Venture Kamloops sees record number of business inquires in 2020 | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Venture Kamloops sees record number of business inquires in 2020

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January 11, 2021 - 2:30 PM

There was a huge increase in the number of inquiries from Kamloops business owners and potential new business owners last year.

Venture Kamloops assisted 710 businesses in 2020 breaking the previous record year when there were 295, according to Jim Anderson, the executive director of the economic development organization. The organization works for the City of Kamloops and and provides up-to-date information to those interested in starting their business in Kamloops or expanding operations.

“All of our businesses interactions, local businesses, new businesses, businesses from elsewhere looking to Kamloops as a new location, all those numbers are up. The interactions we’ve had with local businesses this year, the numbers are stratospheric," Anderson said. "We were in contact with one out of every nine businesses in the city."

He said the majority were businesses seeking information but a good portion were looking help with the adjustment to the pandemic.

“Because we spent the initial lockdown portion of the pandemic at home, or essentially on Zoom with local businesses, those numbers started to climb," Anderson said. "The interesting thing is when we got back to the office and things kind of calmed down during the summer and we were into a regular flow of business, the numbers were still running about double what we would normally (see). The business interaction we’ve had continues to be off the charts. We’re run off our feet.”

Venture Kamloops also saw a record-breaking number of new business inquires, from the previous record of 46 in 2019 to 70 in 2020, but Anderson noted that each year prior since 2016 had an upward trend.

There’s no trend to the types of businesses looking to start-up.

“We have everything from dog massagers to tech businesses. It’s right across the board,” Anderson said.

While the organization provides assistance for businesses to start up in the city, or relocate, there's no mechanism to track the number that did follow through and start a business, he said.  a recording mechanism

In order for new businesses to be recorded as part of Venture Kamloops's data, meaningful support must be provided, he said. The economic development group has to be involved in the business starting up and there has to be a level of commitment from the entrepreneur.

However, there's a correlation between the number of inquiries and business licenses in the city, he said.

October 2020 saw 90 new business licences issued, the highest number in one month in the city since Anderson has been with Venture Kamloops. 

He said new businesses could be starting because people have more time on their hands, they see it as an opportunity to pursue new ideas, or people who may have had work at the start of the pandemic that they no longer are performing.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Carli Berry or call 250-864-7494 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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