Behind every business there is a story worth knowing, and nowhere is that truer than a small business.
Saskatchewan has many of them—in 2020, there were 146,016 small businesses in the province. That is 124 small businesses for every 1,000 people in Saskatchewan, the second highest per capita in Canada. Furthermore, these businesses are providing significant benefits to the province’s economy, employing 30 per cent of Saskatchewan’s workforce, and generating 29 per cent of Saskatchewan’s gross domestic product.1
Credit unions also play a significant role in fueling the local economy. At Conexus Credit Union (Conexus), it’s about putting its members’ and communities’ needs first by building the credit union of the future through innovation and thinking differently. In its doing so, Conexus is able to improve the financial well-being of our members and communities, and in turn, have a positive economic impact across the province.
There are many things to consider when choosing a financial institution and business owners typically go to the same financial institution that they do their personal banking with. However, not all financial institutions serve businesses like they do general consumers. Choosing the right financial institution for your business could impact your borrowing ability, the future of your business growth, and more. Here are a few reasons and advantages of why you should choose a credit union as your business’ financial institution, and why it should be Conexus if you’re located in Saskatchewan.
Credit unions are local and community-based, meaning they’re focused on the communities that they serve. This gives them the advantage of understanding the current market from a local perspective and the opportunities and challenges our members may be facing, allowing them to provide unique, local advice. Another advantage is that many credit decisions are made close to home. At Conexus, credit decisions are made right here for Saskatchewan businesses by a Saskatchewan business.
By being local, Conexus also has a strong presence within Saskatchewan’s communities. When you bank with Conexus, you’re supporting local and investing back into your community.
At Conexus, their members’ financial well-being drives everything it does. It’s not about selling you a product you don’t need or getting you the largest loan you can’t afford. At Conexus, all its business advisors are required to be accredited with the Certificate in Commercial Credit, a thorough credit program focused on financial statement/credit analysis and the associated advice. It’s about taking the time to listen, understand your unique wants and needs, and provide you with advice, products and services that help you improve your business’ financial well-being. Conexus knows it’s the advice it provides, not the transactions it processes, that makes the difference for its members.
Conexus also believes in continuous learning, and for small and medium-sized businesses (Ag and commercial), it has partnered with MNP LLP to offer free virtual business courses through the Conexus Business Accelerator. This training is tailored for you and your team, with topics ranging from accounting to risk management to succession planning to social media, and more.
Credit unions have a history of innovation and have introduced many new services to their members before they were offered by traditional banks. This includes being the first to:
- Offer payroll deduction services (1933)
- Lend money to women in their name (1959)
- Develop a point-of-sale debit service (1983) (Conexus-led)
- Offer chip-card technology (2009)
- Launch mobile cheque deposit app (2013)
- Jointly fund a Social Impact Bond in Canada (2014) (Conexus-led)
- Offer mobile pay (2016)
- Launch a tech incubator, Cultivator powered by Conexus (2019) (Conexus-led)
Credit unions are progressive and are continually looking at innovative ways to make navigating and planning finances easier for its business members.
Women entrepreneurs are important contributors to Saskatchewan’s communities and economy. Of all Saskatchewan businesses, one-fifth of them are owned by women.2 Credit unions have a long history of empowering women through mentorship, development opportunities, business financing, program resourcing, and community investment initiatives.
Conexus has taken an innovative approach to advancing and empowering female-owned businesses, including:
- Signed the Saskatchewan Women Entrepreneurship Charter, an initiative launched by Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WESK) to address the entrepreneurship gap in Saskatchewan.
- Supported over 35 female founders through Cultivator powered by Conexus programming.
- Invested in six female-founded tech companies through Conexus Venture Capital.
- Contributed funding to women-focused community organizations and not-for-profits such as Amakon Women Empowerment, Dress for Success Regina & Saskatoon, SOFIA House, YWCA Regina’s Walk a Mile in Her Shoes Initiative, and more.
Support for prairie startups
The prairies are home to some of the world’s most resilient founders, yet, just a few years ago many founders left Saskatchewan due to the lack of resources, space, and funding. Founded on the idea of pooling capital and support to build the local economy, Conexus applied this principle to find solutions to this issue and launched two initiatives in 2019 to help local startups launch and grow—Cultivator powered by Conexus and Conexus Venture Capital.
Since launching both, Conexus has been dedicated to empowering local founders to stay at home to launch their companies, create more jobs and stimulate more public and private funding. While many financial institutions have a lot in common, the difference is in the details. Through honest advice and authentic relationships, Conexus can help you discover new ways to engage with your money, grow your business, and help you live the life you want to live.
To learn more about Conexus or get in touch, visit Conexus.ca/business.