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Weekly Business News Roundup

News Roundup for SME Businesses & Startups

SWAT teams and patent trolls: inside Ottawa’s IP plan to promote Canadian innovators

Canada’s federal government is implementing a series of measures to promote and protect the intellectual property (IP) of small and medium-sized businesses Canadian firms as they aspire to compete with large multinational firms in the tech and innovation sectors. Some of the measures include:

  • Creation of a new “SWAT team” of experts inside the federal government to help small and medium-sized businesses retain control of their intellectual property;
  • IP awareness and education program for Canadian entrepreneurs, focusing on companies run by women and Indigenous people;
  • Allocation of $30 million for a pilot project to create a patent collective in Canada; and
  • Legislation to protect patents, copyright and trademarks of Canadian firms from “patent trolls” outside the country.

The strategy is intended to keep IP in Canada, and protect the investments from governments, universities and other public agencies that help companies innovate, according to the executive director of the Council of Canadian Innovators. It’s further designed to close the “IP gap” between Canada and the United States.

How to Find Great Freelancers: The Easy Way

Sourcing needed talent online is a growing trend for startups, small businesses, and even large firms. The expanding Gig Economy holds a pool of freelancers that possess in-demand skills, helping those companies that are challenged to find qualified employees. It’s also a cost-effective strategy for businesses, allowing them to tap into a range of specialized skills without having to hire full-time, salaried employees.

To find the right freelancer online, first determine your project needs, keeping top of mind that you get what your pay for. Second, ask the right questions in a screening interview. Finally, set clear expectations. There are a number of platforms to post your freelance opportunities, including traditional job boards and freelancing websites.

Startup Genome’s Global Startup Ecosystem Report Takes a Look at Toronto-Waterloo

Startup Genome, which works to improve the success rate of startups in more than 30 countries, has included the startup ecosystem of the Toronto-Waterloo region in its 2018 Global Startup Ecosystems Report. The Toronto-Waterloo Corridor ranks among the 20 strongest startup ecosystems in the world, particularly in the fintech, big data, health and advanced manufacturing sectors, which are featured in the report. Toronto is North America’s second-largest financial services hub, and the Corridor has attracted international attention for its AI ecosystem. The complete report is available at the Startup Genome website.

5 Expert Tips for Trademarking Your Startup

In the highly competitive small business environment where only half of all startups will see their fifth year, one of the most important elements you need to be sure is in place is your trademark registration. It is nothing less than your brand and logo, and the name people will use to find you via search. That said, here are five expert tips for trademarking your startup: careful creativity (be sure your trademark is not already in use elsewhere); research (to ensure there are no negative connotations to your trademark); proper application for your trademark; consulting with a legal adviser; and finally, being prepared for the rejection or cancellation of your trademark.

Why Daymond John Literally Sleeps With His List of Goals

It’s common for successful individuals to have their own unique ritual, and Daymond John (of Shark Tank fame) is no exception. The founder and CEO of the global fashion brand FUBU says he reads through his list of ten goals every night before going to bed so his subconscious can work on them while he’s sleeping. He then reviews his goals again each morning. There are three steps to follow for establishing your own ritual: get clear on your goals (set them in various areas of your life and in different time frames); find the daily ritual that keeps you aligned with your goals; and commit to your ritual for a month.

The Essential Guide to Organising Small Business Invoices

As a small business owner, you know how important it is to get paid on time. Enter invoice organization, which is essential for the well-being of your accounting and bottom line. The area where most small businesses get in trouble is in managing invoices. There are many reasons for this, from multi-tasking overload to simple but costly errors due to fatigue. Best practices to improving your invoice organization and management include: integrating your accounts payable invoice processing on a common platform; going paperless and automating your invoice processing; and submitting invoices promptly.

This Is My Secret To Giving Empathetic Criticism As A New Manager

You’ve landed your first managerial position with a big company. How do you navigate your way to leading your new team as a good mentor and sounding board but not come off as a pushover? How do you give them straightforward feedback without seeming overly harsh, or mean? The manager of a leading brand company describes how she learned — the hard way — to give empathetic criticism in her new role when it came to a “weak link” on her team.

On-the-Go Food is in High Demand, So Watch These 3 Top Vending Opportunities

Consumers’ demand for a convenient snack is evolving, with more choosing healthier options than the traditional vending machine fare of chips, sodas and sugary snacks. Vending machine options have expanded to include a range of better-for-you snacks, creating a timely business opportunity for entrepreneurs. If you’re interested in a business involving low start-up cost, working capital requirements and overhead, and offering a high level of flexibility, here are three vending companies to explore and compare: Healthier4U Vending, Healthy You Vending, and U-Turn Vending.

Are You Leaving Hidden Profits on the Table? Here Are the 4 Areas to Examine.

With the recent tax day deadline, profit and loss are still likely top of mind for small business owners. It is equally likely that financial planning may not be top of mind, as it is a subject that many entrepreneurs avoid. However, it is precisely the four areas of financial planning that hold the best opportunity for making improvements to increase your company’s profitability: entity/tax planning; accounting/vendor management; risk management; and human resource planning.

LatAm Startups Conference is Back for a Fifth Edition

LatAm Startups Conf, the leading event for Latin American startups, will return to Toronto on May 29th at the MaRS Discovery District. Top international startups, scaleups, investors and government representatives convene on May 29th for the conference. A select group of startups from across Latin America will be invited to pitch at the Conference Day on the 29th, followed by two startup tours (in Waterloo on the 30th and in Toronto on the 31st) to visit the best business incubators and accelerators in the tech corridor.

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