The COVID-19 pandemic has forced more customers online. Businesses that take this opportunity to enhance their online presence can thrive in the digital economy now and in a post-pandemic economy. The Saskatchewan Chamber continues to work to collect resources to support Saskatchewan businesses as they enhance their digital presence to improve business competitiveness in Saskatchewan, Canada and globally.
In January 2021, the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce surveyed the Saskatchewan business community to gauge the level of digital integration among Saskatchewan businesses.
Find out more about the survey results here. The survey results will be used to inform the creation of supports, programs, resources and advocacy efforts to assist Saskatchewan businesses in a post-pandemic recovery.
The survey clearly shows that Saskatchewan businesses require more information on the benefits of being online, and are looking for training programs on online retail and social media marketing.
Programs and Training
The Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce has partnered partnership with Saskatchewan Polytechnic’s School of Continuing Education to deliver virtual programming throughout the province.
Saskatchewan Polytechnic offers training programs to support Digital Business integration in business:
- Google AdWords by Saskatchewan Polytechnic
- Online Advertising by Saskatchewan Polytechnic
- Marketing for Social Media by Saskatchewan Polytechnic
- Digital Transformation by Saskatchewan Polytechnic
International Trade Support
Support for Canadian companies wishing to trade in international markets can access supports through the Canadian Trade Commission and through funding programs such as the CanExport SME.
Small and medium sized companies may access up to $75,000 in funding to assist with international market development activities. We cover up to 75% of costs for export marketing of your products and services in international markets where you have little or no sales.
The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) provides on-the-ground intelligence and practical advice on foreign markets to help businesses make better, more timely and cost-effective decisions in order to achieve international business goals. This is a free service for Canadian companies and organizations.
The Trade Commissioner Service (TCS) provides four main services:
- Preparation for International Markets – to help determine if a business is internationally competitive, helps decide on target markets, collect market and industry information, and improve international business strategy. TCS helps connect businesses to international offices to ensure businesses make the most of the services offered by TCS. The TCS also connects you with other services and programs offered by partner organizations like EDC and BDC.
- Market Potential Assessment – Assistance usually provided by our officers abroad in the form of market intelligence and feedback or advice on your market strategy. This helps you to gauge the amount of effort and resources required to succeed in a particular market. The intelligence we provide includes information on barriers and regulations, an overview of the competitive landscape, knowledge about upcoming opportunities or emerging trends, advice on navigating business/cultural practices, local representation, market entry strategies, and participation in global value chains. We also identify upcoming events like exhibitions and conferences, partnering seminars, and trade missions. Please note that we are not able to provide in-depth market research reports specific to your company’s situation.
- Qualified Contacts – TCS can help businesses find the key players. They can provide very specific contacts, such as the procurement officer in a specific company, or general contacts such as industry associations, government contacts, chambers of commerce, etc. The networks include potential buyers and partners, legal and financial professionals, technology sources, agents, representatives, regulatory authorities, and investment promotion agencies.
- Business Problem Resolution (troubleshooting) – When something goes awry, the TCS will try to assist in finding a resolution. The TCS cannot enter into private disputes or act on your behalf in legal situations, but can advise on market access problems and other business challenges, including customs clearance and shipping, unfair business treatment, contract bidding, storage and warehousing, insurance coverage and claims, etc. The TCS may be able to intervene in some form with local contacts to advocate on the behalf of a business, but this is looked at on a case-by-case basis and depends on the context of the local market as to how and when we can advocate for individual businesses.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has launched the Industrial Revolution 4.0 webinar series. 2020 has universally been described as “unprecedented.” While “unprecedented” usually came in the form of new challenges, trials, and tribulations, 2020 also brought unprecedented growth and adoption of ecommerce. As businesses and consumers alike had to adapt how they interact in a new socially distanced world, Canadians increasingly turned to ecommerce for everything from essential cleaning supplies, to holiday gifts, to groceries, and even a snack from your favourite neighbourhood pub. Layered on top of the pandemic was a rise in support for businesses owned by BIPOC Canadians, and ecommerce platforms responded accordingly. 2020 may have changed ecommerce forever, but what trends are here to stay and what innovation do experts expect to see next?
E-commerce has provided an opportunity for businesses in Canada to continue trading during the pandemic, and has been a vital supporter of the economy throughout. E-commerce will continue to be important for businesses as we heard into a post-pandemic recovery.
The accelerating transformation to digital commerce means that cybersecurity literacy has become a critically important issue. Businesses of all sizes need to be aware of the risks and take steps to limit the direct and indirect impacts on your business from cyber attacks: financial loss, damage to your reputation and critical infrastructure, litigation, job losses and more.
CyberSecure Canada and the Canadian Centre for Cybersecurity have launched training modules and e-learning courses to help SMEs protect themselves from cyber attacks. Find out more about the training modules and how to work through CyberSecure Canada’s cybersecurity certification program here.