Curious about starting a business? SBBC is here to support you at every step of the journey. We’re an independent non-profit that provides affordable, universal access to expert advice, education and unbiased business resources.
Our goal is to help you succeed, whether we offer the service you need or we help connect you to another resource. And, as your business matures, we’ll be by your side – helping you expand, scale your operations, and prepare for your next big goal.
We created this page to provide easy access to practical resources and support you’ll find useful during the startup phase. If you’ve got questions, no matter how big or small, contact our team, and we’ll be happy to help.
There’s no instruction manual for starting a business, but our free business checklists are a great place to start. View all of our business checklists, or check out our most popular startup options below.
To give your business the best chance of success, you’re going to need a business plan. This document acts as your roadmap for the journey ahead. It will help you spot potential weaknesses and opportunities, while helping you to make informed decisions before you commit yourself legally or financially.
Province of BC - Business Structures Wizard Tool
One of your most important early decisions when starting a new business is your choice of business structure. Use the Province of BC’s handy tool to compare your options and determine the best fit for your needs.
Receive the coaching you need to create a successful business plan with SBBC’s Business Plan Consulting and Review Service. This service is currently available for 50% off thanks to our partners, Fortis BC.
By now, you’ve got your business plan in place, and it’s time to take the next step and register your business. This process is relatively straightforward, with a few simple steps to take depending on the structure of your business. Below, we’ve prepared a handy guide to walk you through the process.
A Guide to BC's Business Registration Process
Learn how to navigate BC’s Business Registry and get your business registered with the province. Discover how the process works for each common business structure.
Need help getting started? We can answer all your questions from choosing the right business structure to finalizing your business name. Learn how SBBC expert business advisors can help make the business registration process easy.
We understand every entrepreneur is different and every entrepreneurial journey is unique. No matter where you start, SBBC is here to support you along the way with resources and inspiration. As an independent non-profit, we aim to reach all corners of the BC small business community, meet people where they are and connect them with the resources they need.
We’re committed to building resources and relationships that better serve underrepresented entrepreneurs. We’re excited to share the supports currently in place for business owners who identify as disabled/having a disability, Black, Indigenous, women, and LGBTQIA2S+.
Many industries in British Columbia have specific regulations and unique factors that will influence your startup. We’ve rounded up information on some of the most popular growth industries in our province.
Most municipalities in British Columbia require you to obtain a business licence, which gives you permission to operate your business on your premises (whether in your home or in a commercial space) within that municipality.
In some instances, you may be required to obtain a licence in municipalities where you do not maintain premises but do carry on business.
Contact your local city hall – as well as the city hall in each community where you’re doing business – to see which permits (including mobile business licences) might be required for your type of business.
Please note that additional federal, provincial, and/or municipal regulations may apply to your particular business. Consult the appropriate authority or visit www.bizpal.ca for more information.
Yes, but there are legal and tax requirements for non-Canadians starting a business in BC.
Non-residents are permitted to own a corporation in BC, but you must have a physical address for your business in BC – a post office box is not enough. You’ll also have to follow all of the usual legal requirements for starting a business.
Extra-provincial(aka “branch office” or “foreign office”) registration information can be found on the BC Government website.
As an entrepreneur generating revenue in Canada, you will have to submit a tax return on any Canadian revenues generated. To do this you will need to set up an account with Canada Revenue Agency when registering your Corporation in BC.
Always check with Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) in Vancouver to confirm what kind of permit you will need to enter the country. If you plan to work on your business in Canada, you will also have to contact CIC to obtain “working status.” If you’re a student and want to start a business while studying, you will have to apply to CIC for a special modified study permit to work on your business.
Please note that a working permit doesn’t enable you to become a Canadian Citizen. If you want to be a Canadian Citizen, you will have to apply to CIC for citizenship status.
A BCeID account provides secure access to online government services like the BC Business Registry.
A client can obtain a Business BCeID online if they are able to provide their business details and prove the identity of their business.
To provide their business details, they can:
Use their BC Registry account (whether they created it using a Basic BCeID or their BC Services Card app)
Use their CRA business number
(They can also manually enter their business details, but that necessitates them going to a Service BC location and prove their identity)
By choosing to use their BC Registry account, they will be prompted to enter:
Their BC Registry account number (this is the secret passcode to verify online so that they immediately are approved for a Business BCeID)
Their business’ registration number
If they created the BC Registry account using a BCeID (Basic), they will have the option to convert it to a Business BCeID or opt to register for a net-new [Business] BCeID that they can then use for WorkSafe and other services.
If they created the account using a BC Services Card app, they will be issued a net-new Business BCeID.
We respectfully acknowledge our place of work is within the ancestral, traditional and unceded territories of the Xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) and səl̓ilwətaʔɬ/sel̓ílwitulh (Tsleil-Waututh) and that we serve the Peoples of the many Nations throughout British Columbia.