Small Business has been hailed as the engine of the economy in Newfoundland and Labrador. The claim is backed by stats like how, last year, Atlantic Canadian entrepreneurs started more new businesses than any other region in Canada.

In Newfoundland and Labrador, there are more than 17,000 businesses that employ people: 98.5% of them are small businesses with 1-99 employees. 71% of jobs created in the private sector over the past 10 years can be attributed to small business.

This week happens to be Small Business Week: a fitting time for the BDC (Business Development Bank of Canada) to have released its study called “SME’s and Growth: Challenges and Winning Strategies.”

For the study, the BDC surveyed over 1000 SME leaders across the country to gather info that will help small business owners understand what it takes to grow their business. The report – track it down – offers “proven and effective strategies for successful growth.”

It focuses on “investments, innovation, employees, and clients” and claims that innovation is the key: businesses that have developed successful growth strategies have invested in training, staff, and new software and equipment.

The report says that 40% of businesses are growing faster than our economy. ProActive Physiotherapy is among them. Co-owners Chris Cluett and Justin White came up with the idea to start their own physiotherapy business while they were roommates studying kinesiology at MUN. Since 2004, they’ve opened 8 clinics including 3 in the past year.

Employment at the clinic has leaped by 15% in the past year, and its synergistic: key staff/hires have contributed greatly to the company’s growth. As have the use of social media and strategic partnerships: two things that helped them create a loyal client base and customer referrals.