Saskatchewan business owners should be proud of, and celebrate, their successes.
That was the basic message Twila Reddekopp, publisher and editor of Saskatchewan Business Magazine delivered to attendees of the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon October 24.
“We are overall very much a humble bunch,” she said. “We would pat our neighbours to the east and the west on the back and say ’job well done,’ but we would never do that to ourselves or each other. We would just quietly do our thing and we wouldn’t let anybody know how things were going.”
But Reddekopp has seen a transformation in that attitude since she started the magazine 15 years ago.
“Now, when we call people to ask them about their businesses, they love to talk and talk and talk, whereas even 10 years ago, it was like pulling hens’ teeth,” she said.
While Reddekopp believes the shift was already on in 2007 when the Saskatchewan Party took power, she credits them with really getting the party going.
“I think the biggest thing about the Sask Party coming in was almost overnight, it put a sign up on Saskatchewan saying we’re now open for business and people had been slowly building up to that,” she said. “I think we all thought for years that we were open for business, but it just changed everybody else’s mindset looking in on Saskatchewan. Prior to that, it seemed like we were sort of a little bit closed off in our attitude.”
As it was Small Business Week last week, Reddekopp also addressed the importance of small businesses to Saskatchewan and Yorkton. She cited statistics that indicate Saskatchewan leads the country in small business, not the least of which is that there are now 9.4 businesses for every 100 people in the province.
“I think part of it is geography,” she said. “We only have a few major centres. Part of it is there’s smaller communities and within those smaller communities, one person can’t do everything so it’s almost borne out of a need. Plus, we’ve always been very innovative.”
Chamber president Amie Zamonsky also had some comments about pride announcing that two Yorkton businesses were among the finalists for the Saskatchewan Chamber of Commerce ABEX Awards, which took place in Saskatoon October 26.
Both Crusader Drilling and Yorkton Plumbing and Heating were up for the Growth and Expansion Award, but the prize went to Wilhelm Construction from Estevan.