On July 1, 2017, Canada marked its 150th anniversary as a country and celebrated its beginnings as a nation. One reason for this country’s success is its entrepreneurs – the people who have built businesses here in Canada and are committed to growing them within their local communities.
From June 27 – 28, we held Sage Summit Toronto, which brought thousands of Canadian entrepreneurs together to learn, network, and get inspired about building their businesses. As the ninth and final event in a global series, Sage Summit Toronto celebrated Canada’s business builders by highlighting their successes, as well as discussing some of the challenges they face in pursuing growth.
The Summit also provided an opportunity for us to unveil a major development in artificial intelligence (AI) that’s sure to be a critical cornerstone for the industry’s success in the coming years.
While there were so many memorable events to be had this year, here are just a few of the major highlights for me coming out of our recent Sage Summit in Toronto.
Giving a voice to Canadian entrepreneurs
At Sage, we believe that entrepreneurs need to be heard. As the backbone of our economy, Canadian small business owners make up about 98 per cent of Canada’s employers.
During Sage Summit Toronto, we launched a national survey of small business owners, which highlighted their attitudes towards the level of support they receive from federal and provincial levels of government. The survey found that while 85 per cent are optimistic about the future of their businesses, 51 per cent felt their most common challenge was that they deal with too many government regulations and taxes.
Another 32 per cent said they feel there’s a general lack of support from the government, while 72 per cent said they know very little or nothing about government initiatives designed to help them grow.
Encouraging tech leaders to build ethics into AI technologies
Beyond gathering insights from Canadian entrepreneurs, we also unveiled a significant development for the AI community. Kriti Sharma, Sage VP of AI and Bots, shared “The Ethics Code: Developing AI for Business with Five Core Principles.” The purpose of these principles is to encourage tech companies to build ethics into their AI solutions, especially when it comes to protecting future users of their technology.
At Sage, we relied upon the Ethics Code when we built our own chatbot, Pegg. As the world’s first accounting chatbot, Pegg allows small businesses to manage their finances through messaging apps like Facebook Messenger, Skype, and Slack. While many smart assistants are typically female, we’re proud that Pegg assumes no gender. Pegg now has tens of thousands of users from 135 countries.
During Sage Summit Toronto, we announced that Pegg is now integrated with Sage One in Canada. We’re continuing to develop machine learning and AI for our cloud accounting solutions while following the Ethics Code, with the goal of reducing routine financial administrative tasks for business builders of all sizes.
Supporting veterans and military servicemen and women
In addition to celebrating entrepreneurship and emerging technologies like AI, we believe in honouring the people who have made sacrifices for our country through military service.
At Sage Summit Toronto, we launched the Sage Serving Heroes Program for Team Canada athletes competing at the Invictus Games in Toronto this coming September. The program will help these athletes start their own businesses by providing them with guidance, mentoring, and support, as well as access to Sage’s cloud products.
Ultimately, at Sage, we’re committed to supporting business builders through our cloud accounting solutions, as well as through our dedication to helping others realize their dreams as entrepreneurs. Stephen Kelly, our CEO, has said that we are “passionate about doing business the right way” – and here in Canada, we’re committed to providing entrepreneurs with a voice, while championing their successes. Sage Summit provides a great opportunity for us to do just that.
That’s all for now. But with two days chock-full of great ideas, inspiration, and technology innovation, I’m sure I didn’t capture all the great moments on here. So if you attended, please let us know about your favourite moments!