Mobile business licence agreements reached
A movement already well underway in the Elk Valley and Cranbrook – Kimberley areas is expanding, the provincial government announced this morning.
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, a Ministry of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction and Responsible for the Liquor Distribution Branch press release explained.
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.
Locally, a Mobile Business Licence agreement for the Elk Valley includes the communities of Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford; and the Kimberley-Cranbrook agreement includes Kimberley and Cranbrook. The West Kootenay agreement enables small businesses to apply for one licence that can be used in Rossland, Creston, Nelson, Kaslo and Castlegar.
These agreements will continue to spur the economy in the Kootenays, 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, the ministry said.
“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,” said Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett.
“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,” added Coralee Oakes, Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction.
Cranbrook and Kimberley and Elk Valley municipalities have been busy creating local business licence agreements.
“At the City of Fernie, we have always been a strong supporter of our local businesses, and the introduction of the Mobile Business Licence program streamlines the process, makes it less time-consuming and more affordable. This is a great partnership between the participating communities of Fernie, Elkford and Sparwood,” said City of Fernie Mayor Mary Giuliano.
District of Sparwood Mayor Cal McDougall agrees.
“We are pleased to be partnering with Fernie and Elkford on this new inter-community business licence program. Spending less time and money on paperwork will give small-business owners more time to work and grow their businesses, which is good for Sparwood’s economy and the communities within the Elk Valley. Council continues to be committed to creating a supportive climate for businesses,” he said.
“Elkford council and I are pleased that the Mobile Business Licence program is coming to fruition. It has been an important strategic priority for Elkford since 2012, and in collaboration with Fernie, Sparwood and the Province, our staff worked hard to see it through. It is our hope that thanks to this initiative, we will streamline our processes to save businesses operating in Elkford and the Elk Valley valuable time and money,” said Dean McKerracher, District of Elkford Mayor.
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 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.
“For the Kootenay region, a mobile business licence makes perfect sense. I am encouraged that the community leaders from across the region were able to collaborate and establish these three agreements so that businesses can operate within the region with greater ease, erasing the burden of applying for a business licence in each jurisdiction,” said Randy Richmond, partner of Spearhead.ca and B.C. Small Business Roundtable board member.
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 also over 1,200 Aboriginal-owned companies in British Columbia, many of which are small businesses.