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Thursday, 23 October 2014 05:47

Small businesses contribute greatly to southwest Sask.

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From Oct. 19-25, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) celebrates Small Business Week in Canada.

There are no civic holidays and it’s a shame small business owners don’t get as much credit the whole year round other than special occasions. That’s why the Swift Current Chamber of Commerce SCBEX awards last Thursday were so important. It’s important to celebrate what these entrepreneurs mean to the economy.
The winners from the Oct. 16 event should be commended for their outstanding success and inevitably contribution to making Swift Current an up-and-comer in regards to small business.
Let’s be honest, those who think it’s easier running a business instead of working for someone else have obviously never tried running their own businesses. There are so many factors that effect bottom lines including finding enough staff, costs of advertising, trying to find a market versus large (yet waning popularity) of big box stores or the ever-growing online shopping.
According to the BDC of the 1.1 million businesses in Canada, 98.2 per cent of them have fewer than 100 employees and 99.9 per cent of all businesses in canada are small (five to 99 employees) or medium-sized (100 to 499) with the remaining being micro or large.
It’s all difficult and daunting and they are trying to earn money for themselves, but small business owners’ willingness to serve while making a living in contributing to the economy is commendable. Their ideas are equally as impressive.
The SCBEX winners are all unique in their own ways. Bombays is a unique East Indian food restaurant; Fresh Start — Swift Current’s first and only home for youth at risk of homelessness based on Christian ideals — won for not-for-profit and of course Christina Ciona, owner of Kiva Studios — a unique business offering everything such as girls clubs to a variety of exercise  courses, personal improvement courses or just even a hall to rent — was also an award winner.
There are so many great stories in Swift Current, it’s hard to focus on just one. When people in the southwest say ‘Snowstreaker’, ‘sputtergoch’, and ‘Babble’, others know what they’re talking about. Besides unique business names, each is contributing something significant to the economy. Each are also small businesses.
Actually, the southwest corner of Saskatchewan has a lot to celebrate too as it is no longer the “forgotten” part of the province. There is a lot to be proud of and excited about.
On Sept. 10, Eco-Adventures was named a finalist in the Hilton Worldwide-sponsored “Small- to Medium-Sized” Business of the Year category of the Tourism Industry Association of Canada Awards. Both Eco-Adventures and the fabulous Harvest Eatery in Shaunavon, which like Eco-Adventures won Sask Tourism awards recently, and the Star Café and Grill get rave reviews about their unique gourmet food. The Darkhorse Saloon and Ghostown Blues B&B offer not only great food, but venues for music. The Cypress Hills Vineyard has won numerous provincial tourism awards, not to mention being highly-ranked in the Canadian Wine Awards.
And recently, Black Ridge Brewery — yet another unique business to Swift Current — got out of the starting blocks and looks to be flowing.
When there are some “must-stops” in a community, tourism thrives, there is more civic pride and deep down, there is a place residents know they can depend on.
Take for example SCBEX’s Business of the Year award winner Pharmasave. The store is the site for ticket sales to a variety of arts community events, it hosts health forums and performs many other community tasks other than filling prescriptions. Yes, it helps being customer-based, but it takes a lot of extra work and they could just easily not do it, but they know it helps contribute to the community.
It is this kind of effort, along with that of the chambers from across the southwest, which allows the economy to grow and prosper. In Christine Ciona’s words: “Be Alive and Shine.”
Ryan Dahlman is managing editor with the Prairie Post. Contact him with your comments about this opinion piece by emailing: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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Ryan Dahlman

Managing Editor