Small Business Big Heart Initiative

Published on December 16, 2020
[GODERICH] — In May, the Government of Ontario launched its ‘Small Businesses, Big Hearts’ – initiative - a campaign....

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NEWS                                                               December 16, 2020

Goderich, ON - In May, the Government of Ontario launched its ‘Small Businesses, Big Hearts’ – initiative - a campaign designed to recognize the remarkable ways Ontario small businesses have stepped up and supported their local communities throughout COVID-19, even when they themselves were struggling with adapting to challenges caused by the pandemic.

The small business community has risen to help the vulnerable and those stuck at home, with countless people generously giving their time and resources to make and deliver food, run errands, and check-in on those who are isolated and alone.

The Small Businesses, Big Hearts Award, launched by Premier Doug Ford and Small Business Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria, solicits stories of small businesses across the province that have shown true Ontario Spirit through their generosity, amidst the uncertainty and challenges brought on by COVID-19. Many of these businesses have altered their business models and paid it forward, providing inspiration and creating hope in their local communities.

“Many Ontarians are facing pressures in ways we’ve never seen before because of the global pandemic,” said Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson. “Part 2 Bistro helped their local community by donating services, resources, and time to help others. The Big Heart Small Business award is aptly named for Peter Gusso and his staff for their generosity.”

Associate Minister Sarkaria agreed. "As I connect and host virtual roundtables with small businesses across the province, I'm also hearing about the tremendous generosity of our small businesses and the many ways they are giving back to their communities," she said. "In so many remarkable ways, these local heroes are demonstrating the Ontario spirit. Part 2 Bistro is one of the recipients and I would like to congratulate them on the Small Businesses, Big Hearts award.”

Gusso, owner of Part 2 Bistro, made the difficult decision to fully close his restaurant in light of social distancing directives. On the last day before closing, he and his staff sent 90 salads and desserts to staff at the Alexandra and Marine Hospital in Goderich. The logistics of distributing these items to the staff and physicians was done so in a safe manner to respect social distancing, as well as reducing the number of people that had “hands on”.

The government’s Small Business Big Hearts initiative provides a platform to highlight small businesses that have helped their communities and made life a little easier for their fellow Ontarians. Many small businesses have shown true Ontario spirit during this period, strengthening the foundation of their communities and helping Ontarians through this recovery.
If you know of a small business that has stepped up and shown the Ontario Spirit in your community, send the story to [email protected]
  • The COVID-19: Tackling the Barriers website enables businesses to submit details of any potential regulatory roadblocks as we navigate these uncharted economic conditions.
  • Ontario is also providing significant support to small businesses, including an investment of $150 million in rural broadband which will help businesses access a greater pool of customers as well as significantly expanding the Digital Main Street platform to help small businesses create and enhance their online presence, helping them to adapt and meet the challenges of today. 
  • To take part in the Small Businesses, Big Hearts initiative and share a story, please reach out to the Office of the Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction at [email protected].
  • For information and resources for Ontario businesses, visit


Media contact:
Gillian Sloggett
[email protected]