Small businesses are the heart and soul of B.C.’s neighbourhoods. They are places to gather and visit with friends.
Their owners often live in the community and help grow the local economy by creating jobs. Small businesses often carry local products that help support other entrepreneurs, and many small businesses give back by sponsoring local sports teams, charities and the arts.
In other words, when you purchase something from a local small business, you are not only helping that business, you are also helping support a large network of other area businesses and the community.
In honour of the important role that local businesses play in communities throughout B.C., the Province is celebrating the fifth annual ‘BC Buy Local Week’ from Nov. 28 to Dec. 4, 2016. This week puts a spotlight on local businesses and their contributions to their neighbourhoods and local economies.
“Supporting local, small businesses helps ensure communities throughout B.C. continue to thrive,” said Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “Small businesses make up 98% of all business in B.C. and BC Buy Local Week highlights their significant contribution to B.C.’s social and cultural fabric, and our strong economy.”
The Province also promotes B.C. products and shopping local through the Ministry of Agriculture’s B.C. Buy Local program. The Ministry of Agriculture’s B.C. Buy Local program helps farmers and food processors promote their local agrifood and seafood products through buy local initiatives throughout B.C. such as social media campaigns or in-store promotions. These initiatives encourage businesses and British Columbians to explore products unique to B.C.
Another way the Province creates more opportunities for British Columbians to explore local products is through BC Liquor Stores’ Buy Local program. The BC Liquor Stores’ Buy Local program contributes over $500,000 to in-kind promotions and marketing annually to help promote B.C. products such as:
- Month long marketing campaigns such as #CraftBeerMonth and Buy BC Month that feature B.C. craft beer, spirits and wine
- In-store samples of local products
- Creation of tourism maps that highlight local wineries within B.C.
- The BC Ale Trail – an interactive website with detailed itineraries, maps, restaurants, lodging, craft breweries and pubs to encourage beer loves to explore B.C.’s craft beer landscape
- Marketing within BC Liquor Stores’ Taste Magazine, website and e-newsletters
“BC Buy Local Week celebrates the unique contribution B.C. businesses make to our communities," says Amy Robinson, executive director of LOCO BC. “Most consumers in Canada spend about $1,500 on food, alcohol, gifts and travel during the holiday season. If they shift 1% of their spending – just $15 – to local business, their money will multiply locally to create more jobs and stronger communities.”
LOCO BC is a non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of local small businesses and champions greater market access for local products in British Columbia. The group collaborates with municipalities throughout the lower mainland to hold events that raise the profile of small businesses and encourage residents to shop locally rather than patronize a national chain. LOCO BC has partnered with the Province to profile BC Buy Local Week for five years. This year’s campaign will include events in Langley, Richmond, Squamish, Vancouver and more to help guide shoppers to locally owned and operated businesses. Information on these events will be made available on LOCO BC’s BC Buy Local website.
- Small businesses in B.C. employ over one million people.
- There were approximately 388,500 small businesses operating in B.C. in 2015 – 313,500 have fewer than five employees.
- Small businesses account for 35% of British Columbia’s GDP, tied for first place in the country and higher than the Canadian average of 32%.
- BC Liquor Stores promote B.C. products with over $500,000 of in-kind marketing, among other initiatives.
BC Buy Local: http://bcbuylocal.com/
LOCO BC: http://locobc.com/