Are You Starting a Business in Downtown Duncan?
Here’s what you need to know.
Downtown Duncan is a great place to start a business. The city is centrally located and connected by air and sea to major cities like Victoria, Vancouver, Nanaimo, and more. The surrounding region is home to a growing population with access to skills development programs (for more information on demographics, visit Trade and Invest Canada here: https://www.britishcolumbia.ca/invest/communities/british-columbia/vancouver-island-and- coast/cowichan-valley/#stats.) Duncan is also a beautiful, liveable community with the warmest year-round climate in Canada, not to mention a supportive Business Improvement Area society!
Before you open your doors, there is lots to organize. We have rounded up some useful links so you can learn about bylaws, business licenses, insurance, and more.
City of Duncan
The City of Duncan has a detailed website with information on obtaining permits (https://duncan.ca/city-hall/building-permits-inspection/) and business licenses (https://duncan.ca/businesses/business-licences/). The website also has a detailed section on bylaws relating to signage, waterworks, garbage removal and more (https://duncan.civicweb.net/filepro/documents/37448).
British Columbia’s Small Business Resources
The provincial government has put together a two-page list of government resources to support small businesses, which you can find here: management/small-business/small_business_resources.pdf
This pamphlet includes links to guides for starting restaurants, franchises, and more small businesses. The pamphlet also includes links to websites for organizations like Work BC, or the Women’s Enterprise Centre, which offers business loans and guidance to female entrepreneurs.
Small Business BC
This non-profit organization offers a wealth of information to small business owners,
including a blog, seminars online and in person, expert advice, and free tools like the Business Plan Checklist (https://smallbusinessbc.ca/wp-content/uploads/resource_files/How-to-
Write-a-Business-Plan-2.pdf). Need to register your business? Small Business BC explains how
here: Need someone to bounce ideas off while you get your plan together? You can obtain 30-minute consultations via skype or in-person for free by following this link: business-information-advisory-service/
Don’t forget insurance! Island Savings offers links to business loan protection, business liability
and property insurance, and more (https://www.islandsavings.ca/Business/InsureBus/)
Need a loan or other support in starting your business? Community Futures is a non-profit financing organization funded by Western Economic Diversification Canada. Their website includes practical advice on starting up a business (http://www.cfcowichan.ca/business- services/starting-a-business) as well as a micro-loans program with funds ranging from $500 to
Cowichan Valley Regional District
The Cowichan’s economic development administrative arm has a number of resources for prospective business owners, including a Development Handbook (https://www.cvrd.bc.ca/DocumentCenter/View/91078/Development-Handbook-) and an interactive map outlining the Cowichan Valley’s zoning, curbside collection services, parks and recreation, and more ( For more information on employment supports, commercial lenders, sector profiles, and more, visit: https://www.ecdevcowichan.com/best-for-business/
A crown agency which helps investors access funding and connect with experts, Innovate BC is especially focused on delivering programs to help technology start-ups. The organization offers financing through tech co-ops and initiatives like the Ignite Program, which offers funding worth up to $300,000 in the areas of natural resources, applied science and engineering. For more information, visit:
Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce
The region’s chamber of commerce has assembled a list of links to power points and reports by experts like Destination BC CEO Marsha Walden and Cowichan Business Roundtables. To see all the information the chamber has assembled, visit: http://www.duncancc.bc.ca/business-links
These are just some great places to start researching how to open a business in Duncan. If you are looking for more information, do not hesitate to contact the Downtown Duncan Business
Improvement Area society at (250) 715-1700 for more support!