Small business Web site to focus on Ontario youth

The recently created Ontario Ministry of Small Business andEntrepreneurship has launched a Web site aimed at providingeasily accessible resources with the click of a button.

Latest business news, information on how to start a smallbusiness, and where to receive advisory services can all beaccessed at what MinisterHarinder Takhar said will be the Ontario hub of businessinformation.

Part of the web-based initiative will help young Ontarianslooking to start a business.

“Other sections have information regarding financing a business,information available from government departments and informationabout the Small Business Agency of Ontario,” said Takhar. “We alsostarted a newsletter called Small Business Beat, which highlightsthe success of entrepreneurs.”

The site offers information on a myriad of business-relatedtopics, but also provides focus on Ontario’s youth, he said.

“It is an important goal of the site was to help youngbusinesspeople launch their careers,” he said. “One of the mandatesthat the Premier gave to me was to make sure that young peoplebecome employers, not employees.”

Summer Company is a program run by the Ministry that encouragesstudents to run their own businesses during the summer. Businesstraining and mentoring are provided with rewards reaching $3,000for young entrepreneurs.

Takhar hopes that the Summer Company program will allow studentsa taste of the working world while learning about the concepts ofbusinesses, in and outside of Canada.

“We want to make sure our youth get introduced to the globaleconomy, and we want to work with business people,” said Takhar.”We will provide some assistance so people can get exposed tointernational marketing concepts as well.”

Another method of tapping Ontario’s youth is to become moreinteractive online, so as part of the site’s expansion visitorswill have new methods of communicating with the Ministry, accordingto Takhar.

“My interaction with small businesses now is informal,” he said.”We want to make sure we provide any information small businessescould be looking for. We want their input.”

In the future, Takhar hopes to have chats and online forums toprovide a better flow of communication between ministry andOntarians.

Mechanisms for direct contact from the public to the Ministryshould be available at all times, he said.

“It’s a good way of communication between small businesses andgovernment agencies. I think this will work really well,” saidStella Jurgen, creative director of province partner,Mississauga-based web design company, 17 Designs.

She explained that the site was design-friendly and somethingshe will go to for future business information.

“I thought it was really clean, really easy to navigate. It’svery professional. It seems that it’s loaded with information,” shesaid.

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