Thank-you Small Business

October 15-21 is Small Business Week. A time to celebrate those who suffer the risk and hassles of everyday proprietorship. That’s right, running a small business isn’t always the glitz and glamour of high profits, setting your own schedule, and donating to every cause that walks through your door asking for a donation. The reality is, customers set the schedule, mistake costs come out of your pocket, and it’s rare you can support all the events and programs you want to with sponsorship dollars. Small Business Week gives us an opportunity to pause and recognize the invaluable contribution of our local businesses to our everyday quality of life.

Small businesses make up an important part of the BC’s social and economic fabric, representing 98% of businesses in BC and spanning many sectors – from technology to guide outfitters, retail to natural resources, agriculture to our emerging aerospace industry. All of these types of small businesses contribute to exporting $12.9 billion worth of made-in-BC products and expertise all around the world.

In addition to supporting BC’s economy, small businesses also help make up the social hub of neighbourhoods throughout the province. Many provide opportunities for young people and new British Columbians to enter the workforce, while others champion causes to give to those in need, or sponsor local sports and cultural programs.

Small business is typically defined as 100 employees or less. If we focus in on Fernie’s small business numbers, we see that nearly all our businesses are small businesses. Further to that point, our Historic Downtown businesses and Ghostrider Business District are made up of local independent operators who have made their investment in Fernie.

To celebrate the work and accomplishment of our local business community, The Chamber of Commerce hosts the Business Excellence Awards in October. We put the same care into selecting the winners that our businesses put into their products and services. The award winners are selected by an independent panel of judges from across Canada who evaluate award applications submitted by the business on award criteria. Their excellence is measured and the highest score wins. The winners are announced and honoured at the Awards Gala on October 24.

It should be noted, these awards take place with sponsorship support from businesses in town including CanAus Coal and Trucut Logging Ltd, Capasiti Consulting, Teck, Super 8 Fernie, EK Community Credit Union and ISL Engineering, just to mention a few.

This October, I encourage you all to celebrate businesses in Fernie for their contributions to our community. You can shop local, thank an event sponsor (and shop with them). Small Business Week was initiated by Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) in 1979.  The BDC reports that 99.7% of Canadian businesses are small and medium-sized businesses. That is something worth being thankful for and celebrating.