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The York Small Business Enterprise Centre (YSBEC) offers a range of services to help small businesses in the region grow and prosper. The centre works directly with business owners with fewer than ten employees to help them secure loans, build marketing plans, and develop their growth strategies.

Over the past ten years, the small businesses in the northern six communities of York Region supported by YSBEC have created thousands of jobs and helped contribute millions of dollars to the local economy.


  • “Environics Analytics ENVISION platform is one of the tools we use to help the small business community in York Region. ENVISION is a really powerful tool for small biz owners, especially those that are hyper-local.”

    —Jonathan Wheatle, Manager Strategic Economic Initiatives | Regional Municipality of York

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Challenge

Many small business entrepreneurs make critical decisions about their growth strategy and site selection based on gut-instincts alone. Considering the slightest misstep can be devastating to a small business, this approach exposes owners to significant risk.

To help manage this risk, YSBEC wanted to give small business owners access to critical data and insights to aid them in making informed decisions.


Solution

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Local small business owners in York Region wanted to know more about the consumers they serve. Specifically, they wanted to understand the demographic make-up of residents and gain insights into their behaviours and preferences. This would allow them to determine the types of products and services that would be successful.


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To provide small businesses with the insights they needed, YSBEC wanted to make ENVISION available to their clients. ENVISION is a powerful marketing and analytics platform that can quickly provide community-level insights. To make ENVISION accessible to these entrepreneurs, we conducted in-depth “train the trainer” sessions with YSBEC’s consultants so they could teach others the simple methods used to get to insights quickly. We also developed customized training materials that they could share with their clients.


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By using the ENVISION platform, small business owners can quickly analyze and understand the demographics and household spending levels on specific product categories for their local trade area. By applying the findings, owners can lower their operating expenses by focusing their marketing initiatives on smaller areas without compromising results. More importantly, these insights are giving business owners the information they need to secure a business loan.


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Results

By making ENVISION available to entrepreneurs through YSBEC, the centre is now able to supply the local small business community with the consumer and market intelligence it requires. PhysActiv Sports Medicine is an example of one of the small businesses benefitting from this service. By using insights from ENVISION, the owners were able to find the right location for their clinic in a growing community that lacked any comparable services. NewMakeit is another company now leveraging ENVISION. This multi-functional industrial and digital facility in Newmarket, Ont., is using it to tailor its programs to the community’s needs, engage its target audience and inform its expansion plans.  

Small business owners in York Region needed the right tools to quickly and easily access the required information to help grow their business. More importantly, they needed to move from gut-based decision making to a data-driven approach to business management. ENVISION is helping with this journey.