PORT ALBERNI – The provincial government has signed a Labour Market Partnership agreement with Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot to support Venture Connection, a project that encourages potential buyers to purchase B.C. businesses, help prepare business sellers to ready their businesses for successful transition and protect and grow local employment.
The program will be based out of Port Alberni.
Venture Connection will build on the successes of the 2011 Venture Connect pilot project, with the goal of reducing the impact that retirements in small businesses can have on communities.
Currently, more than 50 per cent of employment in B.C. is created by small business, and one in seven business owners in rural B.C. is over the age of 55, according to government statistics.
A recent study indicates that 41 per cent of small business owners are planning on retiring in the next five years. Without proactive projects like Venture Connect that address the impact of business succession on local employment, small rural communities may not be able to retain businesses and expand local employment opportunities.
“Maintaining strong communities motivates us,” says Lori Camire, executive director of Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot.
“Helping business owners to prepare their business for a sale will enable us to market a higher quality inventory to the discerning business buyer and support everyone’s efforts to attract buyers to buy B.C. businesses.”
The program will create new electronic materials to highlight businesses for sale in B.C., with a goal of increasing the number of businesses listed on the Venture Connect website to 200.