The City of Vernon is a finalist for the 2014 Open for Business Awards.

The City of Vernon is a finalist for the 2014 Open for Business Awards.

City nominated for award

The City of Vernon has been named one of the finalists for the 2014 Open for Business Awards

The City of Vernon has been named one of the finalists for the 2014 Open for Business Awards, which recognize communities that support small business through local-government measures aligned with the B.C. Small Business Accord.

“I think that the fact that we have been nominated in consecutive years for the Open for Business Awards demonstrates the efforts that our administration has put toward initiatives that assist and support business,” said Mayor Rob Sawatzky.

“I congratulate council for providing that direction for our administration.”

The applications are evaluated based on how the communities enhance small-business competitiveness, recognize the contributions of small businesses to the community, and promote the principles of the B.C. Small Business Accord.

The roundtable noted the 2014 applications are the strongest to date.

“It is nice to be recognized by the province of B.C. and the B.C. Small Business Roundtable as a finalist for the Open for Business Awards for the second year in a row,” said Kevin Poole, the city’s economic development officer.

“We’re very proud of our innovate initiatives such as the creation of an economic development planner position to handle commercial applications, or being the first community in B.C. to participate in the B.C. Business Counts Business Retention and Expansion program, or our partnership with the Regional District of North Okanagan in creating a searchable employment lands inventory. There is always room for improvement, but we are definitely making progress and are on the right track.”

Along with Vernon, the roundtable named Delta, Grand Forks, Kelowna, Langley, Nelson, Parksville, Port Coquitlam, Revelstoke, Salmon Arm, Smithers, Surrey and Whistler.

To promote an open-for-business culture, the provincial government is providing awards of $10,000 to each winning community to support the implementation of measures that benefit small business.

Winners will be announced Sept. 24 at the Union of B.C. Municipalities conference in Whistler.