L-R: Minister Norm Letmick; Coun. Andre Blanleil; Coun. Max Dehart; Coun. Gail Given; Premier Christy Clark; Coun. Luke Stack; Coun. Mohini Singh; Mayor Walter Gray; Minister Steve Thomson and Coun. Gerry Zimmerman
For an unprecedented second year in a row, Kelowna has received the province’s Open For Business Award.
The B.C. Small Business Roundtable’s Open for Business Awards were presented Wednesday evening during the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) annual convention in Whistler.
“Open for Business is an attitude that permeates our entire organization,” said Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray. “Winning this Award for a second year in a row demonstrates the Kelowna Advantage and is a testament to the positive attitude and high standard of service by valued team players at the City of Kelowna. Management and staff truly deserve this recognition.” said Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray in accepting the Award.
As a community where 94 per cent of businesses have fewer than 20 employees, the City of Kelowna has adapted and streamlined services to ensure entrepreneurs receive prompt service and advice on technical and licensing matters.
For example, the City partnered with the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services earlier this year to make the process of setting up a new business easier than ever. Under the ministry’s OneStop Business Registry service for entrepreneurs registering a new business, they can now also complete a City of Kelowna Business Licence at the same time.
“The City of Kelowna is truly blessed with such great partners including the Economic Development Commission, Tourism Kelowna, the Kelowna Chamber, our Business Improvement Areas, Accelerate Okanagan, as well as our business service providers such as the Women’s Enterprise Centre and Community Futures,” said Jim Paterson, Kelowna’s Executive Director of Business Development. “It is the Team Kelowna partnership and our collective action that demonstrates the Kelowna Advantage.”
This year’s other recipients are Grand Forks, City of Langley, Parksville, Port Coquitlam, Salmon Arm, Smithers, Surrey and Vernon. The award also comes with $10,000 as an incentive to further promote an open-for-business culture.
“Communities across our province can look to the winners for best practices and help make B.C. the most small-business friendly jurisdiction in Canada,” Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business, Naomi Yamamoto said in a statement at the presentation ceremony.