Nelson awarded BC's Most Small Business Friendly Community
Nelson was one of six BC communities to be recognized by the provincial government as BC’s Most Small Business Friendly Community for supporting small business through local policies, projects and programs.
Nelson mayor John Dooley received the award in person at the BC Legislature Thursday (September 27) during the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) convention in Victoria.
“It felt really good to get recognized for what we do,” Dooley told The Nelson Daily from Victoria.
“It is important for Nelson to get exposure from the ministry. It demonstrates how all the hardwork we do in cooperation with all the community groups like the credit union and the RDCK (Regional District Central Kootenay) is working.”
Noreen Lynas, owner of Cottons Clothing Company on Baker Street in Nelson and co-chair of the Nelson Business Association, said it is Nelson’s uniqueness that sets us apart as an outstanding small business community.
“We have a diverse business district for shopping and we offer different kinds of shopping with the same diversity as you would find in a (larger) city,” said Lynas, who has owned her 25 year-old clothing store for eight years.
“We have a lot of entrepreneurial spirits in Nelson, which makes for a unique economy. I think Baker Street is a unique shopping district and is very concentrated. We’re not a strip mall town but somewhere people are able to walk around the whole time they’re shopping . . . Nelson is the shopping center for the Kootenays.”
The Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce is pleased that Nelson has been acknowledged for being business friendly, but executive director Tom Thomson says there is more work to be done.
“Through our collaborative approach to economic development as well as initiatives such as Invest Kootenay, it lets people know that the City of Nelson is open for business and the city is working to make the process of starting up a business as easy as possible,” said Thomson, in an email interview with The Nelson Daily.
He went on to say that the city has made a lot of progress in implementing programs like the online BizPal tool that helps streamline the licensing and permitting applications for small businesses.
The chamber looks forward to further progress with the city in making Nelson even more small business friendly with a reduction in business taxation and the implementation of a mobile license, said Thomson.
Nelson was joined by Kamloops, Nanaimo, North Vancouver District, Prince George and Smithers in receiving the award, which is issued by BC’s Small Business Round Table.
The round table was formed in 1995 and includes small business leaders from the eight economic regions in the province. The group evaluates each community on what they do to enhance small business competitiveness, how small businesses contributes to the community and how they promote climate action plans that support small business.
“Small business employs over one million people in BC, so it’s important to recognize when municipalities make it easier for small businesses to thrive in their communities,” said Pat Bell, Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Minister Responsible for Labour in a press release.
According to the provincial government, 98 per cent of BC businesses are classified as small with fewer than 50 employees or self-employeed without paid help.
Those businesses contribute 29 per cent of the province’s gross domestic product and provide 56 per cent of the private sector jobs, which employees more than one million people.
Nelson was also recognized with an award the same day for the realignment of the local transit system with the surrounding regional district, said Dooley.