Guest post by Robert Peterman, Director, Global Business Development, Toronto Stock Exchange

Canada’s major public equities markets – Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX) and TSX Venture Exchange (TSXV) – recently launched TSX Ignite: a new, national program to help Canadian companies grow and develop, with a primary focus on small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

Canada truly is a nation of SMEs. Taken together, they represent a significant portion of the Canadian economy. According to 2012 statistical data, SMEs make up more than 98% of businesses in Canada, they employ about 90% of working Canadians and account for over 30% of private sector Gross Domestic Product (GDP)*.

It is hard to overestimate the impact SMEs have on our country’s economy, labour market and economic growth. Given the importance of entrepreneurs and SMEs to the Canadian and international economies, it is vital that we support them in any way we can.

Leading up to this, TSX and TSXV reached out to the entrepreneurship community in Canada – the incubators, the accelerators, industry organizations and entrepreneurs – to gather feedback about what tools and resources were missing in the space. Through that process, we collected valuable intelligence about information gaps that exist currently, and how TSX and TSXV could help fill those gaps by providing information about how to grow and develop successful businesses.

Through TSX Ignite, the Exchanges offer strategic, value-added information for Canadian companies and entrepreneurs – at all stages of growth and from all sectors, both private and public – about how to build great businesses. More than 20 law firms, accounting firms and investment banks collaborated to provide free information on all aspects of the program. Click here to see a full list of TSX Ignite sponsors and partners.

The program will feature live events in seven cities across Canada, kicking off in Toronto on April 30. The next event will be in Ottawa on May 13 at the Delta Hotel in Ottawa’s city centre, followed by MontréalHalifaxEdmontonCalgary and Vancouver. The events will provide insight relevant to the growth plans of SMEs, including helpful tips on ways to raise capital and factors to consider when growing a company and hiring advisors. Each event will feature a local success story to help inspire and coach attendees.

The online component of TSX Ignite complements the content from the live events and provides accessibility to all Canadian entrepreneurs. Online courses and other resources offer expertise from high-profile Canadian business leaders. Webinar topics include: attracting investors; why governance matters; best practices for financial controls and growth; and acquisitions for growth.

TSX and TSXV have a long and proud history of helping Canadian public companies, both small and large, access the capital they need to achieve their business objectives. The Exchanges are committed to helping Canada’s wide range of companies grow into tomorrow’s leaders – not only public companies, but also the smallest private startups and emerging entrepreneurs, from coast to coast. Our recent announcement of TSX Private Markets is a testament to that commitment.

 * Source: Industry Canada, “Key Small Business Statistics”, SME Research and Statistics, August 2013.

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