The Provincial Nominee Program (PNP) helps match foreign entrepreneurs with BC communities looking to expand their business sectors.
As of October 6, 2020, the City of Merritt has received 284 inquiries from foreign entrepreneurs. Merritt has hosted 20 community exploratory visits with foreign business entrepreneurs through the BC PNP program. There are currently 18 foreign entrepreneurs who have submitted the required documents and have their exploratory trips to Merritt planned once COVID-19 allows for international travel.
The program has also provided 14 letters of support to foreign entrepreneurs and the first successful applicant has recently arrived in Merritt and is preparing to open up shop.
The City created a committee to review and make referrals through the program back in April of 2019. One of the partners on the committee is Community Futures Nicola Valley (CFNV), and Manuel Olguin recently presented to Council requesting some changes to how they operate.
Olguin stated that CFNV was looking to ensure that prospective businesses have full business plans during their applications, not the currently required business concept.
“It is not fair to invite an entrepreneur to come to Merritt for an exploratory visit when they do not have an idea of how to start a business. Other communities realized that a business concept was not enough to make a decision on whether or not to issue a referral letter,” said Olguin.
Olguin also requested that CFNV become an equal partner with the City of the program to allow them to handle more of the workload.
It was stated by City Staff that a Committee of the Whole meeting could be scheduled to dive deeper into the requests.
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