The Estevan Chamber of Commerce is touting the value of small business in the community during Small Business Week from October 21 to 27.
Executive director Michel Cyrenne said small business enhances life in Estevan in a variety of ways. It provides employment for the people in the community, and it supplies good and services that residents want and need.
“They provide a property tax base for municipal governments, as well as a tax base for the provincial and federal governments,” said Cyrenne.
Employees of small businesses purchase homes and pay property taxes, too, he said.
According to Cyrenne, small businesses don't get recognition that they deserve in a couple of areas. One is that employers and employees provide volunteer hours, financial donations and in-kind contributions to community projects.
There is a lot of talk about Estevan's per capita wealth, and Cyrenne said that wealth and generosity don't necessarily go hand-in-hand in many other areas. But people in Estevan, including many small business owners, are very generous, and it's reflected in events like the United Way Estevan's telethon, in construction of new venues, and renovations and repairs to existing amenities.
“The impact that the business community provides goes far beyond just the jobs and the financials and the economics,” said Cyrenne. “What they give back to the community is absolutely huge, and it just never seems to end.”
Small businesses have also played an important role in the diversification of Estevan's labour force and community as a whole. Entrepreneurs have been seeking employees from around the globe to fill their job vacancies.
“It's brought an entirely new cultural dimension to the city, and any growing community will only benefit from the increased diversity,” said Cyrenne. “So I think you're seeing that increased diversity as a result of the small business community.”
Estevan has a pretty high proportion of small businesses relative to its size, Cyrenne said. In previous years, Estevan has ranked in the top 10 nationally for small businesses per capita. He expects that Estevan will continue to rate highly on that list due to the influx of new businesses in the city during the last few years.