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Starting or Growing a Business? Take Advantage of Business Support Organizations

In previous posts, we looked at different business models and how to write a business plan to aid entrepreneurs. In addition, having a helping hand during the initial start-up phase and subsequent operational stage of a business will go a long distance in paving the way for a successful venture. This post will look at some of the non-financial support avenues available in Canada; for financial support programs, please refer to the following older posts:

Canada Small Business Financing Program
Government-funded Business Financing Programs

Canadian Chamber of Commerce

As is well known, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the country’s largest and most influential business network. There are over 450 chambers across Canada including provincial and city associations. They are a non-profit organization that works to fulfill community or area needs by serving as a bridge between businesses and the government and influencing public policy to benefit the business community.

BDC Consulting

BDC Consulting is an arm of the Business Development Bank of Canada. Its network of professional business advisers assist entrepreneurs in evaluating, planning and executing cost-efficient solutions for business development. BDC services include:

  1. Start-up advice such as business planning and financial planning
  2. Market study, export planning and subsequent business strategies
  3. Process improvement through optimization of existing operation, reduction of waste and ISO certifications
  4. Innovation through research and development
  5. Human resources management including succession planning

BDC’s list of business centers in every province and territory can be found here.

Supply Chain Management Association

The Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA) is a non-profit organization that serves as the primary source of supply chain training, education and development in Canada. The SCMA handles various aspects of supply chain including purchasing, sourcing, contract and inventory management and logistics.

It has around 8000 members (from Manufacturing, Government, Natural Resources, Health Care, Education, Services and Retail) and was the first supply chain association in the world to call for members to adhere to a Code of Ethics. Through its ten Provincial and Territorial Institutes, SCMA grants the Supply Chain Management Professional (SCMP) designation, which is the highest accomplishment in the field and the mark of supply chain leadership. The association organizes seminars, training and accreditation programs as part of its service package to members. Details about how to join the SCMA can be found here.

WEConnect Canada

WEConnect Canada was launched in March 2009 with the support of corporate members and Status of Women Canada to assist in the business endeavors of certified women enterprises and corporate members.

The organization strives to associate women business enterprises with the global supply chain to create market opportunities. They progress toward this goal by facilitating relations between members to speed up the development of women-owned businesses and promote diversity in corporate and government supply chains. Information about how to become a member can be found here.

A comprehensive list of business support organizations can be found on this Canada Business Network page including province-specific associations.

Have you used one of the business support organizations to start and/or grow your business? If so, do you have any stories to share?

About the Author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism. You can read his other articles here.

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About the author: Clark works in Saskatchewan and has been working to build his (DIY) investment portfolio, structured for an early retirement. He loves reading (and using the lessons learned) about personal finance, technology and minimalism. You can read his other articles here.

{ 2 comments… add one }
  • SST October 19, 2014, 4:52 pm

    It’s a shame that Clark’s accessible, utilitarian, and information dense articles such as this do not generate more discussion and promotion than much less worthy/more controversial articles.
    (And yes, I’m part of that problem.)

    Thanks for your contributions, Clark.

  • Clark October 21, 2014, 10:49 pm

    @SST: Thank you for the kind words.

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