March was a busy month for entrepreneurs in Canada and beyond, as a number of events, initiatives and awareness campaigns served to highlight the vast potential of small business.
At a national level in Canada, the federal government spoke about plans to attract “high value” immigrant entrepreneurs through a new program focused on those in the areas of technology, energy and the environment, among others. Meanwhile, plans were announced to refocus the National Research Council to provide business solutions through a single phone number service.
Here’s what’s been going on elsewhere in small business over the past month.
International Women’s Day spotlights women in business
International Women’s Day on March 8 served as an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women around the world.
Meanwhile, this Globe & Mail article encourages women to use social media in order to connect with female business owners. “Rather than bemoan the shortage of successful female business leaders to look up to, we need to leverage what we do through social media,” the author points out.
To that end, check out how some other brands and businesses recognized International Women’s Day through their online activities.
Fraud prevention month highlights common threats
March also marked Fraud Prevention Month, a time to become educated on the different types of fraud and ways to prevent it in your business.
"The online space offers some of the most valuable tools to run a small business from marketing to day to day communications with vendors, customer communications and e-commerce. Yet the risk of online fraud and breaches of data security is very real," said Cathy Pin, Vice President, Commercial Banking, BMO Bank of Montreal.
In addition to these eight tips to minimize the occurrence of data security breaches, we offered a roundup of ways you can protect personal information against security threats and ensure secure financial transactions take place.
Startups stand out at SXSW
Not just a music festival, South by Southwest Interactive once again hosted many a hopeful entrepreneur jockeying for attention.
The fourth annual Accelerator competition saw online businesses pitch before a panel of judges in Austin, Texas. In years past the festival has done wonders for startups looking for investment and exposure. Canadian startups in attendance included online invoicing company Freshbooks and Toronto-based Wattpad, as the Financial Post reported.
Finally, check out these five lessons brought back from the interactive conference, including the importance of marrying creative content with the online tools available.
To Pin or Not To Pin
As interest in Pinterest has increased in recent months, businesses have started to discuss how they can best use the much-hyped visually-focused social networking site to their advantage. As one of the fastest-growing websites, it’s no wonder companies are strategizing to ensure they don’t miss out on the platform’s potential.
As this Sparksheet article points out, Pinterest isn’t a broadcast medium for brands, like Facebook or Twitter, which means businesses must use it in a different way.
“It means taking a content marketing approach and using the platform as a way of building a lifestyle around your brand,” the article explains, singling out companies who are using it well (and those that aren’t).
To get a better understanding of Pinterest’s current reach, check out this telling infographic.
Stay up-to-date on entrepreneurial happenings in Canada by following @BMOsmb on Twitter, where we share the day’s top business news, case studies and tips.
Chris Mejaski is a Toronto-based writer and digital communications professional, with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University and an M.A. in Communication and Culture from Ryerson and York universities.