Small business group uses e-learning to offer certificate course

TORONTO – The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Thursday said it has launched a series of e-learning courses for small businesses in co-operation with a group of partners.

The courses that are immediately available are a small business management certificate ( and a small exporter management certificate ( The first is an overview course comprising 20 hours of content on finance, marketing, customer service, and other areas of small business management. The second is about 26 hours of content to aid small businesses approach and sell to overseas markets.

Much of the content comes from the Forum for International Trade Training with support from other partners like Scotiabank, the Canadian Association of Management Consultants and Export Development Canada. The online seminars are being hosted by Oakville, Ont.-based e-learning service provider Vubiz Ltd. and are available at a cost of $199. Collectively the group is billing itself as an E-Learning for Business Coalition and will be headquartered at the CFIB’s main office in Toronto.

The CFIB has been offering online courses to small businesses for a decade but these latest courses are designed to be more comprehensive in nature, said CFIB president and CEO Catherine Swift.

Vubiz chairman John Bulloch, who is also the founder of the CFIB, referred to the content as “very credible,” stressing that the content is high-quality and will be recognized as worthwhile training.

The training program is also being endorsed by the federal government. Minister of Finance Jim Flaherty, once a member of the CFIB himself, said he was a “big fan” of the organization’s efforts. “Small business is the backbone of the Canadian economy,” he said, adding that small and medium-sized businesses account for 97 per cent of all business in Canada.

“The more we can do as a government to help small business, the better of we will be as an economy and a country.”

Swift said that course content is management-oriented but contain information that is germane to all employees at a small organization. She called upon small businesses leaders to make them available to their staff to promote education and encourage employee retention.

The courses will be offered in English and French and will be sold through the coalition’s various partners as well as the course Web sites themselves. More courses will be added as they are available.

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