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Let’s celebrate the men and women who make our communities vibrant

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When I think of what I love most about my neighbourhood, I think of the Persian bakery with the amazing barbari bread and my friendly drycleaner who folds my shirts at no extra charge. I also think of the local hardware store, and my dentist who was able to squeeze me in at the last minute when I broke a tooth. These local businesses add colour to my neighbourhood, and give it life and energy. They’re part of the community.

CFIB has partnered with Interac to create Small Business Saturday, a day to recognize the contributions of small business owners like you. Not only do local businesses forge the identities of our neighbourhoods, municipalities and regions, they also drive our economy. In fact, over 95 per cent of Canadian businesses have fewer than 20 employees. This year, we will celebrate Small Business Saturday on October 26, so be sure to mark your calendars.

Small business owners diversify our economy, create jobs and innovate. Without them, many of us wouldn’t have jobs–small businesses alone employ close to 8.4 million workers in the country, representing 57 per cent of jobs in the private sector. Between 2005 and 2015, they helped create 95 per cent of new jobs in Canada.

More than 80 per cent of small businesses have innovated by improving their services or practices, or by creating new products. When small businesses flourish, they can invest back in their communities and develop new markets—and that benefits everyone.

Apart from the numbers, behind each small business are the men and women who dared to try. We can’t forget that to get a business off the ground, one needs courage, willpower and determination. Small business owners have to commit without knowing whether the wild idea they dreamed up will actually come together as they imagined. This often means putting aside job security and a steady paycheque and accepting the risk of failure. It also typically entails working longer hours than others, putting off family vacations and free time until the business is well established.

I want to say thank you to all the entrepreneurs who took that chance! On October 26, CFIB will encourage consumers to stop by their local businesses and reflect on what they bring to their neighbourhoods. We want Canada to celebrate the men and women who put their fear aside and took the leap to enrich our communities. We will be promoting local businesses across Canada through our Shop Small Biz directory. It’s free to join and a great way to connect with local consumers. Visit www.shopsmallbiz.ca to register.

Thank you to the small coffee shop owners who help us start our day off on the right foot, to the artisans who create unique works that transform our homes and to the pioneering creators who make life in the neighbourhoods more vibrant. Let’s celebrate those who made the big decision to start small.

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