It is no secret that small businesses make up the economic backbone of the local, provincial and Canadian economy, said Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce executive director Jason Ryll.
“Small business is 98 per cent of all business in the province,” Ryll said.
Ryll said it is important to recognize the role that small businesses play in each community.
“Everything from the economic contributions they make and the fact they are regularly relied upon for events or sponsorships. At the end of the day it’s about jobs. They play a critical role in determining what a community looks like so they are vitally important.”
The WLDCC represents about 250 businesses in the Williams Lake area, along Highway 20 all the way to Bella Coola and as far north as Quesnel and south to Clinton.
“When we wentthrough the wildfires in 2017, other chambers recognized one way they could support us was to buy a membership. That’s what some chambers will do to help support each other. I thought that was pretty classy.”
The biggest challenges facing small businesses in 2022 are rising costs, the skilled labour shortage, an increased pressure to address climate change, and for businesses to play a role in growing awareness around mental health and addiction issues, Ryll said.
Additionally there are social expectations around equity, diversity, inclusion – things that are expected of businesses to properly reflect society.
“They add extra layers of challenges for small businesses. At the end of the day they want to keep the lights on and the doors open and yet at the same time these societal expectations, which I don’t think are wrong, add to the challenges.”