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Kelowna, Vernon and Salmon Arm among 9 communities honoured at UBCM

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September 25, 2014 - 7:28 PM

WHISTLER - This is the second year in a row Kelowna has been honoured with the B.C. Small Business Roundtable's Open for Business Award at the annual Union of British Columbia Municipalities convention in Whistler. The city is among nine communities receiving the award, including Salmon Arm and Vernon.

The Open for Business Awards recognize local policies, projects and programs that support small business. This year's nine recipients are Grand Forks, Kelowna, City of Langley, Parksville, Port Coquitlam, Salmon Arm, Smithers, Surrey and Vernon. As an incentive to promote an open-for-business culture, the B.C. Small Business Roundtable 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.

“Open for Business is an attitude that permeates our entire organization,” Kelowna Mayor Walter Gray said. “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.

In Kelowna, 94 per cent of businesses have fewer than 20 employees according to a press release from the city of Kelowna. Because of this, the city has adapted and streamlined services to entrepreneurs. 

The City of Vernon also received the award at the annual conference.

“I think that the fact that we have been named as a finalist in consecutive years for the Open for Business Awards demonstrates the efforts that our administration has put toward initiatives that assist and support business,” Mayor Rob Sawatzky said while receiving the award on behalf of the City. “I congratulate Council for providing that direction for our administration and am pleased that we have been named as one of this year’s winning communities.”

The City’s Manager of Economic Development and Tourism, Kevin Poole, was pleased with the recognition by the Province of British Columbia and the BC Small Business Roundtable.

“We’ve made a lot of progress over the past few years and plan on continuing to explore how we can better meet the needs of businesses in Vernon,” said Poole. “The City’s commitment to businesses in Vernon has been recognized by the Province and continues to be demonstrated in several ongoing initiatives, including the upcoming Business Walks program.”

The City of Salmon Arm was also among recipients. Though the city is still looking at options, the $10,000 incentive given to winning communities will likely be used for the Launch-A-Preneur program co-ordinated by the Salmon Arm Economic Development Society.

This year, for the first time, the B.C. Small Business Roundtable received submissions from all eight economic regions and short-listed 13 community 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.

“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.

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.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2014
InfoTel News Ltd

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