Vernon officials go one-on-one with local businesses

Business Walk is meant as a five-minute check in with businesses

Kevin Poole

Kevin Poole

Vernon businesses will be receiving some special guests.

As a kick-off to Small Business Month, the City of Vernon, Community Futures and the Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce, will visit several Vernon businesses Tuesday.

“We have assembled 12 teams of two people each that will be visiting commercial businesses throughout Vernon from 10 a.m. until noon in order to gain a better understanding of the business climate in Vernon,” said Kevin Poole, the city’s manager of economic development.

“Our initial goal was to interview 75 businesses, but we’ve had an overwhelming response from interested volunteers and are now hoping to surpass that target.”

Business Walk is meant as a five-minute check in with businesses to gain a better understanding of how things are going and how support agencies can better meet their needs.

“The goal of Business Walk is to get a pulse on the immediate issues and challenges that companies in Vernon may be facing,” said Poole.

“It is well documented that about 80 per cent of job growth in a community is created from within. This is contrary to the belief that new job growth is achieved through business attraction efforts.

“Our goal is to create an environment in Vernon where business can continue to grow and thrive.”

The city launched a business retention and expansion program in 2010 and it has since done more than 250 interviews with companies in the manufacturing, technology, agricultural and professional services sectors.

“The feedback from these interviews has provided valuable input that helps shape policy and direction to ensure the city remain open for business,” said Poole.

Vernon’s pilot program led to the creation of the B.C. Business Counts Program, which was launched by the Economic Development Association of B.C. in 2011.

Business Counts now has more than 80 communities participating and Business Walk is a subcomponent of this program.