Toronto – A group of six Canadian-based companies have come together to form a new alliance called The Committed to Growing Small Business Coalition or Committed. The coalition is focused on developing and offering resources to assist Canadian entrepreneurs and small business owners in building, maintaining and growing their companies.
Committed includes organizations from various industries and includes STAPLES Canada, Hewlett-Packard (Canada) Co., Intuit Canada, Rogers Cable Communications, Citi Cards Canada and Silver Lining Ltd., a business development company for small businesses. Silver Lining is the catalyst behind this new coalition, which was assembled with the belief that the six companies are stronger together than apart.
“History has shown that small businesses are the engine that can drive economies out of a recession,” said Carissa Reiniger, founder and president of Silver Lining. “We realized that now is the ideal time to bring this group of established companies together with the objective of giving small businesses all the resources and training they need to flourish in these tough times.”
Committed recently wrapped up one of its many initiatives planned for 2009, the Committed to Growing Small Business Tour, which focused on supporting small businesses through education. The tour visited 10 cities across Canada and was attended by more than 450 entrepreneurs. The tour will be repeated during small business month in October 2009 in STAPLES retail locations. The free sessions, which are hosted by Silver Lining’s Reiniger, focus on helping small business owners develop and execute their Silver Lining Action Plan (SLAP), which helps business owners develop their one-year goals, define their target markets and put together 12-month action plans. All events include practical giveaways and door prizes from all Committed members as well as one BlackBerry® smartphone from Research in Motion Limited per session.
During the sessions, Reiniger will also provide participants with the new easyRewards Savings for Small Business cards which allow small business owners to earn rewards on STAPLES purchases in Canada. Once the cards are activated online, users will gain access to the Committed web portal, which offers a range of exclusive discounts along with access to content and advice.
Jennifer Ettinger, founder of Fit Your Style, learned firsthand how a small business can benefit through the programs being offered by the new coalition. Ettinger was a recent winner of Silver Lining’s Connecting the Dots program, which is sponsored by Committed. This program gives small business owners the opportunity to learn from and shadow successful entrepreneurs for one day. Through Connecting the Dots, Ettinger traveled to Atlanta to meet with Cynthia Good, founding editor and CEO of Pink Magazine. Ettinger took the valuable information she learned from Good and changed the way she now operates her company.
“The Connecting the Dots program has catapulted both me and my brand to another level,” said Ettinger. “Working with Cynthia Good has given me the insight I need to help me continue to build my company and take it to new heights. This whole experience gives me a new appreciation for companies, like the ones in Committed, who truly want to help small businesses.”
In addition to the Connecting the Dots program, Committed is planning additional initiatives including a program called Committed to Growing Small Business Conversations. This program is designed to provide small business owners the opportunity to discuss business issues with representatives from larger organizations.
“Big and small businesses do not get many chances to talk to each other in a candid and open environment,” said Reiniger. “Through this program, big businesses can better understand the real challenges small businesses face as they grow and small businesses can get insight into the processes involved in working with a larger organization. The goal of these conversations is to discuss a series of topics that frustrate all businesses regardless of size and to brainstorm tactics that could help alleviate those concerns.”
There are three Small Business Conversations planned for the remainder of the year on topics including finance, innovation and marketing.
All of the resources, events and tools Committed is creating are free of charge to help small businesses grow. Additional information on the Small Business Tour, Conversations, Connecting the Dots and many other initiatives already underway can be found on the Committed website.