The city’s active business licences continued to rise last year, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, and home-based businesses now make up a third of such licences.
During a recent meeting, council heard the number of active business licences in Kamloops remains on a general upward trajectory.
At the end of 2020, the city had 6,211 active business licences, compared to 5,999 in 2019, 5,750 in 2018 and 5,796 in 2017. The year 2020 saw a 3.5 per cent increase in active business licences, including 803 licences issued to new businesses, up over 619 licences issued to new businesses in 2019.
City of Kamloops planning manager Rod Martin said people are getting creative in starting businesses.
“I think it’s people that are just looking at different ways to make money in this kind of unique time,” Martin told KTW.
“Maybe if they got laid off from their company and started out on their own, so that’ll be a new business licence starting up. And there’s people moving here from the Lower Mainland, a lot of people can work from home online, that sort of thing. I think there’s people moving out of the bigger centres. Move to Kamloops, you can probably get a better deal on housing, which is probably why our housing market is so crazy right now.”
Licences issued to home-based businesses are also on the rise, with a six per cent uptick in 2020 over 2019.
At the end of 2020, home-based businesses comprised of about a third of all businesses and the city had 2,189 home-based businesses at the end of 2020, compared to 2,060 at the end of 2019.
“I think that’s a higher rate of increase than typical,” Martin said. “But I think a lot of that is because of the pandemic — people are finding ways to work from home.”
Restaurants have been struggling during the pandemic, but the city has not seen a significant drop in business licences for eateries. The licence type that includes standalone restaurants also includes bakeries, delis and caterers. Martin said the city currently has 256 active business licences in that category, compared to 259 at the end of 2020.
In addition, reports indicate the city had 258 such business licenses at the end of 2019 and 256 at the end of 2018 and 2017.
“There’s virtually no change,” Martin said.
If a business has been unable to operate due to restrictions during the pandemic, Martin said, the city is only requiring them to pay in 2021 when they begin operating again.
The city plans to pro-rate licence rates this year, based on when owners obtained their licences.