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Ontario adopts a unique approach to accelerate small business digitization

By 6 April 2017 No Comments


Ottawa, Ontario – Today, the Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) launched its Small Business Digitization Initiative, in partnership with Savoir-faire Linux. Some 60 guests celebrated the first intake of participating students and small businesses at Microsoft Canada’s offices in Ottawa. 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 underemployed and unemployed youth with digital skills training in open source technology, innovation and entrepreneurship to enable them to solve real-world challenges that small businesses face in adopting technology.

Small businesses are the backbone of Ontario’s economy yet they often face challenges in implementing new technology, including a lack of capital or resources or in some instances the capacity to do it effectively. Through this initiative, ICTC is providing small businesses with students to assess their needs and enable their transition to technology that may boost profits, productivity and/or enable growth.

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.

“The Government of Ontario is pleased to support 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 adopt technology in a rapidly-evolving, globally competitive sector.” – The Honourable Brad Duguid, MPP – Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Growth.

This initiative would not be possible without the extensive community of partners who are helping to make it a success and the participating students and businesses. “We are delighted to have so many partners enabling this winning combination that harnesses 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.

“The Small Business Digitization Initiative will not only support hard-working younger Canadians to gain skills and experience in the modern, digital economy; it will give Canadian entrepreneurs and small business owners access to the kind of digital skills that they need to help them expand their reach, and sell to new markets. This Initiative will help businesses grow, and create the kinds of jobs that will be perfect for the digital experts they are training.” – The Honourable Bardish Chagger, Leader of the Government in the House of Commons and Minister of Small Business and Tourism.

The Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) is a not-for-profit national centre of expertise for the digital economy. Through trusted research, innovative talent solutions, and practical policy advice, ICTC fosters innovative and globally competitive Canadian industries empowered by a talented and diverse digital workforce. Companies interested in ICTC’s Small Business Digitalization Initiative can reach ICTC through its website ( or by emailing [email protected]

Funding provided in part by the Government of Ontario