Results from the 2017 Business Conditions Survey are in!

January 2 Business Conditions ReportHalton’s Economic Development team recently conducted a survey on the current business and economic conditions faced by Halton businesses and how these conditions relate to planning for growth, innovation, exporting and the desirability of Halton as a place to do business.

Nearly 500 Halton businesses responded to the 2017 survey, representing various sectors from manufacturing to finance and professional and business services.

Here are a few of the highlights from the 2017 Business Conditions Survey:

  • Four out of five businesses surveyed in 2017 are optimistic about the future and expect economic conditions to remain stable or to improve.
  • Over half of businesses that were surveyed anticipate increased profits over the next 12 months.
  • Two Thirds (65%) rank Halton’s quality of life as a locational advantage compared to the rest of the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Area (GTHA).

Findings from the 2017 survey indicate that businesses are confident in Halton’s strong economy and will continue to invest here. Halton continues to be a great place for both employers and employees.  Download a copy of the 2017 Halton Region Business Conditions Survey Results Report from our Resources page here.

We’re here to help. Contact us for assistance in expanding your business in Halton Region, or for additional information on the Halton economy. For detailed statistics, visit our online Data Centre.

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Data Insights – 2016 Census Release on Education

2016 Census release on educationHalton Region residents continue to be the most highly educated in Canada.  The recently released Statistics Canada Census figures on educational attainment report that 75% of Halton residents over the age of 25 hold a post-secondary degree or diploma – the highest rate of education attainment within major population centres across Canada and matched only in Ottawa.  Notably, two smaller regions within Quebec have reached attainment levels of 76% and 77%, however this is due to a differing education system structure compared to the rest of Canada.  Overall, 65% of adults in Canada have a post-secondary education – the same rate of attainment reported in the province of Ontario. Continue reading

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2017 TREB Commercial Development Forum in Halton Region

On November 9th, Halton Region hosted the Toronto Real Estate Board’s (TREB) Commercial Development Forum to help facilitate the sharing of information specific to ongoing and proposed office and industrial commercial real estate development, regional and municipal growth, and supporting infrastructure growth in Halton Region.  This is the Region’s 6th consecutive Real Estate Forum for investors, realtors and developers – attended this year by over 200 professionals at the Burlington Convention Centre.


TREB president Tim Syrianos provided opening remarks for the Forum, alongside City of Burlington Mayor Rick Goldring. Guest presenters included Judy Pfeifer from Metrolinx, who spoke to major upcoming transit infrastructure improvements and expansions, and Ray Wong from Altus Group Data Solutions, who discussed the real estate trends in the region’s office market and the commercial outlook in Halton.  The Director of Economic Development for Halton Region, John Davidson, also provided an overview of development activity throughout Halton, Regional plans and programs – including over $4.1 billion in infrastructure investments – and Halton’s positioning within the Innovation Corridor. Continue reading

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Data Insights – 2016 Census Release on Immigration

Teenage friends spending time together

Recently released 2016 Census figures show that there is an increasingly diverse ethnic portrait emerging within Halton communities. Halton welcomed 20,480 new immigrants from 2011 to 2016 who landed in Canada on, or prior to May 10, 2016. New immigrants contribute to the social and economic development of Halton, and play a significant role in shaping and enriching its ethnic, cultural and linguistic composition.

  • 30 per cent per cent of Halton’s population reported they were, or had ever been a landed immigrant or permanent resident, with recent immigrants making up 4 per cent per cent of its population.
  • 41 per cent per cent of all immigrants were 35 to 44 years old at the time of immigration, followed by 20 per cent per cent in both 5 to 14 and 15 to 24 age groups, 12 per cent per cent under 5 years and 8 per cent per cent over 45 years.
  • Asia is the top source continent followed by Europe for total immigrants (41 per cent and 38 per cent). The 2011 to 2016 period also saw Asia as the top continent for recent immigrants (60 per cent), followed by the Americas (15 per cent), Europe (13 per cent), Africa (12 per cent) and Oceania (1 per cent).
  • One in two recent immigrants in Halton Region settled in Oakville (50 per cent) followed by Milton (27 per cent), Burlington (20 per cent) and Halton Hills (3 per cent).
  • The majority (62 per cent) of these new immigrants were admitted under the economic category, 27 per cent under the family class to join family already in the country, and 11 per cent were admitted as refugees.

We’re here to help. Contact us for assistance in expanding your business in Halton Region, or for additional information on the Halton economy. For more detailed statistics, visit

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Five simple steps to turn your business plan from good to great

Business Plan concept on the gearwheels, 3D renderingAs the new year approaches and 2017 comes to an end, the topic of business planning is likely to be on the minds of many would-be (and established) entrepreneurs.

Business Planning is crucial for the success of both new and existing businesses, and it’s an area where the Halton Small Business Centre can help.

Whether you are planning to start a new business or grow an existing business our Halton Small Business Consultants can help you. From financing information to business planning, our Consultants will put you on the path to success.

Over the years our consultants have reviewed thousands of business plans and we have seen what it takes to make a successful plan. Here are five tips to help you turn your plan from good to great:

  1. Don’t tell.

One of the most overused phrases we see in business plans is “we provide great quality, selection and customer service.” These are important areas to focus on, but simply stating them does not make them true. If you are planning to provide excellent customer service, then explain exactly what that will entail, how you will accomplish it, and why it is an area of focus. 

  1. Take the “what/ why/ how” approach. 

Any good business plan template will prompt you for the ‘what’.  What is your business name? What is your address? What are your hours of operation? However, the ‘what’ is usually less important than the ‘why’ and the ‘how’.

As Simon Sinuk discusses in his TED Talk: People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.

When you’re working through your business plan, try to communicate things in the what/why/how order. Taking this approach provides context for the reader and also acts as a litmus test for your decisions. If you don’t have an answer to the ‘why’ and ‘how’, then perhaps you should rethink your decision.

For example:

“The business name is A+ Flooring Halton, because ‘A+’ signifies best in class and has the added benefit of appearing first in any alphabetical listings. ‘Flooring’ is a clear description of our product and is the word with the highest volume of monthly Google searches in our area. ‘Halton’ speaks to the geographic area where we operate, and communicates to our customers in Milton that even though our address is in Oakville, we will still serve them.”     

Start talking to your target audience before you start writing your plan. Your plan should centre on what value you are providing for them.

Regardless of whether you consider yourself to be an Inside-Out or an Outside-In organization, you need to communicate to your customers.

Business planning can’t be done without understanding external factors. It cannot be done entirely in your office and certainly cannot be done in a vacuum. You have to talk to your customers to understand their lived experiences, wants and needs and what drives their purchase decisions. The more you know about your customers, the easier it is to convince them to purchase your product or service.

  1. Look to your Competitors for key insights.

Business planning is not about reinventing the wheel. Always look for best practices that you can adapt for your business from your competitors. What are they doing really well that you can apply to your own business model? Where are they falling short? How can you come into this space and provide more value? What can you do differently?

Along with your customers, your competitors are perhaps the single most important source of insight to your business. Your supply chain, distribution strategies, marketing channels, pricing, financial projections (and more) can all be improved by understanding what your competitors are doing.

  1. Be conservative, realistic and avoid being too “salesy”. 

Your business plan is not a piece of marketing material. It should serve as a strategic roadmap and validate the assumptions that are central to your business model. Be conservative with revenue projections, liberal with expense projections and make sure your business is still financially feasible if these outcomes play out.

Focus on making a compelling business case and communicating a clear, concise plan that can realistically be acted upon.

Once you have completed a draft of your business plan, don’t hesitate to reach out to the Halton Small Business Centre at (905) 825-6000 ext. 7900, or, or drop by in-person at our office at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville.

Our consultants would be happy to review your plan, provide you feedback and ensure that you are well-positioned to achieve your business goals!


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Data Insights – 2016 Census Release on Housing

Nov. 23 Census blog - housingThe housing market in Halton Region remains active and robust. Halton continues to be one of the fastest growing areas in the Greater Toronto and Hamilton Areas (GTHA) in terms of its population and associated household growth, with an 8 per cent increase in the number of households since the 2011 Census.  This reflects the continued movement of Toronto homebuyers – particularly millennials and younger families – into suburban markets in search of more affordable housing options.  Recently released Statistics Canada Census figures indicate that alongside the changing demographic of home owners in Halton, is a changing structure of home ownership.

  • The proportion of Halton residents renting their dwellings rose to 19 per cent in 2016, from 17 per cent in 2011.
  • Halton maintains a comparably high rate of home ownership – 81 per cent compared to 53 per cent in Toronto.
  • Among the 156,165 residents that owned their dwelling, 66 per cent held a mortgage in 2016, up from 64 per cent in 2011.
  • Average shelter costs among owned dwellings rose 16 per cent since the last Census in 2011, and shelter costs for rented dwellings increased 24 per cent.
  • Higher density development that is occurring in Halton is also translating into housing trends with an 11 per cent increase in condominium living from 2011 to 2016, primarily in Milton and Oakville.
  • The boom in Halton residential development is also seen in the age of housing stock, with one in five dwelling units in Halton built within the past 10 years.

We’re here to help. Contact us for assistance in expanding your business in Halton Region, or for additional information on the Halton economy. For more detailed statistics, visit

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Recognizing Global Entrepreneurship Week

Nov. 13 Global Entrepreneurship Week logo (2)

Global Entrepreneurship Week (November 13th – 19th) celebrates entrepreneurs and inspires millions around the world to engage in entrepreneurial activity, while connecting with a vibrant ecosystem of potential collaborators, mentors and local community partners.

To celebrate Global Entrepreneurship Week, the Halton Small Business Centre wants to remind you that we are here to help you realize your self-employment dream!

The Halton Small Business Centre offers a variety of resources and services for entrepreneurs looking to start or grown their business.  The Centre provides information on business planning, tools and templates, seminars, funding options, one-on-one consultations, importing/exporting, and success stories.

Walk-In Services

The Halton Small Business Centre is open from Monday – Friday from 8:30 am – 4:30 pm, with public computer access from 8:30 am – 4:00pm.  The following are a list of available walk-in services:

  • Public use computers to work on business planning, etc.
  • Business name registration
  • Marketing research tools
  • Lending library
  • Toolbox 

Events & Seminars

  • Free 1 hour information session “Getting Started” every Tuesday morning
  • Free or low-fee educational seminars at various locations throughout Halton
  • Networking and B2B events in partnership with our local community partners

Grant/Funding Programs

  • Summer Company is an entrepreneurship program that provides hands-on business training and mentoring to enterprising students between the ages of 15 and 29, to help them start and run their own summer business. Successful applicants receive up to $1,500 in the spring to help with business start-up costs, and up to $1,500 in the fall upon successful completion of their Summer Company experience.
  • Futurpreneur Canada is a national, non-profit organization that provides financing, mentoring, and resources to aspiring business owners aged 18 to 39. The Halton Small Business Centre is the local community partner for Futurpreneur Canada in Burlington, Halton Hills, Milton and Oakville.
  • Starter Company Plus is an entrepreneurship program designed to support and strengthen small business by providing training, mentoring and micro-grant opportunities for eligible individuals 18 years of age or older, to start, grow or buy a small business.

Business Consultants

  • Free one hour, one-on-one consultation with our knowledgeable Business Consultants
  • Consultant–on-Site Program provides clients in Milton & Halton Hills to meet with a Business Consultant at the Milton Education Village Innovation Centre or Halton Hills Public Library
  • Referral to our Access to Professionals Program, which connects clients with a local industry professional for a free 45-minute consultation
  • Outreach with local secondary and post-secondary schools, Canadian Newcomers, Employment, Skills and Training organizations

Take Your Business Global!

  • The Halton Global Business Centre assists Halton-based small and medium-sized businesses to succeed in the global marketplace
  • In collaboration with partners, including Haltech and government agencies, the Halton Global Business Centre delivers programs and services related to export development and scaling up business operations

Success Stories

  • Over the past 10 years, the Halton Region Small Business Centre has responded to over 100,000 inquiries and offered advice to entrepreneurs through more than 10,000 one-on-one consultations
  • Learn about how our young entrepreneurs and start-up clients have turned advice into success!

For more information please visit our website,, call us at  905-825-6000 ext. 7900, or visit us in-person at 1151 Bronte Road, Oakville.



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