Feb. 17-21, 2014, has been proclaimed Chamber of Commerce Week in B.C.
The week has been set aside to recognize the province's more than 125 chambers of commerce for the work they do year-round. This year's theme, Leadership in Action, celebrates the leadership that chambers demonstrate in their local communities.
Representing more than 36,000 businesses throughout the province, B.C. chambers of commerce and their influential network are a true voice for B.C.'s business community. They help businesses develop and grow, and by giving businesses the support they need, B.C.'s chambers help to advance economic development and job creation in our province.
Representing the vast majority of local chambers, the BC Chamber of Commerce has been a key partner in working with the province to achieve the goal of making British Columbia the most business-friendly jurisdiction in Canada.
In the past year, the Province has worked closely with the BC Chamber of Commerce on one of governments most important initiatives for small business: the BC Small Business Accord. Introduced almost a year ago, the B.C. Small Business Accord recognizes small business as a key driver of job creation and economic growth in B.C.
The BC Chamber of Commerce also has been consistent in delivering the message to government that red tape is one of the biggest burdens business owners face. Recently the chamber led the engagement between Multi-Material British Columbia (MMBC) and the business community to present a policy to government intended to reduce the red tape for small businesses impacted by a new recycling program which shifts costs from B.C. taxpayers to industry.
In response, British Columbia is leading the country in the fight against red tape. Government has reduced regulatory requirements by over 42 per cent since 2001, and has committed to holding the line right through to 2015.
B.C.'s chamber network has been a key partner in the success of the Mobile Business Licence program, which is now operating in 69 communities around the province.
The program allows mobile businesses such as contractors and caterers, to operate across participating municipalities and regional districts with one additional business licence, as opposed to purchasing a business licence for each community in which they operate. This streamlines and simplifies the licensing process, reduces costs and makes it easier to do business.
B.C.'s chambers play a significant role in building links in their business communities. Their key role is business advocacy: encouraging policies that support businesses and economic development throughout the province.
"As a former chair of both the North Vancouver Chamber of Commerce and the BC Chamber of Commerce, as well as a former small business ner, I truly understand and appreciate how our Chambers of Commerce support and stimulate local economies and help create vibrant communities throughout the Province," said Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business.
"It's hard to say enough about the impact of local chambers throughout British Columbia. These organizations are at the frontlines of business advocacy in their communities. They are leaders, innovators and voices for positive change. Chamber Week celebrates the vision, hard work and can-do spirit that our chambers bring to British Columbia," said John Winter, the BC Chamber of Commerce's President and CEO.
- The chamber network in B.C. is the largest, most broadly-based business organization in the province.
- There are more than 125 chambers in the BC Chamber of Commerce's network alone and 36,000 represented businesses.
- Chambers exist in every corner of the province, from Prince Rupert to Fort Nelson and Fernie to Tofino.
- Small business makes up 98 per cent of all business in the province and employs over one million people.
- Small business provides nearly 55 per cent of all private-sector jobs in British Columbia, the highest rate in the country.
- In 2012, approximately 385,900 small businesses were operating in the province, 82 per cent of which had fewer than five employees.
- British Columbia ranks first in Canada for the number of small businesses per capita, with 83.5 businesses per 1,000 people.