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Perrin Beatty, CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Shares Thoughts on Small Business in New Brunswick

This weekend, Fredericton, New Brunswick plays host to the 2017 Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Convention. The AGM enables Chamber members to discuss the latest news, trends, and issues important to Canada’s business community while setting policy agenda for the coming year. This year’s event features discussions on everything from trade diversification to environmental practices to the future of Canadian oil and gas.

Fredericton Chamber CEO Krista Ross and her team have put together an incredible agenda for this year’s event, featuring lunch and learns, a gala dinner, and a Maritime classic – the Kitchen Party. As the event’s Presenting Sponsor, Opportunities NB (ONB) is proud to showcase New Brunswick’s trademark hospitality for over 350 attendees from across the country.

Among those attendees is Perrin Beatty, former MP and Cabinet Minister and current President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce. ONB caught up with Mr Beatty on the eve of the AGM for a few insights on small business, New Brunswick, and more.

ONB: What do you currently see as the biggest challenges for small businesses in Canada both now and five years down the road? What is the industry currently doing to manage these challenges? How is the Chamber helping to mitigate these challenges?

Canadian Chamber of CommerceBeatty: There was a time when it was good enough for businesses to be the best in their community or in their region, but that’s no longer the case. Today, your competitor, your supplier, your customer or your partner can be on the other side of the world but also be as close as a mouse click. This means that today’s businesses need to benchmark themselves against the best in the world, and five years down the road the competition will be even more intense.

Canadian businesses require a highly-skilled, twenty-first-century workforce, and they must have a business plan that keeps them very close to their customers. And, increasingly, our businesses are looking for ways to tap into global markets.

The Canadian Chamber has been active in addressing skills shortages for several years now. We have also been involved in trade negotiations to take down barriers to Canadian goods and services and we continue to urge our business community to seek opportunities outside of Canada. Our businesses are either going to compete in global markets or global companies are going to come and compete in ours.

What are you most looking forward to this weekend in Fredericton at the AGM and Convention?

Our AGM is the annual gathering of the Chamber clan. We debate our policy and compare notes about best practices for helping Canadian businesses succeed. It’s not all work, though. For many delegates, this will be their first visit to New Brunswick, so our hosts have planned a great program to make sure no-one goes home without sampling some of New Brunswick’s great sights, sounds, and flavours. I think many of the delegates will start planning their next visits before they even head out to the airport.

You’ve been to New Brunswick several times, what strengths do you feel this province brings to the table?

For people planning a career, New Brunswick offers an incredible quality of life for a fraction of the cost to live in our big cities. And for investors, there is a talented workforce and easy access to the world’s richest market.

I’m always amazed when I visit to learn about yet another world-beating small business that is operating from New Brunswick. Often, they aren’t well-known in Canada, but they are already making their mark in global markets.

ONB has placed a strong focus on entrepreneurship and on helping New Brunswick youth begin great careers at home. What advice would you give to any young Canadians considering starting their own business?

Two things. First, make sure that you have your education. It’s more important than ever in a globalized economy. Second, set your sights high. Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t take on the world and win.

I was elected to Parliament when I was 22 because nobody told me it couldn’t be done. Today’s young people are better educated and worldlier than my generation was. They’ll be amazed by what they can achieve if they dream big dreams!

Want to learn more about growing or locating your business in New Brunswick? Click the button below to connect with an ONB Business Development Executive.

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Cover image via Canadian Chamber of Commerce