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October is Big for Small Business

By Rhonda Keenan
two women facing each other writing down information on paper at the front counter of a small business

October is a remarkably busy month in economic development. It is manufacturing month, small business month (and week), and circular economy month, and it reminds me how fortunate we are to have so many businesses both large and small to celebrate.  

It has often been said that small business is the backbone of the Canadian economy, with the Government of Canada reporting that small businesses in Canada represent 97.9 percent of all businesses, contributing almost half of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) generated by the private sector.  

In an article produced by the BDC it is stated that there are over a million small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) operating in Canada and are responsible for 10 million jobs, with over half having fewer than four employees. No wonder it is often stated that small business is big business!  

The BDC article also highlighted that more than two-thirds (67.9%) of new businesses in Canada survive to see their fifth year of operations. I cannot help but see the correlation between the levels of support for startups, entrepreneurs, and small business operators and the success of these businesses. There has been a lot of work undertaken to build and strengthen the entrepreneurial ecosystem here in Peterborough & the Kawarthas, including private, public, and not-for-profit organizations. 

While PKED (Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development) is the lead regional economic development agency, it is through collaboration with these other entities that we can generate the most impact and support small businesses together. It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a community to support small businesses.  

When small businesses need funding: Community Futures Peterborough and BDC are there to help with loans and financing to help you advance your project. 

When small business needs advocacy: The Peterborough & the Kawartha Chamber of Commerce lobbies all levels of government to improve policies that create better conditions for business growth and competitiveness. They also have great benefit packages for your employees as well. 

When small business wants to get startedInnovation Cluster Peterborough Kawarthas supports technology-driven entrepreneurs find their best path to market, while the Business Advisory Centre at PKED helps new businesses build and launch their goods and service businesses in the region. 

When small business needs to hire and train new workers:  PKED has a limited-time workforce program to help businesses bring on new workers; there are also incredible resources through Muskoka-Kawarthas Employment Services and several of our privately funded employment agencies. The Workforce Development Board has an active job board to see who is hiring throughout the region. 

When small business needs to find space to move or relocate your business:  PKED tracks available land and buildings in the region and works closely with realtors to unlock opportunities. PKED also provides many data sets that can help you identify the ideal location for your business. 

When small business wants to find ways to be sustainable, reduce their carbon footprint and still be profitable: Sustainable Peterborough and Green Economy Peterborough are great resources to help minimize a business’s carbon footprint. 

When small business needs to collaborate:  PKED can make connections for business to connect with other like-minded industry partners. Check out success stories such as Merit Precision, Charlotte Products, and Kawartha Ethanol collaborations

When small business needs to innovate:  Innovation Cluster has access to advisors, partners, and technology talent to help problem-solve for innovative solutions. 

And so many more… 

What we do know is that being in small business is hard; one of Peterborough & the Kawarthas small business owners has been quoted saying “I choose to work 80 hours a week for myself instead of 40 hours a week for someone else because I love what I do.”  This is the reality for small business leaders. 

They are the sales staff, the bookkeeper, the HR department, the marketing department, the logistics, and purchasing department rolled into one. They often know that they need help but are often too busy to make those connections. The PKED Team works closely with all these partners to create a TeamPTBO environment to support small businesses better than any community out there.  

Small business owners are the backbone of the community; they sponsor our sports teams, employ our youth, and make our downtowns animated, and they are community volunteers that bring not only new products and services but diversity and authenticity to our region. They help set us apart as a community, and we are so pleased to support them and hope that you will as well.