Small businesses and entrepreneurs highlighted in Prince Albert

By James Bowler
October 23, 2013 - 4:49pm Updated: October 24, 2013 - 7:36am

This week, the Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce welcomed representatives from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

Pierre Cléroux, vice-president of BDC and research and chief economist, was at a luncheon held at the Ches Leach Lounge on Wednesday to speak about growing business trends for small business entrepreneurs in Canada.

One of the messages highlighted during the luncheon was the importance for small businesses to offer products and service to a wide consumer base geographically, and to use the internet to advertise and offer those products and service.

“I think it’s the best way to promote our programs, but also our businesses because the web allowed the small business to be much bigger,” said Cléroux. “They have access to a much bigger network than they used to because the web is really worldwide.”

Cléroux added social media is an important and often cost-effective factor in promoting products and services for small businesses.

“I think there’s different ways, one way is to look at reviews on your products and services and to use that to your advantage,” said Cléroux. “If you have good reviews and you can generate good reviews for your products and your services, you should really promote that because that’s how the consumer is making a decision about buying your products and services.”

He added having an informative and accessible website, and even having a Facebook page or Twitter account, will greatly increase the promotion of your product or service.

Joel Pinel of WOW Factor Media out of Moose Jaw was the winner of the 2013 BDC Young Entrepreneur Award, which came with a $100,000 cheque to help build his business.

Pinel said a smaller area like Moose Jaw turned out to be one of the best areas to start a business, which would reach a wide geography of customers.

“Moose Jaw is a good home base for a business that is looking to go outside of Moose Jaw, the costs of running a business are low,” said Pinel. “We have an office in Regina and Saskatoon, we do a lot of work we sign out to Albert and Manitoba as well. We have done work in B.C. and the use before and we’ve actually sent work to China before.”

Merle Lacert with the Prince Albert and District Chamber of Commerce said they are looking at ways of making Prince Albert more attractive to new entrepreneurs and for retaining existing small businesses.

“Recently just with the Chamber, we did present some recommendations to the city on taxation,” said Lacert. “One other aspect I think those reports speak to is I think the policies or processes that the city will use to license and permit businesses. So, that might be another thing the city of Prince Albert can look at to streamline, make efficient, make easier.”

Lacert said while he didn’t know all of the trends, it appears retail clothing stores and niche markets seem to do very well in Prince Albert.

“Mostly its service retail, clothing, accessory,” said Lacert. “We do see things whether especially be coffee houses, specialty health drinks, any of that. I definitely would think there’s an opportunity for niche markets, what type of product I couldn’t say.”

The BDC focuses on small business entrepreneurs in assisting them build their brand and expand their business and product reach.

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