Opinion: Support local businesses – Prince George Citizen

Local businesses do more than provide goods and services, says columnist Trudy Klassen

Small and medium-sized businesses account for 70% of jobs in Canada. In Prince George, as everywhere, they deserve our support for at least two other reasons: their contribution to our communities and their innovation.

Take a look at almost any local initiative and you’ll see the names of local businesses supporting causes that you and your family value. Your child’s sports team t-shirts are likely sponsored by a local business. Music, dance and spoken word and theater festivals are usually not backed by big banks, Microsoft, Paypal or Tesla, they are backed by local small and medium sized businesses.

Year after year, letters of request are sent and donations are sent to local businesses. What do they get in return? A little publicity. We need to do more. We need to do what we can at the local level to show that we are not only willing to knock on their door asking for donations, but also to make it easier for them to keep their doors open.

Keeping the doors of local businesses open is something the everyday person can have an impact. We have the power to elect our city council which decides most of the rules that small and medium-sized businesses must follow. For example, the discussion on the terrace at the municipal council on April 11and revealed the redundant hoops for jumping and the costs local restaurateurs are incurring just to open the patios they built and were approved for last year.

Small and medium enterprises must innovate to stay in business or they will be swallowed up by big business. The least we can do is provide a level playing field. When the local government imposes another new requirement on businesses, large corporations may dedicate entire departments to deal with it. However, small and medium-sized businesses have to spend their more limited time and money on paperwork instead of being able to grow and innovate. Therefore, for each new settlement, an unnecessary old one must be found and discarded

We need large companies, but we must do everything we can to remove the obstacles in front of our small and medium-sized companies. We must facilitate the lives of local small and medium-sized businesses which are the backbone of our economy, the supporters of our artistic and sporting youth and our neighbours. They give us so much.

Trudy Klassen is a writer from Prince George.