Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Aug 25th 2016
Saskatoon is founded upon the hard work of entrepreneurs in every sector. Our future success is dependent on growing a robust, diverse, creative and technologically advanced economy. City Hall must ensure businesses have what they need from the City to succeed.
“Small business is vital to the economic success of Saskatoon”, says Kelley Moore, mayoral candidate for the October 26 municipal election. “Saskatchewan has over 150,000 small businesses, of which the majority have less than five employees. Only 1% of business have more than 50 employees. They may be small, but their collective impact on our local economy is powerful. We need to ensure that new businesses continue to start up, and existing ones continue to do well especially in this challenging economic climate”, she says.
As mayor, Moore will make it a priority to develop policies that benefit small businesses, including in start-ups and e-commerce. “We will promote entrepreneurial growth in Saskatoon through investments in infrastructure, programs, and tax policies that foster expansion of small businesses”, says Moore. “Recently Saskatoon hosted the World Indigenous Business Forum. We heard that cities play a significant role in fostering business success of enterprising indigenous peoples and newcomers.”
“Good municipal leadership addresses these responsibilities and supports a thriving entrepreneurial ecosystem. We can work with businesses and business organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce, the NSBA, SYPE, Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan, and Square One, and larger groups such as STEP, SREDA and the newly formed #TransformSK group to train talent and change policies to reduce barriers to growth.”
Moore is focusing on the following aspects of a positive business climate:
Local Sourcing: Under the current Council, it’s become increasingly difficult for smaller local businesses to gain access to procurement opportunities. It is a challenge for smaller companies to bid on or know about opportunities, as these are complex, hard to qualify for, and time consuming to apply. “Procurement is especially difficult for our architectural and construction firms in the emerging P3 environment”, says Moore. “I pledge to give Saskatoon businesses, those with better knowledge of our conditions, a fair shot in the bidding process. This creates more local jobs and results in better outcomes for Saskatoon.”
Property Taxes: Although property tax rates for businesses relative to residential properties have been equalizing over the past decade, businesses remain at a disadvantage. “Simply put, high property tax rates drive away businesses and kill jobs. It’s a very competitive environment out there, and we need to compete better. I support the Chamber of Commerce’s position on this”, says Moore.
Zoning: Better zoning flexibility is key to adapting to the changing needs of business, and also to facilitate the move to mixed use neighbourhoods. “The ability to live and work in your neighbourhood, without upsetting the residential nature of your community, is convenient and smart. This mix also serves to attract employees”, says Moore.
Process: Red tape can kill productivity, especially in a small business environment where the proprietor does the heavy lifting. Moore promises a review of the regulatory framework for small businesses as part of an overall look at City policies that affect business. “Surely we can’t think that small and large businesses have the same resources to put towards compliance. Let’s make sure they can do that. One size doesn’t fit all”, she says.
Access: Moore will create an open door to small business at City Hall and develop a small business forum that serves the community. She explains “We want to work with existing business groups mentioned above to help our next generation of entrepreneurs – those people that have ideas but are not sure what to do with them.”
Moore recognizes the special nature of small business. “Small businesses are unique and valuable. Often family-owned, they are long-term investments that may sustain two or more generations. When I think about small business and entrepreneurship, I think about innovators and risk takers, but it is also the mom and pop shops that provide superior service. They are rarely in it for the short term. We need to partner with them and address their needs, learn from them”, she says.
Kelley Moore believes in enterprising individuals. As mayor, Moore will develop policies and create environments that support our innovators and risk takers.
#ExpectMoore for Small Business
Moore4Mayor.ca | @moore4mayorYXE