Canadian Chamber of Commerce launches new institute for SMEs, in collaboration with RBC

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The new SME Institute will provide small and medium enterprises with training, support and advice to adapt to challenges and thrive in Canada's transitioning economy. PHOTO by Pexels.

Small and medium-sized Canadian job shops looking to grow or adapt to market conditions have a new place to turn to for support.

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce has launched the SME Institute 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, the Chamber says.

“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,” the Chamber says.

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.

“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.”

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”

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.

“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,” says Don Ludlow, Vice-President of Small Business, Partnerships and Strategy at RBC.

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

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