Small businesses are the foundation of our economy, creating jobs and resiliency, adding vibrancy to our communities, and making our cities a place of opportunity to live and work. This, in turn, attracts talent, investment and opportunity – to every city across the country.
According to Statistics Canada, small businesses employ over 10.3 million individuals across the country – almost two-thirds (63.8%) of Canada’s total labour force. Not only are they primary employers, but they are also entrepreneurs, innovators, service providers and supply chain users. As such, small businesses play an important role in our economic growth, recovery and long-term resiliency.
While the past few years have not been easy for the business community, small businesses have demonstrated strength and resilience, contributing approximately 40 percent to the national GDP. Now, more than ever, governments at all levels must collaborate with businesses to develop solutions that support and empower them, including addressing the labour gap and decreasing barriers that contribute to transactional friction. To promote small business resilience, an emphasis on skills development along with investments in infrastructure and affordability measures must be considered.
Despite setbacks of the pandemic years and the challenges presented by the currently inflationary environment, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce Business Outlook Survey finds that 70 percent of businesses across Canada are optimistic about their outlook in 2023.
Our communities are stronger because of small businesses. I encourage you to remain adaptable, innovative, and creative because small businesses are integral to our economic resilience, will be the driver of future growth, and are truly the beating heart of our cities.
President and CEO, Calgary Chamber of Commerce
Deborah Yedlin joined the Calgary Chamber of Commerce in July 2021 with a background that includes experience on Wall Street and Bay Street, and more than two decades as a business columnist for various media outlets, commenting on the nexus of business and politics since 1996.
Since moving to Calgary in 1992, Yedlin has been very active in the Calgary community – as a board member on a number of not-for-profit organizations and served as the 14th Chancellor of the University of Calgary from 2018-2022. She is currently one of three co-chairs of the $250 million Calgary Cancer Centre fundraising campaign.