Seven ways you can support Ottawa’s small businesses

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No matter how you measure it, Ottawa’s small businesses are a huge part of the local economy. An estimated 28,000 businesses in Ottawa have fewer than 50 employees, making up more than 90 per cent of the businesses in Ottawa.

A woman wearing a face mask stands in a bakery holding a tray of baked goods.

Sophie Gourves, owner, Mamie Clafoutis bakery

For the record, Ottawa Small Business Week is October 17 to 23, 2021. But you can support Ottawa’s small businesses anytime of year. Here is how:

Visit a new business


Even without the challenge of a global pandemic, new businesses struggle for survival every year. Is there a new shop in your neighbourhood or on your daily commute? Even if you are not in the market for their service right now, you can at least say, “hi, welcome to the neighbourhood,” and wish them luck.

Follow a small business on social media


If you’re not in a position to spend money to support a small business, make a point of following one through your social media channels. The increased following will help them promote their business among your followers and will maintain a connection for you until you are ready to spend.

Nominate someone for an Immigrant Entrepreneur Award


Each year the City of Ottawa celebrates and recognizes the success and contributions of individuals who were born outside of Canada and now make Ottawa their home. Nominate a friend, colleague, client, employee or employer who deserves to be recognized and celebrated for their contributions. The deadline to nominate someone online is November 4, 2021.

Treat yourself to a meal out


You gotta eat, right? There are so many places where you can get a quick treat or a full meal. Eat in a restaurant if you can, or outside on a patio if conditions permit, or just take it home to enjoy at your own table. Oh, and don’t forget to tip your server.

Meet your local BIA


A BIA is an association of commercial property owners and tenants who work with the City to create thriving, competitive and safe areas that attract shoppers, diners, visitors and new businesses. The OCOBIA and the 19 BIAs in Ottawa collectively represent more than 6,400 businesses who employ 120,000 people.

Be a tourist in your own town


Maybe you’re not feeling comfortable enough to travel yet. Or, even if you are, why not take a day to explore Ottawa as a tourist. Check out the variety of shops, eateries and services available for people who are visitors to Canada’s capital. Maybe even get a souvenir, if not for yourself, but as a gift for someone who couldn’t make the trip this year.

Tell a friend


Don’t keep your favourite little shop a secret; tell a friend or, better yet, go there with your friend. If you’ve had a good experience with a small business, the best reward you can offer is repeated business. But the next best thing you can do is tell the world about your experience.

After all, the first rule about #supportlocal: Talk about #supportlocal.

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