#BCBudget 2017: where’s the love for our young startups?

Try to control-F the budget and you will find:

  • 0 hits on “entrepreneurship”
  • 3 unique hits for “small business”

Missing from this budget is a strong acknowledgement and investment in developing more young entrepreneurs and in training to develop the entrepreneurial mindset. While there is a big budget increase in education and skills-trades, what is missing is an investment in programs and curriculum that will train youth not only in technical skills, but in transferable, 21st century competencies that will allow our youth to thrive in a rapidly changing work environment. The jobs of today are not the jobs of tomorrow and we need to support our youth in pursuing and creating meaningful opportunities for themselves.

Budget put forth a few strong measures that will help existing entrepreneurs + small business, specifically reducing tax rates.

The additional investments being put forth for rural economic development is critical, as youth in our remote communities will now be more supported in starting business that can have global reach, therefore contributing even further to the growth of their local communities. While this is not being positioned as a measure to support small business, it will allow young entrepreneurs across the province to more readily and reliably choose their place of business. This is particularly important for young entrepreneurs who cannot afford the cost of living in urban centers and want or need to stay in their local communities.

Summary of measures that will impact BC’s young entrepreneurs:

  • $40M in additional funding to extend high-speed internet access to rural and remote BC
  • $25M to expand the Rural Dividend program will further support young entrepreneurs to stay in, and grow in, their communities
  • $6M to support the Buy Local program: we increasingly see young entrepreneurs starting food-based ventures, and this program is critical to enable the growth of agrifoods businesses
  • removable of PST on electricity purchases by businesses
  • reduction of small business income tax rate to 2% (from 2.5%) and small business corporate tax rate to 3.5% (from 4.5%)
  • corporate income tax small business threshold increased from $400K → $500k
  • extending SRED (the scientific research and experimental development tax credit) for 5 years, which allows early stage tech startups to invest the necessary capital in R&D
  • a further increase to the Small Business Venture Capital tax credit, which will allow for more young entrepreneurs to receive local investments, therefore growing their community, impact and opportunities.

BC government needs to invest in early stage, young entrepreneurs. In a province where 98% of our economy is made up of small business (which, start out as startups), it is critical that support mechanisms are put in place to allow our youth to thrive, or we will lose them to cities and innovation hubs that are more welcoming and more supportive.

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