From rising inflation rates to ongoing supply chain issues, Canada remains subject to the impact of Covid, despite death rates steadily falling since the beginning of the year. However, Daniel Menard explains that not all news is bad, as banks seek to target a more diverse range of business owners with huge injections of funding.
Inflation Highest in 31 years
Not since January 1991 has the country seen such high inflation rates, hitting 5.1% this month. With the cost of living simultaneously rising 4.3%, consumers are having to shop even more mindfully than they may have in recent months.
It’s leading to grocery stores seeing a rush of buyers scooping discount products off the shelves, and shoppers even consulting apps that alert them to bargain goods in their area.
The huge rise has left the Bank of Canada under pressure to increase interest rates, something it hasn’t done since before the Covid-19 crisis began. With the next rate decision due on March 2nd, it’s thought that the BOC will give in and raise interest in order to prevent further inflation hikes.
Gasoline Price Woes Leave Nobody Unscathed
Gasoline prices have risen by a whopping 31% in just 12 months, with 4.8% of the leap occurring in the last few weeks alone. It’s left everyone affected, from consumers to suppliers, with no sign of relief in sight just yet.
Factoring in higher transportation costs are an immediate worry for suppliers who then pass on the costs to the businesses they ship to. As consumers cut back on their spending, it’s the businesses in the middle who once again are bearing the full brunt of the troubles.
Businesses Urged to Protect Against Ransomware
Cyber hacks are certainly no new phenomenon but continuous advances in technology are ensuring businesses are having to fend off savvy hackers with more diligence than ever.
Businesses operating with Managed Service Providers (MSFs) are urged to minimize exposure to cyber threats by keeping their software up to date, backing up their accounts to multiple cloud storage locations, and ensuring all staff use unique passwords with high strength levels, which they change regularly.
Black History Month Inspires a More Inclusive Future
In a recent statement, Mike Bonner, who is the head of Canadian Business Banking at the Bank of Montreal (BMO), announced that the bank has launched a new initiative aimed at promoting black entrepreneurs.
In the knowledge that minority businesses have been hit particularly hard in the pandemic, this new scheme means that black business owners can apply for loans of up to $250,000 to invest in equipment or support their payroll outgoings.
In order for a business to qualify, it must meet certain criteria, including being majority owned by a Black Canadian, and being a for-profit organization, along with other stipulations.
To honor its promise, BMO has partnered with the BOF, or the Black Opportunity Fund, which is a community-led organization that seeks to dismantle racism against black people by giving them assistance in improving their economic and social wellbeing, thus helping to create future business leaders.