When P.E.I. small businesses think about the advantages of operating in their communities, it is community spirit and the support of local residents that come out on top.
But while many entrepreneurs see a positive future for their local communities, according to a new report from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), they still see challenges on the horizon.
“While there is a lot of similarities between rural and urban areas of the provinces when it comes to the advantages their local community offers, the challenges experienced in rural communities were often far more pronounced,” said Erin McGrath-Gaudet, CFIB’s director for P.E.I. “A shrinking workforce, low-quality telecommunication services, and high levels of unemployment were all significantly higher concerns in rural parts of the Island.”
In the same report, found at cfib.ca, Island small business owners also offered their advice on guiding principles for community leaders during any talk of amalgamation or annexation — which have been hot topics in many parts of the province following the proclamation of government’s new Municipal Government Act.
“Key priorities for small business owners are to ensure that amalgamation or annexation doesn’t result in more red tape and higher taxes. In order for ‘bigger’ to be ‘better’ for small businesses, they really want to see any discussion of new communities focus on finding efficiencies or economies of scale rather than the offloading of responsibilities from the provincial government or duplication between different levels of government,” said McGrath-Gaudet.
“Island businesses want to see their communities succeed and are generally optimistic for the future. That being said, it’s important for small businesses that all three levels of government are equally committed to the success of local entrepreneurs,” she said.