It’s estimated that there are more than 1.1 million small businesses operating in Canada. This makes up a majority of the Canadian economy. The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has saluted and celebrated Canada’s diverse small businesses with the annual Small Business Week held in mid-October.

Now in its 36th year, this year’s Small Business Week will be held throughout Canada the week of October 18th through October 24th. Prior to last year’s 35th annual Small Business Week, Prime Minister Harper praised small businesses for their contributions to the Canadian economy and experience.

Drake General Store, Toronto, Canada
photo credit: Raymond Mendoza / Flickr

Small business is BIG in Canada

“Small businesses are the backbone of the Canadian economy, employing approximately 70 percent of the total labour force in the private sector, accounting for nearly 90 percent of Canadian exporters, and contributing about 41 percent to Canada’s private sector gross domestic product,” the official statement read.

Small business is big in Canada - infographic
via BDC.ca

Small Business Week is a great opportunity for like-minded entrepreneurs to share ideas and see the latest innovations in their fields. Over the years, the activities, forums, panels and luncheons have grown and are now offered across the country, and even virtually online. This year Small Business Week will include an interactive Twitter panel, where expert panelists will discuss business growth on Twitter on October 22nd.

According to the BDC website, roughly 10,000 people attend Small Business Week events across the country, making attending a BDC event a vital networking experience for growing companies. It’s also a great opportunity to find out what is working for other business owners and entrepreneurs and what they recommend not doing.

Last year, the BDC surveyed 1,139 small businesses across Canada, the findings of which were published in The 5 Do’s and 5 Don’ts of Successful Businesses. One of the most significant conclusions the report made was: “Seven out of 10 of the most successful businesses reported that they were either first adopters or early adopters of new technology, compared to only half of all others.” These successful businesses reported that they were more innovative than their counterparts in the following areas: efficiency of internal processes, finding new marketing channels, developing new products and services, and adapting their business model.

Create an event for your business

Creating your own Small Business Week event is a great way to get involved and generate new clients and customers for your business. Partnering with another local business to offer a unique deal or promo is an ingenious cross-promotion technique that can benefit both businesses immensely. Finding local businesses is easy with 411.ca reviews, where you can search names, titles and keywords to find businesses that fit your criteria. 411.ca also happens to be a strong supporter of small and medium sized businesses in Canada, as well as Small Business Week events.

411.ca screenshot

Registering with an online directory like 411.ca is important for a business’ search engine optimization, also known as SEO. Some customers want to see reviews and get information about your company from an unbiased reputable source, and online directories offer that. A helpful statistic to know: more than 70 percent of internet users reported posting online reviews and 85 percent of consumers reported reading online reviews before making a purchase.

411.ca has more than 20 million visitors annually. That’s 20 million eyes that can be potentially looking at your business. The new 411.ca reviews section allows users to post reviews, which is also helpful to prospective customers.

Small Business Week is more than just a celebration

Canada’s Small Business Week isn’t a mere celebration of entrepreneurial excellence, it’s a chance for businesses to improve their strategies and learn from one another. “Through their vision, ingenuity, dedication and hard work, small business owners and entrepreneurs invest in our economy, transform new ideas and discoveries into advanced products and technologies, provide services to Canadians, help build our communities, and more importantly, create jobs,” Prime Minister Harper’s address concluded. “It is essential that Canadian small businesses remain globally competitive and successful.”