Small businesses build communities

During small business week we look at the future of business in communities.

The backbone of many communities are the small businesses which provide jobs and services to people in rural areas.

From October 16 to 22 Canada is celebrating Small Business Week which pays tribute to the contributions that small and medium-sized businesses make to the national economy.

Locally mayor of Golden Christina Benty felt the importance of small businesses could not be overstated.

“They are incredibly important. They create vitality and vibrancy in a small community. Having small businesses makes a community more interesting. They meet people’s needs in the community so that they do not have to shop out of town. Obviously it creates employment and entrepreneurship. I think it is the life blood of a community,” Benty said.

This feeling was echoed by Columbia River-Revelstoke MLA Norm Macdonald.

“These are the people who take risks to create jobs for other people in the communities. They are very important and we are fortunate in this area to have strong chambers of commerce. We share the information that is important to understand how to be successful. In relationship with the provincial government we have to understand how things effect small businesses,” he said.

Ruth Kowalski is the manager of the Kicking Horse Country Chamber of Commerce.

“Small Business is integral to the well being of the community and to the economy of Golden. Each October the Kicking Horse Country Chamber of Commerce invites the community to celebrate with them to recognize the contribution that small business makes to the economy of Golden,” Kowalski said.

Going forward many small businesses have areas which interest them according to Benty, Macdonald and Kowalski.

“One of the areas of concern that I hear from local businesses is local shopping. They are making their best effort to ensure people are shopping locally and that is not always taking place. People are leaving the community for convenience sake and it impacts small businesses. If we do not support them we will lose them. When we do lose them what happens is people are up in arms. We need to do out part to help small businesses remain successful,” Benty said.

Kowalski explained that the down turn of the economy means “fewer visitors, fewer homes being built, people tightening their belts not purchasing.” She also provided information which stated in British Columbia, 98 per cent of all businesses are small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and small business employs more than one million people while generating 32 per cent of the province’s Gross Domestic Product.

“Small businesses in Kicking Horse Country are as diverse as our landscape, entrepreneurs are making their living with ATV tours, designing timber frames, owning hotels, operating your favourite gift shop and  fly in ski lodges. Some are making names for themselves around the world, many have put Golden on the map; they all are boosting our economy.  They are our employers, sporting events sponsors, a major Town of Golden property tax contributor and the back bone of the community. Imagine a town with no small business, gone would be the hardware store, the pizza shop, the ski shop, the plumber … in all of history a community begins when someone puts an Open for Business sign outside their door,” Kowalski said.