Small Businesses at the Heart of the Innovation Economy

Small businesses have always been the backbone of Ontario’s economy, a driving force behind innovation and economic growth in the province. These resilient enterprises generate new ideas, create jobs and foster community resilience. In partnership with Desjardins, the Upper Ottawa Valley Chamber of Commerce and Ontario Chamber of Commerce (OCC) are delighted to unveil the annual Small Business Week Campaign, Small Business, Big Ideas. This year’s campaign will underscore the impact and potential of small business innovation and the importance of supporting these businesses beyond recovery and toward growth.

Small businesses have a vital role in enriching the Upper Ottawa Valley community and economy. This small business week, we celebrate the hard-working entrepreneurs and their big ideas, which drive innovation and bring communities together. As small businesses continue to face numerous challenges, action by the government and private sector will be crucial to ensure small businesses in our region move on from survival to growth.

Small business owners across the province continue to grapple with compounding effects from the pandemic, including labour shortages, declining employee mental health, rising inflation, and repayment of debt.  However, they have and continue to demonstrate remarkable adaptability and resilience, with many pivoting to new business models, embracing digital technologies, and finding innovative ways to serve their communities.

To sustain this momentum and foster further innovation, we call on the Ontario Government to continue taking action to foster small business success and prioritizing the following:

  • Develop and scale digitization funding and training programs for small businesses and make it easier for businesses to access them.
  • Improve access to private capital and credit for small businesses through a combination of tax policies, capital market reforms, and loan guarantees.
  • Offer targeted support to help small businesses invest in workplace mental health.
  • Continue to procure from non-profits, non-profit social enterprises and co-operatives to meet the provincial government’s target of $3 billion in contracts awarded to small businesses by 2026.

“At the heart of every successful enterprise is a big idea, hard-working entrepreneurs, and a supportive business ecosystem,” said Rocco Rossi, President and CEO, OCC. “We are proud to partner with Desjardins to bring attention to the role that small businesses play in driving innovation across Ontario. With over 97.7% of businesses in Ontario being small businesses, this poses various opportunities to invest in these businesses, enabling them to stay competitive.”

Canadian Small Business Week takes place annually during the third week of October. To learn more about the OCC’s support for small businesses, visit

If you are a small business owner, we encourage you to join our Small Business, Big Ideas campaign by posting a photo of yourself or your business across your social media channels and responding to the following question: What idea inspired your business? 

Please tag us at @UOVCC and @OntarioCofC and use the hashtags #SmallBusinessBigIdeas and #SmallBusinessWeek for us to amplify your response further!