New Names in Saskatchewan – The Business Boom

One of the many examples  of new businesses springing up around the province./ image: Adam Gamble

One of the many examples of new businesses springing up around the province./ image: Adam Gamble

The Boom is bringing a new era of business owners

Article: Adam Gamble – Contributor

Across Saskatchewan, new businesses are opening their doors. Some are in small towns while others are in cities like Saskatoon and Regina. No matter where these new names appear, they continue to affect the peoples of this province.

According to a 2011 Statistics Canada report on Canadian businesses, Saskatchewan had 90 businesses per population of 1,000. Out of these 90 businesses, 98.4 % were small businesses.

These statistics are the culmination of Saskatchewan’s homecoming in 2005, said Steve McLellan, CEO at Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce. It was a time when entrepreneurial spirit was no longer set aside, as opportunity in Saskatchewan became visible.

“People see opportunity as the fertilizer for entrepreneurial spirit,” voiced McLellan. “It’s the spark that caught fire.”

Saskatchewan’s influx of opportunity is affecting business owners directly and indirectly. Business owners, on one hand, are making a living, and are facing competition while doing so. On the other hand, they are witnessing the evolution of a new era of business owners. McLellan called it “a pay off for perseverance.” Seeing young entrepreneurs succeed is something that, historically, has not always had a presence in Saskatchewan.

While some businesses are thriving, others are finding it difficult to do so. For Amino Mohamud, who is originally from Somalia, owning a business has enabled her to gain Canadian citizenship. Arriving in Canada just under twenty years ago, Mohamud raised twelve children – six of which were adopted – while starting various businesses. She now owns Wascana Donair & Shawerma, a new restaurant in Regina.

“It’s hard when you are starting up. Everything plays a role,” said Mohamud.

One example is location. Not being noticed by potential customers hinders success. By not having a good location, operation and labour expenses become difficult to finance. As Mohamud pointed out, this is caused by competition, which limits resources.

Amongst these resources is the money Saskatchewan is willing to invest in businesses. Despite the provincial government creating the Temporary Foreign Workers Program in response to a shortage of highly skilled workers in certain fields, the void persists. Foreign workers are coming to Saskatchewan, and working for businesses, new and old – barely making enough money to live.

Through an Access-to-Information request, CBC revealed that out of 3,000 businesses in Saskatchewan that have applied and received permission to hire temporary foreign workers, 450 are fast food restaurants.

“There continues to be a growing gap between the rich and the poor,” noted Larry Hubich, President of the Saskatchewan Federation of Labour.

It is likely that as long as the opportunity for business in Saskatchewan presents itself, the province will continue with its bang-for-a-buck mentality.

The province, said Hubich, “should be prepared to share its prosperity with the workers.” This applies to all peoples working in Saskatchewan.

Interested in Saskatchewan’s prosperity could also be a segment of students at the University of Regina (U of R).

Brian Schumacher, Associate Dean, and Undergraduate Programs Lecturer at the U of R’s Faculty of Business Administration said, “This semester, students have enrolled in more credit hours than ever before.”

According to Schumacher, this cannot be attributed to Saskatchewan’s business boom, but the value the students see in the various business programs at the U of R.

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