Penticton is now ranked as the best place in B.C. to start and grow a business, and is ranked second in Canada, one step ahead of arch-rival Kelowna, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.
The only area to rank higher than Penticton is the Calgary periphery, which scored just 0.3 points higher, making Penticton the best small city in Canada to do business.
“Our future isn’t a new saw mill or fruit packaging plant, it is the entrepreneur that can compete and trade in the world market and still chooses to operate from Penticton because of our lifestyle, progressive policies and our competitive advantages,” said Mayor Andrew Jakubeit. “Our city understands that small business is the engine of our economy, which is why we established economic investment zones and kept tax ratios competitive to help entrepreneurs.”
According to report B.C. is now home to eight of the top 30 business-oriented communities.
“Its great to see so many of the province’s cities be recognized as relatively good places to own and operate a business. On the policy side, however, there’s still work to do to make more BC communities small business friendly,” said Richard Truscott, CFIB vice president for B.C. and Alberta.
This is the eighth annual version of the report, which looks at the entrepreneurial environment in 121 of the most populous municipalities—roughly 20,000 people or more—across Canada, according to information drawn from published and custom tabulated Statistics Canada sources, as well as survey research conducted with CFIB members.
For 2015, the study looked at 14 factors in three groups: presence, perspective and policy. It was in policy that Penticton made the largest gain.
Policy looks at how local governments balance tax rates, control costs, remove regulations and understand the small business experience. Penticton scored 32.3 out of a possible 40 points in this category. All told, Penticton scored 72.7, just shy of Calgary periphery’s total of 73.
The City of Vancouver ranked low in the report, coming in at 94. Truscott said that indicates the province’s largest city needs to do some work to improve both their policy score and their overall ranking. That’s advice he extends to all communities.
“Although many BC cities perform relatively well in this report, mayors and councils across the province still have work to do to cut red tape and make property taxes fairer for small business. They must not become complacent,” said Truscott.