Three new agreements involving eight local governments have been reached in the Kootenays, allowing small businesses to operate in multiple jurisdictions with a single business licence – cutting red tape while freeing up time and money.
The Mobile Business Licence program is a partnership between participating municipalities, facilitated by the Province, which allows small companies to register for a single business licence that can be used in multiple communities. This program saves business owners from having to apply and purchase separate licences for each community, making it simpler and cheaper to do business in British Columbia. Plumbing services, construction-related businesses and catering companies are among the many types of businesses taking advantage of the program throughout British Columbia.
Previously, a small business wanting to operate in three different municipalities would need to purchase three separate licences — possibly with different costs and renewal times. With a Mobile Business Licence agreement in place, the business only needs to visit its closest local government to register for a single inter-municipal licence.
The West Kootenay agreement enables small businesses to apply for one licence that can be used in Rossland, Creston, Nelson, Kaslo and Castlegar; the Elk Valley agreement includes the communities of Fernie, Sparwood and Elkford; and the Kimberley-Cranbrook agreement includes Kimberley and Cranbrook. These agreements will continue to spur the economy in the Kootenay region which experienced a 10.2% growth in its small business sector in 2015 when compared to the previous year, the highest in the province according to BC Stats.
In 2016, the Mobile Business Licence program expanded to include the first Aboriginal community, shíshálh Nation on the Sunshine Coast, and agreements were also made permanent for Metro West (Burnaby, Delta, New Westminster, Richmond, Surrey and Vancouver) and Fraser Valley (Abbotsford, Chilliwack, Delta, Hope, Kent, Langley, Maple Ridge, Mission, Pitt Meadows and Surrey). Kent and Delta were new additions to the Fraser Valley agreement last year. There are now 82 communities in B.C. participating in the Mobile Business Licence program and the Province is working to expand the program further.
The Mobile Business Licence program is one of the key ways the B.C. government is taking action to strengthen and grow rural communities. To further support the needs of rural communities and grow local economies, the Province will be releasing a Rural Economic Development Strategy in the near future.
Information on the Mobile Business Licence program:
Small business in B.C.: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/employment-business/business/small-business