Entrepreneurs looking to start a business in Humboldt just got a new tool to help them cut through the red tape.BizPal, a new online business permit and licence service, was launched in Humboldt on July 23. About 25 people gathered at the launch ceremony held at the Willkommen Centre, including representatives from the three levels of government that made the website possible: the City of Humboldt, Enterprise Saskatchewan and Industry Canada.
BizPal is meant to help entrepreneurs save time on paperwork and therefore start up faster. It provides entrepreneurs looking to start or expand their business with simplified access to information on the permits and licences they need to establish and run their businesses, at federal, provincial and municipal levels. It is designed to cut through the paperwork burden and red tape that small business owners tend to encounter.Entrepreneurs simply enter the type of business they plan to open, then answer a series of questions. Once the questions are answered, a list of permits and licences for each jurisdiction pops up on the screen. By clicking on each item in the list, they can learn more about each one, be linked to a government site to learn more, and in some cases, apply online.
The service is also meant to benefit governments by making it easier for them to provide businesses with accurate, up-to-date information on permits and licences.The combined efforts of many people from all three levels of government contributed to the success of this project, noted master of ceremonies Kevin Plemel, president of the Humboldt and District Chamber of Commerce, at the launch.And representatives of those three levels of government had words to share about BizPal."The City of Humboldt is excited to have the BizPal service launched in our community," said city councillor Philip Smith at the launch."As a City, we pride ourselves on being business friendly, yet we know we do live in a highly regulated world. BizPal will help entrepreneurs cut through the red tape whenever they are thinking of starting a new business or expanding a current one."Smith said he was impressed by how easy it was to use the site, and by the detail provided."As a past would-be entrepreneur, I only wish the service was available years ago," Smith said. "The City of Humboldt prides itself on being entrepreneur friendly and BizPal is a great innovative resource to help continue to make that possible," said Malcolm Eaton, Mayor of Humboldt, in the news release distributed at the launch, as he was unable to attend."BizPal is a one-stop shop for all entrepreneurs in Humboldt; a service to assist them in getting their businesses up and running. We are thrilled to launch this online service for our business community and look forward to having BizPal be a part of the future growth in our community."Chris Dekker, CEO of Enterprise Saskatchewan, was on hand to speak for that branch of the government."BizPal is a valuable service. There's no question about it," he said. It's national in scope, he noted, and reaches many community in the province. It's about, he said, communities, business groups and government all working together and making it easier to do business.This site is part of the Saskatchewan government's work to improve the business environment in this province, he indicated, by removing irritants and red tape.Dekker said he used BizPal in Saskatoon when he and his wife were opening a business there, and discovered the site made it easy to find out what they needed to start up.Dekker said it was estimated that before BizPal, it would take about eight hours of searching and research for entrepreneurs to find out what permits or licences they needed to open. Now, it takes 20 minutes.Increasing the efficiency of the process frees up time for the entrepreneur, Dekker said. "And when businesses operate more effectively and efficiently, it's better for us all," he stated.Dekker called the business community in Humboldt "vibrant" and said that helping local businesses contributes to a stronger economy in Humboldt, Saskatchewan and Canada.Though Jeremy Harrison, Saskatchewan Minister of Enterprise, could not attend the ceremony, he did send greetings in a new release."There are many thriving small and medium-sized businesses in Saskatchewan that contribute a great deal to our economic success," Harrison noted. "BizPal will be a valuable asset to Humboldt and area and will allow business owners to spend more time running their businesses and less time on red tape issues."Brad Trost, MP for Saskatoon-Humboldt, spoke on behalf of the federal government and Industry Canada at the launch. "Through Budget 2010, our government is demonstrating a strong commitment to small and medium-sized businesses by improving access to financing, reducing taxes and cutting the red tape that businesses face every day," said Trost. "BizPal is a great example of our government's hard work to support Canadian businesses as they innovate, create jobs and generate wealth in our communities."Starting a small business is not easy, Trost noted, but it's something that many in Saskatchewan have experience with. "Farmers are small businessowners, too," he pointed out. BizPal, he pointed out, does not just allow people to find information faster, it allows them to find it accurately."BizPal is going to make a positive difference," Trost said, making it easier for businesses to get running on all cylinders. "Its appeal is obvious."Trost ended his speech by thanking the entrepreneurs, who go out, create wealth and make things possible."We're doing our best to get out of your way," he said of the government.Tom Payton of Enterprise Saskatchewan performed a small demonstration of the BizPal site, showing just how straightforward and easy to use the site is. The site can be accessed at www.bizpal.gov.sk.ca or bizpal.ca.The province plans to expand BizPal to other areas of Saskatchewan over the next year. Already, 61 are set up, and another 54 are currently being added. Cities, RMs, towns and small villages are included in that number. For those municipalities not currently added, there are generic lists of permits and licences normally required that can be used as a guideline. To date, 11 provinces and territories are participating in BizPal, with more than 420 municipalities offering the service.