Advance View: Small business not really small

Don’t let the label fool you: “small business” is big business in B.C.

It’s Small Business Week this week. It’s a time set aside each year to recognize the important contributions that smaller businesses make to the economy, and to our communities.

Officially, the “small business” tag covers a wide range, from those that are operated by one self-employed man or woman, all the way up to anything with no more than 50 employees.

About 98 per cent of businesses in B.C. are classified as small business. They create pay cheques for more than a million British Columbians – about 56 per cent of the province’s entire private-sector workforce.

Small business generates 26 per cent of B.C.’s Gross Domestic Product.

Any way you look at it, small business is a significant force behind the provincial economy. At the community level, the small business impact is arguably greater than its effect on economic indicators. The cold numbers, like the 56 per cent private-sector employment figure, become a lot warmer when you realize that most small businesses employ people in or near their communities – jobs created by small businesses in Langley are, for the most part, putting food on tables in Langley.

And the owners and employees of those small businesses are your neighbours.

They coach (and sponsor) the local minor hockey and soccer teams.

They contribute to local arts and culture.

Their children attend school with your children.

They worry about the cleanliness of the local environment.

They pay local taxes.

In fact, we may be talking about you.

It’s been said that small business is the heart of the community. And with good reason. Small business doesn’t just live and work here, it provides room for others to live and work here, as well.

–B.G.

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