Small Business Briefing

How to build a strong small business community

The Globe and Mail

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz

If you build good schools, they will come

Whether it’s bidding on the Olympic Games, implementing efficient high-speed transit systems or gunning for an NFL team – achieving ‘world class’ status has become a common goal for many big cities, argues Gene Marks in this Huffington Post article.

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“So many cities in America want to become ‘world class.’ But that’s not what small businesses need from their cities,” he writes.

Obsessing with the global stage can be problematic, especially if the aim is to bolster the city’s small business community in the long term. What cities should really focus on are schools, he argues.

“If you want to turn any city into a great city to live and do business, then all you have to do is focus on one area: Education."

Yes, it all boils down to the quality of classroom. Everyone wants to send their kids to the best schools possible, he says, because “educated people succeed more in life than non-educated people.”

Like bees to honey, a ‘world class’ school system can entice more people to move into an area; big companies will be attracted to the area because employees could send their kids to a great school; and small businesses, so his argument goes, would pop up as a result of the growing population. Real estate prices would go up, construction would increase, and so on.

Small business owners might also reap the benefit of a more skilled workforce out of high school, and the city would get more higher-qualified professionals. So at the end of the day, it’s not necessarily great museums or restaurants or symphonies or tourists that businesses really need. It’s good schools.

Vancouver Sun reporter audits CFIB's Red Tape Digital Diaries

Last week, writer David Baines accused the Canadian Federation of Independent Business of unfairly impugning the Canadian Revenue Agency in its 'Red Tape Digital Diaries' series.

“CFIB regularly trots out surveys that purport to show that CRA's level of service and customer satisfaction is declining,” he writes, because the CRA is an easy target. After all, no one likes paying taxes, there are millions of taxpayers and bound to be complaints, and the CRA doesn't fight back.

The CFIB claimed the diaries were profiles of small business owners who have been saddled with red tape, but following an audit, Mr. Baines discovered that not only had many of the issues been resolved years ago, some stories were inconsistent.

This week, Mr. Baines followed up, saying that he had received a number of reader comments on the matter. Click here to read them.

EVENTS AND KEY DATES

Globe and Mail social media event

A Social Media Week event will take place at The Globe and Mail's headquarters today at 5 p.m. ROB reporters Iain Marlow, Steve Ladurantaye and Simon Houpt are joining BNN's Howard Green to present "Tweeting A Business Beat."

Creating and cultivating your creative economy

Network directly with businesses, creative industries, and municipalities to gain a combination of perspectives on how to increase job growth, boost tax revenue, attract new investments, and develop a successful cluster. The two-day event begins on Feb. 28 from 7:30 a.m. to 5p.m. at the Metropolitan Hotel Toronto. Click here for more information.

EDITOR'S PICKS FROM REPORT ON SMALL BUSINESS

Is it time to bring on middle managers?

The Challenge: As Domain7 grows, it needs to change its management structure, without sacrificing its company culture of a collaborative, autonomous environment

FROM THE ROSB ARCHIVES

Office worker ditches big jobs, big city

Ken Mikalauskas scratched his entrepreneurial itch to seek out his own creative projects.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com

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