By Naomi Yamamoto
Minister of State for Small Business
I am delighted to recognize our province's 120 chambers of commerce for the incredible work they do all year-round.
Chambers of commerce are needed and valued now more than ever, as we steer our way through an uncertain global economic climate. Chambers provide a place for entrepreneurs to share ideas about what's working for their businesses.
As a former chair of both the North Shore Chamber of Commerce and the B.C. Chamber of Commerce, as well as a former small business owner, I truly understand and appreciate how our chambers of commerce support and stimulate local economies and help create vibrant communities throughout the province.
Representing 32,000 businesses around 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 support economic development and job creation in our province.
Government has worked closely with the B.C. Chamber of Commerce on one of our most important initiatives for small business: the B.C. Small Business Accord.
The B.C. Small Business Accord recognizes small business as a key driver of job creation and economic growth in B.C. and will outline a number of principles to make B.C. the most business-friendly jurisdiction in Canada.
The B.C. Chamber of Commerce also has partnered with our government to deliver the Micro Business Training Pilot. The $3.1-million skills-training pilot program targets business owners with five employees or less who do not have any formal training beyond a high-school diploma and could benefit from tuition-free training to boost their business productivity, create jobs and help them excel in B.C.'s economy.
The Mobile Business Licence program, which now is operating in 58 communities around the province, would not be the success it is today without the help of chambers of commerce.
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.
The B.C. Chamber of Commerce also has been very consistent in delivering the message to government that red tape is one of the biggest burdens business owners face. In response, B.C. is leading the country in the fight against red tape.
We've reduced regulatory requirements by over 42 per cent since 2001, and we've committed to holding the line right through to 2015.
I offer my sincere thanks and appreciation on behalf of government to the chambers of commerce in B.C. for everything they do every day to help businesses in B.C. get it right.