Small Business Week celebrates southern Ontario’s entrepreneurial spirit

WELLINGTON COUNTY – Small Business Week is in full swing in the heart of Ontario, celebrating the resilience, innovation and dedication of the province’s small business community.

An annual event highlighting the vital role small businesses play in driving economic growth and fostering a sense of community, Small Business Week runs from Oct. 15 to 21 this year.

Canada is home to more than 1.2 million small and medium-sized businesses. More than 400,000 of these are based in Ontario, accounting for roughly 98% of all businesses in the province.

These businesses, each with less than 100 employees, contribute significantly to job creation, local economies and the character of a given region.

Chambers of Commerce throughout Wellington County recognize the dedication and efforts of local entrepreneurs and small business owners in the face of many ongoing challenges.

Events and activities throughout the week include workshops, networking sessions and awards ceremonies designed to educate, inspire, and celebrate the achievements of businesses across the county.

While having only recently taken on the position of CEO of the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce, Brock Aldersley is a small business owner himself and knows firsthand the importance of building a business community and having support available.

“As always we want to encourage everyone to support small local businesses when you are able. Remember to not only share when you have a bad experience, but to share just as loud when you have a wonderful one,” Aldersley said.

“Small business account for 70% of total private sector jobs and take part in the day to day of our local community.”

The CW Chamber is hosting an October Biz Breakfast and panel discussion on Oct. 25 at 8am to provide insight on how to share your business story and market yourself. Panelists include Kristy Miller of the Scented Market, Julia Zimmerman of Julia Dilecce Marketing Consulting, and Scott Jensen from the Grand 101.1 FM. Details for the event can be found online at

“I would encourage any small business with any questions to please reach out to our team. You can contact me directly at [email protected] and if I don’t know the answer will connect you with someone who does,” Aldersley added.

Brea Smith, office administrator for the Arthur Chamber of Commerce, told the Advertiser about the chamber’s upcoming annual general meeting and presentation of its Community Awards on Oct. 18.

It’s a catered event at the Arthur Legion beginning at 6pm. Tickets can be found on by searching Arthur Chamber of Commerce.

“We’re looking forward to hosting another successful event, and celebrating some amazing members of our community,” Smith said.

“We are also hoping to broaden our board of directors and would like to welcome and encourage new members.”

Excellence Awards

The Mount Forest District Chamber of Commerce also annually honours those within the community who go “above and beyond.”

Chamber administrator Stacey Stevenson encourages everyone to attend this year’s Excellence Awards ceremony on Oct. 25, from 5 to 7:30pm at the Mount Forest Legion. Tickets are $30 per person and must be purchased in advance.

The event includes a cocktail hour, catered dinner and award presentations for Citizen of the Year, Young Citizen of the Year, the Arny Feairs Business Customer Service Award and Corporate Citizen of the Year.

“We are thrilled to announce that this year’s nominee submissions have shattered all previous records. The overwhelming response is a testament to the incredible spirit of generosity and goodwill that is alive and well in our community,” Stevenson said.

“This is a night to remember, filled with positivity, energy, and excitement.

Although we can only officially present four awards, we believe that every nominee deserves recognition for their contributions to our community.”

Here are a few ways business owners can get involved and mark Small Business Week.

Organize activities

Plan engaging events for your company, business district or town.

Collaborate with your Chamber of Commerce, Business Development Office, and local vendors to boost awareness.

Embrace teamwork

Create initiatives using signage, sidewalk sales, or a progressive shopping experience. Collaborate with other businesses to encourage customers to collect stamps on a card for local purchases. After 10 stamps from different shops, they can enter a raffle or be eligible for a predetermined reward.

Custom merchandise

Create Small Business Week merchandise such as T-shirts and tote bags, or partner with local shops for collective items.

Branded items like “I love shopping local” with your logo or multiple local businesses’ logos not only attract customers but also provide lasting advertising.

Add a festive touch

Kick-off and conclude the week with activities like face painting, live music, balloon artists, or attractions for kids.

This generates interest and supports other small businesses without physical storefronts, such as local magicians or entertainers. Consider involving high school talent like bands, theatre groups and art departments.

Showcase your products

If you run a restaurant, create a special signature sandwich or drink for the event. Candy and ice cream shops can introduce new combinations to celebrate. For those not ready to launch something new, highlight your top sellers with minor discounts or enticing extras, like an additional scoop to entice more customers.

These are just a few ways to get involved. Be creative, be inspired and be a part of Small Business Week. Shopping locally and supporting businesses helps make communities unique. Celebrate, connect, and empower entrepreneurs who help make them a vibrant and dynamic place to live and do business.

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