Small Business Week, which runs from October 16th to 22nd, is a great opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate the small business owners who create jobs and support economic growth in our community.
Last week, I was invited to Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing Corp (AEM) on Kirschner Road to celebrate their 2nd birthday. With a workforce of more than 75 people and plans to hire more next year, AEM is a classic example of a local small company that is having a big impact on our economy.
100% employee-owned, AEM is staffed with highly-skilled individuals and carries out that all-important research and development (R&D) that is so critical to innovation. It’s mindful of its carbon footprint too.
It’s small businesses like AEM that are a key driver of Canada’s economic stability, accounting for about 98 percent of all business establishments in the country and about two-thirds of the private sector workforce.
It’s the reason our Government is committed to supporting small business owners by keeping taxes low, cutting red tape, reducing trade barriers and making financing available through programs like the Canadian Youth Business Foundation and Canada Small Business Financing.
It’s also why the Government has been pursuing an aggressive free trade agenda.
As one of BC’s top 25 exporters, shortlisted for the top three, AEM’s sales have grown 44%, year over year, with over 95% of their sales outside Canada. As Pat Bell, BC Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Innovation points out: “These companies, regardless if they’re established players or up-and-comers, are proof that exporting leads to success.”
International trade has long been recognized as an essential driver of jobs and growth for Canadian businesses and communities and key to raising the standard of living of Canadians.
Although the Canadian economy has been and will continue to be closely integrated to the North American continent, it makes sense to diversify beyond the United States to benefit from the large existing and emerging markets.
That is why, in less than five years, the Government has launched an ambitious trade agenda, opening doors to Canadian business by concluding new free trade agreements with Colombia, Peru, Jordan, Panama and the European Free Trade Association states.
And currently, with its mix of leading and emerging economies, Canada is looking to the lucrative market of the European Union.
With access to a high-income market of one-half billion consumers, a Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) with the EU will offer great potential for economic growth and job creation generating an estimated $12 billion annually in economic activity.
When you realize that Canada represents more than 2% of the world’s trade but has only .5 % of the world’s population, you realize just how important trading with the world is to Canada. We’re good at it and our Government, lead by International Trade Minister Ed Fast, is committed to expanding trade opportunities for Canada knowing that Canadian businesses and workers can compete with the best in the world.
Robust trade worldwide, along with a very competitive tax regime, is just one more way that our Government is strengthening the economy, helping Canadian business to grow, and creating jobs for Canadians. Small businesses like Kelowna’s own Anodyne Electronics Manufacturing Corp. are more than ready to take advantage.
More information about federal government support for small business can be found at ic.gc.ca or canadabusiness.ca .
Ron Cannan is the Member of Parliament for Kelowna-Lake Country.