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Initiative Harnesses Youth to Empower Industries to Heighten Their Digital Advantage

By 7 November 2016 No Comments

OTTAWA, November 7, 2016 – The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) recognizes the critical need to solve digital skills gaps faced by Ontario companies and to develop young talent to meet industry needs and respond to emerging market opportunities. Through funding provided in part by the Government of Ontario, ICTC and industry leaders are joining forces to provide a 24-week experiential training program (Ottawa, Toronto, and North Bay) that provides youth with digital skills that can help small businesses adopt advanced technologies to help them compete in a global digital landscape.

Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy. As of June 2016, according to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, small businesses account for 97.9 percent of businesses operating in Canada and these firms contribute more than 30 percent to Canada’s gross domestic product, and employ 8.2 million Canadians in the private sector. Concurrently, small businesses face growth, productivity and innovation challenges. According to the Business Council of Canada “as a group, Canadian businesses have been too slow to invest in research and to adopt leading-edge technologies.” As global competition increases and trade barriers diminish, the backbone of our economy will be affected by the lack of technology adoption by small businesses.

With this in mind, the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is excited to launch the Small Business Digitization Initiative thanks to funding provided in part by the Government of Ontario. ICTC believes that there is an opportunity to connect youth and small businesses and is leading an initiative to provide skills and work experience to unemployed and underemployed youth, while providing companies in sectors like retail and manufacturing with enthusiastic, knowledgeable talent to implement advanced technological solutions to support growth and innovation, in partnership with Savoir-faire Linux.

The Small Business Digitization Initiative aligns closely with the Government of Ontario’s five-year, $400-million Business Growth Initiative which is helping to grow the economy and create jobs by promoting an innovation-based economy, helping small companies scale-up and modernizing regulations for businesses.

“Ontario’s youth have the skills small businesses need to develop the technological disruptions of the future,” said Brad Duguid, Minister of Economic Development and Growth. “That’s why we’re pleased to partner with the Information and Communications Technology Council on this high-impact project. By connecting young people with in-demand training, this program will help small businesses meet their talent needs in a rapidly-evolving, globally competitive sector.”

“We are very delighted to enable this winning combination of harnessing the full potential of young talent to empower small businesses in Ontario to adopt innovative technologies and heighten their competitive advantage in a global economy,” shares Namir Anani, President and CEO, ICTC.

Learn more, get involved! Contact us at digitalconnect@ictc-ctic.ca