News /

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Launches New Institute for SMEs, in Collaboration with RBC

Canadian Chamber of Commerce Launches New Institute for SMEs, in Collaboration with RBC

The SME Institute will provide small and medium enterprises (SMEs) the training, support and advice they need to adapt, grow and thrive.

[OTTAWA] — [March 30, 2023] —The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has launched the SME Institute, a first-of-its kind, one-stop service, developed in collaboration with RBC. The SME Institute will provide small and medium enterprises (SMEs) the training, support and advice they need to adapt, grow and thrive — all while benefiting from the Canadian Chamber’s public policy advocacy and its Business Data Lab’s insight on the economy. By helping Canada’s small and medium-sized businesses prepare for a rapidly evolving future, the SME Institute will ensure the strength of this critical segment of the economy as it faces a new era of higher costs and slowing growth.

Canadian businesses of all sizes are navigating a shifting terrain marked by acute challenges related to talent shortages, rising costs of doing business and inflationary pressures. As a result, the Canadian economy may be entering a difficult year, with many experts monitoring the implications of a possible recession. The impact of these economic challenges is especially acute among SMEs, which represent the overwhelming majority of Canadian enterprises and provide the largest source of employment in Canada.

A recent survey by the Canadian Chamber of Commerce saw 58 per cent of Canadian businesses identifying inflation as their biggest near-term obstacle, followed by 48 per cent citing rising input costs, and 39 per cent citing debt costs.

The SME Institute will help these businesses remain competitive and sustainable, tap into new innovations and serve as the backbone of communities across the country.

“Small and medium enterprises need connections, resources and growth opportunities yesterday,” says Priya Pandey, Executive Director of the SME Institute. “We want them to have a trusted one-stop-shop they can access to get what they need. Starting today, in collaboration with our founding sponsor RBC, we’re excited to give them that.”

“Today, Canadian small businesses are building new ventures and bringing to life bold ideas — all while navigating an environment where change is the only constant,” says Don Ludlow, Vice-President of Small Business, Partnerships and Strategy at RBC. “Canadian businesses are rethinking how and where they do business and are reinvesting in their own growth to stay competitive in this environment, which is no small task. But entrepreneurs aren’t alone. RBC is proud to collaborate with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce on this initiative as part of our efforts to deliver value beyond traditional banking and support business owners with critical resources at every stage of their entrepreneurship journey.”

The SME Institute is a key part of Chamber 2025, the Canadian Chamber’s expansion plan.

“As the largest business association in Canada, we have a unique opportunity to gather intelligence on Canadian SMEs and to support their success in new ways,” says Gayla Brock-Woodland, Chief Operating Officer of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. “Through our Chamber 2025 Strategic Plan, we’re expanding beyond our existing strength in advocating for business with government to also use the power of our national network of chambers of commerce and boards of trade to reach SMEs with useful tools and services. No other organization can connect businesses of every size and sector the way we can. In fact, we will be giving opportunities to SMEs through this program to train and support other SMEs and for larger companies to support entrepreneurs.”

The SME Institute functions as a community of partners, mentors and peers who are committed to the collective success of SMEs. It also offers training programs, a network of trusted service providers to consult, offer advice, expertise and resources, as well as networking and mentoring opportunities. The SME Institute also has a comprehensive library of resources to help businesses recruit, retain and train talent; find and attract investors; use technology to grow their business; boost their business performance through diversity and sustainability; and more.

To learn more about the SME Institute and to register for upcoming training programs, please visit

About the Canadian Chamber of Commerce — The Future of Business Success

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is Canada’s largest and most activated business network — representing over 400 chambers of commerce and boards of trade and more than 200,000 business of all sizes, from all sectors of the economy and from every part of the country — to create the conditions for our collective success. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is the undisputed champion and catalyst for the future of business success. From working with government on economy-friendly policy to providing services that inform commerce and enable trade, we give each of our members more of what they need to succeed: insight into markets, competitors and trends, influence over the decisions and policies that drive business success and impact on business and economic performance. See how at

About RBC

Royal Bank of Canada is a global financial institution with a purpose-driven, principles-led approach to delivering leading performance. Our success comes from the 97,000+ employees who leverage their imaginations and insights to bring our vision, values and strategy to life so we can help our clients thrive and communities prosper. As Canada’s biggest bank and one of the largest in the world, based on market capitalization, we have a diversified business model with a focus on innovation and providing exceptional experiences to our 17 million clients in Canada, the U.S. and 27 other countries. Learn more at

We are proud to support a broad range of community initiatives through donations, community investments and employee volunteer activities. See how at

– 30 –


Karl Oczkowski
Senior Director, Corporate Communications & Public Relations, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
613.238.4000 (2231)

Lauren Ng
Corporate Communications, RBC

Share this

Sign Up for Our Newsletter

Sign Up to receive the latest news from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce