The Strength of Small
Celebrating Small Business Week in Red Deer
Owning a small business reminds me a lot of my exhilarating affair with skydiving. Sleepless nights, sweaty palms and nausea are apparently symptoms of both the entrepreneurial spirit and jumping out of an aircraft at 12,500 feet.
Don't get me wrong - I'm having the time of my life! Taking the leap to owning my own small business is one of the best decisions I've ever made. For every sleepless night there is a day packed full of exciting decisions. For every wave of nausea there are butterflies over an exciting new project.
My appreciation for small businesses began when I got my first job at 14 years old. I worked in a 400 square foot, family owned and operated pharmacy for eight years. Since then, I've been a small business devotee and a huge fan of the rebellious nature inherent in entrepreneurs. "Shop Local" is my mantra, owner-operated businesses are my Kryptonite and "Dragon's Den" is regularly recorded on my PVR.
Supporting small businesses and shopping local is much more than a passing trend - it's absolutely necessary to our economic stability on a national, provincial and local level. Just take a look:
- 98% of employers in Canada are small businesses (2010)
- 41% of employed Canadians work for businesses with less than 20 employees (2005)
- 28% of Canada's total GDP came from businesses with less than 50 employees (2009)
- 96% of businesses in Alberta are small businesses (2009)
- 29% of Alberta’s total GDP was generated by small businesses which is the highest ratio in the country per capita (2009)
- 97% of all businesses in Central Alberta are small businesses which is the highest ratio in the province (2009)
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These statistics are impressive, but I find that the real strength of small businesses lives in the positive impact they have in our very own community. Small businesses help give Red Deer its unique character and the people who own these small businesses are more than just business people. They are community volunteers, philanthropists, advocates, fundraisers, leaders and friends. I'm honoured to be playing in the same sandbox as these inspiring people and hope that you join me in supporting our businesses.
Here are just a few unique small businesses in Red Deer:
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