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At CSI, the well-being of our valued learners and staff is our highest priority. Learn more about our response to COVID-19 and changes to our exam delivery format.

Understanding the Small Business Environment (USBE)


The following topics will help you better understand the environment in which small business owners operate.

Key topics include:

  • The impact of the Small Business environment on the Canadian economy
  • Support systems for Small Business owners
  • The impact of Small Business on the Global Economy
  • Traits of a successful small business
  • Impacts of the legal environment on the Small Business
  • Building trust through ethics
  • Small Business owner opportunities and challenges
Approximate Hours of Study**
Hours of Study 15 - 30 hours

** In order to provide some guidance to course participants as to the length of time it will take to be sufficiently prepared to write the final examination, CSI has prepared this estimate of the number of hours an average participant could possibly expect to spend studying for a course. Please note that these are only recommended hours of study developed based on research and our course content, however, this does not mean that some students with exceptional backgrounds would not take less time than recommended or that students with no background at all in finance or economics would not take longer than the maximum.

This course has an online test (not proctored) component which students must pass. This includes testing of all material covered within the course. The test questions are randomly generated and the mark is documented in the student record and archived in the student profile per attempt.

(weightings are approximate)
Module 1: The State of Small Business in Canada 25%
Module 2: Small Business Rules & Regulations 45%
Module 3: Business Development 30%
Tests 1
Test Format Online
Test Completion Time Allowed 1 Hour
Question Format Multiple Choice
Questions Per Test 25
Attempts Allowed 3
Passing Grade 60%
Assignments None
Enrolment Period 6 months

*Students will have three attempts ONLY to complete the test for this course. There is no additional charge for the second or third attempts. If you fail all three attempts you will have to re-enrol in the course.

This course can be extended by 6 months provided you have not exceeded the attempts allowed for each exam. You can view CSI extension fees here. Your enrolment period can only be extended one time.

Important: During a student's enrolment period, CSI may update this course. In that case, details about the update and how it may affect students will be posted online via My CSI. Students are held responsible for and are examinable on the content in the course textbook(s) provided at the time of enrollment unless stated otherwise in My CSI. Students are encouraged to check My CSI regularly throughout their enrolment period.

About the Exam

The USBE exam is completely online and accessible through your online course. Advance booking is not required.

Continuing Education (CE) Credits

Click the links below or the buttons at the top of the page on the right side to access CE accreditation information. To search for specific course information, press Ctrl + F and then enter the course name to search the document for the information you are interested in.

National/Provincial (Excluding Quebec)
Download CE Chart (PDF, 163 kb)

Quebec (IQPF/CSF)
Download IQPF/CSF Chart (PDF, 182 kb)

Please note: While CSI makes every effort to ensure that the information is up-to-date, we are unfortunately unable to fully guarantee its accuracy. The information listed in the charts above may be subject to change.

For details on the organizations and other information on CE Credits listed in the above charts, please click here.