The results are in, and five communities across British Columbia have won the Small Business Roundtable’s Open for Business Award in recognition of their efforts to support the growth of small businesses, create jobs and drive local economic growth.
The fourth-annual awards ceremony, held during the Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual convention at the Parliament Buildings, saw the Village of Telkwa, City of Victoria, District of Lake Country, the Corporation of Delta and the Nisga’a Lisims Government take home top honours. Each of these communities are first-time Open for Business Award winners, a clear indication that more municipalities, regional districts, and First Nations are adopting small business-friendly policies and finding innovative ways to foster entrepreneurship each year.
Twenty-one communities from around the province applied for the awards this year. Each submission was adjudicated according to the small-business-friendly themes identified in Open for Business Awards: Best Practices Guide, but the Small Business Roundtable found the following initiatives particularly innovative in their approach to supporting the success of small businesses:
- Telkwa made major investments to revitalize Hankin Corner as a commercial focal point through restoration and development;
- Victoria created a ‘Business Hub’ at city hall that streamlines business development, connects entrepreneurs and provides advice for businesses;
- Lake Country has dedicated resources to take the pulse of their city’s business community through innovative analytics gathered from business walks and site visits;
- Delta’s inter-municipal work was recognized as being incredibly well thought-out, having 16 distinct communities within its borders; and
- Nisga'a Lisims Government implemented a rigorous planning cycle that includes a yearly community marketing plan and a bi-annual assembly for small businesses to give direct feedback to the Nisga’a Lisims Government.
Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and chair of the B.C. Small Business Roundtable –
“The Open for Business Awards are an important way to honour communities across our province that are invested in helping local small businesses grow. Congratulations to Telkwa, Victoria, Lake Country, Delta, Nisga'a Lisims and all of the communities who submitted applications this year for all their hard work and collaboration as we continue working towards our goal of making British Columbia the most small business-friendly jurisdiction in North America.”
Peter Fassbender, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development and Minister Responsible for TransLink –
“Small businesses are integral to British Columbia and they are the economic lifeblood of communities across the province. When local governments make it easier for small businesses to succeed, they’re helping to spur local economic growth, drive social innovation and contribute to the strength of their communities. Congratulations to all of the finalists and thank you to all applicants in this year’s competition!”
Al Richmond, president of Union of British Columbia Municipalities and Open for Business Awards adjudicator –
“Congratulations to the 2016 Open for Business Awards winners and all the submitters from this year. The Open for Business Awards highlight local governments that are leaders in supporting entrepreneurs and encouraging investment and economic growth. We recognize the importance of small businesses and encourage B.C.’s local governments to create policies and partnerships that encourage investment so all our communities can thrive.”
Sue Adams, managing partner of Pemberton Valley Supermarket Ltd. and member of the B.C. Small Business Roundtable –
“Congratulations to the 2016 Open for Business Awards winners and to all the communities that submitted entries this year. The Open for Business Awards highlight local governments that are leaders in supporting entrepreneurs and encouraging investment and economic growth. The awards recognize the importance of small businesses and encourage B.C.’s local governments to create policies and partnerships that remove barriers and red tape and promote investment so all our communities can thrive.”
- Small businesses make up 98% of all business in B.C. and employ over one million people.
- Small businesses provide 55% of all private-sector jobs in British Columbia, the second highest rate in the country.
- There were approximately 388,500 small businesses operating in B.C. in 2015 – 313,500 have fewer than five employees.
- British Columbia ranks first in Canada for the number of small businesses per capita, with 83 businesses per 1,000 people (avG is 70.3).
- The Open for Business Awards Started in 2013 as a way of recognizing local policies, projects and programs that support small business.
- The Open for Business Awards: Best Practices Guide was released in 2015 and highlights small business friendly initiatives implemented by communities that are in the spirit of the BC Small Business Accord.
- Open for Business Awards Winners are chosen by an adjudication committee made up of members of the roundtable, along with other important small business stakeholders and selected according to the following criteria:
- Business-friendly initiatives in the community;
- Activities to reduce red tape;
- Understanding the needs of the small business sector;
- Reducing costs for small business;
- Tracking and measurement activities for small business; and
- Efforts to attract, develop and retain entrepreneurial talent within communities.
- Open for Business Awards Best Practices Guide: https://www.smallbusinessroundtable.ca/sm_busi_roundtable/media/images/Open_for_Business_Best_Practices_Guide_2015.pdf
- B.C.’s Small Business Roundtable: https://www.smallbusinessroundtable.ca
- Small business accord: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/business/small-business/bc-small-business-accord
- Regulatory reform page: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/governments/about-the-bc-government/regulatory-reform
- Have an idea to cut red tape? submit it here: https://forms.gov.bc.ca/help-reduce-red-tape/
A backgrounder follows.