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Is your business ready to modernize?

Programs in the Soo help your business transform digitally and build export capacity
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The pandemic taught us many lessons, chief among them the importance of modernizing our businesses. To stay afloat amidst a sea of restrictions, businesses of every size suddenly had to figure out new ways to survive.

The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce is proud to offer two programs that can help: the Recovery Activation Program and the Trade Accelerator Program, says CEO Rory Ring.

Transform digitally

Businesses quickly realized the need to pivot digitally in order to meet the new requirements of their customers. While few would rush to make a big change to the way they do business, sometimes circumstances force you into action. With the Recovery Activation Program (RAP), high-level expertise and support are available to help with this transition.

RAP was created by the Toronto Region Board of Trade and World Trade Centre Toronto. It is a new initiative designed to help businesses improve their digital capacity. It also focuses on helping them build their network, to help take that next step towards digital restructuring.

The process starts when a participant completes the Digital Needs Assessment. This helps to measure their current digital competencies against existing industry benchmarks; it also allows course experts to find the program that best suits each business’s needs.

The program they’ve developed is built around five key pillars:

Digital modernization

Businesses will learn how to use technology to transform their internal processes, such as HR, and their business opportunities, such as sales management and customer relationship management.

Technological infrastructure

Businesses will discover which equipment and techniques are needed in order to make successful digital transformation possible.

Structural and regulatory alignment

This ensures that the approaches taken meet all legal and regulatory requirements.

Digital restructure financing

You will get access to the right mentors, resources and investors, which will help prepare your business to undertake a restructuring.

Marketing and sales

You’ll explore how to leverage data-driven marketing and sales insights, and how these can help drive your business forward.

Participants will have unprecedented access to industry leaders, who will help them build their own personalized plan to grow their business digitally. Not only will you be transforming digitally, you’ll be doing it the right way.

With a strong digital plan in place, businesses can operate better, create new opportunities and support future growth.

RAP is open to all businesses in Ontario and is available at no cost. Complete your Digital Needs Assessment today.

Build export capacity

Canada’s Trade Accelerator Program (TAP) is an innovative one. It was designed to help small- and medium-sized businesses gain knowledge—and a network of contacts—with the goal of unleashing their export potential. Business leaders participate in a series of in-depth workshop sessions with trade and industry experts, learning how to overcome export barriers and reach new markets faster. The program has already earned a reputation for helping businesses achieve real results, fast.

The Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce is pleased to host TAP for the second time, starting in the Fall of 2021. This cohort runs over the course of 8 weeks, beginning Monday, Nov. 22.

Companies can participate via partner nomination or by applying directly. Every application is reviewed by the TAP team to ensure that the program will be a good fit. Each will be considered based on program criteria and assessed on its merits.

The fee for the program is $5,000 per company, but thanks to generous support from the SSMCOC’s partners, the fee is reduced to $495 + HST.

To find out if your company is eligible to participate in TAP – Sault Ste. Marie, your business must meet the following guidelines:

  • Generates approximately $500,000 or more in annual revenue,
  • Has been operating for at least two years and receiving revenue for its product, service or technology,
  • Is already exporting a product, service or technology, but wants to diversify its export markets or has taken exploratory steps to expand into new markets,
  • Has a product, service or technology with a strong competitive advantage as a result of a quality or patent protection,
  • Is located anywhere in Ontario (not limited to the Sault Ste. Marie area),
  • Is willing to dedicate up to two representatives to participate in the program and apply its resources.

Exceptions to the above-mentioned criteria are made for companies and applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis. For more information, or to understand if your company qualifies, please contact the TAP team or SSMCOC.

You can look forward to learning about sales and marketing, international finance for export, building capacity and supply chain management, the legal and tax implications of going global, KPIs and action plans. Your business will develop its own export plan and meet one-on-one with experts to receive tailored feedback.

Just one year after participating in the program, businesses experienced an average growth of 69% in export sales, 18% of participants entered new markets and a whopping 96 per cent said they were better prepared for international business.

For more information about either of these programs, visit the Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce.