ICCC’s Small Business Symposium and Expo 2019 brings together new ideas

L to R: Minister Mary Ng, ICCC President Pramod Goyal, Mayor Frank Scarpitti

Toronto: His Worship Frank Scarpitti, Mayor of Markham and Hon. Mary Ng, Canada’s Minister of Small Business and Export Promotion inaugurated the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce’s (ICCC) Small Business Symposium and Expo 2019 at Markham’s Civic Centre.

In his welcome remarks, Pramod Goyal, President, ICCC, said that over the last couple of decades, the Chamber has focused on the small business sector because of the growing significance of small businesses to the Canadian economy.

Participants of the panel discussion on IT and SMBs

Recent statistics available in the public domain clearly show the dominance of the small business sector in the Canadian economy. For instance, small businesses constitute 98 percent of Canadian employers, and employed nearly 70 percent of the private labour force. Altogether, the small business sector contributed 41 percent to the Canadian GDP. These are important indicators of the significance of small businesses in the Canadian economy.

Mayor Scarpitti emphasized the business-friendly policies that Markham has adopted and how the City administration encouraged small business owners from diverse ethnicities thrive.

Participants of the panel discussion on business challenges

He said Markham has designated about 770 hectares (1,900 acres) of private and city-owned lands that will be developed as a home for innovators. He says it will be one of the largest innovation districts in North America and be close to the Canadian offices of several major technology companies.

The mayor also lauded the role that ICCC has performed of promoting small businesses in Canada. He said he has had the privilege of leading three trade delegations organised by the ICCC over the last few years.  He warmly recalled his association with the Chamber which dates to over two decades.

Minister Ng interacting with ICCC office bearers at an impromptu roundtable

Minister Ng spoke about the $1.8 million investment in Multi-Health Systems Inc. to be in Markham. This investment will help Multi-Health Systems innovate and create good middle-class jobs. “The Government of Canada, through the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP), is delivering on its commitment to support the growth of Canadian businesses and create jobs by making significant investments in innovation.”

Minister Ng congratulated the ICCC for organizing the symposium and the expo. She said ICCC’s support to small businesses is important because small business owners from diverse ethnic backgrounds often do know how to tap into the available resources to succeed, and organisations such as the ICCC fill that gap admirably.

Minister Ng chatting with an exhibitor at the expo

The symposium included two panel discussions on

  • Business growth – challenges and opportunities facing small businesses and
  • Information Technology – SMB’s Enabler for a Level Playing Field: Growing business through technology

B.K. Sethi, Director, Small Business, ICCC, moderated the first panel discussion on business growth. The eminent panelists included Emel Iscan Demir, Manager, Major Accounts, Business Development Bank of Canada; Christina Kakaflikas, Manager, Economic Development, City of Markham; and Karl Maiterth, Manager, Export Marketing Unit, Ontario Food Exports.

Minister Ng chatting with another exhibitor at the expo

Vinod Vyas, Founder and Senior Partner, Partho Technologies Inc. moderated the second panel discussion on IT and SMBs. The panelists included Baskaran Rajamani, Partner, Risk Advisory, Deloitte Canada; Anil Dasaratha, Director Sales, Wipro Limited; Akshay Kalle, CTO, Pathways Communications; and Ahmed Adel, Azure PMM Manager in Microsoft Canada.

Over 20 small businesses participated in the Expo displaying their products and services. Minister Ng visited all the exhibitors and talked to each of them about their businesses, growth and expansion strategies including exploring global markets