By Tanya Kroeker, Vice President of Entrepreneurial Growth at ATB
Small business week is all about celebrating the thousands of small businesses— and the entrepreneurs behind them — who are the backbone of our economy. Small businesses remind us all that with determination and ingenuity, anything is possible.
Alberta is well known for its strong entrepreneurial spirit and our population of ambitious and resilient go-getters. In Alberta, there is nothing small about small businesses. They represent 98% of all businesses in our province and employ the majority of our workforce, over 95%. This number grows every day, and year to date in 2023, Alberta has incorporated over 32,000 new businesses.
Entrepreneurs and small business owners inject billions into the economy, spurring innovation across diverse industry sectors and creating incredible impact within our province and beyond. With Alberta poised well to weather the current economic climate, the entrepreneurial engine in our province will be critical to Alberta’s growth over the coming years.
I come from an entrepreneurial family, having grown up on a multi-generational cattle ranch just west of Airdrie. I have witnessed the impact that small businesses have on our province and the communities in which they operate. Small businesses uplift our cities, towns and hamlets, creating a hub for connection, shared passion, collaboration, joy and fun.
I also know firsthand the important role a bank can play for small businesses. Growing up, we worked together with our banker to identify opportunities to grow the business and access the necessary capital to do so. The best bankers partnered with us. They were trusting, caring and had an immense belief in our business and what we were trying to achieve, inspiring me to launch my career in banking.
Now, as the leader of ATB’s entrepreneur and small business segment, I get to bring that purpose into the work I do every day. I have the privilege of serving our small business clients and leading the team who is powering possibilities for small business owners across this great province. This team is passionate about helping Alberta’s entrepreneurs start, build and scale their businesses, turning their dreams into a reality, the same way ATB has been for 85 years.
The passion small business owners have is contagious, and every day, we’re inspired and fueled by our client’s stories, watching you break into new markets, take risks and seize opportunities at the right time. It’s an honour to support our local leaders and visionaries who are taking their businesses to the next level.
Just last week I sat and had lunch with a client, Maeghen Cotterill, owner of 5 Elements Martial Arts. Not only is Maeghen a holder of multiple black belts and an 11-time world champion martial artist, she has also grown her business to be the largest standalone martial arts studio in Western Canada. Additionally, she has started a non-profit organization focused on empowering women and girls within the martial arts community and tackling some of the biggest barriers for women within the industry. She is deeply committed to the future of the community, the sport and the athletes who will come after her, and embodies the true meaning of pushing boundaries and what is possible for Alberta’s small businesses.
Congratulations and thank you again to the many small businesses who continue to dream big and not let impossibility get in their way. This week is about celebrating you, and the incredible impact you have made on our province, our people and our communities.
ATB is excited and honored to be a part of your story. Keep dreaming, keep striving, and keep pushing the boundaries of what's possible.
To learn more about how ATB can power possibilities for your business, visit atb.com/business/powering-business/