COLUMNS: Support Small Business Month

Throughout October, communities across B.C. have been celebrating Small Business Month.

Throughout October, communities across B.C. have been celebrating Small Business Month. As Minister for Small Business, it has been my pleasure to help promote appreciation of the businesses that drive our provincial and local economies.

Local engagement in the month’s events has been encouraging, but I am pleased to see that Williams Lake is going above and beyond in its efforts.

This month, the Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce, the City of Williams Lake, Central Business Improvement Area (BIA) and Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin are launching their inaugural William’s Lake Business Walk, when representatives will spend the hours between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Oct. 28 going door-to-door, visiting local businesses.

The goal of the walk will be to connect with businesses and gain insight into their needs, and how the Chamber and its partners can most effectively respond to them.

By supporting the success of our small businesses, Williams Lake is supporting the success of the whole community. They comprise 98 per cent of all business in B.C. and employ over one million people.

There is no question the community relies on our small businesses — for owners they offer the freedom of self-employment; for employees, jobs; and for Williams Lake, economic growth. Williams Lake and its surrounding areas also rely on our forestry industry, which is currently facing a challenging situation with the recent expiration of the federal 2006 Canada-U.S. softwood lumber agreement.

In the days ahead, our BC Liberal government is prepared to stand up for B.C.’s forestry industry and the families and communities that rely on it; as your MLAs, Donna Barnett and I are committed to working with our provincial colleagues as strong advocates on your behalf.

Your community also benefits from excellent advocates on the local level; I would like to thank Mayor Cobb and Williams Lake Council for their work on behalf of Williams Lake at the recent Union of BC Municipalities convention.

Coralee Oakes is the MLA for Cariboo North and Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. Contact MLA Oakes’ constituency office: Phone: 250-991-0296; Email: coralee.oakes.mla@leg.bc.ca.

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