Small Business Week has a rich history in Canada that dates back several decades. Even though it originated in the US in the 1950s, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) played a significant role in establishing Small Business Week in Canada. CIBC sponsored the first Canadian Small Business Week in 1979. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) then became a key partner in organizing and promoting the event.
The Small Business Week was established to recognize the contributions of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to the Canadian economy and to provide them with support and resources. The celebration has become an essential part of Canada’s business landscape.
Why are Small Businesses so important?
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the world economy, accounting for most businesses across nearly every region. As of December 2021, Canada had 1.2 million employer businesses. Of these, 1.1 million (97.9%) were small businesses. It is estimated that there are about 70,000 black small businesses in Canada, representing about 6% of the total small businesses in Canada. Black business owners are generally immigrants, with 70.4% owned by men, while women hold 29.6%.
AT FACE, we track, monitor, and work to increase the number of thriving small businesses, especially by black women and newcomers to Canada, because we recognize small businesses’ significant contributions to the economy.
Reflecting on the Small Business Week this year, it’s essential to recognize the remarkable impact of small Black-owned businesses in Canada. These businesses aren’t just contributing to the economy but driving innovation, diversity, and social change.
Five Impacts of Small Businesses in Canada
1. Economic Growth and Job Creation –
Small businesses are vital to Canada’s economic landscape. They make up a significant portion of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), employ many Canadians and stimulate the economy.
2. Catalysts for Innovation – Small businesses are often at the forefront of innovation. They are more agile and adaptable than larger corporations, allowing them to introduce new products, services, and technologies quickly. Their enterprises span various industries, from technology and fashion to food and the arts, enriching and keeping the Canadian economy competitive and dynamic.
3. Global Trade –
Small businesses are increasingly reaching global markets, helping expand Canada’s export market. Canadian exports by small businesses showcase Canadian excellence on the international stage, contribute to trade diversification, and their international operations contribute to the country’s economic growth.
4. Cultural Enrichment – Small businesses by entrepreneurs from the different cultures in Canada are instrumental in preserving and celebrating cultural heritage. They introduce Canadians to diverse cuisines, fashion, art, and music. These enterprises become cultural hubs, enhancing our understanding and appreciation of different traditions.
5. Mentorship and Leadership – Small business owners often serve as mentors and role models for aspiring business owners, especially within the Black community. They inspire the next generation to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams, breaking down barriers and creating opportunities.
Running a business can be challenging, and external factors like access to capital, worker shortages, interest rate hikes, and inflation can add complexity to the equation. Remember that adapting to challenges is an essential part of entrepreneurship. While challenges can be daunting, they also present opportunities for growth and innovation.
As we reflect on Small Business Week, let’s continue celebrating and supporting small businesses, especially Black-owned businesses. Their contributions to Canada’s economic, social, and cultural fabric are undeniable. By recognizing their achievements, advocating for their needs, and championing their cause, we ensure their impact continues to grow and shape our nation’s future.
Small Black-owned businesses are making a big difference, and together, we can amplify their voices and celebrate their successes year-round.