Canada’s 1.2 million small businesses are as diverse as they are numerous, but they do have a few things in common: they are integral to Canada’s economy, they need access to support and resources, and they have a story to tell.
That’s why Shaik Khaleeluddin founded CanadianSME Small Business Magazine – one of the only publications in Canada that provides a platform for entrepreneurs to stay current on the latest tools and trends, share stories and insights, and connect with Canada’s vibrant and innovative SME community.
We talked to Shaik about his unique perspective on the SME segment, including why they’re so underserved, the opportunities and challenges they face in Canada, and what to expect from the CanadianSME Business Expo coming up June 28-29, 2022.
Tell us a bit about yourself, your background, and why you founded CanadianSME Small Business Magazine.
In 2016, while researching the Canadian SME market, I found a lack of growth in small and medium-sized businesses in Canada. SMEs are at a standstill. Although new companies are opening every year, most of those businesses struggle and fail within the first five years. To provide a platform for these SMEs, I launched the CanadianSME Magazine. Its primary goal is to work towards the growth of small and medium-sized enterprises in Canada by providing them with expert insights, exclusive content, and interactive events throughout the year.
I think it’s important to have a platform that small businesses can rely on for support and information. The importance of storytelling in the business world is undeniable. From entrepreneurship to managing employees and clients, every industry uses stories to engage its target audience.
SMEs make up 98 percent of businesses in Canada, but yours is one of the only publications targeting the sector broadly. Do you think the SME community in Canada is underserved when it comes to tools and resources?
Absolutely, the Canadian small business community is largely underserved when it comes to tools and resources. This might be because most businesses in Canada are very different from one another, which makes them difficult targets for any specific service or resource.
Furthermore, there’s been little investment in entrepreneurship education in Canadian universities, so graduates won’t necessarily have had much, if any, exposure to entrepreneurship – hardly surprising considering how expensive establishing a business can get!
Your team meets and interviews dozens of Canadian entrepreneurs. In your view, what are some of the biggest challenges they face on their path to success?
The entrepreneurs we meet face a few different obstacles, but the most common one is finding their core idea and building an effective company around it. To do this, they have to not only compete with larger companies or established brands that have been doing business longer than them – they also need to find funding for new projects. This is needed to help them grow profit margins and market share and create more opportunities within industries.
What have you discovered about the SME community in Canada – what makes it special or unique?
One thing that stands out to me about the SME community in Canada is how much it has evolved. The country’s economy has changed drastically over just a few decades. Now, more than ever before, SMEs need new strategies and ideas about what works for them and how to realize their goals. That’s why our content acknowledges the strength of the ardent entrepreneurs and their lifelong experiences in the marketplace that help them build successful businesses.
What’s the hardest thing about being an SME in Canada? And what’s the best thing?
As an SME in Canada, you have the opportunity to grow your business in a variety of ways. But growth can also be challenging, because you need to invest time and resources into expanding your operations. The good news is that many programs and initiatives are available to help SMEs grow their businesses. The Canadian government offers many tax incentives and grant programs to encourage business growth, and numerous private sector organizations can provide advice and support. If you are willing to put in the work, there are plenty of opportunities for SMEs to grow in Canada.
What can SME owners expect from the CanadianSME Business Expo 2022? How will the event help to support and empower them?
The CanadianSME Business Expo 2022 is the podium where business owners will get an unmissable chance to connect with over 2,000 industry professionals from across the country. With so many big and successful names from several industries, all under the same roof, everyone will get the opportunity to share innovative ideas, knowledge and insights and to showcase their best services and craftsmanship to Canada and the whole world.
We’ll have business expert workshops, keynote sessions hosted by industry leaders, and a live Q&A from expert CEOs so that everyone can get all of their questions answered. Those are just some of the many wonderful things on the agenda for this exclusive event. Trust us when we say you don’t want to miss this one!
Don’t forget to register for the CanadianSME Business Expo, a free virtual event exclusively for small business owners!