Cybele Negris, Vice-Chair

The Small Business Roundtable is the voice of small business to government in British Columbia. Members of the Roundtable represent multiple industries and regions across the province to ensure that key issues that affect small business success are addressed. Many of us are entrepreneurs and business owners and the rest of us are heads of organizations that represent small business owners across the province.

Together our reach is province-wide, as we listen to what our sector has to say and make recommendations to advise both government and small business on priorities and potential solutions to problems. In May 2018, I along with two of the Roundtable’s newest colleagues Michael Hwang and Shahraz Kassam were appointed by our Chair, Minister Bruce Ralston to lead a Small Business Task Force to seek ideas from small business owners on how government can support their innovation, growth and success.

Over the course of our public engagement we identified Six Priority Areas for Government Action:

  1. Reduce costs of doing business to maintain and strengthen economic growth and competitiveness
  2. More extensive engagement with and consideration of small businesses by government
  3. Increase access to labour and skilled workers to meet demand
  4. More promotion and awareness of programs, services and supports for small businesses
  5. More accessible, effective and reliable government programs, services and supports
  6. Support for greater Indigenous participation in B.C.’s economy

Our recommendations to address these priority areas are captured in our final report and the Roundtable looks forward to working with government to support implementation of the report recommendations.

Some key highlights of the Roundtable’s accomplishments over the past year include:

  • Small Business Task Force as a special initiative of the Roundtable was launched in May 2018 and delivered its Final Report in October 2018
  • Minister Ralston appointed Keith Bridge, Paulina Cameron, James Delorme, Michael Hwang, Shahraz Kassam and Jason Wong to the Roundtable
  • Between June 1 and August 7, 2018 we reached out to small businesses and stakeholders through an online questionnaire, email submissions, ten in-person engagement sessions held in seven communities across the province, three of which focused on Indigenous-led businesses, and an online paper summarizing the feedback received.
  • In total, we heard from more than 1,300 small businesses and stakeholders representing over 90 industries across all regions of the province.
  • Open for Business Awards: Along with 600 business leaders, media and government officials we celebrated the communities of Chetwynd, Campbell River, Kimberley and the Nisga’a Lisims Government at the Small Business BC Awards Gala.
  • Continued to advocate for the expansion of the Mobile Business Licence Program in the North East and Kootenays.
  • Participated in the President’s Group to talk about leading accessible, inclusive workspaces and upcoming federal legislation and how it will impact businesses.
  • Sponsored the #TradeTalks Forum hosted by the BC Chamber of Commerce.
  • We wish the best for our departing members James Cameron and Sean Surerus as they focus on their business endeavours.

We would like to thank our Chair, Minister Ralston, for giving us this mandate to advise government on how it can help enhance small business growth and success.

If there are ideas or issues you or another small business you know wants to voice, we want to hear from you so we can bring your voice to the Minister.  Get involved!