The entrepreneurial spirit of small business

By Cam Westhead, MLA for Banff-Cochrane. First published in the Bow Valley Crag and Canyon. Weds. Oct. 19, 2016


I’m honoured to represent a constituency that has so many hard-working small business owners. From coffee shops, clothing stores and everything in between, residents of the communities in Banff-Cochrane have a strong entrepreneurial spirit. These small businesses have a big impact on the economy - not just in the communities in which they are located, but the whole province. For more than 30years, Small Business Week in Alberta has celebrated these businesses and their owners.

They employ over 500,000 Albertans, allowing them to earn a good living for themselves and their families.

I strongly encourage everyone to go out and support local businesses as they truly are a major part of the economic engine of this province.

They make up 95 per cent of all businesses in the province and also inject about $100 billion a year into our hometowns and neighbourhoods. It’s clear that these local entrepreneurs provide a solid foundation of our communities.

Our government believes in small businesses, and we want to provide them with the tools they need to survive and thrive. That’s why we took decisive action by:

Creating an Alberta Investor Tax Credit of 30 per cent for investment in Alberta small business in a variety of sectors. This will help small businesses create more than 4,000 new jobs.

Restoring the Self-Employment Training programs to provide mentorship and classroom expertise for hundreds of entrepreneurs with a new product or new idea.

Adding millions to our small business voucher program to help hundreds of small technology development companies with marketing, planning, product development, testing and prototyping.

Providing $10 million to expand small business incubators so more small businesses in Alberta will thrive.

More than 260 service providers are available to work with Alberta businesses to contribute to their formation, growth and long-term success.

Cutting the Small Business Tax by one-third to ensure Alberta continues to have the lowest overall tax in Canada - billions lower a year than any other province.

The sharp drop in oil prices is having a major effect on Alberta families, communities and businesses; however, the small businesses here and across the province continue to display innovation and resiliency in the face of this challenge, making it especially worthwhile to celebrate them this week. I strongly encourage everyone to go out and support local businesses as they truly are a major part of the economic engine of this province.

If you are a small business owner or are interested in starting your own business, smallbusiness. alberta. ca is a great resource to detail the supports available to you. Cameron Westhead is the MLA for Banff-Cochrane. He can be reached at banff. cochrane @assembly. ab. ca