COVID-19 upset the status quo and reframed how we live our lives and how to succeed in small business. The outcome is that Newfoundland & Labrador is THE place for small business growth.
Roseanne Leonard is Managing Director for the NL Association of Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs). CBDCs serve and support small businesses throughout the province.
“We work with all types of entrepreneurs - small, rural, remote, family business, non-profit, and all ages…. There has been a shift. All the things that might have been barriers before can be repositioned as advantages.
Through the pandemic, there were things moving business-wise in rural areas that didn’t make the headlines. In 2021 there were 92 new businesses started in rural Newfoundland & Labrador that were CBDC clients, and CBDC’s worked with around 250 businesses.”
“This year, in the first six months of 2022, after more than a year of COVID-related changes, we have seen a revitalized interest! Numbers aren’t in yet, but it’s looking like growth and expansion is the focus for this year.”
CBDCs are here to help - and it’s working. It’s no small thing that businesses assisted by CBDC are more likely to survive past the initial three years of their business.
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One question that CBDC development officers ask is “How will this be viable in the current community and what is the need it fills?”
It’s a very different outlook to ‘why this fits our lending criteria’. The answer is success oriented.
Roseanne says, “Communities can’t rely on others to set their direction - it has to come from within. Local leaders making decisions for the communities they live in have a much stronger impact on the interests of the community.
“Knowing people and knowing the community makes a difference. In this province, we’ve known ‘one size does not fit all for generations, and there are so many factors that influence business success.”
CBDCs look at business proposals through a local lens, right down to the individual person. The people who run CBDCs are champions of their communities - they know the lay of the land and the people.
“So, for instance, if on paper a business doesn’t show up as a sound idea due to projected sales or financial ratios, it may not be considered viable by another lender. But CBDCs have the local ‘know’, so they can look at the business idea, the needs of the community, and make an informed decision from there.”
Roseanne adds that they also know the community as a network, so in a small community, they can see the big picture of how different business elements fit together to support each other formally and informally.
They support partnerships at local levels because they see that the ecosystem gets stronger when businesses and nonprofits work together. Identifying common goals and working toward them is a solid foundation, and it creates a competitive might when it comes to scaling up.
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“Local decision-making at the community level and using the new technologies are vital to business success in NL.
But that third element, which has always been here, is essential for businesses to thrive.”, says Roseanne.
That’s the Entrepreneurial Spirit. It’s creativity. It’s resilience. It’s the will to make things work.It’s rooted in reality: we need each other to make something succeed.
It shows up in various ways - municipalities working with small businesses to address issues like supply chain challenges.
The Entrepreneurial Spirit means continually learning in the evolving business landscape - what do customers want? How does this business keep going after the owner retires? How do I value this business for selling it? What else can it be?
It means local direction, fusing community with business, leveraging tech to move forward, and embracing and powering the spirit of the people who call here home.
For more info on CBDCs visit their Guide to the Good profile.
Visit www.cbdc.ca to find your local CBDC
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