South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce building database to help attract immigrant investors to area

By on July 23, 2014

The South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce hopes to attract more immigrant investors to the area through a joint federal-provincial program.

Bonnie Dancey, Chief Executive Officer of the chamber, said the organization is creating a database of commercial, industrial and agricultural businesses in the area that are for sale.

Although the initiative is being promoted to chamber members, Dancey said businesses belonging to non-members of the chamber can also be listed.

The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) is operated in partnership by the federal and provincial governments. It selects foreign entrepreneurs who are ready to invest in the economy and create jobs for Canadian citizens and permanent residents and it streamlines their applications for residency.

Under the Regional Entrepreneur category, investors must be prepared to invest a minimum of $200,000 to acquire at least one-third equity in a B.C. business outside the Vancouver and Abbotsford metropolitan areas. They must also actively manage the business.

There are additional categories of entrepreneurial investor, including for those planning to buy into farming businesses.

Dancey said the chamber has scheduled a 15-minute presentation to a room full of potential investors in March, but the database is being compiled this summer.

“I only have a student working on this until about Aug. 20, so if people do want to get their businesses listed, they can send us a description with the price, a photo and location. This is what we need for the database.”

Although the presentation will be brief, Dancey said typically investors phone the following day so economic development officers need to have information handy about businesses that are available for sale.

Even before the March presentation, it’s useful to have the information to respond to inquiries, she said.

“We’re getting companies that work with Chinese investors calling us all the time, so it’s good to have those lists,” she said.

The information will be made available to Gail Scott at Destination Osoyoos and John Powell in Okanagan Falls, who are economic development officers, Dancey said.

These economic development officers will provide the information to potential investors, but it won’t be generally available to the public, she said.

For more information about the PNP program, visit: http://www.welcomebc.ca/Immigrate/About-the-BC-PNP.aspx.

For more information about the South Okanagan Chamber of Commerce, call 250-498-6321 or visit: http://www.sochamber.ca/.

RICHARD McGUIRE

Osoyoos Times

 

 

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