The City of Penticton is looking to add yet another business award to sit alongside the Open for Business award and other commendations it has received in recent years.
Penticton has been short-listed for the Canadian Federation of Independent Business annual Golden Scissors Awards, which recognize initiatives that reduce red tape for businesses.
Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said it was a recognition of the work the city has been doing to streamline processes and make it easier to start or develop a business in the city.
“We have heard in the past that there has been bureaucratic hurdles to overcome — a little more in Penticton than in other regions,” said Jakubeit. “We took that to heart and really looked at what we could do to make it a little easier for businesses to operate.”
Colleen Pennington, the city’s economic development officer, along with Anthony Haddad, the former director of development services, were nominated for implementing a 30-day conditional business licence, allowing business owners to kick-start a new enterprise as soon as possible. As long as the business is within an appropriate zone, inspections and paperwork can be submitted within 30 days so entrepreneurs can launch on their timeline. Small business owners are reporting faster implementation of their business plans.
“Their creative ideas have propelled the organization forward,” said city manager Annette Antoniak. “Both have insisted this is a team effort.”
In addition, development services undertook a substantial revision of its sign bylaw, slashing the amount of red tape requirements for promotional signage. According to city staff, this has resulted in a 60 per cent reduction in sign permit applications, meaning businesses were able to quickly and effectively promote their enterprise.
It’s all about getting businesses open sooner, projects underway and generating revenue, said Jakubeit.
“This award signifies, yes, we are open for business and yes, we have been listening to concerns and suggestions to improve in how we deal with development and developers.”
The winner of the Golden Scissors Award will be announced on Jan. 23.
Each year, the CFIB dedicates one week in January to raise public awareness about the impact of excessive regulations and red tape on small business, as well as challenging governments across the country to take action.
The Golden Scissors Award recognizes politicians, public servants and other Canadians who have successfully motivated or demonstrated leadership and courage, as well as produced meaningful and positive results in cutting red tape for small business.
“B.C. sets the gold standard in Canada,” said Laura Jones, CFIB’s executive vice-president in a release. “They have reduced regulatory requirements by 42 per cent since they first started measuring. Not only did they get on the scale but they keep weighing in to keep regulatory excess in check.”