Sault Ste. Marie Chamber of Commerce and Northern Credit Union staff members held a barbecue and live music event for local small business employees at the credit union's McNabb Street location Thursday.
The two groups teamed up for the event, described as a soft launch to the 'Small Business, Too Big to Ignore' campaign.
The formal launch will be held September 8 at The Machine Shop from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m.
The public are invited to attend that event, which will include food, live music and a cash bar.
Northern Credit Union, for its part, has held three 'Small Business Rocks' events in Pembroke, Sudbury and Thunder Bay.
"We believe small business is the building block of any local economy in Northern Ontario," said Geoff Phillips, Northern Credit Union director of sales.
The local 'Small Business, Too Big to Ignore' campaign is part of a larger program which aims to encourage consumers to support small businesses in their respective communities across Ontario (and nationwide) and to bring small business concerns to the Ontario government.
Small businesses are facing big issues, said Rory Ring, Sault Chamber of Commerce executive director.
"We're talking about things like cap and trade, the cost of electricity…those things have a cumulative effect on small business, we're going down to Queen's Park at the end of November with the five chambers in the North, to say these things are impacting us and to demonstrate what we're doing in our small business community to generate prosperity for ourselves."
"Small business is the cornerstone of the community…80 percent of our members are small businesses, and they represent almost 15,000 employees, and that includes what we call micro enterprises, which involve one to four people taking risks as entrepreneurs," Ring said.
Credit union staff wore matching plaid shirts at Thursday's event.
Food was provided by recently-launched small business Burger Don, with live entertainment by local band Scoville Unit.