HomePassing on the entrepreneurial spirit

Passing on the entrepreneurial spirit

Oct 25 2003

By Lori A. Mayne - The Journal Pioneer

Tim Banks says he's worried about the future of business in this province. Not because of lack of local talent or potential - far from it. "Islanders generally have an entrepreneurial spirit by nature," the president and CEO of APM told a largely business audience in Summerside Thursday.

But Banks suggested he fears the Island businesses of today may not get passed on to the potential PEI entrepreneurs of tomorrow. Banks made his comments as guest speaker at the Greater Summerside Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence Awards dinner at the Loyalist Country Inn Thursday night.

On the road to starting his own business in 1980, the Summerside native worked at his father's gas station, had a paper route, completed a construction technology program at Holland College and worked with contractors Fitzgerald and Snow. APM started out as a land development and construction firm but has since branched out into everything from store fixtures to retailing hardware and sweaters.

Banks told the group he had always been intrigued by the businesses he passed on his paper route. He said he learned much about business on "the street" from mentors in this province. He pointed out there's been many changes in the business community, noting once prominent Island names like Holman's and Smallman's and others have disappeared.

"I'm concerned something has been lost," he said, referring to the Island not just Summerside. Banks said he has concerns that too often Island businesses get taken over by off-Island firms. The problem with too much off-Island ownership is that too much investment goes off Island and there's a loss of local control over economy and community.

Banks said there's a need to maintain local ownership, decision-making, capital and creativity. He encouraged business owners to think about succession plans for their businesses, look for opportunities to keep businesses in the community, encourage young people to get involved in business and the community and act as mentors to help them to do just that.

He also suggested there's a need for more technology and trades-savvy people in the system. Banks said APM plans to foster youth through a youth investment program to help mentor PEI's young people and provide business and financial advice.

He invited audience members to join in that program to take their own steps to help youth and help ensure the future of Island business. "I don't want PEI to be a franchise of another province."

Media Contact: MediaReleases@apm.ca