Lake Country, Vernon up for pro-business awards

The two north Okanagan communities among the finalists for small business awards

Two North Okanagan communities are in the running for the most business friendly town in B.C.

Lake Country and Vernon and are among the 15 finalists for the 2013 Open for Business Awards, which recognize communities that support  small business through local government measures aligned with the B.C. Small Business Accord.

Award evaluations are based on how the communities enhance small-business competitiveness, recognize the contributions of small businesses to  the community and promote the principles of the B.C. Small Business Accord.

“We have done surveys of small business and asked them why they are setting up business here and how it could be better for them,” said James Baker, Lake Country mayor.

Baker says other measures have included having an active economic development manager.

“We have also signed on with Kelowna Tourism to expand our advertising base with tourists.”

In Vernon, initiatives have focused on economic development as an internal city department instead of a stand-alone agency.

“We will have to see what happens,” said Kevin Poole, Vernon’s economic development officer, in terms of the competition.

Vernon is also hiring an economic development planner.

‘No other community in B.C. has taken this approach There wiil be one point of contact for development applications,” said Poole.

The awards are issued by B.C.’s Small Business Roundtable,  which was established in 2005 to be the voice for small business to government.

Each winning community will receive $10,000 to  help implement measures that benefit small business.

The winners will be announced Sept. 19 at the Union of British Columbia  Municipalities convention in Vancouver.

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