What are the first things that come to mind when you think of Ontario? For me, it’s the splendour of Niagara Falls, the coziness of Muskoka, skating on Rideau Canal and, of course, the excitement and electricity of Toronto. But there’s so much more than that: with nearly 14 million people, Ontario has the highest population of any of Canada’s provinces and territories and it employs close to 50% of Canada’s high-tech, financial and knowledge-intensive industries. In other words, Ontario means business.
There are definitely a lot of incredible things happening here, which is why TELUS is increasing our commitment to Ontario by investing $2.1 billion across the province over the next four years. This investment will help create new jobs, open up exciting new possibilities for education and healthcare, and most importantly (in my biased opinion) enable us to deliver innovative solutions that help Ontario’s small business community thrive.
So, how do we determine what solutions and services small businesses need? Simple…we ask them. In fact, I recently took a team of 30 TELUS team members to spend two weeks in London, Ontario, going door-to-door talking to small business owners and learning more about how we can help them. I was truly inspired by the passion these businesses demonstrate and how focused they are on their growth. As we spoke to local business owners, a common theme emerged: they know that technology can help them, but they are so focused on running their businesses that they don’t know where to start. They are looking for a trusted partner who understands their needs, is easy to work with and can take care of their technology while they take care of business.
With this in mind, we’re committed to investing in solutions that make it easy for small businesses to take advantage of technology that can fuel their success. As an example, we recently launched TELUS Business Connect, an advanced cloud-based communications solution that provides all of the features of an enterprise-grade phone system, but without the cost and complexity. The thought behind Business Connect was simple: small business owners have enough to think about without having to worry about their phone service. That’s our job.
We also recently launched Canada’s first Internet of Things (IoT) Marketplace, an online portal where small businesses can discover innovative IoT solutions that have incredible potential to save them money and give them a leg up on their competition. We’ve partnered with some of Canada’s most forward-thinking tech innovators (many of them based in Southern Ontario) to package ready-to-implement IoT solutions that can be easily deployed and simply added as a monthly charge to a TELUS bill – no upfront investment or technical know-how required. From vehicle management, to smart security cameras, to food-safety solutions, IoT presents a huge opportunity for small businesses and we’re making it easier, faster and less expensive for them to take advantage of this game-changing technology.
As we spoke with London’s small business owners, it wasn’t just technology on their minds. We also saw a deep commitment to their community. A strong and vibrant community is important to them – London isn’t just where they do business, it’s where they live and raise their families. TELUS shares their commitment to building stronger communities across Ontario. After all, it’s where we live and raise our families as well. “We give where we live” isn’t just a tagline; it’s how we do business. Since their inception in 2005, our TELUS Community Boards in Ontario have donated more than $11 million to grassroots charitable programs across the province, including $1.1 million last year alone. And we’re not just writing cheques either; this year we are expecting more than 4,500 TELUS team members, along with their families and retirees, in Ontario to volunteer for TELUS Days of Giving. With our hearts and our hands, the TELUS team is deeply committed to working hand-in-hand with local organizations to help build stronger communities across Ontario.
Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy, and when small businesses succeed and communities like London thrive, Ontario flourishes. That’s why TELUS has invested more than $42 billion in Ontario since 2000, and we are proud to continue our support of this great province and to play a role in building an even stronger Ontario.