October is Small Business Month and now more than ever that's something we should celebrate.
Few things embody the spirit of the West Coast more than entrepreneurship. B.C. has more small businesses per capita than any other province in Canada and 1-in-10 British Columbians are entrepreneurs.
Owning a business is difficult at the best of times, and the last two years were far from the best of times. Sole proprietors who saw their revenues decimated by the COVID-19 pandemic faced enormous uncertainty around the future of their business and sometimes even their ability to put food on the table. Many were only able to survive by taking on substantial debt, others didn't survive at all. Businesses still operating are now facing significant challenges due to inflation, rising costs and an acute labour shortage.
The pandemic illustrated the importance of collaboration between businesses and governments. Expediting permitting programs that allowed businesses to operate safely was critical, and we worked with industry stakeholders to ensure the needs of local business owners were addressed. The success of efforts like the Temporary Expedited Patio Program evolved into a permanent summer patio program, which has been a boon for the restaurant sector and Vancouverites alike.
It's important to look back but we must also look forward. Vancouver is Canada's western trade corridor and home to the nation's largest port; we're perfectly positioned to grow innovative companies with access to global markets. We need to capitalize on our strengths and foster an environment in which businesses have every opportunity to succeed. From Lululemon to Ryan Reynolds, there's no shortage of born-in-Vancouver success stories.
Leading the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade and seeing the role that initiatives like the Trade Accelerator Program have played in helping local businesses reach international markets through World Trade Centre Vancouver is an enormous privilege. Women and Indigenous-led business cohorts have brought the best of B.C. to the world and enabling that kind of success is core to what we do.
Whether it's equipping entrepreneurs to grow their businesses through our programs, connecting them to business leaders at our events, or advocating for policies that help them succeed, we are constantly looking for new ways to spur economic growth in our region.
Our mission is to lead, unite and champion business to ensure Greater Vancouver is thriving and our region is the best place to live and work. Small Business Month is a welcome opportunity to highlight the critical role small businesses play in making that a reality.
- Bridgitte Anderson,
President and CEO
Greater Vancouver Board of Trade