CFIB and Scotiabank to award leading Canadian SMEs

Challenge highlights Canada’s best in employment, community involvement and leadership.

March 8, 2011   by Canadian Manufacturing Daily Staff

TORONTO–Scotiabank and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) have launched the Small Business Big Impact Challenge to highlight small business owners who are positively impacting communities in the areas of employment, innovation and leadership.

The top 15 entries, five in each category, will be evaluated by a panel of small business experts. Three finalists will be awarded $10,000 each.

The challenge should bring attention to the importance of small and medium-size businesses to the Canadian economy, says CFIB CEO Catharine Swift, who will be on the challenge’s judging panel.

“SMEs represent half of our economy and I don’t think most Canadians realize that,” she says. “They were the most stable through the recession and will continue driving the economy as it recovers.”

Scotiabank director of small business banking David Wilton says it’s important to recognize the contribution SMEs make to the economy.

“These small businesses are a thriving and energetic part of our economy and we need to continue to seek out ways we can help them continue to grow,” he says. “Scotiabank’s partnership with CFIB for this initiative will be a great way to show how Canada’s leading SMEs are making differences in their communities.”

Entrants must demonstrate how their business has made a difference in their communities in one of three categories:
• Employment: providing employment practices that reflect and support community needs and employment opportunities
• Products and services: creating markets or offering unique products or services that benefit the community.
• Leadership: leading in initiatives that makes their community a better place to work.

The Small Business, Big Impact Challenge ends on April 30 and winners will be announced on June 1.

The judging panel includes:
• Islay McGlynn, director and head small business, Scotiabank;
• Kaz Flinn, vice-president corporate social responsibility, Scotiabank;
• Catherine Swift, CEO, CFIB;
• Tom Sloan, vice president small business and commercial markets, Export Development Canada; and
• Greig Clark, PROFIT Magazine columnist, and founder of College Pro Painters.

CFIB has about 108,000 members nationwide and voices the concerns of SME operators at all levels of government.

Scotiabank serves more than 18.6 million customers in more than 50 countries around the world with assets of about $526 billion.

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