Penticton scores major business award

Penticton’s goal to be a great place to do business has won the city the 2013 Open for Business Award.

Penticton’s goal to be a great place to do business has won the city the 2013 Open for Business Award, a provincial program that recognizes communities that support small business through local government measures.

“Penticton is the perfect place for entrepreneurs, so we are thrilled to be recognized with an Open for Business Award,” said Mayor Garry Litke. “Our vision for the community fosters innovation and economic opportunity, and it is very rewarding to be recognized as a provincial leader in small business development.”

The awards are issued by B.C.’s Small Business Roundtable, established in 2005 to be the voice for small business to government.

“This is fantastic news for Penticton and a tribute to our city’s excellent leadership in creating a business-friendly community,” said Andre Martin, president of the Penticton & Wine Country Chamber of Commerce. “It’s great to see Penticton recognized as a standout performer in all of B.C.”

Key initiatives outlined in the City of Penticton’s submission included a property tax gap for small business among the best of the province, economic incentive zone program, reduction in building permit fees between 25 and 30 per cent to be the most competitive in the South Okanagan, improved business licence application processes, research data provision for small business and an ongoing commitment to entrepreneurs led by the economic development office and development services division.

“We’re doing everything we can to welcome people and businesses into the community. We are that much more friendly now than we have ever been,” said Coun. John Vassilaki.

“We continue to try to increase those incentives.”

Martin added that the award, which carries a $10,000 grant to fund more business-friendly developments in town, will boost Penticton’s reputation province-wide as a great place to do business.

“We hope this award will telegraph to businesses throughout B.C.: ‘Come to Penticton your business can thrive there,’” he said.

“We are doing even more to develop the downtown and increase residential so business can prosper with the increase in population,” said Vassilaki. “It’s a huge plus for Penticton, when we are being recognized by other municipalities at the UBCM.”