Bruce Ralston

Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology

Victoria: October 26 marked the close of B.C.’s annual Small Business Week, which was chock-full of celebrations and networking throughout the province in support of small businesses and the entrepreneurs who own them.

British Columbia is a wonderful place to live and work, and our economy is becoming stronger by the day. We owe a lot of this progress to the small businesses that make communities around the province a better place to live.

Altogether, small businesses generate 34% of the provincial gross domestic product, employ almost 1.1 million workers and pay nearly one-third of the province’s total payroll. These figures leave no doubt that small businesses are very important to our economy and contribute a great deal to B.C.’s progress.

Hundreds of thousands of people work hard every day to make these businesses a success and I will share some of those stories with you.

Dai Fukasaku is one of the many successful entrepreneurs who took the initiative to establish his own business. He identified an opportunity in the hospitality industry and set up a sushi restaurant dedicated to serving only sustainable and locally caught seafood in Prince Rupert. His aim is to educate consumers about the importance of keeping the ocean healthy and providing better nutritional value, while lowering the environmental impact of his operations.

“By consuming and appreciating sustainable seafood, we can pass our seafood on to generations to come,” said Fukasaku. He has been in business for more than five years now and employs six staff.

Lauren Phillips, along with her husband, co-founded OVERhang Education Centre, a full-service first aid training facility and outdoor education centre in 2009 in Prince George. She attributes her success to partnerships and has great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs.

“It’s easy to get lost in the details, but make sure to remember the passion that drove you to do this,” said Phillips. Her love of the outdoors was the driving force behind her business idea.

There are thousands of successful small businesses in the province. However, running a small business does not come without its challenges – from securing financing to hiring and retaining staff, from winning loyal customers to remaining relevant in the face of competition.

As a community, there is nothing better than supporting a locally owned business. After all, thriving small businesses create thriving communities. As businesses grow, they create more jobs and invest back into the community – a win-win situation for us all.

The B.C. government is committed to providing small businesses with the supports and services they need to grow, innovate and create jobs throughout B.C. During Small Business Week, Small Business BC (SBBC), in partnership with the Province, offered numerous free resources to small businesses. Over 2,000 people registered for the 30 scheduled consultations and seminars, helping make the week a great success.

SBBC supports small businesses provincewide throughout the year through events like the Small Business BC Awards that recognize the outstanding achievements of B.C.’s small business entrepreneurs. SBBC also supports the Open for Business Awards that recognize communities that have adopted best practices to create a business-friendly environment, allowing small businesses to flourish. Nominations for both awards close Nov. 30, 2019.

The Small Business Week celebrations might be over, but British Columbians’ will to support the province’s hard-working entrepreneurs should only get stronger and stronger.