Starting a small business can be an exciting and rewarding venture, but it also can be challenging and stressful. The same can be said for established small businesses. Registration, taxation, incorporation, financing and marketing – the list of issues facing entrepreneurs is long.
Don’t let those issues deter you from following your dream. Information and advice on starting or growing a small business is available at the South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre.
The South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre provides a support system to help small businesses capitalize on business opportunities and advantages in the area and beyond. The Small Business Enterprise Centre is part of a network of 57 offices across Ontario, jointly operated by the Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation and local municipalities in conjunction with other partners.
Based in Collingwood, the South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre supports Clearview Township, the Town of Collingwood, the Town of The Blue Mountains and the Town of Wasaga Beach.
“The Centre provides free services to support small businesses for the entire length of time the (enterprise) may need our resources, from start-up and through every stage of the business,” explains Gillian Fairley, Enterprise Centre Manager and Small Business Consultant.
“We offer consultations, provide seminars and workshops, and we can connect people to different resources, both inside and outside the community, based on their needs. We also help people find sources of funding.”
The Enterprise Centre reviews business plans, offers guidance on licences, permits, registration, regulations and all the other requirements to start and build a company. The Enterprise Centre also has information on patents, copyright and trademarks, as well as import and export information. The Centre has access to current resource materials such as directories, trade indexes and books that may be perused on site. Booklets, pamphlets, brochures and articles all geared to the needs of entrepreneurs are free for the taking.
The Enterprise Centre also has access to local Economic Development offices and works with area business support programs such as the Business Enterprise Resource Network and Centre for Business and Economic Development.
Summer Company is a program designed to help young entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 29, who are returning to school full time, start and run a summer business. This year five students were accepted into the program and each will receive up to $3,000 in rewards, hands-on business training and business specific mentorship.
The students had to prepare a full business plan to be accepted into Summer Company 2012. In upcoming blogs we’ll introduce these enterprising youth and see how their businesses are faring.
“I’ve got a great group of high school and university students operating a variety of businesses, and I’m really looking forward to working with them,” Gillian said.
Whether you’re just starting up a small business or running an established one, Gillian encourages people to take advantage of the Enterprise Centre’s services.
Gillian added that people who come to the Centre when they start their business usually just need general practical advice about registration, HST and other business details. Then they’ll come back for more specific requests about certain issues. She also sees people that are currently running a business that want a certain need addressed.
“There are many support resources in the community for small businesses,” she stresses. “If I don’t have the resources available to help them, I will find people who can. It’s just a matter of connecting those businesses to the right resources and helping them along the way.”
Although the Enterprise Centre has no seminars or workshops scheduled during the summer months, come September, the Centre will be ramping up activities including business planning workshops, lunch-and-learn sessions, and monthly seminars with outside consultants who offer training on specific topics aimed at assisting businesses in running and sustaining a successful small business.