A message from Minister Don Scott
This week the Prentice Government took another step to support our Economic Development Framework by making it simpler for small business to thrive in the province. Easier access to information; assistance with regulatory matters; a stronger voice on policy issues; and support and guidance for our entrepreneurs to thrive are all key directions outlined in the new Building on our Entrepreneurial Spirit: A Small Business Strategy For Alberta.
Small business helped shape this strategy
Alberta’s Small Business Strategy was developed based on the input of hundreds of small businesses and in partnership with publicly funded business service providers, the Alberta Chambers of Commerce and the Canadian Federation of Independent Business. Last fall Dave Quest (MLA for Sherwood Park-Strathcona) led consultations with small businesses in eight communities across the province and feedback was also obtained online.
Small businesses told us what we could do to support small business success – improve and simplify government client service. Businesses said they had difficulty finding straightforward information on regulatory policy and government business support. Through the Strategy we’re acknowledging and responding to this request.
No hand-offs, no runarounds, no red tape.
Along with the strategy, Premier Prentice, Dave Quest (MLA, Sherwood Park-Strathcona) and I announced tools that will immediately help small business in Alberta.
We have a new streamlined website that provides a one-stop shop for government services information found at smallbusiness.alberta.ca. In addition, new business advisors at The Business Link (toll-free 1-844-422-7705) are ready to answer small business questions and provide easier access to government services and supports. These actions will help small businesses save time and improve their ability to do business. Our goal with both services is no hand-offs, no runarounds, and no red tape. As our strategy states, “Time is money. We’re helping to streamline the process so that small businesses get the support they need, when they need it.”
Small business owners and entrepreneurs will also have a stronger voice on policy issues that affect them. The Alberta government will work with stakeholders like the Alberta Chambers of Commerce to organize formal and regular engagement such as semi-annual small business roundtables. The Strategy also includes action on rural entrepreneurship initiatives.
Why do we need a small business strategy?
Some may say Alberta’s economy is strong and small business is thriving, why make changes? Alberta is leading the country in many measures of small business and entrepreneurial success. According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Alberta small business confidence is at the highest level it has been in the last year and a half. If our province is to remain competitive and innovative, we must ensure that we promote an environment where our businesses can continue to thrive. Releasing this Strategy in a period of economic strength builds on this success and continues to improve the environment for small businesses, making them more resilient.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy. They represent 95 per cent of all businesses in the province, account for over a third of private sector employment and generate over 25 per cent of Alberta’s GDP. Given the fact that small businesses play such a big role in our economy this strategy is critical. We are committed to working with entrepreneurs, businesses, industry and partners to continue to reduce the regulatory burden for small businesses and make Alberta one of the most successful business climates in North America.
(left to right) Minister Scott, Premier Jim Prentice and Richard Truscott of the Canadian Federation of Independent Business view the new Small Business website