Mary Ng, federal small business minister, gets input from businesses during meeting at Okanagan College (submitted)
Canada’s small business minister has heard a first hand account of the state of business in the North Okanagan.
Mary Ng, who is also minister of export promotion, visited with the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce and residents at Okanagan College over the weekend, saying she was there to listen.
The Chamber says issues raised included succession planning for small business operators, provincial trade barriers, the need for more women entrepreneurs, the role of technology and community infrastructure that encourages business.
“We appreciate the minister taking time to stop in Vernon and hear first-hand about the opportunities and challenges small business owners experience,” says Dione Chambers, Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce general manager.
“Small business is a major economic driver by not only employing thousands of people, but by serving as a catalyst for entrepreneurs to expand beyond the grassroots and grow. It was encouraging to hear that the minister shares the chamber’s vision about supporting small business.”
Ng says the federal government has been pursuing trade agreements around the world, which North Okanagan businesses can benefit from.
“My job is to help businesses start up, scale up and access new markets. The world wants and needs more Canada. Our global brand is strong,” said Ng who will provide the input from the Vernon meeting to her colleagues in Ottawa.
Also attending the session were Byron Louis, Okanagan Indian Band chief, and Mel Arnold, North Okanagan-Shuswap MP.
The Greater Vernon Chamber represents more than 550 businesses in the North Okanagan.