Join our thriving business community
If you are looking to start a business in Squamish, you’re in the right place. Join a thriving economy that’s achieving big things.
We are home to a budding start-up ecosystem, with a growing community of entrepreneurs, investors, and services to support you.
Ready to start your journey with the rest of them but aren’t sure where to begin? Read on for guidance on how to build your dream company in Squamish. Start today.
Sector related tips for starting your business
Craft food and beverage, and agriculture sector
- If you are a food or beverage processor, you will need to access commercial kitchen space, consider using underutilized restaurant space or reach out to one of the commissary kitchens in town
- Want to start small and test your concept? Try selling at the Squamish Farmer's Market. The Farmer's Market runs weekly, every Saturday between April and December in downtown Squamish. This captive audience is a great focus group for your product testing.
- Learn the ropes by signing up for UBC Feeding Growth. Feeding Growth provides food and beverage processors with the knowledge they need from packaging design to sales and manufacturing.
- Interested in farming? Join the Young Agrarians to learn about working your own land and identifying parcels for growing.
- Farmers and primary producers may also be interested to know that the Province of B.C. offers a funded Agri-Business Planning program.
Environmental services businesses
- Prior to opening any business, researching the competition is key. It is also worthwhile considering what the competitions' strengths are and how your business positions itself in relation to the others in the sector.
- Consider whether the other businesses in your sector might be worthwhile collaborators, and how you could benefit from leveraging each other's strengths.
- Is franchising the right option for your business? The probability of a business surviving the first two years increases when it is franchised, leveraging the success of the franchise's brand and track record.
Sustainable tourism and hospitality sector
- In drawing up your business plan be sure to clearly map out how you are going to achieve your goals. In doing so, clearly articulate the boundaries the of service you provide to your customers. For example, will you provide or book your customer's transportation or accommodation?
- Are you appropriately networked to make this venture succeed? Do you have industry experts advising and supporting you? Tourism Squamish helps local businesses evolve through the creation of destination marketing campaigns, improving the visitor experience and destination development. Create and maintain your networks through industry events and social media. Know the limitations of your business, and partner with others in the sector to increase your customer's satisfaction.
- Know the legal requirements for your business. Don't put yourself, your staff, or customers at risk, ensure that you fulfill all legal requirements including business licences, permits, and insurance.
Is your idea feasible? Can you make money from it? Do you know who and where your target market is? Do you understand who your competitors are, what makes your product or service distinct?
Test the viability of your idea by researching the market, industry, and competition.
- Visit our Tools and Resources; you will find articles, checklists, data, and more to help you validate and research your idea.
2. Have a plan
This is an essential step and critical for the planning and success of your business: the development of your business plan.
Your target market, sales and distribution channels, financial plan, competitor analysis, timelines and marketing strategy are just some of the considerations that should be included within your plan.
- Visit our Tools and Resources to access free planning tools, articles, tips, training, and more.
3. Finance your business
Banks and other lenders or investors will often require a written business plan which includes pro forma financial statements. In some cases, lenders may require you to personally guarantee your loan when you are starting out.
While traditional bank financing may not be an option, consider venture capitalists, angel investors, family, and crowdfunding as potential sources for funding.
Provincial and federal governments may have funding programs appropriate for your business, including research and development, innovation, industry-specific grants and tax credits.
- Find more Tools and Resources; access grants, funding, and financing options, planning tools, articles, tips, training and more.
4. Choose a structure
The structure of your business has implications on the flexibility, liability, taxation and reporting requirements of your business.
Whether operating as a Sole Proprietorship, in Partnership or as a Corporation, it is recommended that you get expert advice.
- Small Business BC offers expert advising business services. Find more advice when considering the structure of your business.
5. Make it official
When getting ready to launch, make sure you’ve registered your business and have obtained the proper permits and licenses that are required to operate. The following registrations, permits and licenses resources may or may not be required depending on the level of sales, your industry and structure.
6. Protect yourself
Be proactive and ensure your business is protected. Ensure you are protected. The Squamish Chamber of Commerce offers its members access to discounted health, disability and life insurance.
7. Find employees
Tap into local hiring resources for tips, information, training, programs, and funding. The District of Squamish, Squamish Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Squamish, and WorkBC are just some of the local organizations that work in collaboration to support workforce attraction and retention.
- Visit our Tools and Resources for tips, research, articles, training, and more.
Tips for launching your business
Promote your business:
Keep track of records:
- Set up an orderly record and accounting system.
- You are required to keep all your business records for six years.
- Visit smallbusinessbc.ca to sign up for one-on-one expert advice.
Create a network:
- The Chamber of Commerce and local industry associations are great ways to make connections and take advantage of membership perks such as training, marketing and discounts.
- See our Partners and Ambassadors page for local contact information.
Join local online groups such as:
A Squamish business guide
Whether you are starting or growing your business in Squamish, this guide features a practical checklist to help ensure you don't miss a step along the way. What are you waiting for? Download your copy today and dive in.
Download your copy today
Get inspired - start a business in Squamish
Ask Jim Morris about his motivation to start a business in Squamish, and he’ll tell you that he remembers exactly what drew him here in 2005.
As owner of the full-service digital agency Venture Web, Jim had a vision to combine his interest in outdoor adventure with his professional life. He knew that he could achieve the work-life balance he desired for himself and his staff in Squamish.
Resources for starting your business
Access our Start a Business resources to help you find out more.
Are you planning to immigrate to B.C.? Find out more about immigration opportunities and processes.
Community Futures Howe Sound
Non-profit offering small business loans and advising in the Howe Sound area.
Squamish Business Guide
A guide for starting and growing your business in Squamish.
Business Planning for Small Business
Discover resources, advice, information, and support for business planning for your small business.
5 Steps to Buying a Business
Small Business BC offers five steps to consider when buying a business.