Business Excellence Awards will include the presentation of the Business Student Leadership Prizes, sponsored by Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development, which are awarded to a student from Trent University and a student from Fleming College.
Young entrepreneurs just starting out will also be featured at Trent University’s annual “Pitch IT!” student entrepreneurial competition at 6 p.m. on October 19 at the Trent University Student Centre. Similar to the Shark Tank entrepreneurial reality TV series, six Trent and Fleming College student entrepreneurs will pitch their innovative business ideas to a panel of expert judges for a chance to win $1,000.
Supporting the local independent restaurant sector, there’s also the DBIA’s Peterborough Mac + Cheese Festival. Running all October long, the award-winning festival encourages foodies to visit 21 participating downtown restaurants and vote online for their favourite mac and cheese dishes.
The Business Advisory Centre is hosting “Makers Unleashed: Branding & Social Media Marketing Workshop Retreat” on from 9:30 a.m. until 3:15 p.m. on October 19 at Watson & Lou in downtown Peterborough. Designed exclusively for makers, artisans, and creatives looking to turn their passion into a thriving brand, the workshop provides an immersive retreat-like experience including hands-on sessions, group discussions, industry experts, and more. The $30 retreat includes a lunch catered by Hard Winter Bread Company.
“We hear a lot from businesses how often they struggle with social media marketing, understanding their brand, and thinking about how they present their business, so we wanted to create a one-day intensive workshop for those entrepreneurs,” Hurrell says.
Guest speakers at the workshop include Lindsey Irwin, a marketing professor with Fleming College’s School of Business and founder of Old Jar Candle Company, who will have participants focus on developing their own brand by thinking beyond the logo and colour scheme into how their audience perceives the business. Kat Tepylo-Murphy, founder of Social Kat Media, will lead a conversation around harnessing the changing trends of Instagram as a marketing platform, and provide participants with some tips and tricks they can begin to implement right away during the workshop.
“The beauty of being in the downtown is there’s a fantastic courtyard right outside Watson & Lou,” says Hurrell. “We have beautiful water and it’s a beautiful time of year, so there will be opportunity to actually get out our smartphones and take content with Kat supporting along the way.”
As with the other events being offered during Small Business Week, the Makers Unleashed workshop is creating a space for business owners to network and converse with one another, whether it’s emerging entrepreneurs learning from experienced professionals or connecting with their peers.
“Business owners are craving the opportunity to be in person and to connect and share ideas,” says Hurrell, adding that’s why the Makers Unleashed workshop is designed to offer a “hands-on discussion” for participant engagement. “A lot of makers and creatives are just constantly making and selling, so it’s really important they have a space to talk to others and share ideas, which is why we built that into the format of the day.”
The Business Advisory Centre’s Small Business Week hub at investptbo.ca/small-business-week will be continually updated as community organizations develop more events and resources leading up to and during Small Business Week.
While these events offer valuable educational and networking opportunities, Hurrell explains the intent of Small Business Week is also to show an appreciation to the entrepreneurs and small business owners who are the engine of the local economy.
“It isn’t said enough, but we need to thank these businesses for choosing Peterborough & the Kawarthas, as oftentimes they can choose anywhere in the world,” Hurrell points out. “This is our week to pat them on the back and celebrate all of our small businesses.”
For the updated hub of events for Small Business Week and ongoing support resources, visit investptbo.ca/small-business-week. Follow #SmallBizWeekPtbo on social media to join the conversation.
This branded editorial was created in partnership with Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development’s Business Advisory Centre. If your organization or business is interested in a branded editorial, contact us.