We see these businesses every day: the corner stores, the local shops, the startups. We get to know the entrepreneurs and shop owners personally. They are our neighbours and friends, part of the fabric of our communities.
Most businesses in Nova Scotia are small businesses but together they employ almost half of the province's workers. They are found across the province, from our smallest rural corners to the hearts of our urban centres.
Businesses of all sizes contribute to the success of our province's economy, though it is often the bigger companies that are more visible and get the attention. But a large business was once a small business. Multi-million dollar corporations often start as a mom and pop shop and the next big innovation may begin as an idea on a startup's napkin.
That's why we celebrate Small Business Week, which runs from Oct. 16 to 22 this year.
Government believes in making investments that benefit Nova Scotians and in creating a climate in which businesses can thrive.
We are working to cut red tape and move more services online, thereby reducing the amount of time and resources companies have to spend on paperwork.
Through Nova Scotia Business Inc. we are supporting companies looking to export their goods and services to markets around the world and underscore Nova Scotia's reputation for quality wherever we go. NSBI also oversees the Credit Union Small Business Loan Guarantee Program which has provided loans to almost 2,000 small businesses across Nova Scotia.
The Department of Business, is working with municipalities and the private sector to bring better Internet services to rural homes and small businesses who depend on swift and reliable connections for their day-to-day activities.
Through Innovacorp we are working to ensure small companies have access to the funds they need at those crucial early stages as they turn their ideas into innovations with significant commercial potential.
The ocean is part of our competitive advantage here in Nova Scotia. Government has made investments in the Centre for Ocean Ventures and Entrepreneurship to help smaller players learn from the best and collaborate on new and innovative technology.
Our Invest Nova Scotia fund works with private and social enterprises to improve the competitiveness of Nova Scotia's businesses.
Government cannot create jobs or run local services but we can support the people doing just that in the small businesses serving communities across our province.
I hope you will join me in supporting local businesses on Small Business Saturday, and throughout the year. Let us celebrate our small businesses – the longstanding members of our communities and the brand new companies just starting out.
Stephen McNeil is premier of Nova Scotia.