Three new agreements involving eight local governments have been reached in the Kootenays, allowing small businesses to operate in multiple jurisdictions with a single business licence – cutting red tape while freeing up time and money.
The Mobile Business Licence program is a partnership between participating municipalities, facilitated by the Province, which allows small companies to register for a single business licence that can be used in multiple communities. This program saves business owners from having to apply and purchase separate licences for each community, making it simpler and cheaper to do business in British Columbia. Plumbing services, construction-related businesses and catering companies are among the many types of businesses taking advantage of the program throughout British Columbia.
“These new Mobile Business Licence agreements will save Kootenay small business owners time and money and allow entrepreneurs to focus on growing their businesses –creating more jobs and boosting the economy. ” stated Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.
Previously, a small business wanting to operate in three different municipalities would need to purchase three separate licences — possibly with different costs and renewal times. With a Mobile Business Licence agreement in place, the business only needs to visit its closest local government to register for a single inter-municipal licence.
Says Bill Bennett, MLA for Kootenay East, “Mobile Business Licences make it easier for small businesses to provide services in several neighbouring communities, helping grow the economy throughout the region. The fact these three agreements have been so well received shows the Kootenay region is open to new ways to further support their strong and thriving small business sector.”
The West Kootenay agreement enables small businesses to apply for one licence that can be used in Rossland, Creston, Nelson, Kaslo and Castlegar; the Elk Valley agreement includes the communities of Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford; and the Kimberley-Cranbrook agreement includes Kimberley and Cranbrook. These agreements will continue to spur the economy in the Kootenay region which experienced a 10.2% growth in its small business sector in 2015 when compared to the previous year, the highest in the province according to BC Stats.
In 2016, the Mobile Business Licence program expanded to include the first Aboriginal community, shíshálh Nation on the Sunshine Coast, and agreements were also made permanent for Metro West (Burnaby, Delta, New Westminster, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver) and Fraser Valley (Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Delta, Hope, Kent, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, Pitt Meadows and Surrey). Kent and Delta were new additions to the Fraser Valley agreement last year. There are now 82 communities in B.C. participating in the Mobile Business Licence program and the Province is working to expand the program further.
“The Mobile Business Licence option is a terrific initiative for municipalities to be more ‘business friendly’. In rural B.C., businesses often need to look for customers beyond just one municipal border. This mobile licence just makes sense. In Rossland, we are always looking for ways to make doing business easier. We hope more local municipalities in our area will join the program.” confirms Mayor of Rossland, Kathy Moore.
The Mobile Business Licence program is one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen and grow rural communities. To further support the needs of rural communities and grow local economies, the Province will be releasing a Rural Economic Development Strategy in the near future.
- Small businesses make up 98% of all business in B.C. and employ over one million people.
- Small businesses provide 55% of all private-sector jobs in British Columbia, the second highest rate in the country.
- According to BC Stats, B.C.’s small-business sector grew 1,400% above the national average last year.
- There are over 1,200 Aboriginal-owned companies in British Columbia, many of which are small businesses.