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Ad campaign encourages people to care about the poor as they do celebrities

A controversial Canadian ad campaign that imagines what would happen if people cared about those living in poverty as they do celebrities has been turning heads internationally this week.
 
The ads for Toronto's WoodGreen Community Services—a social services agent that helps people find safe, affordable housing and employment, among other things—focus on struggling single mothers, putting their everyday headlines on the pages of replica celebrity-themed magazines and television shows. One reads, "Tanya tries to avoid eviction—see inside her home," while another notes, "Can't pay for secondhand—Jenna Smith shops for children's shoes she can't afford."
 
"Our creative is a parody of popular celebrity media culture, but instead of celebrity-focused stories, it features hard-hitting headlines about struggling single mothers and the real hardships they face each day.  Learning about celebrities is fun, but we want people to recognize that there are many others who are in greater need of our attention and support," says Denise Rossetto, executive creative director at DDB Canada, the firm behind the campaign. 
 
A television commercial that has been airing on local stations features two entertainment reporters happily discussing the headlines as though they were celebrities, but instead the stories draw attention to the real life and often ignored struggles of women living below the poverty line.

Watch the video below.
 
 
Read the full story and see more photos here
Original Source: Jezebel

Top employers in the GTA

Aon Hewitt's annual rankings of the best employers in Canada are in. The organization has been ranking companies based on employee, leader, and human resource practices surveys submitted by participating organizations for more than 15 years.

There's good news for the GTA this year as the top four companies in the region are also the top four companies in the country (in the same order). Cisco Systems Canada, EllisDon Corporation, Bennett Jones LLP, and Marriott Hotels of Canada have been selected as the four best companies to work for in the nation.
 
Here is the full list of top organizations in the GTA:
 
Large Organizations

1. Cisco Systems Canada*
2. EllisDon Corporation*
3. Bennett Jones LLP*
4. Marriott Hotels of Canada*
5. Chubb Insurance Company of Canada*
6. McDonald's Restaurants of Canada Limited
7. Flight Centre
8. Keg Restaurants Ltd.*
9. Edward Jones*
10. LoyaltyOne Inc
11. PCL Constructors Inc.*
12. Hatch*
13. The Co-operators*
14. SAP Canada*
15. Stikeman Elliott
16. Starwood Hotels and Resorts Canada
17. OMERS Administration Corporation*
18. TD Bank Group*
19. Novotel Canada
20. Gowling Lafleur Henderson LLP
21. Delta Hotels and Resorts
22. Aecon Group Inc.
23. G&K Services Canada Inc.
24. National Bank
25. Allstate Insurance Company of Canada*
26. Golder Associates Ltd.
27. GlaxoSmithKline Inc.
28. Earl's Restaurants Ltd.
29. Amex Canada Inc / Amex Bank of Canada
30. Dillon Consulting Limited
31. Procter & Gamble — Market Development Organization
32. Miller Thomson LLP
33. The Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited
34. Morguard Corporation
35. Fraser Milner Casgrain LLP
 
Small and Medium Organizations

1. Arrow Professional Services*
2. iGATE Global Solutions Ltd
3. Intelex Technologies In.
4. Achievers*
5. IHG
6. Intuit Canada
7. Klick Inc.
8. OPTIMUS I SBR Inc.
9. CAAT Pension Plan
10. C.S.T. Consultants Inc.
11. peopleCare Inc.
12. Geo. A. Kelson Company Limited
13. 99 bottles Inc. o/a beerbistro
14. TIC Travel Insurance Coordinators Ltd.
15. Furlani's Food Corporation
16. Gibraltar Solutions Inc.
17. Wakefield Canada Inc.
18. Vital Insights Inc
19. SOCAN - Society of Composers, Authors and Music Pu
20. Pinchin Environmental Ltd.
21. Phonak Canada
22. Ryan ULC
23. CWB Group - Industry Services
24. Mitsubishi Motor Sales of Canada, Inc.
25. MasterCard Canada
 
* Also appeared on the Best Employers in Canada list
 
For the full list of Canada's best employers, click here
Original Source: Aon Hewitt

Oakville's Oliberté the world's first Fair Trade Certified shoe company

Tal Dehtiar was in Sarnia earlier this month to describe how his company, Oliberté, became the world's first shoe company to be Fair Trade Certified by Fair Trade USA.
 
It all started when Dehtiar, then in his twenties, met a shoe salesman at a market in Liberia. A passion for business and a penchant for curiosity, Dehtiar asked him how business was. "Not good, the man replied," as the Observer describes. Local shoe salesmen were losing out to free charity handouts and couldn't survive, not even on low prices. 
 
Dehtiar later launched Oliberté Footwear, which manufactures its shows in "leather shoes with rubber soles in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, providing its workers with more than double the country's typical minimum wage and helping lift native Ethiopians out of poverty," according to the article. 
 
"We build our shoes in one of the most difficult parts of the world," Dehtiar is quotes as saying to about 75 people at the keynote presentation as part of Sarnia-Lambton Business Week. 

The company's factory opened last year and currently employs 70 workers. It's now a multi-million-dollar company in "a part of the world that was largely foreign to him." However, "Owning the factory means the company determines how its workers are treated."
 
"We'll never be the biggest shoe company in the world, but we'll always be the most ethical and the best," Dehtiar says in the article. "Hopefully other companies will follow.
 
Read the full story here
Original Source: The Observer

Toronto again named one of the world's smartest communities

For the second year in a row, the Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF) has named Toronto as one of the world's 21 smartest communities. ICF looks at communities around the world and grades them based on how broadband infrastructure and IT builds economies and improves the lives of local citizens. 
 
The list will be whittled down to seven finalists to be announced in January. The winner will be announced on June 6, 2014 at a ceremony in New York City.
 
Toronto secured a spot in the top seven last year, but it was Taichung, Taiwan that came out on top. 
 
"One of the major reasons for Toronto’s claim to the title is because of Waterfront Toronto, which has launched several intelligent community programs," said an article that ran on itbusiness.ca. The article cites Waterfront's various accomplishments including building a cloud-based community platform that allows businesses and residents access to data "they can use it to make decisions about daily commutes, residents' health, energy, and water use."
 
In addition to Waterfront Toronto, the City of Toronto also named digital programs such as Kids@Computers and Connected For Success, as well as the Centre for Social Innovation and the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University in its application. 
 
Read the full story here
Original Source: IT Business
 

Leading Edge Group teams up with Durham university to offer Lean Thinking certification

The Toronto-based Leading Edge Group, an international company that offers lean consulting among other things, has teamed up with the Durham-based University of Ontario Institute of Technology to offer online and instructor-led education Lean Thinking certification to organizations, businesses and individuals across Canada.
 
The programs are designed to "help strip wasteful activities and optimize resources in both the public and private sectors," according to an article that ran on durhamregion.com.
 
"The partnership will offer the first full suite of academically-certified Lean programs in Canada," it continues. 
 
"The Lean methodology has become hugely important as a core competency recognized and required across industry so being able to provide entire spectrum of Lean education programs -- from beginner to advanced -- means we will be able to meet the needs of all organizations and individuals, regardless of where they are on their continuous improvement journey," says Dr. Tim McTiernan, UOIT president and vice-chancellor, in the article. 
 
The agreement allows the two organizations to work together to provide education and certification. Leading Edge Group has offices in Toronto, the United States and the United Kingdom, but is based out of Ireland. This partnership will help Leading Edge Group continue to grow in the Canadian market. 
 
Read the full story here.
Original Source: Durham Region
 

Toronto-based social stock exchange contains a "global first"

In September, Canada became on of the first countries internationally to launch a Social Stock Exchange, a program that originated in the UK to connect socially driven business with investors. 
 
The UK has taken note. In an article profiling Canada's Social Venture Connexion (SVK)—which is lead by Toronto's MARS Centre for Impact Investing—the Guardian points out that although the Stock Exchange programs are similar, there are some key differences. Unlike the UK's Social Stock Exchange and Asia's Impact Investment Exchange, neither are actually social stock exchange programs. Canada's is considered a "global first" though we're hesitant to admit it.
 
Describing the work of the UK's Social Stock Exchange, [MaRS' Adam] Spence explains that rather than directly connecting social ventures with investors they are an information website that focuses on assessing the social impact of these currently listed companies.
 
SVX, on the other hand, is a social stock exchange, says Spence. He said: "SVX is registered as a restricted dealer with the Ontario Securities Commission (OSC), not unlike other capital markets players like financial advisors, financial institutions, broker-dealers, and exchanges or marketplaces.

"This is not to say that the work of the SVX is better than what is going on in London or Singapore, as they are doing great work. But they are all different."
 
Read the full story here
Original Source: The Guardian 

Toronto's Lovebot invasion is growing

Have you seen the Lovebots? These child-sized concrete robots have been popping up around the city in areas where people and companies have done good deeds. You can see them at Nadège Patisserie, Atomic Toybot, and various other locations. By the time the invasion is complete, 100 Lovebots will be spread around the city and surrounding area.
 
“The whole idea was that we’re not just faceless robots who don’t talk to each other on the bus. We all have big hearts. I wanted to make a symbol that represented the people in this city," creator Matthew Del Degan told Samaritan Magazine
 
Del Degan is in his fifth and final year of industrial design studies at OCAD and originally created a toy version of the Lovebot for a class project. He loved it so much, and the response was so positive, he decided to make it something bigger.
 
People submit "love letters" via Lovebot.com, an interactive map-based platform that not only displays the locations of current Lovebots, but also encourages others to do good deeds in the name of kindness and love. These love letters are used to decide where to place the Lovebots, in places where people have done charitable deeds or simply been good people. 
 
Del Degan has big plans. In another article, he talks about wanting to take the Lovebot invasion global, but in Samaritan Magazine he discusses his desire to make the Lovebots more of a permanent fixture in Toronto.
 
“There’s this giant robot I want to make. I can make it a monument in Toronto,” he says. “If you had a giant robot in your city, it would be a cool thing to come and see. I want the project at the core to be from Toronto because the cement robots sprung out of the city, the ‘cement jungle."
 
Read the full story here
Original source: Samaritan Mag

5 reasons Toronto is inching towards becoming 'Silicon Valley North'

Toronto is on its way to earning a new nickname "Silicon Valley North," according to an article that ran in Global News. The article names numerous reasons. We've compiled the top five. 
 
Acquisitions
 
This year alone, the article notes, Google "scooped up" University of Toronto startup DNN research, while Apple acquired data services startup Locationary. 
 
Regional ties
 
The city's ties with the surrounding Waterloo and Markham ("known for its slogan 'Canada's high-tech capital'") regions positions it as a central hub of entrepreneurial culture. 
 
Engineers
 
“If you think about Facebook, Google, all of the big Valley companies – most of them were started out of the universities. It’s the talent from the engineering schools that fuelled the tech scene in Silicon Valley,” says Payman Nilforoush, CEO of earned advertising platform inPowered, in the article. 

The article points out that major tech companies have noticed the talent coming out of schools such as the University of Toronto and University of Waterloo, noting that companies such as Google and Facebook have "made an effort to attract some of those graduates." 

Cost

Nilforoush notes that, "In his experience, relative to Silicon Valley, the cost of running a business in Toronto in most cases is nearly half."

Mentorship

"According to the Bank of Montreal, almost half of Canadian post-secondary students surveyed — 46 per cent — said they see themselves starting a business after graduation," the article reports. It states grads are relieved to find out they don't have to travel to Silicon Valley to receive the mentorship they desire due to a number of "boot camp" style programs stemming from Ontario universities. 
 
Read the full story here
Original source: Global News.

More evidence Toronto a top city for entrepreneurs

Forbes has compiled a list of the top cities for entrepreneurs, naming Toronto as a key region.
 
"Toronto is home to Canada's largest entrepreneur ecosystem and one of the largest in the world. Toronto entrepreneurs have their attention on new markets and outsourcing is increasingly popular. Some entrepreneurial success stories are Wave Accounting, FreshBooks, and Achievers," the article says.
 
Incidentally, Toronto was listed second, surpassed only by Silicon Valley.
 
Techvibes also recently weighed in, wondering if Toronto has what it takes "to become the entrepreneurial capital of the world."
 
"Toronto was recently ranked among the top five startup hubs globally, one of the most livable cities in the world, and the fourth-largest city in the North America in terms of population—but what does this all mean for community’s entrepreneurial future?" Techvibes wrote.
 
The article cites the city's multi-cultural, "diverse and entrepreneurial workforce" as a key component. "Universities in Ontario have a strong emphasis on research and innovation. They are producing the deepest talent pools in business, engineering and science with many of these graduates choosing to start their own businesses."
 
Government funding opportunities, accelerator programs, VC funding, and a "great ecosystem for young companies" are also cited as reasons why Toronto is a top city for entrepreneurs. 
 
Read the full story here
Original source: Forbes

Chance encounter in Toronto changes man's life, inspires him to help others

A man who got his start in entrepreneurship here in Toronto is speaking out about the very incident that changed his life. 
 
"It was a chance remark by a stranger in Toronto" that inspired Baljit Singh Sandhu to move back to India and start his own business, Worldwide Immigration Consultancy Services Limited (WWICS), says an article that ran in the Business Standard.
 
Sandhu had been living in Toronto and working as a land surveyor with Canadian companies after moving here from India. He lived in Canada for 10 years and throughout this time kept meeting people in his neighbourhood who were from all over the world, but were living here as illegal migrants. 
 
"It was due to sheer ignorance on the part of these educated people and silly mistakes in their applications that they were treated as illegal migrants," Sandhu says in the article. He started advocating on their behalf through Canada's special courts for refugees and the court noticed. "One day, an officer asked me why I didn't help the foreign arrivals before they landed in Canada as illegal migrants, instead of wasting the court's time and energy after they arrived," he says. 
 
"It was this remark that was to change the course of my life. I returned to India in September 1998 and set up WWICS in October that year."
 
WWICS conducts seminars to "disseminate information" about jobs, resettlement options, and the "benefits of complete and accurate documentation in migration," the article says, working with aspirants to choose locations that match their skills. The company now has 40 locations throughout India and around the world, including here in Toronto. The article reports that WWICS has helped 100,000 families migrate in its 15 years of operation. 
 
Read the full story here
Original source: Business Standard

Toronto one of eight potential rivals to Silicon Valley

California's Silicon Valley has long been known as the world's innovation hub. It is home to the headquarters of some of the world's top tech companies, not to mention a plethora of startups. But other cities are beginning to catch up and challenge Silicon Valley as a sole destination. 
 
Australia's the Herald Sun has published a list of eight destination sit says could potentially rival Silicon Valley. Among it: Toronto. 
 
"Nicknamed Silicon Valley North, Toronto has reigned as the undisputed capital of Canadian Innovation for the past decade. With just over 600 new start-ups, the country’s largest cluster of research producing universities and some gloriously deep venture capitalist pockets, you can guess why," the article says. 
 
"In September 2012, the federal government set aside US$400 million for private sector VC funds and promised the business development Bank of Canada another US$100 million for investment opportunities."
 
Though New York, Boston and Waterloo don't make the list, The Herald claims they're fierce competitors to Toronto's role in "startup ecosystems of the north."  It says more work needs to be done if we want to play on the global stage, though it places us in higher regard than other growing hubs including Berlin, Bangalore and Moscow. 
 
Read the full story here.
Original source: The Herald Sun
 

Leslieville's Florabunda wins Amex Neighbourhood Gems contest

Leslieville flower market Florabunda has won American Express's Neighbourhood Gems contest, a month long initiative designed to encourage cardholders (and Canadians) to "shop small and make a big difference."
 
Amex asked Marc Florabunda, who owns the shop with his wife, his thoughts on how the contest has influenced his business and community. He recognized the area's preexisting inclination to shop local and applauded the contest for making buyers more conscious. 
 
"Shopping small is something that most residents of our Leslieville neighbourhood live and breathe every day, but the Shop Small movement has certainly helped in making even more people aware of how important it is to support the small businesses in their communities. We love that sense of community, and never want to lose that neighbourly feeling!"
 
Florabunda's win, which was determined via online voting, lands them a social marketing consultation with Facebook and an American Express advertorial in Toronto Life magazine.
 
Florabunda is located on 1131 Queen Street East at Caroline Avenue. 
 
For more information, check out Amex's Shop Small Facebook page
Original source: Amex
 

Wattpad now captures more monthly readers than Kindle

Toronto's Wattpad wants to be the Pinterest of stories, according to the vision of founder and CEO Allen Lau. He tells Venture Beat that Wattpad, the online e-reading platform that features work from indie and well-known writers alike, gets more monthly activity than popular platform Kindle. Last month's numbers included 15 million unique visitors, 1.5 million story uploads, and three billion user minutes spent on Wattpad. 
 
The Ontario ministry of economic development invited Venture Beat to Toronto this week to checkout the city's startup scene. Wattpad is at the top of their list, alongside Hubba, Fixmo, Extreme Startups, the University of Waterloo, Google's Waterloo facility and about as many visits with venture capitalists and angel investors as the online tech publication can handle. But reporter John Koetsier, the VB representative visiting Toronto this week, says the reporting on Wattpad is his own. 
 
Venture Beat praises Wattpad for its method, which to date does not include a monetization model; something Lau says is intentional.
 
"Where he wants to be is similar in size to a Facebook or a Twitter: hundreds of millions, or even billions. And how he plans to get there is by doing more of what Wattpad has done to date: via indie authors and, increasingly, branded books and name-brand authors," Koetsier writes. 
 
Lau tells Koetsier that Wattpad has taken a very episodic approach to its platform to emulate the television format, presenting larger works in pieces over time. “Attention spans are getting shorter and short, so to make long-form writing work, we break it up," Lau says. 
 
Koetsier will be reporting throughout his Toronto visit. Read his articles here
Original source: Venture Beat 

A sneak peek at what goes on at the Ontario Food Terminal

More than one million tons of produce and horticultural products pass through the Ontario Food Terminal annually, making it "one of the largest wholesale produce distribution centres in Canada and the third-largest in North America," the Produce News reports. So when an opportunity came for the publication to get a sneak peak at what happens behind the scenes, they were eager to chronicle the tour.
 
The resulting story is one that accounts how the terminal, easily viewable when driving on the Gardiner Expressway, operates. The terminal consists of 21 warehouse tenants and a four-acre farmer's market comprised of Ontario growers, which is open to the 5,000 registered buyers but not to the public. It is open every day, but Sundays are the busiest, receiving "roughly 600-850 pallets and an average of 25 tractor-trailer loads in a 12-hour period."  
 
The terminal supports, "local farmers, local fruit and vegetable stores, independent and chain supermarkets, retailers, restauranteurs, foodservice, caterers, farmers’ markets, farm gate markets, florists, garden centres, landscapers, convenience stores and institutions," according to its website.
 
The Produce News provides an overview of the terminal's operations:
 
"Since 1954, the Ontario Food Terminal has been located in the Toronto district of Etobicoke. The distribution center boasts a central cold-storage area that includes 19 rooms with temperatures set from 32-45 degrees Fahrenheit. The rooms are set individually to meet the storage needs of a variety of commodities from carrots to tomatoes. There is approximately 100,000 square feet of storage available in the coolers. Some of the new portions of the building have racking systems available in the cold-storage rooms."
 
The terminal is closed to the public, but it does occasionally have open houses according to its website, though no upcoming dates are listed. 
 
Read the full story here
Original Source: The Produce News
 

Two new cycling companies to launch custom Toronto bikes

Post City is reporting that two new cycling companies with an emphasis on locally produced urban-minded bicycles are preparing to launch in Toronto.
 
The first is Gallant Bicycles, which focuses on "the end-to-end production of a Toronto city bike." Frames are constructed in China, but everything else is conducted out of their Annex shop at 678 Bloor St. W. Launching this month, shop owners Jason Wood and Tony Mammoliti told Post City the bikes are made to order. “We are bringing in the frames raw, painting here and assembling just the way you like," Wood said.
 
Gallant Bicycles will offer two frames with various add-ons starting at $699. 
 
The second is Simcoe Bikes, which is "taking the design side a step further by creating a bike with T.O. riding in mind: think extra-strong wheels for streetcar tracks and increased rustproofing for Canuck winters."
 
This shop is set to launch later this summer, but co-owner Eric Kamphof told Post City they're already running behind in part because their Taiwan manufacturer is behind schedule. 
 
“There is a need for this in North America, even globally,” Kamphof says in the article. “In the city, bikes are now people’s primary transport,” he explains. “Like owning a car, it’s a design and fashion thing, too. It is very important to our market.”
Simcoe Bikes will come in three- or seven-speed versions retailing for $899 and $1,150.
 
Read the full story here
Original Source: Post City
 
61 Small Businesses Articles | Page: | Show All
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