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Business & Economics Small Business

Small Business and the City

The Transformative Potential of Small Scale Entrepreneurship

by (author) Rafael Gomez, Andre Isakov & Matthew Semansky

University of Toronto Press
Initial publish date
Feb 2015
Small Business, General, Urban & Regional, Urban, City Planning & Urban Development, Theory
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    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
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    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
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    Publish Date
    Feb 2015
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In Small Business and the City, Rafael Gomez, Andre Isakov, and Matt Semansky highlight the power of small-scale entrepreneurship to transform local neighbourhoods and the cities they inhabit. Studying the factors which enable small businesses to survive and thrive, they highlight the success of a Canadian concept which has spread worldwide: the Business Improvement Area (BIA). BIAs allow small-scale entrepreneurs to pool their resources with like-minded businesses, becoming sources of urban rejuvenation, magnets for human talent, and incubators for local innovation in cities around the globe.

Small Business and the City also analyses the policies necessary to support this urban vitality, describing how cities can encourage and support locally owned independent businesses. An inspiring account of the dynamism of urban life, Small Business and the City introduces a new “main street agenda” for the twenty-first century city.

About the authors

Rafael Gomez is an associate professor of Employment Relations at Woodsworth College and the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources at the University of Toronto.

Rafael Gomez's profile page

Andre Isakov is currently the Manager of Park Planning and Design with the City of Coquitlam, British Columbia. Previously, he was the Community and Economic Development Officer for the Village of Harrison Hot Springs and the Executive Director of Business Improvement Areas of British Columbia (BIABC).

Andre Isakov's profile page

Matt Semansky is an award-winning journalist based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. His work has appeared in publications such as This Magazine, the National Post, The Halifax Chronicle Herald, The Coast, and Marketing.

Matthew Semansky's profile page

Editorial Reviews

“A most useful book, especially for the city planner, urban geographer, and anyone who cares about the future of cities.  Relevant case analyses are embedded in a coherent structure that provides practical examples of past successes and failures as well as sensible policy recommendations for the future.  Highly recommended.”

David K. Foot, Professor Emeritus, Department of Economics, University of Toronto, and author of 'Boom, Bust & Echo: How to Profit from the Coming Demographic Shift'

“Each atomistic transaction between a small business and a customer provides the flare for a rich economic eruption, encompassing spillovers and interactions with other firms, citizens, and the built environment. This book offers a bold explanation of how cities can succeed by nurturing and harnessing these powerful interactions to create dynamic communities and growing economies.”

Kevin Milligan, Associate Professor, Vancouver School of Economics, University of British Columbia

‘This book provides a rich analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of small firms in a dynamic context like Canada.’

Scienze Regionali vol 16:01:2017

Small Business and the City is a plea for a ‘small is beautiful’ approach to business, urban scale, and public sector decision-making. Gomez, Isakov, and Semansky’s evocative descriptions of Business Improvement Areas teach far more about BIAs, their operations, and the thinking of their members than do tables of statistics on these organizations.”

Scienze Regionali vol 16:01:2017