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Business Beat: Local First – Building our Business Ecosystem through Recovery

Almost 98% of businesses in Canada and within Alberta are small businesses with approximately 76% of Canadians employed by private sector businesses.

In the southeast Alberta Palliser region, we have 4700 businesses with 96.5% of those being small businesses. When you factor in our agricultural businesses, that adds an additional 3,100+ farms to the business mix as well.

Over the last number of weeks, society as a whole has become keenly aware of what this actually means to our overall economy and how fragile our ecosystem is if our businesses don’t have the supports necessary to carry on.

In a very short time, our businesses have had to endure many challenges and all levels of Government have recognized the impact that this pandemic has had. They have recognized that we must have systems, processes, programs and legislation in place that support our business community in order to help us through our recovery.

The past 3 months also emphasized the importance of supporting local because we know that when we purchase locally, more money is kept within our community. By investing in our local businesses, we are able to support our local economy and our overall ecosystem, recognizing that our local businesses are very much part of this lifecycle.

Now more than ever, supporting our local business community is about creating relationships, providing us with a more caring, connected and resilient community. These relationships are what provides you with more customized and personalized experience because these are your friends, neighbours, coaches, service providers and colleagues around town. They are the ones volunteering for local charities, not-for-profits, service clubs and sports teams and giving back to our local community. They contribute to our local charities, and by investing in their businesses, you are supporting their efforts to give back within our community.

By investing in our local businesses, you also invest in the character of our community, particularly those small, unique and niche businesses that are providing different products and experiences. By helping these businesses, it means they can get through challenging economic times and can continue to contribute to what makes our community a great place to live.

We need to make sure we support our local businesses because they contribute significantly to our tax base and in turn, to the social fabric and public services offered within our community. Without a strong commercial tax base, residents end up having to pay more for the services and benefits we receive as a community.

Our local businesses are invested in our community’s welfare and future and we all recognize that we need one another – because not only are we all in this together, but we truly can’t thrive without one another. The big businesses can't exist without the small businesses. The small businesses can't exist without the workers from the big businesses. The manufacturing plants can't exist without the construction companies. The construction companies can't exist without the building supply companies. We need our teachers, health care workers, first responders and all of our public servants to ensure quality education, health, safety and public services. And of course, none of us can survive without our agricultural producers that provide us with the food we eat. It’s all based on an interdependence and building our ecosystem.

We have supported this ecosystem, we have worked together to make sure our community has the supports necessary to get through this and we will continue to support this community moving forward – together. So now more than ever, we must remember to think local and support local, by putting “Local First”. So how are you contributing to our ecosystem? How do you put “local first”? Want to connect with some amazing local businesses – find them here:

In addition, there is a “Big Spend” initiative happening across Canada on July 25 to track the economic impact we’re making together. You can find out more here:


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