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Start and Run a Business

Take that extra step to make your business dream a reality!

July 5, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Another successful round of Business Inc. programs has come to an end at Agincourt Branch, Bloor Gladstone Branch, and North York Central Library this spring. We had an amazing group of students at all three locations who were dedicated and driven to take that extra step to make their business dreams a reality!

Do you have a business idea and want to take that extra step in boosting your business plan?

Join the eight-week business program this fall at Fairview Branch, Parliament St. Branch, or Mount Dennis Branch and reap in the benefits of getting expert assistance with preparing your business plan, access to a business advisor, and networking with other likeminded entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, upon completion of the program, you will be awarded with a Business Seminar Series Certificate from Toronto Business Development Centre and be eligible to apply for a small business loan ranging from $5,000 to $30,000.

Have more questions? Visit the Business Inc. page on the Toronto Public Library or attend an information session at either of these locations to learn more before applying:


Fairview Branch- Monday, September 22nd at 6:30pm

Parliament St. Branch- Wednesday, September 24th at 6:30pm

Mount Dennis Branch- Thursday, September 25th at 6:30pm


For more information on starting your own small business, check out these great titles:

   Everyday entrepreneur        The complete canadian Small Business Guide         The Economy of You         The Young Entrepreneur's guide to starting and running a business




Small Business Network: Come meet Said Karfa

June 14, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (1) Facebook Twitter More...

Want to learn from others? Enjoy sharing your own experiences? Or just want to soak in the collective wisdom of the group?

North York Central Library's Small Business Network is for you!

This month's topic is all about creating relationships using social media for your small business. Who better to discuss on these expanding interactive platforms than Said Karfa, founder of Q-Marketing, a consulting company for the Fortune 500 Companies.

  Said Karfa

Said Karfa joined the Entrepreneurship Branch as a Business Consultant & Social Media Advisor to work with new entrepreneurs. Consulting for the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, Said markets entrepreneurial programs via social media improving brand awareness and qualified leads.

Using social media for marketing can enable small business looking to further their reach to more customers. An integral part of the sales process is getting to know prospects and establishing relationships, and it turns out that social media can help entrepreneurs accomplish this quickly and easily.

Said will share the steps to make sales using social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube).

Join us on June 18th at North York Central Library from 6:30pm to 7:30pm to hear Said share his expertise and network with other inspiring enterpreneurs. Register by calling 416-395-5613. Registration is free.

Don't forget your business cards! See you all there.

"Succeeding in Business is all about making Connections" -- Richard Branson

Small Business Network: Tips from a Successful Entrepreneur

May 24, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (3) Facebook Twitter More...

RyanDid you miss Ryan McKnight at North York Central Library's Small Business Networking session in April?


Not to Worry!


Below you will find a few of Ryan's tips he shared on starting a business that you may find useful:


Look for trade shows and associations so that you can meet people who are likely to help you. Take the time to talk to people about what they do outside of work. You cannot be "pushy"-- you have to give as well as take.

Business Plan:

MaRS Discovery District's Entrepreneurship 101 free weekly series features key topics related to starting a successful business.

Lean Launch Lab teaches companies how to operate lean start-ups. The lean startup movement was developed by Steve Blank, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur. His book, "Four Steps to the Epiphany" is available in Toronto Public Library's catalogue.  


Alterna Savings and Credit Unit Ltd. offers micro financing.

Access Community Capital Fund offers up to $5,000 for the first loan; up to $10,000 for the second loan.

Canadian Youth Business Foundation provides $5,000 for young entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39. Now called Futurpreneur Canada.

Business Development Bank of Canada dedicated exclusively to entrepreneurs provides $10,000.

ScotiaBank is great for first timers.

Ontario Catapult Microloan Fund for Social Ventures helps promising social entrepreneurs and innovators with low interest loans of $5,000 to $25,000.

Ignite Capital offers Canadian entrepreneurs the opportunity to compete for a start-up award of $20,000 and provides support program.

Crowdfunding for your business can yield results, especially if the business has "social" value such as being eco-friendly, etc.

Angel Investors are really looking for a sure thing, so they are probably unlikely to invest in start-ups.


There will be tasks that you will need to delegate, either because you do not want to do them or because you are not good at them. You can find people to take on these tasks. Some "virtual assistants" will work for a very low figure, as they want the experience. You can hire them for a task to see how they do and, if you are satisfied, you can re-hire them.

Get the right freelancer at

Founderdating is a network of talented entrepreneurs helping one another to start and grow companies. All too often you know people with similiar backgrounds and skill sets to your own. With Founderdating, you can find world-class people who have extensive knowledge in certain areas. It is a great place to find consultants or to find people who help with projects.

LinkedIn is also a great place to find experts. All those starting a business should get a LinkedIn account.

Social Media:

If you cannot do this yourself, find someone who will do it for you-- see Delegation, above.

Market Research:

MaRS Discovery District provides free weekly sessions in their Entrepreneurship 101 series.  


Don't miss this month's Small Business Networking session with Satish Kanwar on Tuesday May, 28th at 6:30pm at North York Central Library.

See you then!


Small Business Network: Come Meet Satish Kanwar

May 5, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Are you thinking of starting a business? Or you have an existing business and looking to get advice from a successful entrepreneur to help it succeed?

Well you can do so at Toronto Public Library's Small Business Network sessions.

North York Central Library is hosting the Small Business Network session on Wednesday May 28, 2014 at 6:30pm in the Teen Zone Study Room.


Come meet Satish Kanwar, Director at Shopify.


Satish will share his personal journey from being a first-time entrepreneur. From start-up to sale of his design consulting business, he will discuss his major influences, key challenges, and critical points in his business that helped it succeed.    




Starting a home-based business

April 23, 2014 | Raya | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Are you thinking of starting your own home-based business? Having trouble deciding on what kind of business is best for you? Or do you already have an idea but don't know where to start? Begin by writing down all the things you think you can do with your skills and talents, then narrow it down to what you truly want to do.  Thinking through all aspects of your business ideas will help ensure you start in the right direction. Here are a few questions you may want to ask yourself before investing your energies into building your business:

  • Does working on my own suit my personality?
  • Am I self-disciplined enough to be motivated, even when business is quiet?
  • Can I set boundaries between my personal life and my business role? Will there be interruptions from family and friends?
  • Are there any legal or health restrictions that pertain to working out of my residence?
  • Is there enough room for any special equipment or extra help?
  • Is there room to expand?

Next, consider the following:

  • Decide what kind of business you want to have based on your skills and talents. Keep in mind that there is a huge difference between talents and things you enjoy. Just because you enjoy something doesn't mean you will be good at it.
  • Know your competition. Do some research to find out if other similar businesses exist in your area.
  • Understand the needs of your area. Listen to what people say and need in the area. If something they mention is an interest of yours and you are good at it, you should definitely try it.
  • Figure out your profits. To do this you must ask yourself two questions: how much will people pay for my services and can I make a good income off these services?
  • Check into any legal barriers for your business. Some areas have certain rules and regulations for home-based businesses, and you need to check into those before investing much time or money in your business.
  • Connect with your local insurance agent. Find out if you need any special insurance for your home-based business.
  • Create a business plan. This will help you organize the business process and also help you determine what kind of start up costs you are looking at.
  • Invest in your business. You will need to advertise and market your business to get customers. Use the local paper and radio stations near your home to promote your services.
  • Launch your business. Keep in mind that you will make mistakes but entrepreneurs learn as they go.

For information on a variety of topics related to starting your home-based business check out the following governmental agences:

Canada Business Network   Enterprise Toronto      Ontario Service Centre    


Still not sure? The library can help! Check out these books, ebooks and DVDs:

Home             Home2         Home3

Home4 Home5        Home6




Small Business Matters: Canadian Youth Business Foundation

April 14, 2014 | Thanusa | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Have you heard about the CYBF?


The Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF) is a national non-profit organization dedicated to assisting young emerging entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39 start-up their businesses. CYBF provides pre-launch coaching, business resources, start-up financing, and mentoring to help them launch and grow their successful business.

To learn more about what CYBF does, watch the video below:


Have more questions? Come join us for an information night held on April 24, 2014 at North York Central Library (auditorium) at 6:30pm where you can hear two representatives from CYBF give an overview of what the foundation offers. They will also provide some key tips to a successful business plan. Questions will be taken.

This program is free. Registration is required. Call 416-396-5613 to register.

See you all then! 

Where to find government innovation assistance programs for small and medium-sized businesses in Canada

April 7, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Small-business-logoAre you a Canadian small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) seeking information about programs and other resources to pursue technological innovation?  Do you need help accessing these services?

The Government of Canada's Concierge Service may be able to help.   The Concierge Service, delivered by the National Research Council Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program, is a direct response to the 2011 Jenkins expert panel report titled Innovation Canada:  A Call to Action that recommended a more focused approach to facilitate SME's access to available programs, services and funding to help them grow and prosper through innovation.

The Concierge Service is part of the Government of Canada's efforts to help SMEs identify and access the most appropriate business innovation assistance and programs and reflects the Government's aim of bringing services from various departments and organizations together in a way that collectively responds to SME challenges.

 Accordng to the Concierge Service website, they can help Canadian firms from any and all industry sectors

  • Firms undertaking Research and Development
  • Firms in all phases of product and service development
  • Firms seeking productivity gains through the adoption or adaptation of technologies

Initially, you will be asked regarding your innovation need; i.e.

  • Product, Process, or Technology Development
  • Improving Productivity
  • Acquiring Equipment
  • Acquiring or Adopting Existing Technology
  • Finding or Hiring Technical Staff / Student / Consultant
  • Finding or Hiring Business Staff / Student / Consultant
  • Finding a Strategic Partner
  • Intellectual Property / Patents
  • Market Research, Market Development, Exporting
  • General Business Guidance / Support

In an article titled " Research and Development within Reach", Corinne Pohlmann, vice-president of national affairs for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business states " This one-stop shop for small businesses seeking information and guidance on R&D-related activities at federal, provincial and municipal levels of government will help ensure small businesses receive the support they need in a timely and efficient manner."



Small Business Matters: How to Start a Successful Business

March 16, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

For titles on how to transform a business idea into a business, check out the following titles at the Toronto Public Library

Innovation       Invent It Sell It Bank It Pivot
       Innovation Invent It, Sell It, Bank It! Pivot

For more titles, search the Toronto Public Library catalogue with the recommended subjects:

  •  Creative ability in business
  •  Entrepreneurship
  •  New products

Small Business Matters: Buying a Business or Franchise

February 28, 2014 | Christina | Comments (0) Facebook Twitter More...

Small-business-logoThis blog post was updated on March 8th, 2014.

Are you interested in buying a business or franchise?

Check out the following titles that may be of assistance at the Toronto Public Library:

Bond, Robert E.  Bond's Top 100 Franchises.  4th ed.  Oakland, Calif. : Source Book Pubns., c2012.

Gray, Douglas A.  The Complete Canadian Small Business Guide.  4th ed.  New York:  McGraw-Hill, 2013.

So, Daniel F.  Canadian Franchise Law : A Practical Guide.  Markham, Ont. : LexisNexis Butterworths, 2010.

West, Donald.  Business Acquisition Agreements : An Annotated Guide.  2nd ed.  Aurora, Ont. : Canada Law Book, c2011.

For more titles, search the Toronto Public Library catalogue with the recommended subjects:

  • Business enterprises - Purchasing
  • Franchises (Retail trade) - Canada
  • Franchises (Retail trade) - Law and legislation - Canada
  • Sale of business enterprises - Canada
  • Sale of business enterprises - Law and legislation - Canada 


Greening your business

February 17, 2014 | Raya | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...


Greening your business isn't just good for the environment, it also makes good business sense. No matter the size of a company, it is possible to draw in customers and reduce company costs by creating a greener workplace. Over the last few years, MacLean's magazine has  featured companies making green business decisions that have affected employee morale and involvement while at the same time  improving their bottom line. Companies such as Canadian Tire, McDonald's Canada and Memorial University have been retrofitting buildings with energy efficient lighting, reducing water consumption and using unbleached paper. Efficient and cost effective alternatives have also made it easier for many companies to continue to be successful during times of economic turbulence.

If you are looking to green your business and create a better relationship with your customers, employees, suppliers and investors, start with these few simple first steps:

 1. Use electricity wisely. Turn off all computers, printers, photocopiers, and other equipment that doesn’t need to be left on at the end of the day and leave them off until you need to use them again.  When leaving a room for more than a few minutes, switch off the lights. Use compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones. Take advantage of natural sunlight as much as possible.

2. Reduce, reuse, recycle. This means more than just throwing old notepaper in the blue bin. Really think about everything you use. Do you need disposable cups at the water cooler? Can you use the other side of the used sheets of paper you’ve thrown in the recycle bin? Australia has added a fourth R – Refuse. Simply put: Don’t buy stuff you don’t need. And, when you do make a purchase, bring your own bags.

3. Use environmentally friendly office products. On average these products only cost 5% more, which is a small price to pay to cut down on waste and pollution. Start small – 100% recycled paper, refillable ink cartridges, non-toxic highlighters, etc. 

4. Use non-toxic cleaning products. There are many brands available. Encourage your cleaning company to use green cleaning products and if they won’t, switch to one of the many companies that do use environmentally friendly products.

5. Telecommuting and transportation. Encourage working from home, particularly for workers who would normally drive to work. This cuts down on pollution and increases time availability. Help arrange carpooling and encourage use of public transportation, biking, or walking to work.

6. Aim for a paperless office. Though the paperless office may still seem unrealistic, at least try to cut down on printed material when possible. Read on-screen and only print documents when absolutely necessary. Use only 100% recycled content paper products in the office.

7. Fair trade & organic. Buy fair trade, organic coffee and teas for the office. If employees prefer to go out for their hot beverages, encourage them to take their own mugs.

Need more help?  Check out these books:

Green Green2 Green3 Green4





Welcome! We are specialized librarians in our business department and we write about current issues for small business owners and those interested in personal finance matters. For more information and resources see our Small Business & Personal Finance page.

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