As we flip the calendar to October, British Columbia will welcome Small Business month for the seventh year. And small business is actually big business in this province.
In fact, BC Statistics provides some astounding numbers for the critical role that small businesses play in British Columbia’s economy. According to BC Statistics, small business is defined as a company with less than 50 employees, which in 2010 accounted for 98 per cent of all businesses in the province and employed 1.04-million people, representing 57 per cent of private sector jobs in B.C.
Small business stimulates economic activity in a number of ways, with the key measurement in its gross domestic product. GDP represents the value that a sector adds to the materials and services it uses, which is an important aspect of the sector’s contribution to the economy.
Further information provided by BC Statistics, shows small businesses in B.C. accounted for approximately 30 per cent of the province’s gross domestic product in 2010, well above the national average of 27 per cent. The high contribution to GDP here is because B.C. is more service sector-oriented than most other regions in Canada.
Entrepreneurs are highly respected in Canada and, according to an Angus Reid survey that was commissioned last year by Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), 98 per cent said small business is important to Canada’s future. The survey also found 95 per cent of Canadians value the products, services and personal attention that they get from a small business.
Locally, Whistler is a community of small businesses as well. Numbers from 2012 show that 94 per cent of Whistler Chamber of Commerce members fall into the Membership category for 1 to 49 employees and furthermore, 76 per cent of Chamber members have less than 20 employees.
According to Resort Municipality of Whistler, the Whistler 2020 initiative is our community’s shared vision and plan for continued success and an ambitious step on a longer journey to a sustainable future. Whistler 2020’s Economic Strategy defines success like this: “locally owned and operated businesses thrive and are encouraged as an essential component of a healthy business mix.”
That doesn’t just happen by itself and a key piece of reaching that level of success should be to support local business. When you do so, you are supporting sustainability on several different levels. You are helping to preserve the character of your community, to put money back into the tax base, create more jobs and help the environment by reducing the toll of transportation. The old adage that ‘buying local is more costly’ often doesn’t ring true when looking at the big picture.
As Principal of Lighthouse Visionary Strategies (www.lighthousevisionary.com), Cathy Goddard offers business coaching and consulting, workshops and the Open Forum speaker series. She is the founder of Lighthouse’s Mentor Network, providing mentor groups to local professionals and was nominated as Top 5 for a Small Business BC Award in recognition of the impact this program has on the Whistler community. Cathy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org