Humboldt had an opportunity to promote local business on March 7 with the Mark of Excellence awards, something that does a great job of celebrating the amazing work of local entrepreneurs.
We are the only place in the world that has organizations like Campbell Greenhouse run by Mary Campbell, Canadian Organic Spice and Herb Co. run by Colleen Haussecker, and Hergott Farm Equipment run by General Manager Len Hergott.
But this celebration was for more than just the 25 businesses nominated and seven winners. This was to celebrate all local businesses in Humboldt and area.
There are hundreds of businesses that deserve awards for helping communities thrive. Without these businesses and offering services, communities would be lacking vital services to keep people in the community.
According to the Government of Canada, there are 1,143,630 small businesses in Canada that employ fewer than 99 people. Together these busineeses employ over 8 million people.
Large businesses employ around 1.1 million, meaning small businesses make up 70.5 per cent of the Canadian workforce.
In Saskatchewan, around 251,200 people are employed in 40,453 small businesses province-wide.
We need to celebrate that because it takes a lot to start and maintain a small business. Small-town businesses especially have their own set of unique challenges, with factors such as smaller consumer markets and isolation affecting their bottom line.
Colleen Haussecker, whose company, Canadian Organic Spice and Herb Co., was named Entrepreneur of the Year, said during her acceptance speech that it takes a community to have a successful business.
She said she is often asked how she can run a business in “the middle of nowhere” – the middle of nowhere meaning Watson, Sask.
This is a great place to do business, she says, with everyone helping you and rooting for you.
When it comes to support, we have so much available in the area to help small business owners.
There are businesses whose sole purpose is to help other businesses. Some offer mentorship opportunities to help other businesses thrive. Some create their own communities, willing to support fellow entrepreneurs.
In addition to highlighting some innovative and really interesting local businesses, the event also shone a light on the hard work done by Stacey Poss and Colleen Foster at the Humboldt and District Chamber of Commerce. These two work tirelessly behind the scenes to support the Humboldt business community, and this event showcases their talents as much as the nominated businesses.
It also served as a spotlight on the work of Dianne Olchowski and the Sagehill Community Futures staff as they work with new and existing owners on improving and maintaining their businesses.
For all small business owners and everyone involved in helping businesses thrive, thank you for working as hard as you do to provide service to the community. Thank you for your drive, vision, passion, and for having the guts to take on this amazing and challenging experience.