Posted by: WPL | 2015/05/19

Sad News…

Ontario Self Employment Program Durham logo.We received some unfortunate news last week. The Province of Ontario is ending the Ontario Self-Employment Benefit (OSEB) program. Students currently enrolled and those accepted into the final intake (deadline last Friday the 15th) will finish the program, but that’s it.

We’ve had a great relationship with Essential Communications, which provides OSEB here in Durham. They’re located just down the street from the Central Library, so many an OSEB applicant or student has come in looking for information via PCensus or our other resources. More recently, we’ve had the pleasure of talking to prospective clients through a brief presentation on library resources…we really appreciate the opportunity and hope that the OSEB students who dropped in found our services helpful.

We’re still here to help any and all entrepreneurs who ask, as are the great people at Business Advisory Centre Durham and other Small Business Enterprise Centres throughout Ontario.

Thanks for everything, OSEB. We’re sure many Durham entrepreneurs feel the same.

Posted by: WPL | 2015/04/28

Demographics everywhere!

ICXThere’s PCensus, Statistics Canada, Environics’ PRIZM5…and now ICX. ICX is the commercial real estate version of the MLS listings service. When you’re looking at a house, MLS gives you all of the usual (and important) details about the building and property. There’s also a demographics tab that tells you about the neighbourhood – ages, education, projected population, income, children, etc.

ICX provides the same demographic information essential for buying a business. ICX business listings give you about the same demographic information as MLS, plus added data on the daytime population, number of businesses in the area and retail sales. Obviously you’d want to look at this for a business listing that you’re interested in pursuing, but even if you’re just looking in the area generally, you can find useful data quickly and easily. The daytime population is a particularly useful figure, as we don’t have access to that data elsewhere. Daytime population refers to the number of people who are working in the area – for example, Bay Street business district in Toronto doesn’t necessarily have a high population of people living there full-time, but it has a high daytime population of workers and shoppers. These people live elsewhere, but still spend lots of time (and probably money) in the area. Good data to have.

Remember ICX next time you need demographics for an area. It’s free and easy to access, and is worth a look.

Posted by: WPL | 2015/04/16

Business Bestsellers

Wondering what the hot books are in the business world? Here are a couple of places to check:

Whatever you find and wherever you find it, check to see if we have it! There’s an excellent chance that we do – we have eight out of ten books from the current NY Times list. The two that we don’t have refer more specifically to the American real estate market and US health care. But if you would like to read something that we don’t have, let us know and we’ll see what we can do.

Happy business reading!

Posted by: WPL | 2015/03/27

Data in the News

Screenshot of an Environics PRIZM profile of a selected neighbourhood.The Globe and Mail recently ran a story on the kind of data that we talk about when we talk about PCensus – locational data that provides insight into people who live in a certain area. While PCensus is pretty comprehensive with demographic and spending data, there are even more detailed layers out there that really try to summarize segments of the population. They take the kind of data that exists in PCensus (along with other things) and build descriptive profiles of the population in a specific area. They call it segmentation.

The Globe article specifically discusses the segmentation system created by Environics. Environics is releasing a revamped version of their system next week, so the Globe took the opportunity to talk about it and the whole field. It’s interesting reading, as it’s a more sophisticated version of what we try to help people with here with PCensus – indeed, the same data is available for PCensus, but it’s really expensive and even the company that makes the software suggested that it’s way more than we need.

You can get a taste of the Environics data by using their PRIZM5 lookup linked from the article. You type in a postal code and can learn about how Environics has segmented your neighbourhood. I tried mine (click on the image above) – it wasn’t at all accurate about me, but it’s intended to profile entire neighbourhoods and not every single person that lives there. So was it an accurate profile of my neighbourhood overall? Kind of. It seems accurate in some ways, less about others. The profiles are quite descriptive, and I don’t see my neighbourhood in the

Try it for yourself and see what you think. And check out PCensus to draw your own conclusions.

Posted by: WPL | 2015/03/16

Housing and Real Estate Info

Graphic showing CMHC map and data for Durham Region.We work with lots of people starting business, and depending on the question, we have certain go-to tools that we use. But some types of data require more specialized services. Housing and real estate (including construction and renovation) are huge sectors of the economy right now, especially locally, and when people ask, we often find some great data courtesy of the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation, or CMHC. CMHC is best known as the crown corporation that insures residential mortgage loans. They do that, and much more. And among their many roles, they also produce lots of housing market statistics and data, some of which is freely available on their website.

If you check out CMHC’s Housing Market Information page, you can access all sorts of cool stuff. The new Housing Market Information Portal lets you look at new housing, average prices and rental market information by municipality. The Publications and Reports page also has great market info in PDF reports that provide a longer time perspective. And while no one has a crystal ball (especially when it comes to the real estate market, apparently), you can check out CMHC’s forecasts and analysis to see what’s up. Resales, rentals, all here. And some of the Housing Now reports track renovation data as well.

Please note that information on Durham Region can be found in the Greater Toronto Area reports. Unlike the “official” GTA, CMHC includes Whitby, Oshawa and Clarington.

Overall, a terrific source. Check it out!

Posted by: WPL | 2015/02/24

More events!

Book cover of  Darling, You Can't Do Both And Other Noise to Ignore on your Way upAll kinds of business-related stuff going on these days. The Business Advisory Centre Durham is celebrating International Women’s Day with a business networking breakfast on Tuesday, March 10 from 8 to 11 AM at Whitby’s Centennial Building. The keynote speaker is Janet Kestin, author of Darling, You Can’t Do Both And Other Noise to Ignore on your Way Up.Darling is a guide for women who don’t believe they have to compromise having a life and being successful in their careers. Ms. Kestin’s book is available at the Central Library.

Cost to attend is $35 (plus HST) and preregistration is required. It’s a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day, meet other area entrepreneurs and hear an inspiring speaker.

Graphic for the Ontario Chamber of Commerce's AccessibilityWorks program.The Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) was passed in 2005. Implementation is taking place in stages, with the goal of a fully accessible Ontario by 2025. The Act applies to businesses too, also with implementation standards and deadlines. For instance, as of January 1st 2015, all new construction and building renovations now have to be accessible. The challenges are there, but the rewards are great – some 15 percent of Ontarians have a disability, and this number will increase as the population ages. No business wants to turn away 15 percent of their potential customers. Plus, people with disabilities represent a largely untapped employment force.

The Whitby Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, is hosting a workshop to help businesses comply with the AODA. This session will help you create a step-by-step comprehensive accessibility plan for your business. The workshop will take place at the Abilities Centre in Whitby on Wednesday, February 25, from 7:30 to 9:30 AM. There is a $25 cost for Chamber members and a $35 for non-members, plus HST. You can register online through the Chamber website.

If you need help implementing the AODA in your business, this is a terrific way to get informed and create an action plan. Register today!

Graphic from the Durham Health Neighbourhoods website.

As often mentioned in this space, we’re very proud of our PCensus software and its ability to provide demographic and spending data down to the neighbourhood level. We’re the only public library that we know of in the GTA that offers it, so drop us a line and make an appointment today, and we’ll show you what it can do (end plug) .

As comprehensive as PCensus is, there are more specialized subjects for which it doesn’t provide data. One of these is health. Health is a huge business field and information is important, but up until now, data specific to Durham was tough to find.

Fortunately, the Durham Region Health Department has released a new data tool that provides access to interactive health information for the entire Region. The Region’s Health Neighbourhoods is a mapping tool that lets you investigate several different health, demographic and child development-related variables for fifty defined health neighbourhoods across the Region. The Region was divided into fifty neighbourhoods roughly equal in population – about 12,000 each. You can compare factors like births (live birth rates, small/large for gestational age), obesity, prevalence of cardiovascular disease and infectious disease, rates of accidental injury, childhood asthma and many more. Early childhood development measures include physical health, language development, social competence and several others. And good old-fashioned demographic data includes familiar variables like population growth, education, income, as well as several others. You use the maps to compare (and click on an area for more information) or see all of the data for a specific neighbourhood or municipality.

This is an awesome resource! It’s designed to improve the health and quality of life for residents of the Region, but like most data, it has many uses. Businesses in the fields of nutrition, exercise, health provision, anything related to young kids or babies, or indeed health in general, can find something here.

Check out the Health Neighbourhoods website and click on map viewer or neighbourhood profiles to start your search!

Posted by: WPL | 2015/01/21

New year and a new poll

It’s a new year and we thought we’d see what sort of topics you would like to see in the blog. And don’t forget, we’re always happy to get comments – either here, online or at the library.

Posted by: WPL | 2014/12/30

Best Business Books

There are certain things you can depend on at the end of December. New Year’s Rockin’ Eve and the big ball in Times Square. New calendars. And lots and lots of “best of 2014″ lists. Best book of the year lists are especially popular, and business books are no exception. “Business book” is a pretty big category. It includes broader books about the economy, like Thomas Piketty’s bestseller Capital in the Twenty-First Century or Think Like a Freak, the latest in the Freakonomics series. There are books about managing money and investing, including the ever-popular Tony Robbins’ Money: Master the Game (note – lots of holds). There’s big picture stuff, conceptual stuff, apply-to-your-business-right-now stuff, biographies, history and much, much more. You can find lists from Business Insider, Inc. (aimed at entrepreneurs), Huffington Post and the Globe & Mail.

So there’s lots of stuff out there. And we don’t have all of it. But rest assured, we’ll be looking at the lists too and ordering some of the titles listed. If you see something you want, check to see if we have it. If we don’t, ask. Maybe we can add it to the collection or get it for you from another library.

In the meantime, here’s a list of our newest business books from 2014 to tide you over.

Happy New Year and happy reading!

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