Small Business Week message: Building on the momentum for small business success

It’s Small Business Week 2018, an annual celebration of entrepreneurship in our community and across the country.  It’s also a chance to honour the significant economic contributions of small business to our province. At the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce, we believe that small business means big business in P.E.I. and here’s why:

P.E.I. is home to close to 6,000 small businesses – the second highest number per capita of all Canadian provinces, second only to Alberta.

Small businesses employ 38,000 people or one in every four Islanders (50% of the working population).

Small businesses account for 93% of private-sector employment in our province.

P.E.I.’s small businesses have helped contribute to P.E.I.’s economic success with nominal GDP growth reaching double digits in the past five years – more than other Maritime provinces. We’ve had record-breaking employment growth with an unemployment rate now below 10% and P.E.I. experienced average hourly wage growth that is among the highest in Canada year to date.

The momentum P.E.I. has seen over the last number of years is a result of the hard-work and dedication of entrepreneurs who are driven to succeed. This aligned with business-friendly public policy, continued investment in strategic infrastructure and support from government at all levels will help grow business confidence into the future.

So how do we continue to build on this momentum to ensure continued economic prosperity? There are a couple key areas for us to consider:

Workforce Development– Our current workforce demographics are aging and this has a direct impact on the labour market and our local economy.  Attracting new talent through immigration and retaining our youth is critical for businesses to address current and future labour needs. Generation Z, the largest generation in history, will soon be entering the workforce. We need to ensure they are well prepared with the right skills to be positive contributors to the labour market.

Competitiveness – Businesses who have a competitive advantage increase their likelihood of success. When it comes to recruiting new businesses to the province or encouraging entrepreneurship within the province, the same principle applies. P.E.I. can attract more businesses and increase economic growth by improving its own competitive advantage.  The Chamber continues to lobby government to lower small business and corporate tax rates (which are among the highest in the country).  Making it easier for an entrepreneur to start and grow their business translates into more tax revenue, business attraction and expansion, higher wages and more jobs.

So this week and every week, consider small business and the contribution they make to our province.  Small businesses donate to local sports teams and charities, they employ our family and friends, and they work hard to build our economy. They give back, they take risks and they inspire a new generation of entrepreneurs.  Small businesses start small but think big – let’s celebrate, support and encourage them in their work.

Jennifer Evans
2018-19 Board President

Penny Walsh-McGuire
Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce