Small and medium small businesses are responsible for 70 per cent of employment across Canada. In Prince George as everywhere, they deserve our support for at least another two reasons: their contribution to our communities, and their innovation.
Take a look at nearly any local initiative and you will see the name of local businesses supporting causes that you and your family enjoy. Your child’s sports team t-shirts are probably sponsored by a local business. Music, Dance and Speech Arts & Drama Festivals are usually not supported by big banks, Microsoft, Paypal or Tesla, they are supported by local small and medium sized businesses.
Year after year, request letters are sent out and donations sent to local businesses. What do they get in return? A bit of advertising. We need to do more. We need to do what we can locally to show we are not only willing to knock on their doors to ask for donation, but also make it easier for them to keep their doors open.
Keeping the doors of local business open is something the ordinary everyday person can impact. We have the power to elect our City Council who decide most of the rules small and medium sized business need to follow. For example, the patio discussion at City Council on April 11th revealed the redundant hoops to jump and costs local restaurant owners bear simply to open patios that they built and were approved for last year.
Small and medium sized businesses have to innovate to stay in business or else they will be gobbled up by the major corporations. The least we can do is provide an even playing field. When local government imposes another new requirement on businesses, big business can devote entire departments to deal with it. However, small and medium size companies have to spend their more limited time and money doing paperwork instead of being able to expand and innovate. Therefore, for every new regulation, an old useless one should be found and discarded
We do need big business, but we should make every effort to remove roadblocks in front of our small and medium businesses. We need to make life easier for the small and medium local businesses that are the backbone of our economy, the supporters of our arts and sporting youth, and our neighbours. They give us so much.
Trudy Klassen is a Prince George writer.