VICTORIA - The Province has announced the 13 finalists for the 2014 Open for Business Awards, which recognize communities that support small business through local-government measures aligned with the BC Small Business Accord.
The awards are issued by the BC Small Business Roundtable, established in 2005 to be the voice of small business to government. Through its diverse sector membership of small-business owners and association leaders, the roundtable helps government develop strategies to support the growth and success of small business throughout the province.
This year, the roundtable received submissions from all eight economic regions, with seven new community applicants. The applications are evaluated based on how the communities enhance small-business competitiveness, recognize the contributions of small businesses to the community, and promote the principles of the BC Small Business Accord. The roundtable noted the 2014 applications are the strongest to date with the majority of applications coming from smaller communities.
The roundtable has named the following communities as finalists: Delta, Grand Forks, Kelowna, City of Langley, Nelson, Parksville, Port Coquitlam, Revelstoke, Salmon Arm, Smithers, Surrey, Vernon and Whistler.
To promote an "open-for-business" culture, the Province is providing awards of $10,000 to each winning community to support the implementation of measures that benefit small business. Winners will be announced on Sept. 24 at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) annual conference in Whistler.
Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Small Business −
“Small businesses are the heart and soul of our communities. It's imperative that B.C. has a business-friendly climate that allows them to grow and succeed. The Open for Business Awards are a great opportunity for us to recognize communities that value the importance of small business.”
John Winter, president and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce -
“B.C.’s economy depends on local governments partnering with businesses to drive prosperity, community by community, right across the province. These awards both incentivize and recognize those efforts. We’re delighted that this year’s finalists are our strongest group yet - communities that are going all out to welcome and support local economic growth. We’d like to thank all finalists for their outstanding efforts, and particularly the smaller communities that have come forward this year and have worked so hard for this recognition.”
Ian Tostenson, president and CEO, BC Restaurant Association (2014-Open for Business Award Subcommittee chair, BC Small Business Roundtable) -
“The process to judge the submissions is thorough, lengthy and comprehensive. The submissions this year were well written and thoughtful. It is clear that municipalities are implementing programs that assist small business in reducing the time and cost of doing business with government allowing business owners to concentrate their efforts on building their business and contributing to the communities they serve. It is refreshing to see the determination and innovation of this year’s finalists.”
- Small business is a key economic driver in B.C., with 98% of all businesses being small businesses.
- The small-business sector provides nearly 55% of all private-sector jobs, employs over one million people and generates approximately 31% of the provincial GDP.
- B.C. is the first government in Canada to enshrine in law the requirement to publish annual reports about regulatory reform, and has reduced regulatory requirements by over 42% since 2001.
- B.C. was the only province to receive an “A” from the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in 2013 for cutting red tape.
To learn more about the BC Small Business Accord, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/smallbusinessaccord
To find out more about starting and growing a business in B.C., visit: www.gov.bc.ca/businessandinvesting
To find out more about the BC Small Business Roundtable, visit: www.smallbusinessroundtable.ca
To learn more about regulatory reform, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/regulatoryreform
Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour