Small businesses in British Columbia have a new task force that will seek ideas on how to maintain a healthy small business environment, create good jobs and grow a strong, sustainable economy for all British Columbians.

The members of B.C.’s Small Business Task Force were announced by Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, at Just Cakes Bakeshop, a small business in Surrey.

“The new Small Business Task Force will listen to entrepreneurs and business owners throughout the province, so we can continue to improve B.C.’s small business climate,” said Ralston. “Small businesses are the backbone of our economy. The Small Business Task Force will make recommendations to build on this sector’s strong growth, and enhance job creation for people in every corner of B.C.”

Michael Hwang, founder and principal lawyer at Amicus Lawyers, has been appointed to chair the new three-member Small Business Task Force. The other members are Cybele Negris, vice-chair of B.C.’s Small Business Roundtable and CEO and co-founder of Webnames.ca, and Shahraz Kassam, owner and CEO of Shamin Diamonds.

The task force will host seven consultations throughout the province in June 2018, to hear from B.C.’s small business community, including chambers of commerce, entrepreneurs and First Nations. People will also have a chance to participate online through a public engagement website.

“We want to hear from small businesses in every community in the province,” said Hwang. “The task force will examine the opportunities and challenges facing small business owners to make recommendations that build on the strengths of the sector, and help create good jobs throughout the province.”

Following the public consultations, the task force will submit its final report to the minister, including its recommendations in fall 2018 on how the Province can further support small business in B.C.

“As a small business owner, I know how important it is to have a healthy business environment, so that our businesses can thrive,” said Raveena Oberoi, owner of Just Cakes Bakeshop. “I will be adding my voice to the task force’s public consultations, and I encourage other small business owners to do the same.”

The Small Business Task Force is a special initiative of B.C.’s Small Business Roundtable, and will be supported by its membership. Task force recommendations will help inform the roundtable’s priorities and strategies to strengthen the sector. Hwang and Kassam have also been appointed as members of the Small Business Roundtable.

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