Supporting Business and Entrepreneurship

A strong local economy needs a dynamic and growing business sector. This section shares stories and resources to support businesses and entrepreneurs in your community.


B.C.’s Venture Capital Tax Credit Program - Helping Small Businesses Raise Investment Capital

B.C.’s Venture Capital Tax Credit program helps small businesses raise capital by providing investors with a 30% tax credit on the value of their investment.  Businesses registered in the program focus on a range of activities, including: manufacturing and processing; research and development of proprietary technology; destination tourism; interactive digital media; clean technology, and advanced commercialization. The way the program works:

  • Businesses must meet qualifying criteria and be registered with the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness.  
  • Once registered, businesses can sell shares to B.C. resident investors – usually accredited investors or friends, family and business associates - who are then eligible to receive a 30% tax credit on their investment.

In 2019 the program helped over 230 B.C. businesses raise over $115 million in investment, and the Province issued $34.5 million in tax credits to investors.

Watch this webinar to find out how the Venture Capital Tax Credit program works. You’ll learn about eligibility requirements and how businesses can register, and you’ll hear from Vancouver Island-based Cascadia Seaweed – that has successfully raised over $400,000 under the program, and is planning another round of financing to help expand its operations.

Presenters: Matthew Brown, Investment Capital Branch and Mike Williamson, Cascadia Seaweed 

Presentation Slides: 

Watch the Venture Capital Tax Credit webinar originally broadcast on Aug 20, 2020 or read the Cascadia Seaweed success story.


Harnessing the Power of Collaboration: Support Local BC

While COVID-19 was keeping people apart, amazing collaboration was happening to support the businesses and individuals being impacted. Watch this webinar to hear about one such collaboration, Support Local BC, that brought together economic developers around the province and provided a way for closed businesses to continue to have cash flow.

Hear from Michèle Hamilton, the inspiration behind Support Local BC, on how the initiative has evolved in the last three months and the role collaboration continues to play in its success. Learn how Prince Rupert and Opa Sushi got the community excited and are supporting local in their community.

Support Local BC was born out of one person‘s desire to support small, local businesses, through the selling of online gift certificates, as they closed their doors to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The initiative started in March 2020, as a Shopify website for one community and in a few short months it has grown to a provincial resource. Support Local BC is now used by over 64 communities and 1179 businesses and has sold over $78,000 in gift certificates.

Presenters: Michèle Hamilton - Support Local BC, Veronika Stewart - City of Prince Rupert, John and Kristi Farrell - Opa Sushi

Presentation Slides: 

Watch the Support Local BC webinar originally broadcast on July 23, 2020 or read the Support Local BC success story


Insights on Small-Scale Licenced Cannabis Production in B.C.

It’s been one year since the legalization of non-medical cannabis in Canada. Over the last year, the industry has undergone significant transformation: nearly 60 federal production licenses have been issued in British Columbia alone. Evidence so far indicates many small-scale producers have faced unique barriers to entering and succeeding in Canada’s licensed cannabis framework. This webinar provides entrepreneurs and communities interested in small-scale cannabis production with an overview of the regulatory framework, shares supports available to small-scale cannabis businesses through the Community Futures network, and discusses tips and insights learned from a successful micro-cultivation license holder.

Presenters: A representative from B.C.’s Cannabis Legalization & Regulation Secretariat; Shannon Ross, a Cannabis Business Transition Advisor with Community Futures of Central Kootenay; Tamara Follett, one of Canada’s first federally-licensed micro-cultivators

Presentation Slides:

Watch the Small Scale Licenced Cannabis Production webinar originally broadcast November 7, 2019. 


Accessing Capital in Small Communities: Debt Capital

 Loans, lines of credit, and credit cards: What are the different forms of debt, and how do businesses use them productively at different stages of their business life cycle? This webinar will provide an understanding of debt as a financing mechanism, and the different sources and options for businesses who choose to use debt capital as part of their financial plans. Tune in to get a working knowledge of how to help businesses in your community get access to financial capital with a focus on the small/rural community context.

Presenters: Dylan Hrychshen, Small Business BC, Susan Stearns, Community Futures Fraser Fort George

Presentation Slides:

Watch the Debt Capital webinar originally broadcast on June 20, 2019.


Accessing Capital in Small Communities: Equity Capital

We’ve all heard terms like “venture capital” and “angel investors”, but how much do you really know about the world of equity investments and how they power business growth? This webinar will explore the life cycle of businesses and when businesses need different kinds of equity. We’ll discuss the realities of accessing equity capital in a small community, and look in detail at programs that help businesses attract investors, including the Small Business Venture Capital Tax Credit. Bring your questions about how to help businesses in your community get the equity they need to grow.

Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology Speakers:
- David Baleshta and David Wallace, Investment Capital Branch
- Ian Wong, BC Immigrant Investment Fund
- Susan Low, Regional Programs and Engagement Branch

Presentation Slides:

Watch the Equity Capital webinar originally broadcast on March 21, 2019.


BC Ideas Exchange Story Showcase: Working with Industry and Business

Targeted industry initiatives are a common ingredient in many communities’ economic development strategies. How do you encourage growing industries to do business in your community without breaking the bank on incentives? Through listening to industry and growing the capacity that companies need, like skilled workers.

In this webinar, we’ll delve into the stories of two industry/business strategies: the BC Film and TV Crew Training Program at North Island College, and Ucluelet's Business and Employer Retention & Expansion initiative. 

Speakers: Joan Miller (INFilm), Cheryl O’Connell (North Island College), and Joey Rotenberg (Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce)

Presentation slides: 

Watch the Working with Industry and Business webinar originally broadcast on November 22, 2018.


Supporting Business Succession in Your Community

Small business numbers are declining in all regional areas of the province except for the Lower Mainland. There is a coming wave of “Boomer” retirements that will call for communities to rally creatively to maintain services and vibrant business districts through the transition. It takes a village to support the successful transfer of a business to a new owner. Is your community ready to provide that support? In this webinar, we’ll discuss how local economic development practitioners can facilitate business succession by ensuring the right supports and resources are in place.

Presenter: Darrell Goertzen, Venture Connect

Presentation Slides: 

Watch the Supporting Business Succession webinar originally broadcast on November 6, 2018.


Economic Development with Business Improvement Associations

Under the Community Charter, a business community within a defined geographic area can request to be designated as a “Business Improvement Area” (BIA) by its municipal council. The BIA accesses funding through a levy on the commercial properties in the area , and can use those funds to improve and beautify the Area, attract customers, and run business retention & attraction programs. BIAs are valued partners in local economic development.

Discover whether a BIA is a fit for your community, find out how to get started, learn how to support good relationships between BIAs and other stakeholders, and see how current BIAs enhance economic development for their communities.

Presentation Slides:

Watch the Business Improvement Association webinar originally broadcast on May 31, 2018.


Business Retention and Expansion Basics

A vibrant business community is at the core of every community’s economic success – it contributes to a better quality of life for residents, and supports visitor and investment attraction. How well do you know the businesses in your community? How are they doing? Are there challenges they face, such as regulatory roadblocks to expansion or signage issues? Does your community have the workforce your businesses need to succeed?

In this webinar, you’ll learn the basics of a Business Retention and Expansion Program – what it is, why it’s important, who should be involved, and how to build relationships with your business community to help them thrive and contribute to the success of your local economy.

Presentation Slides: 

Watch the Business Retention and Expansion webinar originally broadcast on March 13, 2017


Youth Entrepreneurship: Raising Business in your Community

Retaining and attracting youth can be a challenge for rural communities, with employment opportunities being a key factor. In this webinar, you’ll learn some of the ways communities can drive youth entrepreneurship and foster the next generation of business owners.

Hear from two organizations that support young entrepreneurs, ranging from elementary school all the way to 39 years young. You’ll also hear two young entrepreneurs share their stories of success, and what Junior Achievement BC and Futurpreneur has done to help them realize their business dreams in their home community.

Presentation Slides:

Watch the Youth Entrepreneurship webinar originally broadcast on November 23, 2016


Working with Indigenous Businesses: Building Partnerships in Tourism

First Nations are stepping up and assuming a leadership role in all aspects of B.C. society, including business. In the world of tourism, businesses and First Nations have tested a wide range of approaches to working together. In this webinar, the owner of a leading West Coast resort and his First Nations neighbours discuss the special agreement they launched to help them work together for mutual benefit.

The session will include background on the major role tourism now plays in B.C.’s economy, the steps First Nations are taking to get into the tourism game in a big way, the practical lessons of a resort-owner working in a First Nations Territory, and some advice from a respected Indigenous leader on how non-Indigenous businesses can work successfully with First Nations to grow new and better tourism operations.

Presentation Slides:

Watch the Building Partnerships in Tourism webinar originally broadcast on April 12, 2016


Growing Export Markets in Agrifoods Manufacturing

Growing into foreign markets or expanding distribution can be a challenge - fortunately the B.C. Government offers a range of resources that can help B.C.’s manufacturers of any product grow their export markets. Representatives from the Ministry of International Trade and Small Business BC will share the export-related services they can offer businesses to help sustainably grow distribution.

Whether you’re brand new to exporting or looking to further expand your international presence, your business can benefit from our presenters’ expertise.

Watch the Growing Export Markets in Agrifoods Manufacturing webinar originally broadcast on June 25, 2015


Resources from Small Business BC

Small Business BC is British Columbia’s key resource centre for small businesses, delivering knowledge based products and services. Small Business BC’s innovative approach and programs to support entrepreneurs in every stage of the business cycle have been recognized by several national and international awards, solidifying its reputation as an exceptional business resource. Learn how your business can benefit from Small Business BC’s services. Hear from Small Business BC’s CEO and Client Services Manager, and from a company that is thriving following their involvement.

Watch the Small Business BC webinar originally broadcast on April 23, 2015