Imagine a city known for its local success stories. A place that realizes small businesses are just as important as large ones, and fights to support both like it’s our own family business. One that wants to help you turn your ambitious plans into the next empire.
Most importantly — a city that wants to make sure these resources aren’t exclusively the domain of a few well connected-families.
- A community venture fund. We plan to start local business accelerators to help early-stage businesses launch. A city-owned portfolio will take stakes in local startups, and provide memtorship to help them grow. We’ll support our local community & invest in our future, instead of giving tax cuts to global conglomerates.
- Save small businesses money with a municipal payment processor. Small businesses pay significantly higher fees to process credit cards than mega corps. We plan to leverage the collective size of small businesses, and give it the same negotiating power with the credit giants.
- Free small business software to save you money. Starting a business is expensive, with software being one of the most expensive recurring fees. We plan to leverage our Open Source City plan to build and maintain it.
- Equitable distribution of opportunity for our communities. Leveraging our free data software, we can find out which areas are thriving in the city and which ones need more support. Equitable distribution of opportunity requires knowing where the opportunities are (and where we need to help create them).
Toronto is transforming into a place with a tremendous amount of wealth, but it’s not being equitably distributed. Some promote this as an inevitability, but it doesn’t have to be this way. By investing in our communities and delivering support, we can better distribute opportunities across the city.
Our solutions focus on delivering support to small and medium sized businesses. We plan to foster new entrepreneurs and support them every step of the way. A city’s success is dependent on its communities, which are increasingly being crushed. That’s why we’re looking to help you with your homegrown success story — whether that’s the next tech unicorn or a neighborhood cafe that’s central to your community. The way Toronto views small business is broken — let’s fix it.
Here’s how we’re going to do it.
Community Venture Fund
Canada trains and attracts some of the world’s top talent but for some reason we don’t foster it. Instead we pitch global companies that pay minimum taxes and how cheap our labor is. It’s a crappy situation that feels like we’re exploiting our talent. We’re creating an opportunity for global billionaires, not our community. Let’s change that.
We consulted with some of the City’s aspiring entrepreneurs and prominent investors. Sticking with our opportunity-as-infrastructure plan, we came up with a solution that has had success in small cities — a community venture program.
We’re going to create community accelerators. We’ll co-invest in local talent alongside some of the most exclusive venture capital funds. If they see an opportunity, why send it to Colorado or San Francisco? We can develop community hubs of entrepreneurs, take stakes in our community’s future, foster our aspiring entrepreneurs, and build opportunities at home.
Providing citizens with an equitable opportunity, leveraging our talent, and creating jobs all at once. Let’s do this.
A Municipal Payment Processor That Leverages Economies of Scale
Toronto’s small and medium sized businesses are hurting, and there’s a hidden pain — credit card processing fees. With limited competition in this space, small businesses frequently pay upwards of 2 points to process credit cards. At the same time, large companies are able to negotiate significantly lower fees. We said we were all in this together, and now it’s time to prove it. Let’s help more cash flow enrich our community.
Leveraging our scale, we can establish a municipal payment system infrastructure. We’ll drive down costs in the same way Costco or Loblaws does, because why should small businesses pay more? We’ll even leverage our Open Source City plan to build world class POS and restaurant ordering systems, bringing down the cost of running a shop or restaurant. We can also leverage this data to see which communities need more investment to bring new opportunities to those communities. We love big businesses, but if it’s between our neighbors and your global empire, we’ll pick our neighbours. Every. Single. Time.
Economic prosperity through velocity
Gross domestic product can be grown two ways — by increasing the amount of money in the system or increasing its velocity. In other words, we don’t need to raise taxes or print non-productive credit to create prosperity. We can increase wealth within a community by increasing the spending within the community. Implementing a data-driven approach, we’ll pinpoint bottlenecks that are driving up the cost of doing business. If that means building a new system for the City, negotiating with global companies to reduce your credit card transaction fees, or resolving that perpetual construction in front of your business — your government should have your back.
Increased velocity also leads to more revenues without increasing the amount of capital in the system. Improving the flow of money is a novel approach that isn’t being used, but can completely revamp how we think of growth. Good government shouldn’t be expensive and it should be investing in your growth, not think of you as a pinata filled with funds.
Small Business Technology Infrastructure To Help Reduce Your Fees
Small businesses get gouged by software repeatedly — inventory, point of sale, ordering stations at restaurants, etc. All of these tend to have perpetual subscription fees, for software that only receives minor updates (if any at all). These add up to a lot of small and recurring costs that eat up business capital. This software is relatively simple but wowza, does it cost you a lot over time. It’s money that can be used for much more productive things, and put back into your community.
We plan to leverage our Open Source City plan to create and maintain these pieces of software. Sales terminals, restaurant POS systems, and the list goes on — we’re going to give it away. It’ll also integrate with our municipal payment processor as a drop in, reducing the cost of starting and maintaining a business.
Since we’re collectively maintaining our software, it’ll get more features and become more robust with time.
A Data-Driven Approach To Creating Thriving Economic Communities
Toronto is becoming wealthier, but that opportunity isn’t being equitably distributed to all regions. We’re going to change that by leveraging anonymized data from our payment processor and small business software. If a neighborhood is stagnating or failing to grow, we’d like to know as quickly as possible to see if we can help.
Even before the pandemic, vacant storefronts had begun to pile up in Toronto. After the pandemic it became painfully obvious, which is when politicians began discussing plans to help. By leveraging our data we don’t have to wait until after a business needs help — we can take a proactive approach and prevent the failure from happening.