VICTORIA - Small businesses in B.C. that are stars in their local communities now have the opportunity to be rewarded for the work they do every day.
"Small business makes up 98 per cent of all businesses in the province and employs more than one million British Columbians," said Premier Christy Clark. "The new Premier's People's Choice Award will acknowledge a community-minded B.C. small business, because small businesses do more than create jobs - they build and strengthen communities."
The first-ever Premier's People's Choice Award - part of a series of nine Small Business BC Awards - will go to a B.C. small business that demonstrates that their community thinks they go above and beyond. After being nominated, small businesses must use imaginative, creative or traditional approaches to engage customers, clients and neighbours to vote online between Oct. 1 and Nov. 30, 2013. The B.C. business with the most votes from their community will not only win the award but will also receive formal recognition from the Premier at an award ceremony in February 2014.
"Sponsored by the B.C. government, the Premier's People's Choice Award celebrates the best in B.C. small business by recognizing that small businesses are the heart and soul of their communities," said Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business Naomi Yamamoto. "I encourage small businesses to toot their own horns and celebrate their connection to their communities."
Nominees must employ fewer than 50 people and currently own a business in British Columbia. As Small Business BC Award nominees, businesses will have access to exclusive business tools, education, support, and exposure to valuable new marketing opportunities. Small Business BC Award winners, including the first winner of the Premier's People's Choice Award, will each receive the Premier's Prize of $1,500 cash, a one-year all-access pass to Small Business BC education and experts, as well as business mentorship opportunities. The Province is contributing a total of $13,500 to provide a Premier's Prize to each of the nine winning businesses this year.
"Small Business BC is delighted to have the support of Premier Clark and her government as we celebrate the many and varied accomplishments of our Small Business BC Award participants," said George Hunter, Small Business BC's CEO. "The provincial government's involvement recognizes both the excellence of participating companies and the importance of the small business community to the provincial economy. We're extremely excited about the growth of our annual awards contest and look forward to seeing the amazing and inspirational entrepreneurs who participate this year. The Small Business BC Awards is a truly fantastic way to showcase the talent in our province."
This year marks the 11th annual Small Business BC Awards, previously known as the Successful You Awards. This annual awards contest and ceremony, sponsored by Insurance Bureau of Canada (IBC) and Small Business BC, recognize and celebrate the important contributions B.C.'s entrepreneurs make to their local communities and to the global economy. Since its inception in 2003, Small Business BC has encouraged more than 2,200 entrepreneurs to participate in this provincewide awards competition from areas as diverse as retail, trade, manufacturing, technology services, arts, entertainment and recreation.
"IBC is thrilled to see the Small Business BC Awards grow this year with the support of Premier Clark and her government. In addition to bringing vibrancy to their local neighbourhoods, small businesses form the economic backbone of this great province," said Bill Adams, IBC Vice-President, Western and Pacific. "We are proud to offer our continued support for Small Business BC as one of the many ways we recognize and celebrate our small business sector. We look forward to seeing all of the talented entrepreneurs who shine this year."
In B.C., small business is defined as a business with fewer than 50 employees, or self-employed without paid help. Small business provides nearly 55 per cent of private-sector jobs, employing over one million people in B.C. In addition, the province's small business community contributes 26 per cent of the province's Gross Domestic Product.
Link to the Premier's People's Choice Award application: www.sbbcawards.ca
Business products and services: www.smallbusinessbc.ca
B.C. Small Business Accord: www.jtst.gov.bc.ca/sbaccord/
B.C. Small Business Roundtable: www.smallbusinessroundtable.ca
Regulatory reform: www.gov.bc.ca/regulatoryreform
Information on starting and growing a business in B.C: www.gov.bc.ca/businessandinvesting
Small Business Doing Business with Government Project: www.jtst.gov.bc.ca/selltobcgov/index.htm
A backgrounder follows.
Small Business BC Award categories
In addition to the new Premier's People's Choice Award, government is sponsoring a cash prize for the eight other Small Business BC Awards. Each winner will receive $1,500 from the Province and will work directly with their sponsor organization to further their business opportunities for one year.
Sponsored by TELUS, this award recognizes the small business that demonstrates exceptional leadership and a proven track record of growth and profitability. To be eligible for this award, nominees must be operating a business in B.C. for a minimum of 25 months or have completed two fiscal years as of Dec. 31, 2013. sbbcawards.ca/award-categories/best-company-award/
Best Community Impact
Sponsored by Vancity, this award recognizes the business that truly makes a difference in their community, one that sees social responsibility as an integral part of their success and takes positive action to invest in the local economy. Nominees must have been in business in B.C. for a minimum of 12 months. sbbcawards.ca/award-categories/best-community-impact-award/
Sponsored by MNP, this award is open to all new, exciting, creative and innovative businesses - and business ideas - in B.C. Entrepreneurs do not need to be in business yet in order to qualify for this award; they just need to prove they have a viable idea that will make an impact. sbbcawards.ca/award-categories/best-concept-award/
Sponsored by WorkSafeBC, this award recognizes the business that goes above and beyond for their employees - the one that stands out from its competition by demonstrating outstanding leadership and making employee health and safety as much a priority as productivity and customer service. sbbcawards.ca/award-categories/best-employer-award/
Best Green Business
Sponsored by Small Business BC, this award recognizes the business with an outstanding commitment to environmental sustainability through leadership and actions that influence green practices. sbbcawards.ca/award-categories/best-green-business-award/
Best Online Marketer
Sponsored by Sage One, this award recognizes the most innovative and effective online marketing campaign. The winning business will demonstrate their creativity and increase customer engagement through a digital campaign, which will also have proven results against measurable goals. To be eligible for the award, nominees must have executed a digital campaign within the calendar year. sbbcawards.ca/award-categories/best-online-marketer-award/
NEW - Best Workplace
Sponsored by WellnessFits, this award recognizes the business that provides the best overall place to work by providing a supportive, happy and healthy work environment for their staff. This business will demonstrate its leadership in encouraging both mental and physical health in the workplace. sbbcawards.ca/award-categories/best-workplace-award/
NEW - Best International Trade
Sponsored by Livingston International, this award recognizes the top company with an exciting and viable trade business that is contributing to the B.C. economy. To be eligible for this award, nominees must currently be operating a business in B.C. that actively imports and/or exports from international markets. sbbcawards.ca/award-categories/best-international-trade-award/
Office of the Premier
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour
Small Business B.C.
Toll-free: 1 800 667-2272