As someone who ran a small business for 22 years, North Vancouver-Lonsdale MLA Naomi Yamamoto knows all about the trials and tribulations of owning a small business. And as the provincial Minister of State for Small Business, she knows all about the work the provincial government is doing to try to make it easier for small businesses in B.C. to grow.
Small businesses — defined by the provincial government as a company with 50 employees or less — make up 98 per cent of the 400,000 businesses in B.C., according to Yamamoto, who was the guest speaker at the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce’s annual general meeting on Jan. 16.
“The overwhelming majority of those small businesses actually have five or less employees, which is probably pretty similar to the chamber membership,” she said.
Yamamoto thanked the business owners at the chamber meeting for all their work — inside and outside their place of business.
“I know that as small business owners, you’re not just there managing your business; you’re also involved in coaching little league or hockey, you’re involved in hospital foundations and on the school PACs, and you’re also moms and dads, so thank you very, very much for all you do,” she said.
During the meeting, Yamamoto spoke about some of the things the provincial government is doing that she feels support small businesses. These include establishing the Small Business Roundtable, creating the mobile business licence program, offering micro-business loans, and creating a Small Business Accord, which was announced in October.
“What that accord will do when it’s finalized is it will include principles that will hold, hopefully, the government accountable to improve the business climate in British Columbia for small business owners and make B.C. the most small-business-friendly jurisdiction in Canada,” she said.
Yamamoto told the group she is proud of B.C.’s fight to reduce red tape through regulatory reform.
During the meeting, Yamamoto also touched on the transition back to the PST, which comes into effect April 1. She encouraged business owners to register sooner rather than later and pointed out there are three ways to learn more about the PST transition — by calling 1-887-888-4440, participating in webinars and attending workshops in your community. The chamber of commerce is jointly hosting one of those workshops with the Ladysmith Downtown Business Association Thursday, Feb. 7 at 4 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion.