Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch

Youth_GroupNow in its fifth year, the Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition is open and accepting submissions. The deadline to register is Wednesday, March 29, 2017.

The Young Entrepreneurs, Make Your Pitch competition asks Ontario high school students in grades 9 – 12  to come up with a business idea, produce a two-minute video pitching their idea and then submit it online (along with a signed letter of consent and a typed transcript of their video).  20 finalists are selected and awarded a trip to Toronto to pitch their ideas live at OCE’s Discovery conference and showcase, May 14-16, 2017, in front of a panel of judges from the entrepreneur community.

Competition dates and deadlines:

  • Video submission deadline: Wednesday, March 29, 2017
  • Voting period: videos will be judged through a combination of online public voting and a panel chosen by the competition organizers. Public votes will make up 40% and the judging panel review will make up 60% of the total score. Public voting will open on Monday, Tuesday, April 4, 2017 and close on Thursday, April 20, 2017.
  • Finalists notified: finalists will be notified by telephone and/or email by Monday, April 24, 2017.
  • OCE Discovery Conference: all finalists will be invited to pitch their business ideas at the annual OCE Discovery Conference at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre from May 14-16, 2017.

Finalists will pitch their ideas live during the conference.  After the live pitches, winners will be selected and granted entry into the Summer Company program (Ontario’s young entrepreneur program) where they will be able to develop and run their businesses. They will also receive a cash reward of  $3,000.  The winners will also receive a prize package. Continue reading

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Are you a student who’s thinking about starting your own business?

Teenage friends spending time together

Summer Company is now open for applications!

The Summer Company Program provides youth ages 15 to 29 that are enrolled in high school or post-secondary school an opportunity to experience what it is like to be an entrepreneur and open their own business.  Every year, the Halton Region Small Business Centre coordinates and delivers the Summer Company Program on behalf of the Province of Ontario.

During the summer break, students that are accepted into the program receive up to $1,500 of financial support to help with start-up costs as well as 12 hours of training and mentoring with Small Business Centre staff and local business professionals. Upon successful completion of the program requirements, students are then eligible to receive an additional $1,500 award. Continue reading

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Welcome to the Halton Business Blog

The Halton Business Blog provides news, resources, tips and expert advice to local entrepreneurs to help them start and grow their business and businesses looking to expand or move to the Greater Toronto Area.

Halton is one of the best places in Canada to do business and our Data Insights feature blogs will help readers understand why. The Data Insights posts will help readers make informed business decisions by providing analysis of various data including demographics, quality of life, and transportation information to industry data, employment, and real estate and development statistics along with business costs.

Our blogs are written by Halton Small Business Centre’s experienced consultants, Economic Development staff as well as expert guest bloggers.  If you need further information on any blog topic or would like to talk to one of our experienced business consultants or economic development staff please email us or give us a call, we’re here to help.

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Halton’s Q4 Economic Performance

Halton Region Economic Development staff issues a quarterly report that provides a snapshot of Halton’s economic performance with respect to development, labour force, and real estate markets.  (Sign-up here to receive it in your inbox!)

The following three measures highlight Halton’s economy during the 4th quarter of 2016:

  1. Development industry ends on a high note

More than 2,100 building permits were issued during the 4th quarter for projects totaling $596 million in construction value.  This represents an 8% increase in building permit construction value over the same period last year.  These projects included large-scale distribution centres in Halton Hills’ Premier Gateway business park and office buildings in Oakville, as well as several new residential condominiums.  Here are a few examples of the projects getting underway:

  • 516,000 square-foot distribution warehouse at 7954 Fifth Line, Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada ($29 million)
  • 370,000 square-foot distribution warehouse at 10793 Steeles Avenue, Halton Hills, Ontario, Canada ($15 million)
  • 41,000 square-foot flexible office building at 567 Michigan Drive, Oakville, Ontario, Canada ($2.5 million)


2. Labour market boost

Halton’s unemployment rate averaged 4.7% during the 4th quarter – a substantial 2.3 percentage point decline over the previous quarter and significantly below the overall Greater Toronto and Hamilton area (GTHA) average of 6.5% and 6.1% provincial average.  Labour market participation in Halton also improved during the quarter to reach 68% of Halton’s working-age population – again notably higher than the GTHA or provincial averages which stood at 64.9% and 64.7%, respectively.  Check out additional labour market stats and historical data in the Data Centre.

3. Industrial and office real estate activity builds momentum

The ongoing swell of construction activity across Halton continues to increase industrial and office real estate inventories throughout the region.  During the quarter, 7.5% of industrial space was available for lease, and the commercial office market had a vacancy rate of 23.6%. The increased building stock, combined with highly competitive market rents ($6.07/sq. ft. industrial, $17.75/sq. ft. office) are important factors contributing to increased absorption in industrial real estate to 1.4 million sq.ft. and office real estate by nearly 58,000 sq.ft.

Stay on top of Halton’s industrial and commercial real estate information by signing up to receive email updates to your inbox.

We’re here to help.  Contact us (email link) 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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Goal Setting for Your Business

putting-ideas-on-paperWhen it comes to taking action or pursuing new endeavours related to your business, it is important to stop to think about what you want to accomplish. Change for the sake of change may lead us down a road that does not meet any goal or objective and may have results that were not expected or considered. For example, let’s say you would like to paint and refurnish your office. You can just move forward and do it, or you can stop to ask yourself, how will this endeavour meet a personal or business goal? What are the results that I seek? What are the details of this action?

It is helpful to distinguish between goals and dreams. Goals have specific objectives. Dreams are often confused with goals; however, with dreams there are no actionable items. Dreams can be seen as wishes and in some cases they do not get done with the results we may have envisioned.

It is recommended to use the following criteria to help define your objectives and keep you on track. These will also help you to differentiate goals from dreams.  The criteria below can help define and measure the outcome, and determine whether or not to take action or change.


S = Specific; the details about the goal. What are you looking to accomplish?

M= Measurable; how much?  This could be sales, units, or something measurable.

A= Attainable; can this goal be met with existing resources?

R= Realistic; do we have the skills and resources to do this?

T= Timely; when will this goal be met?

In summary, when pursuing a new business venture or personal goal, try using the SMART system to work towards your goals.  The results may surprise you. Continue reading

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The new and improved Halton Business Blog

On February 16 we’re changing our blog name from The Halton Small Business Blog to The Halton Business Blog.  All of our social media accounts including Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have the same name so it’s easy to find and follow us.

We’ll continue to provide expert tips and advice and resources to help Halton entrepreneurs start and grow their small business as well as new content in the form of our Data Insights feature posts.  Data Insights will provide local businesses and businesses looking to expand or relocate to the Greater Toronto area with the relevant facts and accurate data they need to make informed decisions.   Read our Data Insights blogs and contributions from guest bloggers to find out what makes Halton one of the best places in Canada to do business! Continue reading

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The Halton Region Small Business Centre Celebrates International Women’s Day

women-entrepreneursInternational Women’s Day is Wednesday, March 8, 2017.  It’s a day to celebrate the cultural, economic, social and political achievements of women all over the globe.  The Halton Region Small Business Centre will once again recognize this annual celebration by hosting a business event on Wednesday, March 8, specifically directed to female entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneurship across the Generations is the 2017 theme for the Halton Region Small Business Centre International Women’s Day Event. Participants are encouraged to network, build connections, share stories and meet other small business owners in the community. The event will also feature inspiring guest speakers and interactive workshops. Continue reading

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