City of Penticton earns business-friendly accolades

Penticton is now ranked among the 20 most entrepreneurial cities in Canada.

Lately, Penticton has been getting its share of accolades as a business-friendly city.

According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Penticton is now ranked among the 20 most entrepreneurial cities in Canada, and with a score that also puts it in the top three municipalities in B.C.

Penticton just made it into the top 20, however, with a rank of 20th out of 121 Canadian cities, up from 25th in 2013. That’s well ahead of the 2012, when the city was ranked 42nd.

The annual Canada’s Entrepreneurial Communities ranks  communities in three main categories, presence, perspective and policy. Penticton recorded good scores in all three for an overall score of 60.3, out of a possible 100 points. The top entrepreneurial city, Lloydminster, Sask., earned just 72.4 points. Kelowna is ranked 15th, with a score of 61.2.

Penticton was ahead of larger centres like Calgary (29), Winnipeg (61), Abbotsford-Mission (54) and Nanaimo (77), in addition to out-performing other cities from the B.C. Interior, including Vernon (32), Kamloops (48) and Cranbrook (112).

This accolade comes after Penticton being recognized provincially in 2013 during the Union of B.C. Municipalities convention, when the city was given the Open for Business award, a provincial program that recognizes communities that support small business through local government measures.

“We are open for business, and this ranking reinforces the City of Penticton’s commitment to create economic opportunity within the community,” said Penticton Mayor Garry Litke in a release. “Small business is the engine of our economy, and initiating Penticton economic investment zones and keeping tax ratios competitive help entrepreneurs on the path to prosperity. The City of Penticton is pleased that the Canadian Federation of Independent Business has recognized our efforts.”

But while the CFIB is recognizing Penticton on one hand, the city doesn’t score so well in one of their other research reports, the annual B.C. Municipal Spending Watch, which analyzes the sustainability of municipal finances by ranking municipalities based on their operating costs and their rate of operating spending growth.

In that report, Penticton is ranked worst amongst B.C.’s largest municipalities with a rank of 119, down from 118 in the 2013 report.

However, the report recognizes the ongoing work to improve finances, singling the city out as a case study.

“In 2009, Penticton conducted a core service review in an effort to examine its spending habits and improve its use of taxpayer dollars. From this review significant changes were implemented which resulted in the elimination of union positions, reduction of salaries, and wage freezes for managerial positions,” reads the report.