Surging use of Digital Banking Accelerates During the Pandemic: CBA Survey

Mobile Banking

Banking preferences are evolving with technology, world events, and the generational influences of younger customers

The widespread migration to digital technologies driven by public health measures accelerated changes to the way Canadians bank, as more than three-quarters of customers (78 per cent) have come to rely on digital channels to conduct most of their banking. This is among the many findings in How Canadians Bank, a recent survey of 4,000 Canadians commissioned by the Canadian Bankers Association (CBA).

Survey highlights:

  • 78 per cent of Canadians are using digital channels to conduct most of their banking transactions, up from 76 per cent in 2018 and 68 per cent in 2016.
  • 89 per cent of Canadians reported using online banking in the last year.
  • 65 per cent of Canadians used mobile app-based banking in the last year, up considerably from 2018 and 2016 results, at 56 per cent and 44 per cent respectively.
  • Three out of four Canadians (75 per cent) intend to keep the digital banking habits developed during the pandemic.
  • 86 per cent of Canadians trust their bank to offer secure digital banking services.

“The pandemic proved to be a major catalyst for change as Canadians moved more of their daily activities online, including a large-scale uptake of digital banking and contactless transaction methods,” said Anthony G. Ostler, President and CEO, CBA. “Reliable digital banking solutions were already in place when it mattered most thanks to a long-standing commitment to strengthening the customer experience through technology. Further innovations were developed in record time to support consumers as their lives changed dramatically. These factors combined helped Canadians do more online than ever before while reducing risks and delivering convenience at a critical time.”

 

Digital by default: Technology and generational influences of younger customers

As technology evolves and changes the way we live and work, the digital expectations of consumers are rising. This is the leading catalyst for continued innovation as banks look for new, easier ways for Canadians to access their banking consistently and securely. And Canadians clearly value the convenience of these innovations and feel better served as a result.

  • 90 per cent of consumers believe that new technologies have made banking a lot more convenient.
  • 86 per cent of Canadians agree that their bank has improved service through technology. More than one-third (34 per cent) of Gen Z consumers “strongly agree” that technology is improving their banking experience.
  • 84 per cent of consumers are satisfied with Tap & Pay contactless payments, up significantly from 74 per cent in 2018.

The broad-based shift towards online and mobile banking has gathered momentum during the pandemic, and consumers under the age of 30 are the main drivers of this trend. Indeed, digital-first customer preferences are likely to become more entrenched in the years ahead.

Ostler adds: “The pace of change in any industry is usually dictated by the customer. And what bank customers want is a digital-first approach to their financial transactions, in real-time, from anywhere, on a reliable and secure network. Significant investments in modernization have helped banks in Canada anticipate and meet the evolving preferences of their customers.”

 

Online banking is still the most common way people bank

As banking technologies have come to the forefront, online banking has cemented its position as the most common form of banking for most Canadians.

  • Half of customers (49 per cent) say that online banking is now their most common banking method – 20 per cent higher than app-based banking, the second ranked method, although that gap is closing.
  • 46 per cent of Canadians increased their use of online banking in the last few years, particularly among consumers under the age of 30 (58 per cent).
  • A large majority (93 per cent) of Canadians are satisfied with online banking.

Though not surprising given recent events, the average Canadian visits their bank’s website five times as often as they do their branch. While online is the predominant banking method for most Canadians, that dominance is declining over time as an increasing number of customers gravitate to mobile app-based tools.

 

Mobile app-based banking continues to rise, led by Gen Z and Millennial uptake

Every Canadian with a smartphone now has a bank in their pocket. Because most Canadians carry these devices, banks offer mobile banking and payment services and apps that allow customers to perform a variety of transactions through their phones. As a result, the number of Canadians banking on the go continues to rise, particularly among younger customers.

  • 37 per cent of Canadians increased their use of mobile banking in the last few years, led by bank customers under the age of 30 (59 per cent).
  • Nearly half of Gen Z (46 per cent) and well over a third of Millennials (37 per cent) say apps are their leading banking method, as opposed to 29 per cent for all demographics groups combined.
  • Members of Gen Z are five times more reliant on mobile banking technology than older Canadians aged 65 and above.
  • 80 per cent of Canadians say they are satisfied with mobile banking services, up from 73 per cent in 2018.

 

High levels of trust in banking innovation

With many digital services available today, trust in the security of personal data and financial information has eroded in many sectors of the economy. However, the opposite seems to be true for the banking sector, where confidence is gaining.

  • 87 per cent of customers trust their bank to protect personal information.
  • Banks always put their customers at the centre of trusted innovation.

Canada’s banks have earned a strong reputation as pillars of stability, but they are also dynamic and continually anticipate and adapt to evolving customer preferences. Canadians place high trust in banks because they have delivered convenience through technology for decades – always with a focus on security and privacy.

 

Digital currencies: interest is growing, but consumers are wary

While the end of physical money is not near, a dizzying array of cryptocurrencies has launched in recent years. How are Canadians responding to these innovations?

  • Led by younger Canadians, more than half (56 per cent) of consumers would consider using a private cryptocurrency.
  • 64 per cent of Canadians say convenience is the main reason they use, or would use, a cryptocurrency.
  • One-third (36 per cent) of consumers expect to be using an alternative currency in five years.

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Best Engineering Procurement Construction Specialists – Canada

Cooling towers with the International Cooling Tower logo in the top left corner

As an outstanding cornerstone of the international construction community, International Cooling Tower Incorporated has made a name for itself with incredible cooling solutions that can be applied across a myriad of different industries. Able to handle the intensity of oil and gas cooling, as well as renewable energy plant cooling and more, its cooling towers promise to be delivered on time and on budget in order to allow clients to go about serving their own clients and end-customers with confidence, knowing that they have invested in the best solution on the market.

International Cooling Tower Inc. is the place for innovations in the engineering and production of exemplary industrial cooling projects. Fundamentally, their engineering, procurement, and construction services have been serving the industry for years, cementing their place at the top of the sector for high-budget and high-intensity industrial cooling since 1958. A North American market leader, standout company in the field of freshly created solutions, and producer of aftermarket towers of all shapes and sizes, they have committed themselves to being a one-stop-shop for industrial process, chemical, oil, gas, renewables, and power facility elements.

They have also achieved this in a worldwide sense. Since its inception, their exemplary work and work ethic has secured their notoriety in their market segments, increasing their good reputation amongst their peers and customers, both prospective and current, to form a large contact network. Additionally, with the materials, parts, and equipment at their disposal at any given time, their dedicated and diligent team and longstanding relationships with vendors allows them to be on time, every time. No matter how tight the deadlines are for a specific project or build, International Cooling Tower Inc. promises they will go above and beyond to help a client meet them; this, aided massively by their logistical partnerships and connections, has developed a penchant for reliability that has allowed them to enjoy continual growth.

Furthermore, their team are another outstanding element of their business operations – from their building experts to their administration team – each offering the height of integrity, equality, and respect when it comes to the customer service they provide. In this way, their staff are invigorated by challenge and undaunted by roadblocks. However, even with all this being said, roadblocks are very rarely an issue due to International Cooling Tower Inc.’s brilliant project management acumen, allowing it them track and schedule processes on time every time, as well as to deliver their projects within the budget that has been given to them by the client.

In addition, their quality management, construction procedures, and 3rd party certifications show how they ensure they perform their work correctly the first time, every time. This ability to take care of their clients and the projects brought to them have further secured the reputation that International Cooling Tower Inc. has been building since its inception, making for a company that clients are happy to come back to using time and time again. These clients also go on to leave them glowing reviews, recommending their services to industry peers through word-of-mouth referrals, is something they wish to thank each and every one of them for, as it continues to provide the best cooling tower services in 2022 and beyond.

 

For business inquiries, contact Jeff Colliou McKay at International Cooling Tower Inc. via www.ictower.com.

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Best Indigenous Owned Sustainable Energy Developer 2021

Wind terbines on a hil with a purple sunset behind. The Nunavut Nukkiksautiit Corporation (NNC) logo is in the top left corner

Nunavut Nukkiksautiit Corporation (NNC) is a 100% Inuit-owned renewable energy developer based in Iqaluit, Nunavut, Canada. As a wholly-owned subsidiary of Qikiqtaaluk Corporation, NNC strives to work with communities in the Qikiqtani region to identify clean energy solutions that foster economic, social, and environmental benefits for Nunavummiut. It partners with communities to develop and implement clean, reliable, and affordable renewable energy solutions in the Qikiqtani region.

Nunavut Nukkiksautiit Corporation prioritizes community support for projects and as such, strives to ensure transparency throughout the development, construction, and operational phases of each project. Its goal is to empower communities in the Qikiqtani region through the development and installation of sound clean energy infrastructure.

The renewable energy industry remains in its infancy in Nunavut. Remote communities in Canada continue to be heavily reliant on diesel fuel for electricity generation, which is neither economically nor environmentally sustainable. With this, NNC strives to develop projects which incorporate innovative technologies, proven in Arctic climates, for installation in communities in the Qikiqtani region. Safety and reliability are key factors to prioritize when installing electrical generation equipment in remote communities and thus, only proven clean technologies are incorporated into its projects. The company aligns with strategic partners who have technical expertise in renewable energy systems in remote communities to ensure all projects are soundly designed and developed.

Being Nunavut’s first 100% Inuit-owned renewable energy provider, it thus remains of paramount importance that it remains based in Nunavut. Located in the territorial capital allows it access to various territorial government departments, Inuit organizations, and non-profit organizations with whom it engages to advocate for fair energy policies in Nunavut. As the main travel hub in the territory, being located in Iqaluit also allows the company relatively easy access to traveling to communities in the Qukiqtani region.

Its base in Iqaluit along with connections with relevant stakeholders in the territory, NNC is able to stay informed on up-to-date developments in the regulatory space. Collaborating with other developers in the territory allows it to understand technological innovations and to share lessons learned in the development process in Nunavut. Partnerships and collaboration with communities allows the company to ensure its projects are developed to a high standard, ensuring incorporation of community priorities in development activities.

However, the major challenge regarding renewable energy development in Nunavut is the regulatory landscape. There is currently no policy in the territory to permit the sale of electricity from independent power producers at the community level. While residential and commercial customers in Nunavut are able to install renewable energy generating systems at their facilities, community-scale renewable energy generation is not yet permitted in the region, making any kind of significant reduction in diesel fuel use in the territory impossible. NNC continues to develop renewable energy solutions with communities in the Qikiqtani region and advocate for fair energy policies at the territorial level in an effort to enable the clean energy transition in Nunavut.

NNC is now looking towards the future, with two projects in advanced stages of development, both of which it hopes to move to construction phases this year, thereby realizing the associated economic, social, and environmental benefits to renewable energy in Nunavut. A clean energy microgrid project in Iqaluit as well as a wind and battery energy storage project in Sanikiluaq are among its top priorities to continue advancing in 2022.

 

For business inquiries, contact Heather Shilton at Nunavut Nukkiksautiit Corporation via [email protected] or www.nunavutcleanenergy.ca.

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Is It Crucial for Canadian Business People to Speak French?

Business Discussion

Unlike other countries in the western world that stick to English as their official language, Canada is diverse in the mother tongues of its residents. The official languages are English and French, but over 7 million people have a different first language.

Business people in the country can get by without any knowledge of French, unless they’re operating within Quebec. However, there are various reasons learning the language could be highly beneficial for anyone who wants to run a successful company in Canada.

Easy for Anyone to Get Highly Skilled at French

Although French is taught in most schools around the country, many Canadians leave school without a proficient level of the language. Luckily, nowadays it is possible to learn advanced French online. Aside from the basics, online learners can master the numerous adverbs that are key to becoming adept at French. Online learning is highly accessible, with plenty of learning methods available for learners of all levels.

For people short on time or unwilling to travel long distances to learn, there are plenty of tutors ready to teach you when it’s most convenient. With all these tools available, Canadians have no excuse but to ensure their French is at a suitable level.

 

If you Operate in Quebec you Need French

When answering the question whether knowledge of French is crucial in Canada, it depends on where you plan to do business. If your business is based in Quebec, it must have information in the official language of the province.

This is written in Article 5 of the Charter of the French Language, where it states that Quebec residents have a right to be served in French. This also covers online services that cater to people within the province.

It’s also crucial that you’re aware your business name needs to be in French if you are based in Quebec. It needs to be clear in the language what your product or service is.

 

French Can be Useful Everywhere in Canada

Even if your business is operating outside of Quebec, you should appreciate that 22.8 percent of the Canadian population speaks French. While many of these people are concentrated in the French-speaking province, they do travel around the rest of the country as well.

Also, deciding to not offer your product or service in Quebec will lead you to lose out on reaching over 8 million people. Therefore, it makes little sense to have an English language-only company in Canada.

If your business exists predominantly online, making information available in English and French could be helpful. Not only can you appeal to people in Quebec, but you can market your offerings to people in France and other French-speaking nations.

French is the fourth-most spoken language in the world, behind Spanish, Mandarin, and English. Being able to speak it could be useful in many ways, but it is particularly important for business people in Canada. In fact, many successful business people in Canada are fluent in at least English and French.

So, if you’re looking to open your business to the francophone market but your language skills aren’t up to scratch, it’s never too late to learn.

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Kyndryl Announces a New Cloud Innovation Centre in Montreal

Cloud Innovation

Centre will create nearly 500 new IT roles and extend Kyndryl’s industry-leading cloud services to more Canadian organizations

Kyndryl announced today the creation of a new bilingual technology services centre in Montréal, Québec that is expected to create nearly 500 new IT jobs in the next five years. This centre will enable Kyndryl to meet the growing demand for cloud skills and extend delivery of its industry-leading digital transformation services to Canadian organizations.

Kyndryl, the new independent infrastructure technology services company spun off from IBM, is the largest in Canada and the world. The company supports mission critical workloads and digital transformation for top Canadian organizations. The company designs, builds, manages, and modernizes the mission-critical technology systems that the world depends on every day including Canadian customers such as financial institutions, airlines, governments, industrial products, and more. 

The new Cloud Innovation Centre will provide Canadian customers with high value certified skills in areas including cloud application modernization, automation for DevOps and service management, analytics and artificial intelligence, and digitization services. By expanding access to this advanced expertise, Kyndryl will help its existing and new customers tackle their most pressing business objectives in modern, digital ways.

Cloud, one of Kyndryl’s key practice areas, is being used to accelerate digitization for organizations across every industry. Through partnerships with hyperscalers such as Microsoft and Google Cloud – and leading solutions providers SAP and VMware – Kyndryl is delivering enterprises the freedom of choice to deploy the best technologies that fit their operations. Additionally, cloud is the enabler of the other practice areas Kyndryl delivers including: Applications, Data & Artificial Intelligence, Digital Workplace, Security & Resiliency, Network & Edge, and Core Enterprise & zCloud.

The centre has already created more than 100 new IT roles who have a desire to build innovative skills for the future. New employees are receiving training across the tech industry’s leading cloud platforms, automation tools, cybersecurity, and from Kyndryl’s vast partner network.

“This centre creates tremendous opportunity in several ways. Our customers and organizations across Canada can now leverage Kyndryl’s world class talent, with the top skills in cloud and technology services, to help them accelerate their digital transformation strategies and achieve their business goals,” says Xerxes Cooper, President of Kyndryl Canada.  “The next-generation workforce from local technical colleges and universities have the opportunity to deliver the technology skills needed to drive business innovation, and this centre positions Quebec as a hub for global businesses.”

The COVID-19 pandemic forced organizations to accelerate their digital transformation strategies. Today, the pressure to remain relevant in a fiercely competitive market means that transformation must continue. The demand for skills and expertise has never been higher, making the creation of Kyndryl’s Cloud Innovation Centre important and timely for Canadian companies.

Canada is home to a diverse, highly-skilled, and well-educated workforce and a thriving innovation ecosystem. Investments like Kyndryl’s will play an important role in supporting Canada’s strong, sustainable, inclusive economic recovery. Our government will continue to promote Canada as a leading investment destination and create good-paying middle class jobs around the country.”

Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development:

“The Ville de Montréal is delighted that Kyndryl has chosen Montréal for its new services centre. Coming out of the pandemic, companies must transform their business models and adopt new technologies. Kyndryl’s growth in Montréal demonstrates the impact of the efforts made by the city and its partners over the past few years. The company will be able to count on the talent from our universities and the support of our teams throughout all stages of the business development.”

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Five Year-end Tax Tips to Help Family Businesses Prepare and Protect Their Succession of Wealth

Tax Planning

Embracing year-end tax planning can help unlock hidden capital

Canadian business owners face unique challenges as they balance their ambitions for growth with efforts to build their family legacy. With the economy as active as it’s ever been, EY Canada’s year-end tax tips for family business owners outlines how they can prepare and ask the right questions now to secure their legacy for generations to come.

“Whether business owners are charting an exit in 2022, or at the very early stages of succession planning, now’s the time to give some thought to end-of-year tax planning,” says Liam Bordeleau, EY Canada Associate Partner, Tax. “Private capital currently represents a greater share of the market than private equity and venture capital combined, and increasing globalization is fueling the growth of family enterprises everywhere. This unique environment represents a wealth of possibilities for family businesses or family offices looking to build out strategies for the next twelve months.”

EY suggests Canadian family business owners should consider these five questions to help identify the right tax planning opportunities heading into 2022:

  1. Are you approaching philanthropy strategically?
    While managing philanthropic efforts and community engagement is an increasingly important function for any family business, personal and corporate donations can also generate tax savings. Depending on the situation, corporate donations, private foundations or a donor-advised fund with a public foundation may maximize results. 

  2.  Do you understand how Bill C-208 could affect your succession plans?
    Bill C-208 now contains amendments to provide exceptions to the application of the capital gains stripping and anti-surplus stripping rules. Those apply in the context of qualified small business corporation shares and shares of the capital stock of a family farm or fishing corporation, to facilitate their transfer to family members. Read more in the Tax Alert 2021 No.25, 12 July 2021.

  3. Are you managing family wealth effectively across borders? 
    As transparency and reporting requirements evolve across different jurisdictions, planning ahead and understanding the options available are essential for any owner or beneficiary who makes their home abroad. Reviewing asset-holding structures and assessing how changing rules might impact family members living or working in other jurisdictions can mitigate risks and minimize reporting responsibilities.

  4. Have you prepared for potential trust filing disclosures in Canada? 
    Trusts not required to file a T3 return will now have an annual filing requirement, including the disclosure of the identity of the settlors, trustees, beneficiaries, or others who control how a trust’s income or capital is allocated. Only limited exceptions will apply, so it’s wise to get ahead of the change, and put a plan in place now.

  5. Have you gone the family office route yet?
    A family office can be an effective way to manage and invest wealth. Doing so can help you become more strategic about long-term planning, while exploring opportunities like real estate transactions in different ways. Some family offices have chosen to team up with others to pursue this strategy together, offering attractive synergies in infrastructure, deal sourcing and idea sharing but can create governance issues with investment selection and ongoing management. Review our Family Office Guide to see if this is the right strategy for your family’s net worth. 

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Canadian Entrepreneurs’ Confidence in the Economy Brings a Positive Investment Outlook for 2022

Entrepreneurship
  • 84% of businesses are planning to maintain investments or invest more in the next 12 months
  • 74% of businesses expect Canadian economic conditions will improve or remain the same
  • 83% of businesses expect their sales will increase or remain the same, with accommodations and food services businesses the most optimistic.
  • 55% of businesses are experiencing difficulties hiring qualified workers.


Canadian entrepreneurs’ confidence in the economy is strong and their investment intentions are above pre-crisis levels, according to BDC’s Canadian Entrepreneurs’ 2022 Investment Outlook.

The annual survey of investment intentions finds that the percentage of entrepreneurs who expect their sales to improve or remain stable has steadily increased since April 2020, returning to pre-pandemic levels due to the reopening of the economy. The Canadian economy is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in early 2022.

About 84% of businesses are planning to either maintain their current level of investment (64%) or to invest more (20%) in the next 12 months. This has increased by 1 percentage point since spring 2021 and by 8 percentage points since December 2020, the study noted.

“The results indicate that entrepreneurs’ confidence in the economy is strong and that investment intentions are above their pre-crisis level, with one out of five SMEs planning to increase their investments in 2022,” says Pierre Cléroux, Vice President, Research and Chief Economist, BDC.

“Fear of new lockdowns is slowly fading, thanks to vaccination, and businesses are optimistic for 2022. However, a persisting labour shortage, as well as supply chain disruptions linked to the reopening have emerged and will limit investments,” he adds. “Our study finds that for the first time since March 2020, labour shortages are starting to hold back investments for a growing number of businesses, even though cash flow and demand have improved”.  

The study finds that over half of entrepreneurs surveyed (55%) already had difficulties in hiring qualified workers, the highest proportion since BDC started its surveys in 2019. As a result, entrepreneurs are mainly investing to improve efficiency. Businesses most affected by lockdowns, such as those in accommodation and food services, tend to be investing the most in new types of offerings to attract clients. Businesses facing high demand, such as those in the manufacturing sector, are investing mostly to improve efficiency.

Investment intentions are at an all-time high in the Atlantic provinces and in British Columbia, where 92% and 90% of businesses, respectively, plan to maintain or increase their investment level in 2022. This is an all-time high since July 2019, when BDC first started its investment intention surveys. Investment intentions remain lower in the Prairies, but they are above pre-crisis levels as high global demand for energy pushes up oil prices. These high prices will help spur investments in 2022, but uncertainty remains high for the energy sector in the long term.

BDC conducted the survey in the fall of 2021 among 1,000 business owners of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Canada. The objective was to gauge their level of confidence in the economy, their business outlook, as well as their investment plans for the next 12 months.

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Micromine Reveals End-to-End Digital Ecosystem at Momentum 2021

Digital World

Micromine has revealed a new strategy to improve product clarity, deliver end-to-end, integrated digital solutions, and better serve its clients at Momentum 2021, a virtual conference for geo-professionals and mining specialists.

Hosted by international mining software developer Micromine, Momentum 2021 was attended by thousands of mining and exploration professionals hoping for an exclusive first look at the latest mining technologies.

Micromine CEO Andrew Birch said the refreshed direction for the business comes as the mining industry continues to evolve in the wake of COVID-19 and increases its focus on new processes and opportunities unlocked by sector-specific innovations.

“Looking back, it has been a year of further transformation for the mining industry, with many organisations looking for increased efficiency and stability by accelerating digital initiatives. 

“We believe further integration of digital technology is the key to delivering the next generation of efficiencies in the sector.

“Our vision is to create an ecosystem that connects experts across the exploration and mining value chain, using both new and existing technology to deliver better outcomes for our clients’ projects, their organizations and, most importantly, for the user,” Mr Birch said.

 

Renewed product clarity and integration

Micromine has revealed a range of changes to improve product clarity and better serve its clients. Its eponymous hero product, Micromine, has been split into two distinct offerings: Micromine Origin, focused on the exploration sector; and Micromine Beyond, supporting clients developing and operating mines.

Micromine’s suite of products are now clearly designed to fit into integrated solution and become parts of the everyday workflow of its clients.

With Micromine Origin, exploration professionals will gain access to a first of its kind geology modelling interface, with visualization, drillhole management, analytical and modelling tools, statistical, and geostatistical functionality needed in a more advanced exploration or resource estimation project.

Micromine Beyond offers targeted but flexible tools for planning, design, and scheduling in both surface and underground mines.

“By bringing users, data and technology together, we can help mining organizations build end-to-end digital processes and enable completely new and transformative business models that use data to accelerate smart decision making, maximize business opportunities and meet the challenges of delivering a sustainable future for the global community,” Mr Birch said.

Two recently announced acquisitions in the mine scheduling space – Precision Mining, including the SPRY product, and Alastri Software – round out Micromine’s core product offerings. Both products allow Micromine Beyond clients (those developing and operating mines) to translate their designs into actionable schedules, bridging the gap between mine design tools and operational mine production systems. 

 

Roadmap for 2022: Introducing Micromine Nexus

The Micromine Momentum 2021 event also saw the introduction of Micromine’s latest, in-house developed product, Micromine Nexus, which will launch globally in early 2022.

This newly developed offering is designed to connect and orchestrate workflow tools, while providing data security across the entire ecosystem.

“Nearly every client we talk to struggles to manage multiple people working on the same workflows, models, and geological data sets. Clients have told us they need a centralized storage location with robust version control.

“Micromine Nexus is the first step in our platform strategy to provide clients with unified data management and sharing capability across the Micromine product suite and ultimately a range of third-party point solutions to make the sharing of data a real possibility, driving significant efficiencies for your mining operation,” Mr Birch said.

The platform acts as a single source of truth for a team, making sure everyone is always working off the latest information. Thanks to the product’s open platform, virtually any file type can be stored, shared, and audit-tracked in one central location.

The platform architecture is ready to be defined by administrators without the need for extensive product training or any programming skills.

Micromine Nexus’ initial launch will support a public-cloud hosting and on-premise solution.

Mr Birch summarized the impetus for Micromine’s strategic shakeup saying, “We have watched as our clients have embraced the opportunities that technological advancements offer their businesses. But we have also seen the difficulty many organisations have when trying to integrate these tools for more efficient and intelligent operations.

“It’s this need – delivering better outcomes for your projects – that inspires Micromine to continuously innovate. We deliver against this not only Micromine’s suite of products, but also the way these products fit into an integrated solution that become parts of our clients’ everyday workflow.”

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Fusion Ventures Rebrands to Helia Capital with New Look and Mission to Empower and Partner with Purpose-Driven Businesses Across Canada and The United States

Firm

Helia Capital’s launch follows the firms’ latest deal with California’s rapidly growing plant-based fast-food brand, Plant Power Fast Food

Fusion Ventures, a sector-focused private investment firm founded by Lee Piccoli in 2018, today announces a rebrand and renaming to Helia Capital, marking the next evolution of the company. Helia Capital is a patient capital partner that supports businesses in the transition from entrepreneurial to a professionally managed organization, focusing on partnering with purpose-driven brands that are looking to achieve sustainable growth.

The Helia Capital team is currently led by CEO and Founder, Lee Piccoli, and Sebastien Koechli, Managing Director. Lee Piccoli is also the CEO & Founder of Fusion Homes, a multi-award-winning real estate development business based in Guelph, Ontario that Piccoli has overseen throughout its evolution from an entrepreneurial company to a professionally managed business. Sebastien is a veteran finance professional with over 15 years of experience, specializing in private equity investing, and M&A, working internationally across a variety of sectors.

Helia Capital seeks out a niche in the current landscape of private equity and funding. With Piccoli at the heart of the new brand, his experience building Fusion Homes from the ground up, at a young age, makes him uniquely qualified to understand what it takes, to expect the unexpected hurdles that can arise, and identify the trajectory and signs of a flourishing business model. One of Helia Capital’s key benefits to their partners is that they are a patient capital partner — not focused on short-term gains, rather achieving sustainable growth by working with organizations that seek to solve large challenges through their business model.

“Navigating this new Helia Capital brand from start to finish has been a true labour of love, and something that I’m incredibly proud of and excited to launch out into the world,” says Helia CEO and Founder, Lee Piccoli“With a mission to invest in purpose-driven companies that are a rare combination of pure passion and operational excellence, our focus is on making a significant impact by working together to solve large challenges through sustainable business models that value factors outside of the bottom line.”

Today’s announcement highlights the most recent deal that Helia was an instrumental part of. In April 2021, Fusion Ventures (now known as Helia Capital) led a $7.5 million Series A raise with Plant Power Restaurant Group, LLC., the parent company of Plant Power Fast Food. This announcement also included the addition of Helia’s Sebastien Koechli to The Plant Power Restaurant Group’s Board of Directors.

The funds from the Series A raise will be used by the plant-based fast-food restaurant chain to continue to execute expansion plans with a focus on new corporate unit development. The Plant Power Restaurant Group reported year-on-year enterprise-wide retail net sales growth of 52.14% in 2020 and announced plans to more than double the number of operating restaurants by the third quarter of 2022. New and upcoming store locations set to open for Plant Power include HollywoodSan DiegoSan ClementeLaguna Hills, and a second Las Vegas location following the opening of a flagship location in October 2021, marking the brand’s first move outside of California.

“We are incredibly thankful to be working with Helia as they are everything that we hoped for in a partner,” says Plant Power Co-founder and CEO Jeffrey Harris. “Lee and Sebastien’s expertise and skillsets have really allowed us to not only envision but achieve some of the key milestones we’ve been working towards. Their investment and belief in our mission to change the world has been such an integral part of the evolution of our strategy over the last several months. What is truly invaluable however is to have both of them be part of our team, especially during this critical point in the growth and expansion of our business.” 

Prior to the brand evolution to Helia Capital, Fusion Ventures built a strong track record of strategic investments, notably partnering with two entrepreneur-lead companies; Childventures and Spring Mill Distillery. With each partnership, the team was involved financially, and strategically, including operational support and corporate governance, further driving brand and business growth. Childventures is an Early Learning Academy and leader in early childhood development programs in Canada blending curriculum and the very best teaching methods from Baby Signs and High Scope® to Montessori and Core Knowledge®. Childventures has seen incredible success to date since partnering with the Helia Capital team, including a 60% rise in the opening of new locations since April 2019, with a 9th location currently under development to open in 2023.

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Brim is Bringing the Instant Card Experience to your Apple Wallet in Canada

Digital Card

Instant provisioning into Apple Wallet enables customers to transact seconds after completing a credit card application

Brim Financial (Brim), one of the fastest growing fintech companies in Canada and a licensed credit card issuer, today announced the launch of their new instant card experience, allowing customers to apply for a credit card through the Brim app and begin transacting within seconds of being approved after completing their application. Brim is the first company in Canada to enable customers to add the new digital card to the Apple Wallet with the click of a button and begin transacting using Apple Pay.

“We will continue to deliver on our promise to bring ground-breaking solutions to the fintech and banking space. The pandemic has accelerated the rate at which touchless shopping has become a necessity for consumers. Our new instant card experience brings Brim’s cutting-edge technology to our platform partners to meet this moment of rapid change,” said Rasha Katabi, CEO and founder of Brim Financial.

The instant card experience is the latest development also accessible to Brim’s partners. Brim’s Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) technology is a market leading, end-to-end embedded banking and finance solution that integrates with any bank, credit union or commercial partner to bring innovative products through a digital first platform with embedded buy now pay later capabilities and global loyalty and rewards.

“Our partnership with Brim allows us to seamlessly innovate and offer first-to-market features to our clients, delivering outstanding products and experiences, without having to build and allocate resources internally – a significant competitive advantage.”  said Anthony Danda, Vice President of Product Management at Canadian Western Bank (CWB). CWB is the first Schedule 1 Bank in the country to offer instant approval and digital card capability to new applicants.

All cardholders in Brim’s PaaS ecosystem not only have the ability to make purchases with their new card instantly at stores globally and online, they will also benefit from earning accelerated rewards. Brim’s loyalty and rewards platform is seamlessly embedded in all card products, establishing a two-way bridge between merchants and consumers all in real-time.

Brim expects to expand their offering to Google Pay in the near future.

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