Squamish and Pemberton are in the running for Open for Business Awards. The two communities to the north and south of Whistler are up against 13 other communities across the province vying for awards sponsored by the provincial government.
A total of 39 communities submitted award applications.
The province is providing awards of $10,000 to each winning community to help implement measures that benefit small business. The winners will be announced on Thursday, Sept. 19 at the Union of British Columbia Municipalities annual conference in Vancouver.
Daniel Sailand, the Chief Administrative Officer in Pemberton, said if Pemberton was awarded $10,000 it would be used to further implement a program it launched a few years ago.
"What we summarized is what we have been focusing on since 2010 — targeting business, and lowering the cost of doing business and getting into business in Pemberton," said Sailand.
He said that if Pemberton gets a $10,000 award the money will be used to create a series of workshops aimed educating people on the development tools available for developers and other business people to use if they are interested in doing business in the village.
Squamish mayor Rob Kirkham said his community was excited to be shortlisted. If Squamish gets an award it will be used as part of the community's downtown transformation initiative.
"The money would specifically go towards the façade improvement project for existing stores in the downtown area to upgrade," said Kirkham.
The province created the awards to promote an "open-for-business" culture and Naomi Yamamoto, the B.C. minister of state for tourism and small business, is the cabinet minister overseeing the initiative.
"Small businesses are the heart and soul of B.C. communities," said Yamamoto through a news release. "It is satisfying to see these communities make small business a priority."
According to the news release from the provincial government, B.C.'s small-business operators contribute 29 per cent of the province's gross domestic product and 98 per cent of the businesses operating in the province employ 50 or fewer people.