Best small community in Canada to do business!

Last week, as part of small business week, the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) released a report ranking Penticton in the top two cities in Canada to do business – second to only Calgary! I am ecstatic about this news, as it was a big jump up from last year’s 20th place ranking. I’m proud of our accomplishment, as it validates Council’s focus on fostering economic development and creating an environment for small business to flourish.

The reality is business is changing, and new saw mills or fruit packing plants will not land in communities to create employment. Our community’s future will involve entrepreneurs who can compete and trade in the world market and still choose to operate from Penticton because of our lifestyle, progressive policies and competitive advantages.

The past two Chamber of Commerce Business Excellence awards have featured new and young entrepreneurs. The Chamber and Junior Chamber International last year also teamed up to celebrate the Top 40 under 40. I was impressed with the diverse cross section of young entrepreneurs and community contributors that the program identified.   When we talk about new entrepreneurs we immediately think of young entrepreneurs.  The reality is that many business start-ups are coming from seasoned professionals wanting to move to the Penticton because of the lifestyle or experienced trades that have been working up north that now have the ability to create work here that enables them to live in paradise and allow for greater family time.

We need to transition the CFIB’s rankings into actual business growth. The economy is still the number one concern in our community and there should be no illusion that the rankings mean everything is OK.  The report is an indicator and certainly something to be proud of, but it’s also a reminder that we need to continue to encourage development and growth in the community – so we are sustainable over the long-term.