Open for Business

A quick guide to to help your business start and grow

Tag(s): Living Here, Love Local, Working Here

Penticton businesses have access to a robust network of resources and expertise. But because they're delivered by local, regional, provincial and national organizations, finding them is a task in itself.  Make sure to bookmark this handy overview as is a great launching point for all stages of business growth and development. 

Starting a business in Penticton? 

This is exciting stuff. Make sure you get off on the right foot with our Guide to Business, where you’ll find information about economic data, permits, zoning, utilities and other important topics.

You’ll need a Penticton Business License and depending on the type of business and its location, there may be other regulatory requirements for you to obtain. Check out BizPal, a provincial resource that can help clarify the specifics you’ll need to get going.

Shopkeeper in doorway

Plan and Grow

Are you ready to grow or make strategic decisions? There’s a current funding program that offers subsidized training (up to $5000 value), free consulting (10 hours with a range of subject matter experts) and other business development tools to eligible businesses. Delivered by Community Futures, the Taking Care of Business Platform is a website that brings together a number of program streams through one account log in. It is free to make an account, and access the platform.Most operating businesses in Penticton would be eligible but check out the website to confirm.

Do you have a plan for the unexpected? As we can see around us locally and globally, things can change quickly. As a business owner your responsibilities are great, but you can reduce some of the stress by having a Business Continuity Plan. Use this free planning tool to get you set up with a framework that fits your business.

If you’re looking for subsidies, tax credit, grants or other funding programs, start your search here with this Canada-wide tool. The BC Benefits Finder is a board and well-updated database that allows you to filter your searches to best suit your specific business needs.

Building your skills or your team’s? Penticton is Okanagan College’s fastest growing campus, of the 4 regional hubs. Each campus has a slightly different set of specializations and you can see the range on their Programs page. In addition, Continuing Studies and Corporate Training at Okanagan College, offers short programs designed to enhance your career and enrich your life. Corporate training services can provide your employees with training to help them excel.

Is your business doing research and innovation or solving complex problems? You might benefit from the MITACS program. MITACS connects companies with graduate students from a network of universities across Canada. For smaller companies, doing research isn’t always simple. Projects and lab equipment are costly and it’s difficult to find and attract specialized talent. For eligible projects, MITACS can keep the financial contribution from the company as low as 45% of the cost of a project. Many businesses use this subsidized R&D program as a hiring funnel, accessing fresh talent and then later integrating them into their team as full time staff.

Florist shop

Strengthen your Network: Organizations, Groups and Associations

Penticton and Wine Country Chamber of Commerce This membership-driven, not-for-profit organization offers services and events that help members form valuable business connections, grow professionally and receive recognition for their achievements. In addition, the Chamber facilitates discounts and group buying power that helps members save money and reach new customers. Connected to Chambers across the country, the Penticton Wine & Country Chamber of Commerce is a powerful champion for positive change for business at a local, provincial and national level.

Downtown Penticton Business Improvement Association is a registered not-for-profit society. The DPBIA acts as a steward for Penticton’s official business improvement area, sited in the downtown core.

The DPBIA champions initiatives that will enhance the quality and economic vitality of the area for the merchants, businesses, not-for-profit social service agencies, arts and cultural groups, governments, educational institutions and other organizations operating within its boundaries.  The DPBIA is funded through a levy applied exclusively to commercial properties located in the DPBIA area. Licensed businesses operating in the DPBIA jurisdiction are automatically members – no membership fees needed!

Penticton Industrial Development Association PIDA members are industrial and manufacturing companies located throughout the industrial zones of Penticton. They represent one of the leading economic engines of the city and enjoy valued working relationships, with fellow members and with local government and elected officials. 

Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen provides a wide range of business services including advisory and coaching, business training and business loans. Survival rates for Community Futures’ sponsored businesses outstrip the national average, often because of the combination of business loans, business training, and coaching. Businesses looking to export can access free support through the Export Navigator program. Those looking to buy or sell a business should look at the Venture Connect program that serves all of BC.

Accelerate Okanagan Business Accelerator provides community, mentorship and coaching for startups and growth-stage companies. Each stage of the entrepreneurial process demands a different set of tools and we are constantly iterating to meet these needs. A unique area of specialization is high-growth businesses who are conducting funding rounds. Their job board is a robust database for job seekers and employers alike.

Penticton Women In Business provides inclusive and welcoming networking opportunities with other South Okanagan women. Networking and Educational Luncheons take place on the second Tuesday of the month.

Members and guests are managers, employees, business owners, colleagues, job seekers, staff, friends, retirees, neighbors, business students .... and are from all kinds of businesses, from banking and investment to the arts to home sales to government agencies, tourism, health, law, food services, education, industry, hospitality, non profit organizations, sports, retail, media and communications, fitness, travel, beauty, service, adventure, transportation, and everything in between.

WorkBC - Penticton offers a variety of career workshops to assist you with your career planning and work search. Job seekers seeking to develop a career pathway are encouraged to explore the supportive options available here. WorkBC also works with employers to let clients know what’s happening in the job market, to host recruitment events, and address specific labour challenges through employer partnerships.

Innovation Canada is a Government of Canada department that is laser-focused on helping big ideas get connected with the specific resources they need to move forward to solve big problems. IC is best suited for established businesses with revenues of $1m or more, or game changing, innovative ideas that fit within their identified strategic priorities.  

Development project interior

Need to access funding?

Community Futures Okanagan Similkameen provides a wide range of business services including advisory and coaching, business training and business loans. Connect with them to discuss your financing needs.

WE BC is a not-for-profit that has been supporting women business owners across the province for nearly three decades. The organization provides entrepreneurs with business loans and expertise, training, resources, and peer network support to help businesses grow and thrive.

Futurpreneur supports entrepreneurs between the ages of 18-39. Their programs offer financing, mentoring, and business support for every business stage. Futurpreneur offers collateral-free loans of up to $20,000 through a partnership with BDC this loan might be increased to a total $60,000.

BDC supports small and medium-sized businesses in all industries and at every stage of growth with money and advice. Their website has a wide range of articles and templates for business planning. 

Looking for investors? There are several options in the Okanagan to explore. Maven Capital Partners, Atrium Ventures and Valhalla Private Capital are all investment groups with a local presence. Accelerate Okanagan’s annual OKGN Angel Summit is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to gain training and exposure. Through a guided process, participating companies learn about the capital raising process and how to effectively build relationships with prospective investors. At the end of the program, 6 finalists will pitch to an audience of community members where investors will decide which company receives an investment of up to $250,000.

In Penticton, there are businesses of all sizes, shapes and intentions, serving a global market. The resources are here to support this ecosystem and by strengthening your local network you can open up access to so much opportunity.