Valley First

Making Business Simple

Making business simple for small business owners in the Okanagan
May 1, 2013

Penticton, B.C.—Lack of time, resources and access to expertise are common challenges faced by all small business owners. However, the new provincial focus on eliminating these barriers is a positive move toward efficiency and sustainability say local business experts.

According to Kevin Smith, manager, commercial banking for Kelowna and Vernon with Valley First, the March 20 signing of the B.C. Small Business Accord (SBA) is a step in the right direction as it acknowledges the importance they play across the province. The SBA is a commitment from the provincial government to improve its interactions with small businesses and ensure government initiatives and services consider small business needs.

“We see small businesses as the heart, soul and backbone of our local business communities,” says Smith. “They provide jobs, experience and drive local growth. It’s also no secret many small business owners feel a lot of pressure. The S BA is based on solid principles that should, in time, make things simpler for small businesses owners.”

The SBA is based on six core principles related to reducing red tape, enhancing collaboration, providing greater access to skills, training and capital and creating long-term growth opportunities.

With small businesses representing 98 per cent of all business types and accounting for close to a third of the provincial GDP, it is easy to see why greater attention needs to be paid to the success, sustainability and efficiency of small business across B.C. says Smith.

“Small business owners face many challenges larger companies can avoid,” says Smith. “They are often the bookkeeper, sales force, HR and IT departments all rolled into one. At Valley First we try to connect our small business members with local experts. By combining local knowledge with the Small Business Accord strategies, we can smooth the road for small business owners.”

Kelowna Chamber of Commerce President Dave Bond echoes Smith’s sentiments: “Our communities are built around and rely on small business,” says Bond. “It’s the small businesses throughout our communities that cater to many of our needs and more than half the jobs across B.C. come from small businesses. This is incredibly important for the health and vitality of our local economy.”

About Valley First

Valley First is a division of First West Credit Union, B.C.'s third-largest credit union, which has 40 branches and 29 insurance offices throughout the Lower Mainland, Fraser Valley, Kitimat and Okanagan, Similkameen and Thompson valleys. Led by Launi Skinner, First West has $7.1 billion in assets under administration, more than 171,000 members and close to 1,300 employees.

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