The City of Penticton is one of the 15 finalists for the 2013 Open for Business Awards, a provincial program that recognizes communities that support small business through local government measures.
“To be among the finalists for the Open for Business Awards is very gratifying, as it highlights the efforts put in by the City of Penticton to remove barriers for business in the community,” said Wes Hopkin, deputy mayor. “Economic opportunity is a key focus for our City’s vision, and we are committed to fostering continued innovation and vibrancy in Penticton.”
The awards are issued by B.C.’s Small Business Roundtable, established in 2005 to be the voice for small business to government. The roundtable helps government develop strategies aligned with the BC Small Business Accord to support the growth and success of small business. This year, the roundtable received submissions from 39 communities, with award evaluations based on how they enhance small-business competitiveness, recognize the contributions of small businesses to the community and promote the principles of the B.C. Small Business Accord.
Key initiatives outlined in the City of Penticton’s submission included a property tax gap for small business among the best of the province, 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.
“Small businesses are the heart and soul of B.C. communities. It is satisfying to see these communities make small business a priority. I congratulate the finalists of the Open for Business Awards and commend them for their work to help make B.C. the most small-business friendly jurisdiction in Canada,” said Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business.
The roundtable named the following communities as finalists: Central Saanich, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Fort St James, Kelowna, Lake Country, Langley, Peachland, Pemberton, Penticton, Pitt Meadows, Rossland, Squamish, Valemount and Vernon. The Province will provide awards of $10,000 to each winning community to help implement measures that benefit small business.
Winners will be announced on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) annual conference in Vancouver.