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Legitimate, or Scam? Are businesses missing out on $2,500 in free funding?

September 01, 2019

Despite many of our tax dollars going towards Government Grant Programs, few businesses actually take advantage of them. Canada awards millions of dollars in grants each year, yet most business owners are missing out because:

  • they don’t know grants exist, so when they hear about them, they think it’s a scam;
  • they think grants are the same as loans and have to be paid back;
  • they think it’s too difficult to apply;
  • they think there are too many obligations after they get the funds.

The good news is that businesses that are geographically located in the DUKE Heights BIA (Business Improvement Area) are now eligible to receive up to $2,500 in funding that:

  • is a grant (not a loan), so it does not have to be paid back;
  • has an easy application process with a high approval rate;
  • has minimal requirements after the funds are received;
  • is 100% legitimate and backed by the Province of Ontario.

This provincial grant program is designed to financially help businesses grow their brand and sales. The deadline to apply is November 30, however there are only 2000 grants available. Because the grant is also available to businesses in all 80+ BIAs in the GTA, we don’t know how quickly they will run out. Applications are approved on a first come, first-serve basis.

We can assist you in qualifying for the grant to maximize the funds to grow your brand. If you like the idea of adding $2500 to your budget this year to grow your brand and sales, please fill out the form below or contact us directly via phone or email.

If you’d like to speak to an expert about how to apply for the grant, please call (416) 739 -1621email at info@dukeheights.ca or, fill out your basic information below.

Submit Your Contact Information

Within 48 hours we will get in touch with you to let you know if you are eligible, and if so, how to complete your grant application.



Featured Business: Meet Duke Heights BIA’s Fastest-Growing IT Provider

September 01, 2019

365 iT SOLUTIONS has a long history in the area. First launching as a start-up in 2003, they’ve since grown to own multiple properties in the area.
For the past six consecutive years, 365 iT SOLUTIONS has kept up its industry-leading hyper growth by providing cost-effective IT services and IT solutions to match technology needs and business goals. From its home quarters in Duke Heights, 365 iT SOLUTIONS provides IT consulting to more than 85 clients including more than 2,000 with offices, some as far as Japan.
365 iT SOLUTIONS has an incredible track record at keeping organizations safe and running. Through their complimentary network assessment, they can identify potential risks and also improve management of their IT infrastructure.
It is important that organizations use industry best practices to protect their network and business. This includes proactive management, next generation firewalls, next generation antivirus, employee training, and proper security policies.
Organizations need to understand that network downtime and data loss is not acceptable. It is the responsibility of the IT provider to educate and manage their client networks properly.
Good IT providers do not believe in long-term contracts and are constantly innovating to keep their clients safe.
365 iT SOLUTIONS is Toronto’s leading IT consulting boutique firm offering industry-leading IT solutions including Managed IT Services, IT Support Services, IT Outsourcing Services, Tech Support Services and Cloud Services.

Councillor’s Corner : Creating Community in Duke Heights Beyond the Work Walls



September 01, 2019

The City of Toronto must play a crucial role in helping business succeed. But while historically that is through tax breaks, business grants, loans and improved infrastructure, it is also our responsibility to make sure that Business Improvement Areas, such as DUKE Heights, have wonderful city resources for people who work there, enjoy leisure time and need access important city services. The quality of our city must be reflected in and near the Business Improvement Areas.

Recently I was proud to open the Northview Advent Child Care Centre in the Bathurst and Finch neighbourhood. This is a state-of-the-art daycare with 49 spaces, all of which are subsidized. That means that workers who travel to and from the DUKE Heights BIA, will have another daycare option for drop-off on the way to work and pick-up on the way home.

james-pasternak-2019  james-pasternak-2019  

Lunch time for workers should be a time for fresh air, a nice walk and a pleasant place to sit and eat. Parks and paths are a great start. The city continues to invest in G. Ross Lord Park, one of Toronto’s finest, to ensure that DUKE Heights BIA employees can visit, relax, eat lunch and enjoy the sunshine. There are also nice green spaces, including Toronto Region Conservation Authority lands, seating along the Finch hydro corridor and along Dufferin Street. My office will also continue to invest in public art and murals to ensure that our public spaces reflect the creativity of the local DUKE Heights BIA neighbourhood.

My office will also continue to make sure that local street lighting, sidewalk connectivity, cycling infrastructure and other city assets are there to help workers get to and from work safely.

Transit is a city responsibility and businesses cannot thrive without high level transit opportunities for their employees. York Centre is quite fortunate to have 4 subway stops, major arterial roads and highways and extensive bus services. Looking to the future, the Finch West LRT will bring high level transit to the door of the DUKE Heights BIA, which will make commuting easier, safer and more efficient. We are also very excited that our new GO train station at Downsview Park Station is making it easier for workers in the DUKE Heights BIA to get home faster, and in comfort.

Councillor’s Corner : End of Summer & Back to School


September 01, 2019

Dear Resident,

Summer has always been the perfect time of year to get out and connect with others at our local parks. I was happy to host several Summer Socials this year and would like to highlight a few in particular. The events that took place at Habitant Park, Spenvalley Park, and Verobeach Parkette were a great success. I got to catch up with familiar faces and had the opportunity to meet some new neighbours. Many thanks to all of the residents who came out and participated. It is always a pleasure to speak with you. Your thoughts and feedback are important as we continue to build our community together.


The kids are back in school and there’s plenty going on this fall. Black Creek Pioneer Village is hosting a few autumn-themed events with activities fit for families and people of all ages. Please contact my office or go to https://blackcreek.ca/calendar/ for specific dates and details.

You can visit my website: www.anthonyperruzza.com to sign-up to receive my e-newsletter on a biweekly basis. If you’re involved with a local, community-based organization, I would like to share your events on my social media platforms and on my website. Please email me at councillor_perruzza@toronto.ca for more information.

Please stay-tuned for updates about local projects and upcoming events in Humber River-Black Creek. As always, my team and I are available to answer any questions that you might have.

Looking forward to seeing you soon!


Anthony Perruzza


Evaluating your Product or Service – What are you really offering?





Written by: Atul Oka, Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development, DUKE Heights BIA

September 01, 2019

In our last article, we discussed some of the initial steps when looking at starting your own business. We asked the important questions around the initial motivation for starting a business and getting an idea of our individual financial needs before starting a business. We left off with some questions which were aimed, at better evaluating the feasibility of our business idea, and gaining a better understanding of the possible business model for our business.

We should have had some time since the last article to mull over the question around what product or service we want to offer our prospective clients. If you haven’t, take a few minutes to think about it now.

Ready? Let’s now try to further define that so we know exactly what we are offering. First, create a short list of the products/services you are thinking of offering. Now ask yourself what business you are in or planning to be in.

Confused? Let me explain.
Most business people often think about identifying the product or service that they think will be in demand. Then source or create it, and finally attempt to sell that product or service to their customers. But this overlooks something very important – The real underlying need that they are trying to meet.
Take Amazon as an example. While Amazon creates a marketplace where you are able to find almost any product, their main business is not selling products (It’s true), but actually selling convenience. Stay with me here.

The convenience of being able to buy whatever you need, and have it conveniently delivered to your home without getting up and spending half a day moving from store to store looking for that specific item, is greater than any marginal product or delivery cost. In the age of convenience, Amazon has the lead while others are furiously trying to catch up.

If you can’t relate to that example, here is another. Have you ever bought or used a drill? At some point or other you probably went to the local hardware store, (or your neighbours’ garage), looking for a drill. It is a fairy useful tool, but what actual need did it fill?

Was the ability to make a hole or two? So, in essence you were not looking for a “drill” but a means to make a hole. If there was a competing product that could make a hole faster and at a cheaper price, you would be wondering why everyone was still using a drill and not this fancy new gizmo.

Charles Revson, the founder of Revlon famously said, “In the factory we make cosmetics, in the store we sell hope”.

Find your equivalent to Revlon’s “hope” and you will be well on your way to understanding your market and satisfying a real need.

Schulich School of Business Offers A New Strategic Lens to View Your Business

As the Owner, Senior Executive of medium-sized independent company or manager of a distinct business unit, you are well aware of the importance of a business strategy which is both relevant and effective within the context of your specific business environment and market.

An effective strategy is often the difference between success and failure in our hyper-competitive landscape, and businesses often spend enormous amounts of money on strategy consultants to ensure they have the best chance of sustainable and long-lasting growth.

DUKE Heights BIA in collaboration with the Schulich School of Business’s capstone MBA programme would like to offer qualifying businesses an opportunity to work with a team of international MBA students with cross-functional oversight by a Faculty Advisory Panel, over a eight month period, who will conduct a comprehensive strategic assessment of all functional areas within your organization, and a range of external assessments including, industry and market analysis, evaluation of customer needs, competition and technological developments.

Conclusions, insights and recommendations arising from the engagement have been implemented in the past with positive feedback from the companies involved with comments ranging from “I was impressed with your group’s attention to detail”, and “this type of interaction and engagement has been invaluable” to “The report is stellar and it addresses many of the challenges… is facing along with possible remedies for how we can overcome these challenges.”

DUKE Heights BIA is hopeful that our membership will take advantage of this collaboration to become better positioned for growth and leapfrog competitors who may not have access to this level of evaluation, analysis and planning.

Time Commitment and Access to Information:

  • Attend one kick-off meeting and monthly check-in with students – at a minimum of about 10 to 12 hours in total.
  • Attend final presentation in person, if possible. Alternatively, a virtual meeting can be arranged.
  • Provide a dedicated contact/liaison who will deal with information requests and scheduling over the duration of the project.
  • Provide students access to internal financials (margins, detailed operating costs, etc.) and the management team, customers, suppliers and staff. An NDA will be provided by the Schulich School.

Eligibility criteria: $5M+ in annual revenue ($1.5M for non-profit organizations). Entrepreneurial companies with a proven track record may also apply. Exceptions may be made for projects that pose interesting strategic challenges. Please include annual revenue, employee number and business ownership structure in your application to determine eligibility. More information on the program or eligibility to participate can be found from the link below.

Schulich Strategy Field Study Brochure

You may also contact DHBIA at business@dukeheights.ca, or (416) 739-1621.

Submissions from interested businesses should be submitted to the BIA by close of business on 31 August 2019.

New Cost-Share Funding Opportunity for Agri-Food Businesses

August 01, 2019

Agri-Food Innovation Initiative provides cost-share funding opportunities to agriculture and food-value chain partners, which encourages greater collaboration to identify opportunities and address challenges in the sector.

The “Place to Grow” program will allow organizations to apply for projects in key priority areas, including:

  • Labour supply and training challenges (new category),
  • Economic development in the agri-food and agri-products sectors,
  • Environmental stewardship to enhance water quality and soil health,
  • Protection and assurance to reinforce the foundation for public trust in the sector through improved assurance systems in food safety and plant and animal health.

The new programming will encourage interest from outside the agri-food sector to participate on broad-impact projects that will benefit from different kinds of expertise. It’s expected such projects will see new partners engaged to further drive innovation in areas such as advanced manufacturing and the greater use of data available to the sector.

All program details including the program guide are available on the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs website: http://www.omafra.gov.on.ca/english/cap/placetogrow.html.
Eligible applicants can apply for cost-share funding beginning August 15, 2019, when the Place to Grow intake opens. This intake will remain open until Sept. 27, 2019.

Thinking of starting your own business?


August 01, 2019

Written by: Atul Oka, Senior Director of Strategy and Business Development, DUKE Heights BIA



Thinking of starting your own business?

So, you’ve seen all those successful business people in your neighbourhood or on TV, and your inner entrepreneur is screaming to be let loose. You finally relent and decide it’s time for you to try your hand at starting your own business, but where do you start? This series of articles will aim at providing some guidance, not only for all you budding entrepreneurs, but also those who would like to turn their part time hobbies into fully fledged businesses.

Photo Credit – Austin Distel

Let’s start with a few basic questions. Ask yourself why you want to start a business. Starting a business is Hard, and you need to be clear about why you want to do it. Is it because you want to earn some extra money, or want the freedom that comes from being your own boss? Do you want to build something that will outlast you and create a legacy? Is it perhaps, to pursue a long-held dream or passion?
Now, let’s understand how much you need to earn to survive. Go ahead and jot down all your living expenses. Rent, insurance, fuel and food are all things you need to take into account. This will tell us the minimum amount your business needs to earn for you and will inform our first sales and profit targets. Also understand how much you are able to invest in the business, and how long you will be able to support yourself until your business is able to provide sufficient income.

One of the biggest mistakes entrepreneurs make is not evaluating their business ideas before jumping in and sometimes only finding out, after a lot of wasted time, effort and money, that the idea was not really feasible. Let’s spend some time to fully develop and tweak those business ideas to make sure you stand the best chance at succeeding.

To help us going forward, we need to unpack our business idea. Let’s list the following:

  • What product or service are you offering?
  • Who are your potential clients? (Try and define your market by defining your clients by their characteristics, age group, lifestyle, spending habits, etc.)
  • How large is your potential market?
  • How much do you plan to charge or your product or service?
  • What will it cost you to deliver that product or service? (Allocate a cost to your time if you are providing a service.)

Keep the answers to all these questions handy as we will refer back to them in future articles and will be integral to creating your business plan. In the next few articles of this series, we will look at your idea/product/service and your target market.


DUKE eats festival 2019 : A Fusion of Fun and Flavours Loved by Foodies and Families

July 01, 2019

The kickoff for the Canada Day long weekend could not be any better for the DUKE Heights community. With more than two thousand community members, families, students, and people from the surrounding areas, we celebrated our very own DUKE Eats festival on June 29, 2019 at the corner of Keele St and Finch Avenue W. The festival was a smashing success; it brought in over a dozen local BIA food vendors, craft vendors, local organizations and businesses, and some of Toronto’s best food trucks to the DUKE Heights community.


The festival featured Toronto’s DJ Budz, free family circus performances by Illuminair Entertainment, a kids’ entertainment zone completed with bouncy castles and countless free activities and treats, such as face painting, caricature sketches, Lego blocks, and cotton candy, all thanks to our sponsors for the festival.


In addition to delicious food options, we promoted DUKE eats as a green festival with Metrolinx, Live Green, Regenesis and Cultural Link bike clinics promoting sustainable living and transportation methods. Thanks to the help of these organizations, we were able to provide the public with access to information on sustainable methods of waste disposal, a free bike clinic for minor repairs and tune-ups and information on the construction of the future Finch West LRT.


Last year DUKE Heights BIA organized its first outdoor food festival to provide a platform for our growing and successful food manufacturer and vendors. This year we brought back DUKE eats festival with a promise to provide a wider platform for the food manufacturers and retailers to showcase our rich and thriving food sector and to promote diversity and cultural inclusion in our BIA.


DUKE eats festival is sure to return next year bigger and better, with more food, fun and excitement for all your friends and family to enjoy in the DUKE Heights BIA!