If the B.C. government is able to move and stay on track with its Small Business Accord announced last week then it should meet the goals to make B.C. business friendly, Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce president Jason Ryll said.
“Do I see some of the recommendations made during meetings with Minister of State for Small Business Naomi Yamamoto and Liberal MLA Donna Barnett in Williams Lake? It’s kind of hard to say definitively ‘yes’ or ‘no’.”
Reading into the documents there are items that came out of the meetings, he agreed, but he said he suspects similar concerns were voiced in other communities that face the reality of dealing with government on a business level.
Ryll cited regulatory streamlining that small business can use easily.
“I see that as something that many communities in B.C. have asked for.”
In October 2012, the B.C. government announced it would create the BC Small Business Accord to establish a list of priorities.
Following the announcement, a consultation period occurred and over 35,000 individuals provided feedback through community meetings, an online survey and a Twitter town hall meeting.
On Feb. 5, a BC Small Business Accord forum, made up of 15 business owners/operators from various regions and sectors around B.C., used the feedback from the consultation period to determine the accord principles and establish action items for the provincial government.
The accord contains a number of principles:
• Consider the needs and impacts of small businesses in policy and program decisions to enhance business certainty, access to qualified labour, access to capital and technology adoption.
• Foster a regulatory environment that small business can access, navigate and influence effectively and efficiently.
• Design provincial government programs and resources affecting small business so that they are well developed, accessible, properly funded and effectively communicated.
• Foster thoughtful collaboration among all levels of government,including First Nations. Deploy educational and training programs that are future-focused and aligned to meet the changing needs of small business and the labour talent it develops.
• Create long-term growth opportunities for small business through government procurement.
Ryll is hoping the document will be something business people can continue to work with.
“I think the way we’ve been able to weather the economic downturn in B.C. is a testament to business and small business,” he said.
“If we can continue to keep being competitive I think we’ll be doing ourselves and our communities a great service down the road.”
On a local level, Ryll said the chamber has met with the city to keep mayor and council “plugged in” to what’s happening the business community.
“Through other conversations with the mayor I think we have a good understanding of what role each of us play in the community and by working together we’re going to be able to try and keep the business community strong in Williams Lake.”
Growth is the ideal goal, he said, but with economic uncertainty the way it is, at least keeping the current standard intact is important.
In addition to unveiling the mandate of the accord, an incentive has been set up for local governments by establishing a $10,000 award for up to 20 municipalities that can demonstrate they are operating in the spirit of the accord principles.