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For Immediate Release

Sept. 19, 2013

Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training



Seven communities receive Open for Business Awards


VANCOUVER – When local governments team up with small businesses in their communities, innovation and creative solutions abound.


That is certainly the case in the seven B.C. communities being honoured with the B.C. Small Business Roundtable’s Open for Business Awards today as part of the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Annual Convention in Vancouver.


The Open for Business Awards recognize local policies, projects and programs that support small business. This year’s recipients are Central Saanich, Chilliwack, Coquitlam, Fort St. James, Kelowna, City of Langley and Penticton. As an incentive to promote an open-for-business culture, government is providing $10,000 to each winning community to fund a local, small-business friendly program that aligns with the principles of the B.C. Small Business Accord. 


This year, the B.C. Small Business Roundtable received submissions from a record 39 communities, and short-listed 15 finalists. Award evaluations were based on local measures that make it easier to do business in that community, including enhancing small-business competitiveness, recognizing the contributions of small businesses to the community, and promoting the principles of the B.C. Small Business Accord. The evaluation criteria reflected the Accord by recognizing that when small businesses are celebrated and supported by their communities, they are more likely to be competitive and innovative.


The B.C. Small Business Roundtable was established in 2005 to be the voice for small business to government. Through its diverse sector membership of small-business owners and association leaders, the roundtable helps government develop strategies to support the growth and success of small business throughout the province.




Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business –


“Small businesses are the heart and soul of the community, and the Open for Business Award winners are helping it beat a little stronger in their municipalities. 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. Congratulations to the winners. Every day, you help support small business and live the spirit of the B.C. Small Business Accord.”





Coralee Oakes, Minister of Community, Sport and Cultural Development –


“Local government plays a key role in helping to build liveable communities for British Columbians, as does small business, which accounts for 98 per cent of all businesses in B.C. The Open for Business Awards are an opportunity to recognize the tremendous contribution that local governments and small businesses make through their innovative partnerships, which help support community prosperity.”


Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the British Columbia Restaurant & Food Services Association and member of the Small Business Roundtable Secretariat –


“Congratulations to this year’s Open for Business Awards recipients. The Small Business Roundtable had more submissions than ever before, and it was tough choosing between all the great entries. The Roundtable got to see first-hand how municipalities are working with small businesses to ensure both the businesses and the communities continue to thrive and contribute to strong local economies.”



Quick Facts:


·         The B.C. government is committed to building a strong economy that creates jobs for B.C. families, and small business is an important part of that effort.

·         In April, the Small Business Roundtable’s Most Small-Business Friendly Community Awards were re-launched as the Open for Business Awards.

·         The Open for Business Awards foster collaboration with local government and encourage communities to adopt the B.C. Small Business Accord. 

·          “Small business” is defined as a business with fewer than 50 employees, or self-employed without paid help.

·         98 per cent of B.C. businesses are classified as small businesses.

·         Small business provides nearly 56 per cent of private-sector jobs in B.C., and employs more than one million people.

·         B.C.’s small-business community contributes 26 per cent of the province’s gross domestic product.

·         One of the key barriers small businesses face is unnecessary red tape, and B.C. is No. 1 in the country for regulatory reform.

·         In fact, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business recently gave B.C. an “A” for regulatory reform – the only province in Canada to receive an “A.”



Learn More:


B.C. Open for Business Awards:


B.C. Small Business Roundtable:


B.C. Small Business Accord:


Business products and services:


Regulatory reform:


Information on starting and growing a business in B.C:







Media Relations

Ministry of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training and Responsible for Labour

250 387-2799


Ian Tostenson

Small Business Roundtable Secretariat

604 986-1429



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