Editorial: Adding up the benefits of small business in the South Okanagan

Small businesses contribute just as much to the economy as any big corporation.

When it comes to big businesses, we all know the names: Rogers, Telus, Microsoft, Apple, etc.

These companies are important, contributing hugely to the overall economy. But though they are easy to overlook, small businesses contribute just as much to the economy, through the sheer number of them.

Across Canada, small and medium size businesses contribute more than half of Canada’s gross domestic product, according to the Business Development Bank, which also estimates that out of more than 1.1 million Canadian businesses in then country, 97.9 per cent of them have less than 100 employees.

And what’s also great is their names are probably just as familiar to you as the big ones: Something Pretty Boutique, Brodo Kitchen, the Lloyd Gallery and all those other signs you pass on a daily basis.

That’s right, your friends’ and neighbours’ businesses are just as important to the economy, especially our local economy, as Microsoft or Telus.

When you patronize a local small business, you are essentially giving money back to the community. Not only does a thriving local business contribute via taxes, but the pay cheques they hand out to their employees also get ploughed back into the economy.

On top of that, many Penticton small businesses consider a point of pride that they reinvest in the community, being members of service organizations, donating or simply hosting groups like the cubs or guides in front of their businesses.

Small businesses are often founded by entrepreneurs inventing new products or new ways to solve existing problems. Larger businesses also often benefit from small businesses within the same local community, depending on them to handle myriad business functions through outsourcing.

Small Business Week, Oct. 16-22, is a time to celebrate the contributions these small businesses make to keeping our communities strong and vital.