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A Solution for Small Business

Small business constitutes over 80% of Canada's economy. Events such as the 2011 Great Slave Lake fire, the tornado destruction of the Goderich Ontario business district and the recent collapse of the Algo Mall in Elliott Lake have clearly illustrated the reliance of the community on the resilience of their small businesses. However, small business owners continue to be poorly prepared for business disruptions or emergencies and freely admit their lack of preparedness.

Given the opportunity and information, it has been thought small business owners would welcome the opportunity to decrease the level of risk of failure to their livelihood. However, despite attempts to develop such products, make them easy to use, and offer them at a range of prices, including free, there appears to have been little effect. Thus, there is a great need for a Business Continuity product that has a clear, understandable and quantifiable business value relevant to the small and medium sized business community.

Mark W. Baker, a Toronto based consultant, in concert with Centennial College and supported by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario’s Applied Research and Commercialization Initiative, has launched a project to develop a Business Continuity Planning solution that will fill this need. We will develop and test a solution that will be affordable, easy-to-use and deliver recognized business value to the small and medium sized business community.

In addition, the research team will be piloting the Inno-360 open collaboration platform to accelerate the landscaping of the opportunity space, locating existing intellectual property and patents and the identification of critical talent and communication cluster. The team is also working with the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA) and Toronto Area Business Improvement Area (TABIA) and the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to determine the current state of its membership's disaster recovery preparedness. These organizations are collaborating with the project team in a number of areas including survey design, deployment and analysis. They will also be involved in a market test for the resulting Business Continuity for Small Business solution which will be developed based on survey feedback and requirements input from other external sources. Results of this effort are expected to be presented to delegates at an upcoming Business Improvement Area provincial conference scheduled for April 2013.