Courtesy of the City of Williams Lake:
Williams Lake has had its participation in a new pilot program for rural entrepreneur immigration confirmed today.
“This pilot program is a good opportunity for Williams Lake to raise its profile as an attractive place to relocate and start a business venture,” says Beth Veenkamp, Economic Development Officer for the City of Williams Lake. “The purpose of the program is to spread the benefits of Canada’s immigration programs into regional communities; typically this kind of investment goes into large cities.”
Part of the process will be to highlight what a great community Williams Lake is and demonstrate the market that exists here for small businesses to flourish. This will be done by hosted exploratory visits to the city that will look at the community as a whole including education options, health services and recreation. “The goal of our participation is to find entrepreneurs who really want to come to Williams Lake and build a life here. The City of Williams Lake will have the opportunity to endorse the proposed business by providing a referral letter to the Province when they file their application. This will give us the opportunity to meet with people and have open discussions about the community and, hopefully, ensure that we are attracting people who will genuinely want to be here.”
Mayor Walt Cobb says this is one of the initiatives being undertaken by the Economic Development department to achieve the goals set in the Economic Development Strategy. “One of the priorities coming from that strategy is increasing the quality of life and livability of Williams Lake so that people want to stay in the community. This program will be one of the initiatives that we will be using over the next two years to see more businesses open, which in turn gives our residents more choices and options.”
The program is set to run for two years and will be managed by the Ministry of Jobs, Trade and Technology, where the existing Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) will still run concurrently. The Regional Pilot will include incentives such as a lower investment threshold and personal net worth in order to apply. The program is only for start-up businesses, although people wishing to purchase an existing business are encouraged to apply through the regular PNP Program.