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Saluting small business

Today is Small Business Saturday, a time when our country recognizes our small and medium-sized business owners and applauds their many contributions.

After all, everyone has a local spot. Imagine your favourite neighbourhood destinations — grabbing a coffee or getting a haircut, decorating the home or finding a new record to spin — and chances are you’re shopping at a small business. Without small businesses, who would you call to fix the furnace on a cold winter night, a bad bearing in your car, or help provide honest advice when filling out your taxes?

Small businesses are the lifeblood of a strong, vibrant community. They are the building blocks of our economy. Across the country, small businesses employ over 70 per cent of Canadians working in the private sector. In Manitoba, small businesses employ more than 250,000 staff.

Yet, they are not too big to fail. They are not immune to economic downturns or the impacts of big tax increases as we’ve heard loud and clear lately. Owners work hard and take great financial and emotional risks to keep their businesses afloat, without the security of a guaranteed paycheque every two weeks, and the safety net of employee benefits or insurance.

Owners are involved and invested in the success of their communities. They donate their time as volunteers, money and products as philanthropists. Chances are that a small business is supporting the local kids’ baseball team.

Small businesses also help shape the cultural identity of our communities. They’re home to exciting food, diverse clothing, and honest, unique services.

Today, if you find yourself buying bread from your local baker or talking to the owner of your favorite restaurant, take a moment to show your appreciation. And the next time you hear about a policy that is bad for business, like federal tax changes, pay attention. If a policy is bad for small business, it is likely bad for your community as well.

Jonathan Alward is the Manitoba director of provincial affairs with the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). CFIB advocates on behalf of 4,800 small- and medium-sized businesses on Manitoba and 109,000 members across Canada. Jonathan can be reached at [email protected] or you can follow him on Twitter @cfibMB.

CFIB is Canada’s largest association of small and medium-sized businesses with 109,000 members (4,800 members in Manitoba) across every sector and region.

Republished from Winnipeg Free Press, October 21, 2017