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Vaughan Small Business Week 2020

Celebrating the contributions and resiliency of our small business owners and entrepreneurs

October 20 - 22, 2020

The beginning of October marks the beginning of Small Business Month, dedicated to celebrating the contributions of entrepreneurs and small business owners to our local communities and economies. In Vaughan, 87% of our more than 19,000 businesses are small business.

This year, we recognize the courage, resiliency and adaptability of the small business owners and entrepreneurs who help make Vaughan a vibrant community. Vaughan Small Business Week 2020 features five events to help Vaughan’s talented entrepreneurs and small business owners have real conversations, leverage local resources and connections, and learn from industry experts to help your business grow and adapt to a changing landscape in uncertain times.

Celebrate and get connected with your local business community! Space is limited.


Calendar of Events

Tuesday, October 20

Small Business Week Launch: Fireside Chat & Virtual Networking with the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Join us as we kick-off Vaughan Small Business Week 2020 in partnership with the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce. Hear from Summer Company 2020 alumnus and inspiring local teenage entrepreneur Ananya Vishwanath, CEO of VQueues in a fireside chat with Brian Shifman, President & CEO of Vaughan Chamber of Commerce on finding opportunity during uncertain times and adapting to a changing environment as a young entrepreneur. Afterwards, build new connections in interactive virtual networking. This event will feature a virtual address from Mayor Maurizio Bevilacqua.

This event is presented in partnership with the Vaughan Chamber of Commerce.

Learn more and register

Wednesday, October 21

Five Healthcare Marketing Secrets
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Receive practical, hands-on advice that will help you attract buyers and accelerate your sales. The workshop will cover:

  • The one characteristic that must permeate all your marketing materials
  • Who you need to cultivate in order to win deals more quickly
  • The one thing healthcare buyers appreciate the most
  • What digital health has in common with a refrigerator

This workshop is presented in partnership with ventureLAB. It is also a part of programming for Activate!Vaughan Innovation Challenge

Learn more and register

How to Create Consumer Products that Sell
3 to 4 p.m.

This workshop helps innovators evaluate opportunities, build unique food business concepts and develop food products people want to buy and retailers want to carry. Exercises and concrete examples will be used to demonstrate how to create solid value propositions and identify high value market positions. This workshop will change the way food entrepreneurs, business strategists and product developers think about R&D.

This workshop is presented in partnership with Yspace and their York Region Food Accelerator. Learn more about other food and beverage programming for Vaughan entrepreneurs taking place in October.

Learn more and register

Thursday, October 22

Getting Started as a Young Entrepreneur
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Ready to turn your business idea into a reality? Ask burning questions about how to develop your business successfully and explore services and programs available to launch your business.  Join Faaria Wali, Business Development Manager at Futurpreneur Canada as she walks you through the tools and programs offered to help aspiring young entrepreneurs (aged 18-39) turn great ideas into thriving businesses.

This workshop is presented in partnership with Futurpreneur Canada.

Learn more and register

Hiring Incentives for Employers
2 to 4 p.m.

Your company’s success is tied to your employees – get valuable insights into hiring in Vaughan and learn how to make get the most of your next hire. COSTI Vaughan Employment Services will walk local businesses through available funding that will help them to hire their next employees.

This workshop is presented in partnership with COSTI Vaughan Employment Services.

Learn more and register

 

Places to Network

Vaughan has the talent, resources, networks and transportation connections to help enterprises of all sizes scale and expand.

Start connecting with them by getting involved in these local business organizations, events and platforms:

Related Tools & Resources

Vaughan Small Business Week 2020

Celebrating the contributions and resiliency of our small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Learn More

Starter Company Plus

The Vaughan Starter Company Plus program is designed for you and your business. Receive tailored...

Learn More

Summer Company

Summer Company is a great opportunity for students between the ages of 15 and 29...

Learn More

Activate!Vaughan

Activate!Vaughan is a new innovation program that connects high-potential entrepreneurs to market-driven entrepreneurship opportunities and...

Learn More

Programming for Tech Entrepreneurs

The City of Vaughan and ventureLAB have partnered to provide enhanced services to help entrepreneurs...

Learn More

Vaughan Business Expo

The Vaughan Business Expo is our annual business-to-business event. It brings hundreds of businesses and...

Learn More

Vaughan Business Café

Have you ever had a question that you wish you could ask another entrepreneur or...

Learn More
View all resources

Starter Company Plus

The Vaughan Starter Company Plus program is designed for you and your business. Receive tailored training, mentorship and the opportunity to apply for a provincial grant of up to $5,000 to help your business grow.

The Starter Company Plus program is offered at the Vaughan Business Enterprise Centre through the support of the Government of Ontario and the City of Vaughan. Qualified applicants will receive:

  • Mentoring from successful local entrepreneurs
  • Training tailored to your specific sector
  • Advice services for business
  • Access to business workshops and valuable networking opportunities
  • Opportunity to apply for a grant of up to $5,000 in provincial funding

To receive further information about the program, please complete the Starter Company Plus eligibility survey. All eligible participants will be invited to attend training sessions on an ongoing basis.

Applications for the Starter Company Plus program Winter 2020 cohort are closed. Please check back for updates on future programming intakes.

Bonus offer: All program participants will receive 50% off two weeks of co-working space at the HUB Vaughan.

Successful grant applicants will receive a $200 credit voucher to the HUB Vaughan services.

Starter Company Success Story

Summer Company

Summer Company is a great opportunity for students between the ages of 15 and 29 who want to run their own summer business. It provides them with access to up to $3,000 in provincial funding, as well as business training, advice and mentorship to get up and running. The Summer Company Program is offered at the Vaughan Business Enterprise Centre through the support of the Government of Ontario and the City of Vaughan.

View all eligibility criteria and program requirements

Applications for the 2021 Summer Company program are now open until May 23, 2021.

To apply, please visit the Ontario Summer Company webpage and submit an application inquiry. A small business advisor will then contact you to assist you with your business plan and application.

If you would like more information about the Summer Company program, please complete an information request form.

2020 Summer Company Students

View the 2020 Summer Company Directory

Program Alumni

View the 2019 Summer Company Directory

Activate!Vaughan

Activate!Vaughan Innovation Program

Activate!Vaughan is a new innovation program that connects high-potential start-ups and scale-ups to market-driven entrepreneurship opportunities and mentorship from industry leaders and multinationals. The City of Vaughan will deliver four Activate!Vaughan pitch challenges from 2019–2021, each focused on a specific opportunity for innovation.

Check out this recap of the Activate!Vaughan Health Innovation Challenge, delivered in partnership with Mackenzie Health and the Mackenzie Innovation Institute (Mi2), SE Health, Sterling Industries and ventureLAB. 

Activate!Vaughan Smart City Challenge

The Activate!Vaughan Smart City Challenge is calling on startups and scale-ups to propose innovative solutions that leverage smart city technology to enhance quality of life in Vaughan.

With a total of $25,000 in grant funding available, Activate!Vaughan provides mentorship, validation and co-development opportunities with the City of Vaughan and other corporate partners to support the commercialization of new smart city solutions.

The Smart City Challenge will focus on four themes:

  • Electric Mobility
  • Municipal Services Route Optimization
  • Age-Friendly Communities
  • Intelligent Placemaking

We are looking for solutions which will accelerate action on climate change, support data-driven decision-making, increase opportunities for participation for seniors, and realize the potential of our public spaces.

Join us to validate your solutions, make valuable connections, develop new partnerships and accelerate your impact!

Applications close Friday, March 5th, 2021.

For more information, or to inquire about partnership and sponsorship opportunities, please contact ecd@vaughan.ca.

READ THE CHALLENGE BRIEFING

APPLY NOW

Challenge 1: Electric Mobility Innovation

Presented by: Alectra Utilities, City of Vaughan: Policy Planning and Environmental Sustainability & Transportation Planning

Problem Statement:
How can we use data and connected technology to address barriers to electric vehicle (EV) adoption and empower individuals, communities and businesses with access to more affordable, reliable and environmentally responsible e-mobility solutions?

Challenge 3: Age-friendly Communities

Presented by: Mackenzie Health and Vaughan Public Libraries

Problem Statement:
How can we leverage smart city technologies to improve access to healthcare and enhance social participation opportunities for our aging population?

Challenge 2: Municipal Services Route Optimization

Presented by: City of Vaughan, Public Works

Problem Statement:
How might we use smart technology to improve municipal service delivery to increase operational efficiencies, reduce costs and ultimately enhance citizen experience?

 

Challenge 4: Intelligent Placemaking

Presented by: City of Vaughan, Vaughan Metropolitan Centre Program

Problem Statement:
How might we collect and leverage user data to make intelligent decisions about the design, creation and activation of public  spaces in the Vaughan Metropolitan Centre?

Program Phases

Programming for Tech Entrepreneurs

The City of Vaughan and ventureLAB have partnered to provide enhanced services to help entrepreneurs market their ideas, develop new and innovative services, and remain ahead of the competition. 

This partnership expands ventureLAB’s reach across York Region to offer better access to professional coaching, mentoring and strategic advice from an experienced growth advisor for Vaughan-based businesses.

2020 dates to be announced soon!

*Please note: To attend the Investment Readiness Clinic, you must be registered with ventureLAB and have attended an orientation session.

Vaughan logo

Vaughan Business Expo

The Vaughan Business Expo is our annual business-to-business trade show. It brings hundreds of businesses and organizations together for targeted networking and learning opportunities to help grow your business.

The 19th Annual Vaughan Business Expo presented by Allstate Canada will be taking place virtually via Remo conference platform on February 23, 2021.

The Vaughan Business Expo is the City’s premier business event with an anticipated two hundred attendees. The event’s purpose remains to help businesses grow by providing them an opportunity to make connections across the City and Region, as well as providing an opportunity to hear from industry leaders and experts across different areas.

Attend and explore upcoming opportunities, network with the local business community and create meaningful connections.

Space is limited, register today!

How to participate

You must purchase a ticket to receive access to this event. Prior to the event, registrants will receive information and tutorials on how to use the platform, day-of expectations, and attendee information via e-mail.

Tickets for this event are $10, with a portion of sales being donated to the United Way Greater Toronto.

Register now

 

For more information, please contact ecd@vaughan.ca.

 

Interested in learning how you can get involved in this year’s virtual Expo? Check out our sponsorship flyer!

Agenda

7:45 – 8:30 a.m. | Pre-event: Platform exposure and set up your networking card.
8:30 – 8:45 a.m. |  General networking and morning mingle ​
8:45 – 8:50 a.m. | Welcoming Remarks: Mayor’s Address, City of Vaughan Economic Development, FedDev Ontario, and Presenting Sponsor Allstate Insurance Company of Canada
8:50 – 9:20* a.m. | Keynote Address​ – The importance of going global: tapping into international markets in the growing digital economy presented by Paul Gaspar, Director of Small Business, UPS Canada
9:25 – 9:55* a.m. | Your business grows here: How to do business with the Government 
10:00 – 10:30 a.m.* | Themed tables to get support for your business and general networking​
10:35 – 11:15 a.m.* | Your business tomorrow: What does the future of fulfillment look like?
11:20 – 11:50 a.m. | Themed tables to get support for your business and general networking​
11:50 – noon | Room open for general networking ​
Noon – 1:30 p.m. | BREAK​ 
1:30 – 2:15* p.m. | Transformative technology: trends and opportunities shaping our smart cities
2:20 – 3:05 p.m. | Themed tables to get support for your innovative business and general networking
3:05 – 3:30 p.m. | Free Networking ​
*5-minute breaks

 

 

Programming Highlights

Attendees will be able to participate to programming throughout the day, with key program features:

Keynote address | The importance of going global: tapping into international markets in the growing digital economy

In today’s digital economy, your potential audience isn’t just in your own backyard, but a potential 7 billion people around the world. Join Paul Gaspar, Director of Small Business with UPS Canada to learn why now more than ever it’s important to future proof your business no matter the size by looking at expanding your business beyond your immediate borders. You’ll take away where to start and real life examples of what to think about as you begin or improve the way you’re doing business globally. Presented by Paul Gaspar, Director of Small Business – UPS Canada

Your business grows here | How to do business with the government

An information session highlighting how to become a vendor and do business with different levels of government. Featuring representatives from the City of Vaughan and Office of Small and Medium Enterprises – Ontario Region, part of Public Services and Procurement Canada.

Your business tomorrow | The future of fulfillment

The supply chains of the future have arrived. We live in an increasingly online world which has shown the need for modernized processes and cutting edge technology for businesses remain competitive. Hear from industry leaders on what this means for the future of fulfillment, how they’ve adapted and continue to adapt to an ever changing world, and how businesses can begin to prepare themselves for what this future will look like. Moderated by Spencer Musset, VP with CBRE – Toronto, and featuring esteemed panelists Lea Bottoni, Director, HR Operations, E-Commerce, Sobeys; Paul Gaspar, Director of Small Business, UPS Canada, and Moses Akingbade, Senior Director, Quality Management Systems, VersaCold Logistics Services

Transformative technology: trends and opportunities shaping our smart cities

By 2025, the global smart city market is expected to grow to over $800 billion USD. The demand for smart city solutions continues to grow, as both cities and businesses need to better manage scarce resources, increase efficiencies, and elevate the quality of life for residents. During this panel, hear from industry leaders as they share about current opportunities, trends and challenges in the smart city market and make connections to what this may mean for your business. Moderated by Kitty Yung, Project Manager, Smart City Business Program at City of Vaughan, with esteemed panelists Lucy Casacia, Vice President – Smart Solutions of WSP Canada; Angus Ho, Innovation Consultant at Mackenzie Innovation Institute; and John Chiappetta, Advanced Technology Platforms Lead at Ontario Centre of Innovation (OCI).

Vaughan Business Café

Have you ever had a question that you wish you could ask another entrepreneur or business leader?  

Diverse connections are at the core of innovation and company growth. This is why the City of Vaughan is excited to announce a new way that entrepreneurs, small business owners and corporate partners can connect to ask questions, share ideas and form new professional relationships.

How Does the Vaughan Business Café Work?

  • You’ll receive a monthly introduction to a fellow member based on your interests and goals.
  • Suggest a time to chat, in person, at a coffee shop or online from the comfort of your home, to share your advice and experience.
  • Once you join, all introductions are sent directly to your inbox with your match’s email, so you don’t need to use another tool!

Connect with Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs in Vaughan

  • Join the online community and get matched with business experts.
  • Find a mentor or strategic partner.
  • Become a mentor and share your expertise.
  • Engage and share ideas to help your business grow.

Register online for the Vaughan Business Café.