Bloomin' Biz

Record attendance at Landscape Ontario Congress ’17

More than 13,650 professionals attended Landscape Ontario’s Congress ’17, marking the largest turnout in the show’s 44-year history. Canada’s premier green industry trade show and conference featured over 600 exhibitors at the Toronto Congress Centre Jan. 10, 11 & 12.

“To achieve modern gardens, landscapes, nightscapes, outdoor living space or to source the latest trends in hobby gardening, our members and visitors need to have a one-stop buying venue,” said Heather MacRae, director of events and trade shows. “Congress’ popularity with our contractors makes us proud. Welcoming back retail suppliers and independent garden centre owners, our partners from Garden Expo, added excitement to the show after a 16-year hiatus.”

Among the Congress ’17 highlights: the annual Landscape Ontario Awards of Excellence ceremony, the popular tailgate party, as well as a fantastic lineup of industry-leading speakers and conferences. “Hardscape Live” returned for the second year in a row, providing live ICPI hardscape installation demonstrations, and the members of the Ontario Provincial Police took audience members through vehicle safety and inspection information on the show floor.

Digital Technologies Growing More Integral to Canadian Small Businesses

The use of social media and other digital tools have become increasingly important in establishing and operating a small business in recent years, according to a survey by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, with over half of all small firms now utilising Facebook on a routine basis.

“Small businesses have come to understand how essential digital technologies are to their business,” said Corinne Pohlmann, CFIB’s senior vice-president of national affairs and partnerships. “As a result, more and more of them are adopting these technologies and integrating them into their activities every day. The vast majority now see having a website as essential to doing business and more than half of them have begun using social media, up from 27% in 2012.”

To learn more about how small businesses are coping in the digital age, CFIB surveyed more than 6,300 members at the end of last year on their use of, and perspectives on, various types of digital technologies, with an eye to the challenges small businesses face implementing them.

Some of the key highlights of the survey:

  • Since 2009, use of Facebook has doubled from 22% to 54% while use of LinkedIn has grown from 6% to 32% and Twitter from 3% to 22%.
  • Facebook tends to be used more by consumer-facing businesses while LinkedIn is preferred by businesses that primarily deal with other businesses.
  • Younger firms are much more likely to use social media than more established ones, with 72% of those that have been in business for less than five years using social media versus 48% of those who have been in business for more than 10 years.
  • There was a greater tendency for businesses in sectors that have a consumer-facing focus to have an online store and update their websites more regularly.

“We found that the biggest challenge in adopting new digital technologies is that they are too time-consuming,” Pohlmann said. “They require constant updating and management, so larger firms tend to use them more than smaller ones as they have the resources to manage the tools properly. Also, about a third of small businesses found them too costly to adopt.”

CFIB’s recommendations to policy makers include providing simple, cost-effective, “off-the-shelf” digital tools for small business, creating a website of such tools to enhance digital literacy, and introducing a “digital technology deduction” so a business can write-off their investment in the year of purchase. 

Pohlmann will be sharing these results on the impact of digital technologies on small business when she takes part in a panel discussion today at the Digital Adoption Symposium. The forum was set up in order to discuss and debate Canada’s digital adoption challenge, particularly some of the difficulties small businesses face in fully embracing digital technologies.

Katie Hendrick
Katie Hendrick is the editor-in-chief of Canadian Florist.
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