2013 Seaside Focus on Small Business

September 26, 2013

by Adam Olsen

Local small businesses are the lifeblood of every community, and the Saanich Peninsula is no exception. In fact, 99% of businesses in Canada are tiny by international standards. It’s an understatement to say that small business success is the most critical factor for a resilient economy, contributing jobs, innovation and diversity to our communities.

The Saanich Peninsula has an incredibly diverse marketplace. Take a trip down any road in the Peninsula, rural or urban, and you may be surprised to find virtually any product or service you desire. Our farmers, food manufacturers and local restaurants ensure high-quality local food finds a way from the field to the fork. Our high tech companies invest in cutting edge research and innovation. All provide key opportunities for our youth.

Our local businesses are intimately connected to the global business community. To succeed, they differentiate themselves through a unique product and service mix, providing one-on-one training, mentoring and employment, and an unmatched quality of service.

Local entrepreneurs give back to our communities in many ways. We deliver value for money to our customers, satisfying their needs for products and services. We employ a vast majority of people. Our revenue remains local and the economic ripple effect through local supply chains is significant. And when our businesses are strong, we reach beyond daily transactions to contribute, from working with service organizations or coaching youth sports.

Balance is critical to achieve our environmental, social and economic goals. Their intrinsic connections are never more evident than in the small business community. When we struggle, so do our village centres; social interactions become limited, innovation slows and demand on the environment increases. Our quality of life and economy suffer. By shopping locally, we contribute positively to the environment: a resilient small business community means less need for people and products to travel long distances, or for local manufacturers to look elsewhere to find goods and support.

My family has been in business on the Saanich Peninsula and in Greater Victoria for the last 60 years. Whether landscaping, garden maintenance, consulting or Coast Salish knitting, the relationships with our neighbours that have developed through our business have made us better.

The experience gained through working with local business people continues to inspire me and has given me the confidence any entrepreneur needs to take the risks necessary to own and operate a successful business. This is important – over half of new businesses fail in the first five years of operation. Often, it is those lessons that make our next endeavors stronger, more flexible and responsive. I’m grateful for our community’s support for local businesses and my family is proud to stand with the entrepreneurs, innovators and risk-takers who enrich the Saanich Peninsula.

For a look at all of our featured small businesses, visit website.

Adam Olsen

Stellys Cross Road, Brentwood Bay, BC, V8M 1J7