Do you have an exciting new business idea? Have you spotted a gap in the market here on the coast? Or maybe you are ready to take your side hustle from a personal passion project to a successful, long term business? Wherever you are at with your business idea, we are here to provide you with the resources you need to make it happen! We have compiled a comprehensive list of resources and tools to help local entrepreneurs successfully navigate starting a business here on the Sunshine Coast.

Photo: Gibsons Waterfront, Dolf Vermeulen Creative

Developing a Business Plan

Successful businesses are built from a combination of innovative ideas, extensive market research and solid planning. Below are some resources to help you understand what is required for a concise, structured and successful business plan:

Registering your Business

If you are planning to register your business as a sole proprietorship or partnership, in some cases you aren’t required to register a your business or choose a business name, you can conduct business under your personal name; however, registration of a business name does have certain benefits: business names are useful for marketing purposes, and also allow you to accept and make payments with your bank under a business name.

If you choose to register your business name, you must first request to have the name you have chosen approved. Below are some links for business name request and approval:

Within 56 days of receiving your Name Request Number (NR number), you’ll need to register your business as either a Sole Proprietorship, Partnerships or Incorporations. Once registered, you will receive a Business Number (BN). Your BN can be used as an identifier for remitting taxes to the government, Canada pension premiums, EI premiums, and making WorkSafeBC payments. You can register your business yourself, or Small Business BC can help review, file and submit your business name for approval.

Applying for a Business Licence

Depending on where you live, or where your business is located, you will need to apply for your business license either through the District of Sechelt, or the Town of Gibsons. If your business falls in the SCRD you may not need a business license, but business owners are encouraged to contact the Planning & Development Division to discuss their future business plans to confirm compliance with zoning bylaws.

An Inter-Community Business License is also available when applying through either of the municipalities. This allows businesses to pay for one license and operate their business throughout the lower Sunshine Coast.

Accessing Funding to Start your Business

If you are planning to start a business, chances are you will need to access funding beyond your personal savings. It is important to understand how much money you will actually need to start and run your business until you reach your break-even point, and to choose the right financing option to set you up for success. Below we have put together some lenders that offer funding to Sunshine Coast entrepreneurs along with resources to help you assess the amount of funding you will require:

Local Banks and Credit Unions:

Resources and Alternative Financing Options:

Entrepreneurial Development Programs for Persons with Disabilities:

Do you have a self-declared disability or have been assessed as having a disability? Community Futures BC offers a program to provide support for persons with disabilities, who are interested in being self-employed or already operate a business.

Photo: Tapworks Brewing Co., CBR Photography

Photo: Sechelt Fish Market, CBR Photography


Still can’t find what you’re looking for? Call us at 604-747-4696 from 9am to 3pm Monday to Friday to speak with one of our local business advisors to help you get started. You can also email us at

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