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Queen’s University team launches new platform to support Canadian small businesses

A new marketplace-style platform allows consumers to purchase gift certificates, pre-purchase products, and pre-book services to be redeemed at any future time. Designed in Kingston by a team at Queen’s University, SupportSME is a free platform designed to help support small and medium businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

Participating business include restaurants, barber shops, beauty salons and spas, fitness centers, dental offices, physiotherapy and massage clinics, arts & entertainment venues and shops.

“Small businesses are facing extraordinary challenges right now, and the need for creative solutions and supports has never been greater. That’s why I’m thrilled to see the launch of SupportSME.ca, a national platform proudly designed here in Kingston,” says Mayor Paterson. “SupportSME provides a simple and effective way for residents to support their favourite local businesses, and offers much need help to small business owners and employees during this critical time.”

Through SupportSME.ca, small businesses have a way for loyal customers to access them, even if they are not yet able to safely open their doors. The platform creators hope these local businesses can perhaps stay afloat and receive support from their regular customers, and residents of Kingston, until they can welcome customers back to their brick and mortar locations.

“It was great news to hear that a team from the Smith School of business was building a platform to help small businesses reach a larger audience for gift certificate sales,” said Tim Pater, owner and operator of the Black Dog Hospitality Group. “I was approached by the developers and ended up onboarding all four of our restaurants. The process was quick and user friendly, it would be easy for any business to participate!”

The SupportSME platform operates on a nonprofit basis. It’s simple for businesses to get set up and completely free to use. Business owners can create an account at https://supportsme.ca/login, and confirm through Stripe to enable them to issue the certificates to customers.

SupportSME is now a featured local program supporting small businesses via #SmallBusinessEveryDay initiative by The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses. Read more about the #SmallBusinessEveryDay initiative on their website: https://www.smallbusinesseveryday.ca/

Customers can browse available certificates and services on their website https://supportsme.ca/ or on the SupportSME app, available for iOS and android.

For information on other local small business supports, author Jessica Foley has put together a list on her own website: Find support for your local business in Kingston.


Jessica is a freelance writer with a startup content writing business. She loves raising her family here in Kingston and tries to attend the amazing events around town. You can find more of her writing on her blog A Modern Mom’s Life, and see what she gets up to with her family on FacebookTwitter and Instagram!

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