Finalists for the Open for Business awards, by Small Business BC, have been announced and Prince George has made the cut in the Large Community category.

The award recognizes the leadership shown by municipalities and First Nations throughout BC who create a welcoming environment for small businesses.

The other finalists for the category are Campbell River and Penticton.

What sets Prince George ahead of the pack? Economic Development Manager, Melissa Barcellos, explains.

“Our collaborations, it couldn’t happen with only one organization behind us,” she says.

“I think that really makes Prince George unique. It’s this focus on partnership, collaboration, and working together to have a bigger impact and improve our downtown.”

This accomplishment is years in the making for the city, as it has been working with organizations like Downtown PG and Northern Development Initiative Trust for quite some time.

Revitalizing the downtown and small businesses in the are has been a top priority for PG.

“There is political will to support businesses, to ensure they’re successful, to open our doors and help them through the setup process, to help them to access funding in order to build their buildings,” Barcellos explains.

“We are taking an active role in revitalizing the downtown. It really goes to show businesses that we have our skin on the game and we want to make sure that they’re successful and we’re going to do whatever we can in order to help them.”

One local small business is also up for a pair of Small Business BC awards.

Pathfinder Endeavours Ltd. is up for the Best Community Impact and Premier’s People’s Choice awards.

Barcellos and City Manager Kathleen Soltis are expected to represent Prince George at the Small Business BC Awards Gala on February 23rd at the Vancouver Convention Centre.