Local Businesses Make Our Community Stronger

small business openAccording to statistics collected by the Government of Canada, almost 70% of the private business workforce is employed by small businesses. These small businesses generate almost 42% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the entire country. Local business is big business!

Not only do these small, local businesses generate economic growth and employ local residents, they are also critical contributors to the community. Studies have shown that for every $100 you spend at a local business, about $68 of that stays in the community—compared with only about $32 when you shop at a big box store.

This is the feedback loop created by local residents paying other local residents who spend their money locally. Local businesses also tend to procure services or source products from other local businesses further contributing to that feedback loop. Additionally, it’s been shown that local businesses tend to donate to local charities at a much higher rate than medium or large businesses, further keeping that money in the community.

Understanding the importance of local businesses to the community, it falls to the city to ensure we do what we can to foster and encourage local business. The Spruce Grove Strategic Plan contains three strategic priority areas, one of which is to be a “place where people choose to grow a business.” As part of this initiative, the goal is to provide a “strong, diversified business centre.” The plan goes on to state that “Through innovation and supportive business development, Spruce Grove is a growing economic home to successful small business, commercial and industrial companies.”

The guidance is there and is further laid out in terms of goals, outcomes and strategies, so it is incumbent upon the council to continue to drive that agenda forward. Initiatives are well underway as a result of recommendations from the Economic Development Advisory Committee that were presented to council on September 27, 2021.

The recommendations were covered in two areas: Red Tape Reduction as well as an Industrial Land Strategy. The former contains recommendations on the city taking a “facilitative approach” and a visible accountability if that is not realized for business applications. The latter addresses a number of areas of concern in the industrial areas south of the CN Rail line such as better land use definitions, the importance of high-speed internet connectivity to the area and assessing what can be done for a separate grade crossing of the CN Rail line to promote and enable better connectivity to the community.

All these important initiatives will be addressed by the incoming council so it is important that we take these learnings, map them to the Strategic Plan. As part of council I will work to ensure that we deliver on the recommendations and look to incorporate other learnings to further encourage and develop local businesses that can be an important part of strengthening the community.

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