Kelowna is the top place in British Columbia to open a small business, according to a new report that will be released next week.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) says it decided to gauge how easy or hard it was to open a business in 20 municipalities across the province. Using a secret shopper technique, CFIB states that it posed as a member of the local community in order to gauge the helpfulness of municipalities’ responses to small business queries.
Kelowna placed first with a score of 86 out of 100, with Delta placing second at 81 and Langley third at 78. Coquitlam (76) was fourth with Prince George (75) in fifth.
Rounding out the top 10 were Langley (74), Surrey (73), Richmond (72), Victoria (72) and Vancouver (70). Placing last out of the 20 communities, with 17 of them being in Metro Vancouver, was Port Moody (42). The CFIB said grades were based on three components: access to information, quality of information and regulatory framework.
It added that these three categories “get to the heart of how red tape affects business owners every day. Hassles like duplication of process, needless regulations, paperwork and poor customer service are just some of the types of red tape businesses can face. The presence of these factors increases the cost of doing business in a municipality and puts further pressures on small business owners.”
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Two areas where Kelowna excelled were cost of retail business licence and regulatory framework. Kelowna’s cost for a retail business licence was listed as $140.94, with the average of all 20 being $210.72. The lowest costs went to Delta ($110), Maple Ridge ($110), Langley ($127.50) and Richmond ($139), with the most expensive licences going to Surrey ($274.25), White Rock ($275), Prince George ($280) and Burnaby ($600).
Regarding regulatory framework, Kelowna scored 40 out of 40 in six categories. Delta (34) and Langley (31) were second and third in regulatory framework.
Notably, Kelowna’s score could have been higher, but it dropped the ball in one area: online and/or downloadable business licence application. According to the CFIB, Kelowna was the only city not to have one.