Starting a Business in BC

Starting a business is exciting but can be nerve-racking. One of the first things you should find out about is the regulations. Municipal Hall is the first place to check for local bylaws that concern your new business. You can find out about:

  • Your Zoning Requirements
  • A Business License
  • Sign Regulations
  • Parking Regulations
  • Bed & Breakfasts
  • Home Occupations
  • Other regulatory information on starting up a business in Summerland

Anyone doing business in Summerland requires a Summerland Business Licence.   You will need to complete an application form giving us details of your business.  Every business license holder automatically receives membership with the Summerland Chamber of Commerce.  Before the licence is issued, we may need approval from the Development Services Dept. to ensure your space satisfies safety and zoning requirements, Fire Dept. approval, and Interior Health approval may also be required if you are dealing with food or health issues.  It is a good idea to call Interior Health in advance to see what guidelines they have for you to follow. Business license fees are determined based on the type of business you are doing and are payable before the licence is issued.  Licences are valid until December 31st of the year you purchase it. Renewals are sent out at the end of each year and due in January. Business License applications are available here (29KB PDF).

Mobile Business License

If you will be doing business or performing a service in other cities, you may be eligible to also purchase an Inter-Community Business Licence. You must first have a regular Business Licence and for an additional $150.00 you can also do work in other participating municipalities. You can apply for this at the same time you fill out the Business Licence Application (it is the same form) or you can apply for it at a later date. Click on Information on the Inter-Community Business License link (19KB PDF) for more details.

Starting a Small Business in BC Guide

If you are interested in starting your own business, there are many things you will need to think about and we would like to help. This guide (3MB PDF) will introduce you to some of the things you need to know and do and tell you where you can get more information.

small business BC

As an entrepreneur, deciding your business idea is one of the most important steps you may make in your career. There are some Business Idea FAQ’s basic things you should keep in mind. Find out if you have the entrepreneurial spirit in the “Are you ready to be an entrepreneur?” section. Download Essential Business Development Concepts.

A Guide To Resources for Women Starting Your Business

If you are thinking of starting a business, you’re in good company. Today British Columbia has almost 360,000 small businesses, and women own or operate almost 36 percent of them; the highest rate in Canada.

Following are links to two guides to help get you started, and to grow your small business.

From drafting a business plan to finding the start-up money, these guides will help explain what you need to know and where you can find the information. You will also meet inspirational BC women who generously share their own business experiences.

At the end of each section, you will find sources for more information, and key resources are summarized at the end of the guide. These have been specially selected for women starting a business in BC and provide valuable information.

Cool Companies: Insights to Entrepreneurial Opportunities

Cool Companies is a new magazine for entrepreneurial-minded business people passionate about innovation. Like a shortcut to networking, Cool Companies provides an entry point to hundreds of high-quality business opportunities and entrepreneurial insights to seed innovation in readers’ lives.

Apartment and High Rise Fire Safety

Fire safety is everyone’s responsibility. Every resident should plan to be fire safe. Since most “high-rise” buildings are constructed of fire resistant materials and contain closed stairwells, fires are generally confined to individual rooms or apartments, furnishings, or possibly one floor.

Two or three storey wood frame buildings have either enclosed stairwells, or if an older building, external fire escapes. Enclosed stairwells have fire doors which must be kept closed at all times!

An apartment or high-rise fire is no cause for panic. If you plan ahead and practice fire drills, your chances of survival are greatly increased. Check with your landlord or building manager to ensure Fire Safety Plans including floor plans and evacuation procedures are posted and visible. Please take time to review and learn them.

What Causes Most Apartment Fires?

  • Cooking / kitchen fires
  • Heating equipment such as heaters, stoves, or space heaters.
  • Smoking is a major cause of fatal apartment fires.

How Important is Prevention?

VITAL – it is the best insurance against fire! Take these simple tips to prevent fires from starting:

  • Be careful with smoking materials. Use large, deep, non-tipping ashtrays and dispose the contents into an airtight metal container or soak the butts before discarding. Check furniture and cushions for dropped matches & cigarettes. Never smoke in bed, especially when under the influence of alcohol or medications.
  • Keep matches and lighters out of the sight and reach of children.
  • Never leave cooking unattended. If a pan catches on fire, use a potholder or oven mitts and slide a lid or a cookie sheet over the flames and turn off the burner.
  • Keep space heaters at least 1 meter (3 ft) from combustibles.
  • Replace worn or damaged electrical cords. Do not overload electrical outlets. Use an approved power bar / electrical receptacle for additional electrical cords.
  • Do not store flammable liquids or compressed gases (ie gas & propane) in your home, car storage, or locker.
  • Do not use balconies for storage. This can block a means of escape, as well as become a target for arsonists.

How Will You Know if there is a Fire?

  • Your building should be equipped with smoke detectors and other fire alarm components.
  • Learn to recognize the sound of the fire alarm and leave the building immediately. Leave the building every time you hear the alarm, as fire may be present in any part of the building. Do not ignore the alarm.
  • It is recommended that every dwelling has a smoke alarm outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For maximum protection, consider installing a smoke alarm in every bedroom.
  • Maintain your alarms, test them once a month, vacuum twice a year, and change the battery annually or when a “chirping” noise occurs. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years.

What is the Plan for my Building?

  • Floor plans and evacuation procedures should be posted on every floor. Take time to learn them.
  • Develop and practice your fire safety plan. Know the two quickest and safest ways out of your building.
  • Training and implementing a fire warden on each level of the building is recommended to ensure safe evacuation and ongoing safety programs. Have a fire drill at least once a year but practice your escape plans regularly. Coordinate practice drills with neighbours, fellow workers, the floor warden, and the building manager. /li>
  • Assign someone to assist people with disabilities who may need assistance to evacuate safely.
  • Ensure everyone knows what to do when the alarm sounds.
  • After exiting the building, go to a prearranged meeting place. Do not go back into the building for any reason.

How do I Escape from the Fire?

  • Check doors before opening them. Be sure to check a door by kneeling or crouching behind the door. Reach up high and touch the door, knob, and frame. If the door feels cool, open it with caution. Put your shoulder against the door and open it slowly. Slam the door shut if you see flames or smoke on the other side and use another escape route or stay in your apartment.
  • If unable to leave your apartment, protect yourself by placing towels, sheets, or clothes around the door and vents to keep smoke out. Call the Fire Department using 911 to notify them of your location. If there is no smoke outside a window, open it and signal for help by waving a bright towel, sheet, or flashlight. Never use elevators in a fire! Always use the exit stairways and close all doors behind you to slow the spread of fire.
  • If an announcement can be heard over your building’s public address system, listen carefully and follow the directions.
  • If your escape route becomes smokey, crawl low under the smoke. Smoke rises, so the cleanest air is near the floor.
  • If your route becomes impassable due to smoke, heat, or fire, return to your suite or use an alternate escape route. Never go to the roof as you may become trapped with no means of escape or protection.
  • Get out and stay out. Go directly to your planned meeting place and stay there.
  • Call 911 once you have safely escaped the fire.