For the past week or so, members of the Smithers District Chamber of Commerce have been casting ballots for the 202o Annual Community and Business Awards.
Of course, it is all fine and good for the Chamber to honour its member businesses, other organizations and inviduals, but why should the rest of us care about this?
The short answer is that local business is the foundation of our community.
In recognizing excellence, the Chamber not only honours the nominees and eventual winners, but celebrates local business in general.
Small businesses account for 97 per cent of all businesses in Canada and employ more than 70 per cent of the total private labour force in the country.
These businesses not only provide employment, but pay taxes and go above and beyond in supporting all manner of wellbeing in Smithers from sports teams to community projects to non-profit organizations.
In giving businesses something to look forward to every year, the awards provide an impetus for improving practices, customer service and contributing to the community both economically and socially.
In raising the profile of businesses and what they do in the community, the awards provide inspiration for new entrepreneurship and for existing businesses to strive for improvement and demonstrate models for how to do it.
This year, the awards may be more important than ever before. Local businesses have endured unprecedented challenges in 2020. Although there will be no gala event, the awards provide some semblance of normalcy in an abnormal situation and honour the perseverence of business people and their employees in the face of hardship.
There is still time to participate in the process as voting closes tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 13).
In advance, The Interior News wants to congratulation the winners, the nominees and, indeed, all of the businesses, organizations and individuals that make this small mountain town such a joy to work and live in.
We would also like to encourage all residents of the area to give all our local businesses a pat on the back.