You want to succeed at your small business. You’re not alone in that ambition. Victoria wants you to succeed, too. Recognizing that small businesses are a vital part of a good economy, the BC government offers resources for small business owners. Here’s an overview.
OPPORTUNITIES TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS
Start by visiting Small Business BC (www.smallbusinessbc.ca), the province’s key resource centre for business information and services. Small Business BC will help you with business planning, registration, financing and other issues as you start and then grow your business.
REALIZING SAVINGS THOUGH EFFICIENCY AND INNOVATION
Launched in February 2011, the three-year LiveSmart BC: Small Business Program (www.livesmartbc.ca) helps you save money by reducing your energy consumption.
Canada Starts Here: The BC Jobs Plan (www.bcjobsplan.ca/canada-starts-here) fast-tracks the permit-and-approval process. This means projects get off the ground faster – or go back to the drawing board faster if they need further work.
ATTRACTING CAPITAL INVESTMENT OR FUNDS TO GROW
Through the Small Business Venture Capital Program (www.canadabusiness.ca/eng/summary/4962/), investors receive a 30 percent refundable tax credit, supporting up to $100 million in investments every year. You can benefit if you’re in one of the following sectors: businesses creating opportunities in regional community diversification; clean technology innovation; interactive digital media production; export manufacturing; destination tourism; or research and development of proprietary technology.
Recognized as the single most successful tool for Aboriginal business in Canada, the First Citizens Fund (www.gov.bc.ca/arr/economic/fcf/) helps with cultural, educational and economic development. And here’s the sweetener: a 40 percent forgiveness portion over the life of a loan.
NEW GRANTS/LOANS OR BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS
If you live in Campbell River; the Barriere to McBride Corridor; or the North Fraser Corridor of Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge and Mission, be sure to check out the Regional Economic Investment Pilot project. Aimed at attracting investment, identifying opportunities, economic diversification and job creation (ww.bcjobsplan.ca/).
Just announced in November: the First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund that will assist in job training, joint ventures with industry, and exploration of clean energy developments, and other opportunities for 14 Aboriginal communities across BC (www.gov.bc.ca/arr/economic/fncebf.html).
NEW ON THE IMPORT/EXPORT FRONT
Again through Canada Starts Here, the government, industry and federal partners are studying the feasibility of setting up an International Trade Zone to attract new investment – a way to build new business, especially business focused on exports.
Interested in finding new markets for your products in China? Look into China South Airlines’ cargo service from Vancouver International Airport to Shanghai.
NEW PROGRAMS ON THE INNOVATION FRONT
Venture Connect: provides training and services to potential buyers and sellers; has a website focused on business succession and containing a web-based buyer/seller matching service. Currently available only in the Vancouver Island/Coast region. www.communityfutures.org/page.asp?PageID=145
MITACS Accelerate Program: connects businesses with recent grads in math, physical sciences and other disciplines; got a $3.5 million boost in funding last May (www.mitacs.ca).
Agri-Food Knowledge Platform: will help BC’s agriculture sector become more competitive by using a new and upgraded web-based platform that supports business and industry innovation, knowledge-sharing and development. (www.agrifoodBC.ca).
Immigration Task Force: will be made up of business and community leaders and examine the current system of economic immigration to Canada (www.bcjobsplan.ca).
NEW EDUCATION INITIATIVES DIRECTED AT BUSINESS
Youth Skills BC: If you’re young, and you have a sound business concept, apply directly to the local YSBC for assistance to develop your concept into a formal business plan. A participant can expect up to $5,000 to assist with the activities and supports outlined in their program participation plan. (www.getyouthworking.ca).
Employment Skills Access Initiative: the BC government is investing over $13 million in new employment skills training in regions throughout British Columbia. If you’re eligible, you’ll get tuition-free, group-based training at public, post-secondary institutions to prepare you for entry or re-entry into the labour force (www.e-know.ca/tag/employment-skills-access-initiative).
Labour Market Sector Solutions Initiative: BC is seeking funding proposals for training programs designed to meet present and future labour shortages. Sector or industry-based organizations experiencing a significant labour-market challenge are eligible to apply for this program (www.academicagroup.ca/top10/stories/14601).