Province launches consultation with small business

Small business is a major economic driver in B.C. and the province is consulting with business owners and their partners on ways to help better support this sector of the economy.

Naomi Yamamoto, minister of state for small business, announced last week a consultation process to create a small business accord, which will provide guidance to the province to ensure the proper tools, support and regulations are developed to make B.C. one of the most business-friendly jurisdictions in the country.

Susan Allen, Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce CEO, said the accord will contain information from the small business community on ways the province can make it easier to do business in B.C., which will also encourage new investments.

“That’s what we need – new money, new investments,” she said. “A lot of people who start new businesses don’t know where to start. It’s really hard to find that information sometimes. One of the biggest deterrents for small business is sometimes bureaucracy.”

Allen hopes the accord will result in new programs or policy changes that minimize red tape, reduce duplication and streamline the regulation process for small business.

One example of a positive policy change would be making procurement opportunities more accessible to small business, she said.

Allen said sometimes large buyers such as the government will put out the call for goods and services in one large contract, but if it was broken down into smaller chunks, it would be accessible for small businesses.

She said 98 per cent of businesses in the province are small businesses, providing 56 per cent of all private sector jobs and employing more than one million people, and the Nanaimo numbers are probably even higher.

Allen said the chamber is getting the word out about the consultation to members.

“The government is certainly willing to listen right now,” said Allen. “It’s about collaboration and working together.”

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