Celebrating Small Businesses

Southeast Manitoba is home to hundreds of small businesses. Everywhere you turn you’ll find some sort of small business serving our communities whether it’s a restaurant, auto repair shop, retail establishment, family farm – you name it. But businesses are so much more than brick and mortar, websites, and products and services.

Behind every small business are people working hard each day to provide the goods and services we need and enjoy. These folks – and the small businesses they animate – are worth celebrating.

October 17-23 marks Small Business Week in Canada. Small business owners and the thousands of people employed in small businesses have often been celebrated as the backbone of our economy, and rightly so. Thousands of young people entering the workforce get their first work experience in local small businesses. Countless families put food on their tables thanks to the opportunities generated by small businesses. And we all benefit from the contributions small businesses make to our communities such as sponsoring local sports, building community infrastructure, or supporting charitable work.

Small businesses can easily be a force for good in our communities, but many are hindered by government policies that prevent them from realizing their full potential. We’ve seen this exacerbated during COVID-19 as governments imposed restrictions, failed to design support programs that met the needs of the most hard-hit businesses, and ultimately created a labour shortage that has fueled a loss of productivity across a number of industries.

These problems should concern all of us, not only those directly connected to small businesses. When businesses are hurting, people are hurting. Families struggle. Communities lose out.

In times like these we need a federal government that is less focused on redistributing wealth and more focused on creating it for everyone. When empowered to grow, hire, and invest, small businesses are wealth creators. Canada’s struggling economy needs a boost that small businesses are more than ready to provide. They just need the right conditions.

As we celebrate the small businesses we love this Small Business Week, let’s not only reflect on the many accomplishments of small businesses today; let’s also celebrate all they’ll achieve in the years to come.