Developing Ideas column by Sandy Blue
Special to The TIMES
October is small business month, and there are a number of activities planned across the province to celebrate the innovation, entrepreneurship, and drive of small business.
For information check out Small Business BC www.smallbusinessbc.ca.
In the meantime, there are currently about 3,000 licensed businesses in Maple Ridge (1,500 commercial retail, and 1,500 home-based).
Maple Ridge is about half way to our forecast population and jobs growth (to 132,000 and 48,000 respectively). With all that upside opportunity, we want to encourage new business startups and connect them with tools and resources they need to succeed.
Successful businesses create high value local jobs – but we know that starting a business can be complicated, so we’ve created an innovative new businessSTART program to help entrepreneurs get a solid start.
The program will be officially launched during small business week – but here’s a sneak peek:
• The businessSTART program will include free weekly seminars to introduce you to more than 70 resources available to assist business startups.
This includes information about local priorities, key sectors (including technology, education, tourism and agriculture), and opportunities.
• You will learn the steps to starting a successful business using the Small Business BC checklist.
This step-by-step guide to successful business includes all the items to consider as you’re setting up a business (as well as those you need to know when you’re up and running).
• Small Business BC webinars will also be offered as part of our businessSTART program.
• Access to business financing can be challenging – especially for youth.
The Canadian Youth Business Organization provides pre-launch coaching; financing, mentoring, and business resources to help young Canadians (aged 18 to 39) start and sustain thriving businesses.
Their specialists will offer seminars locally.
That’s just the beginning – seminar attendees receive a package of helpful information to take away.
You’ll be able to stay in touch with all the latest information including seminars, events, meet-up groups, and so on through our social media channels and our e-newsletter.
We’ll let you know how your local business success story can be featured too.
And, we’ll be looking for business mentors who are willing to help startups through a mentoring program.
More on the homefront
The BC Technology Industry Association (BCTIA) Centre4Growth (C4G) helps Tech Companies Grow. Now you don’t have to go to Vancouver for your one-on-one C4G coaching sessions, their CEO in residence comes to us!
To help your company increase revenues, expand in to new markets, negotiate deals, assess opportunities, and accelerate growth – simply take a moment to fill in the online application at www.bctia.org.
This September we welcomed the BCIT School of Business.
We’re delighted to be able to partner with BCIT and look forward to more courses being offered by other post-secondary institutions over time.
A special thanks goes out to our Invest North Fraser economic partners Mission and Pitt Meadows; as well as the chambers of commerce, BIAs, and others in our communities for their help spreading the word.
Earlier this summer we told you about the Invest North Fraser education task force that is being formed to help advance our economic goal of attracting multi-institutional post-secondary to the North Fraser.
We have had a tremendous positive response from business and industry organizations, post-secondary institutions, and experts from key sectors.
The group will be meeting in the coming weeks, and we’ll be sharing their recommendations when they’re available.
As well, Urban Developers Institute (UDI) is hosting the second annual mayors forum on Oct. 10 at the Langley Events Centre.
Eight Lower Mainland mayors will be sharing what they’re doing to encourage investment and development and create jobs in their communities.
We invite you to join UDI members, elected officials, and economic development staff at this informative event. Register online today at www.udi.bc.ca.
– Sandy Blue is the manager at Invest Maple Ridge, the economic development office at the District of Maple Ridge. She can be reached at email@example.com or 604-467-7319.
@ Copyright 2013