Christian Saint Cyr, publisher of the BC Labour Market Report, recently provided a Guest Editorial by Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Small Business in his newsletter. Following is a copy of this editorial:
Did you know that in B.C., more than one million people are employed by small businesses? Or that 98% of all businesses in B.C. are small businesses? Small business is big business in B.C.!
Premier Christy Clark understands just how vital small business is to the economic engine of B.C., and that is why she has made small business a priority by creating my new portfolio. This will allow all of government to focus specifically on the issues and concerns that affect business owners and their communities.
This October, I want everyone to recognize small businesses, as well as their owners and employees, throughout B.C. Owning and operating your own business is no easy task. It’s work that requires immense courage, imagination, dedication and drive. You work long hours and invest everything you’ve got into making your business a success.
I am constantly amazed by the wonderful things that B.C.’s small-business owners are doing in their communities. Even if you don’t own your own business, or aren’t employed by a small business, those businesses support your communities every day.
B.C.’s small-business owners also understand the need to be fiscally disciplined and why having a balanced budget is so important. As one columnist recently noted, “…when it comes to understanding the importance of jobs and fiscal discipline, and providing for one’s family, there is no sector that understands it better than BC’s small business sector.”
I understand the life of a small-business owner, as I ran my own business for 21 years. I also worked with other businesses in my community, with the BC Chamber of Commerce and the North Vancouver Chamber. As the Minister of State for Small Business, I will work every day to make it easier for small-business owners to do business in B.C.
Sometimes what’s most challenging for business owners is getting things up and running. In B.C., we are blessed to have so many creative and talented people and often times their new and innovative ideas need financial support to get off the ground. We want to encourage more angel investors.
As part of the BC Jobs Plan, our government is providing a $3-million increase to B.C.’s successful Small Business Venture Capital Program tax credit, targeted to direct investments in new businesses. This program encourages angel investors to invest their own capital directly into eligible, local, small business and offer strategic expertise. We currently support this program with up to $100 million annually.
I hear one thing time and time again from our business community: time spent filling out forms is time away from improving and growing their businesses. B.C. is leading the country in the fight against red tape. We’ve reduced regulatory requirements by over 42 per cent since 2001 – that’s more than 150,000 regulatory requirements off the books! And we’ve committed to holding the line right through to 2015. We also continue to support BizPaL – now in 112 communities – in addition to the expansion of the Mobile Business Licence.
But we know that there are more things we need to do to help the close to 400,000 small businesses operating in B.C. That’s why it’s important to hear from owners about what’s working and what needs improvement. As co-chair of the Small Business Roundtable, I will be consulting with business communities throughout the province. I’m confident that by working together, we will be able to create the most business-friendly environment in the country.
I also want to recognize the Canadian Federation of Independent Business and their SmallBiz Saturday event on Oct. 20. I encourage all British Columbians to get out and support your local small businesses. They are vital to the health and growth of your city or town, and B.C. would not be the same without our small-business owners.
This month I will be out in communities throughout the province, meeting with small-business owners and their employees to celebrate their successes and listen to their concerns. I hope to see many of you during Small Business Month in B.C.
Thank you to the small business community. You are not only owners of businesses, but moms, dads, coaches and volunteers who are the heart and soul of B.C.
Thank you to Christian for giving us permission to reproduce this guest editorial.