Bruce Ralston, Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology, was in Courtenay Thursday to announce the launch of a new Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) Entrepreneur Immigration Regional Pilot. At right is Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard. Scott Stanfield photo

B.C. looks to attract global business people to its smaller cities

Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston made the announcement in Courtenay Thursday

The provincial government has launched a new pilot program to draw entrepreneurs from around the world to B.C.’s smaller communities.

“Due to an aging workforce and a preference for city living, some smaller towns can face challenges growing their local economies,” Jobs Minister Bruce Ralston said in a news release Thursday, adding the program will be set up in 30 communities.

To be eligible, a community must have a population of fewer than 75,000 and be at least 30 kilometres away from municipalities with more than 75,000 residents. It must also have three economic development sectors.

A previous program required would-be immigrants to have a personal net worth of $600,000 and a business investment of $200,000. This project requires a net worth of $300,000, an investment of $100,000, and the creation of one new job.

The business owner must also maintain 51-per-cent ownership and have three years’ or more experience in owning a business.

The 30 communities involved in the pilot include:

  • Barriere
  • Burns Lake
  • Castlegar and surrounding area
  • Courtenay, Comox and areas within the Comox Valley Regional District
  • Gibsons
  • Kimberley
  • Mackenzie
  • Merritt
  • Nelson
  • Port Alberni
  • Powell River
  • Prince George
  • Quesnel
  • Rossland
  • Sechelt
  • Squamish
  • Sunshine Coast Regional District
  • Terrace
  • Trail
  • Tumbler Ridge
  • Vernon
  • Williams Lake