During each election – like the territorial and federal campaigns we just endured – we always admire people who put their names and reputations on the line to run for office.
That can’t be an easy thing to do. We can’t even imagine placing ourselves in a position to be judged by our fellow citizens. Yet, many people do just that for every election.
However, there is a group of people that we admire even more – entrepreneurs.
Not only do they put their names and reputations on the line by taking the plunge to start new businesses, but they also often risk their financial wellbeing for what they think is a good business idea.
That is even more of a brave decision than running for elected office.
So this Small Business Week is a good time to recognize and thank all entrepreneurs, both those who succeed and those who unfortunately don’t.
Entrepreneurship is the engine that drives our economy.
While large corporate endeavours, such as mining, might grab more headlines, it is small business and entrepreneurship that really is the foundation of a healthy economy in Canada, in the NWT and in Hay River.
We are lucky in Hay River to have a strong tradition of entrepreneurship, more so than most other communities in the NWT and Canada. We can think of many people in our community who have decided to go for their business dreams.
We’re not too sure why Hay River has such an entrepreneurial spirit, but there is no doubt that it does, and our community is much better off because of it.
Large industries are fine while they last, but when they come to an end it can mean economic disaster for a community that has grown too reliant on the good times of one dominating sector. All we have to do is look a little to the east to where Pine Point once stood to see what that can mean. Even the current effort to restart mining at Pine Point doesn’t change the fact that the community was established, grew and prospered for a while around the former mine, and completely disappeared when that mine closed.
That does not happen when a community has a strong and varied base of small businesses. Of course, a large industry helps all other businesses while it exists, but small enterprises that can survive without a large industry make for a stronger and more durable economy.
Hay River has a varied private sector – construction, retail, fishing, services and more. Each one of those companies began as an idea and with a person or group of people who decided to go for their business dreams.
We admire each of them for doing that.
And we believe that there are many more people ready to follow that lead and start their own small businesses.
The entrepreneurial spirit is not something that can be taken for granted. It is a valuable thing for a community, and should be encouraged as much as possible.
Entrepreneurs have made Hay River a successful town in the North, and we believe they will continue to do so.