By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses (CFID) has launched a new the “Big Thank You” contest as part of the #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign in 2023 to help promote the growth of small businesses.
“The contest invites Canadians to take a moment to send a thank you note to their favourite small businesses, and CFIB (then) shares the messages with the businesses,” Andrew Sennyah, Alberta senior policy analyst, said. “The entrant and their thank-you’s are entered into draws to win amazing cash prizes and a Big Thank You box of small business goodies from every province and territory.”
Sennyah said that business owners can get involved by encouraging their customers to take part in the contest using the free contest toolkit found at: https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/celebrate-small-business/toolkits and more information about the contest and enter here: https://www.smallbusinesseveryday.ca/big-thank-you-contest.
According to Sennyag, the contest is a highlight of the #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign.
“#SmallBusinessEveryDay is a year-round initiative that encourages Canadians to support the independent businesses that make their communities unique by keeping their loonies local,” Sennyah said.
Sennyah states that the campaign, which launched in 2020, has now entered its fourth year, and is helping shed light on the important role small businesses play in supporting local economies. The campaign was created and is run by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB). This year, Sennyah says, the campaign is sponsored by Scotiabank, Interac Corp., and Chase Merchant Services.
“The campaign launched during the COVID-19 pandemic at a time when small businesses desperately needed our support,” Sennyah said. “Unfortunately, in 2023, many businesses are still struggling due to pandemic debt, the staggering rising costs of doing business, and changing consumer habits since the pandemic. Many businesses say they are losing customers and revenue to multinational companies and online giants. This year the campaign, and our new research report, also highlights the increasingly uneven playing field small businesses are operating in and asks government to do more to ensure small businesses can fairly compete.”
In August 2023, the CFIB released research indicating that for every dollar spent at a small business in Canada, 66 cents, on average, is recirculated in the local economy. In contrast, just 11 cents per dollar remains local per dollar spent at a multinational business.
“We are releasing the full research report during Small Business Week in October; the report will reveal the many ways, financial and non-financial, that small businesses contribute to their communities.
Sennyah says that the #SmallBusinessEveryDay campaign is an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the important role small business play in our local economies and communities, and stressed when local businesses thrive, they channel their success back into their communities in ways that multinationals do not.
Every year, the CFID receives thousands of thank you messages from across Canada, including Alberta, through the contest, which are shared with the businesses.
Sennyah says in addition to encouraging its 97,000 members to make use of free promotional tools such as posters and social media images to spread the word in their local communities, CFIB also promotes the campaign through their media outreach, online, and with the help of their valued partners, to ensure the message reaches a wide audience.
“We also invite politicians to get involved and support the campaign in their local areas,” Sennyah said. “Small businesses can download CFIB’s new digital toolkit, including a printable poster and customizable social images, to promote the 66 cents ‘local impact’ number and the importance of shopping locally. Everyone can also get involved in the campaign by spreading the word on social media! Post about what your favourite small businesses mean to you and your community, and use the hashtags #SmallBusinessEveryDay and #KeepYourLoonieLocal.”
The digital toolkit can be found at: https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/celebrate-small-business/toolkits, or a printed copy of the poster can be requested at: https://www.cfib-fcei.ca/celebrate-small-business/request-your-free-poster.
According to Sennyah the campaign has been effective thus far in promoting the importance of supporting small businesses to consumers across Canada, in providing many thousands of business owners with tools to help spread the word in their local communities, and in capturing the attention of policymakers.
“Our hope is that by raising awareness of the true value of shopping locally, Canadians will make a conscious effort to shift a small portion of their spending away from corporate giants to independent businesses, so that their money has a direct and lasting positive impact in their community,” Sennyah said. “As we head into the holiday season, we encourage everyone to support small businesses and shop local. Keep in mind the money you spend at a small business has six times more impact in your community than the money you spend at a multinational.”