What if we could achieve the exceptional as a community? What kind of community do we want to leave behind for our children and grandchildren? How do we create the transformative in our plans that help get us to our aspirational horizon line?

The City of Fort St. John is creating an Economic Development Strategy that aims to answer these questions.

Workshop and interview work to date has highlighted: workforce attraction and retention challenges; opportunities to help entrepreneurs develop and grow businesses; and opportunities to grow key economic sectors – including energy and forestry.

This business community-specific survey is being sent to all business license accounts. Where we can really use your help is to identify specific business issues and opportunities that would help you grow your business. Your input and ideas are important to the City’s future!

Thank you in advance for spending your valuable time completing this survey. All responses are confidential and only aggregate results are used to inform the creation of the Economic Development Strategy. The survey will remain open until January 31, 2023.

The City of Fort St. John is committed to protecting your privacy. Any personal information you provide to us is collected pursuant to 26(c) and 26(e) of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act for the purpose of administering City services. Should you have any questions about the collection of this personal information please contact the Corporate Officer.

Win a $100 gift card to a Fort St. John business of your choice! Entry of your first name and phone number in the space provided below, and full completion of a survey, will automatically enter you in a random draw (one winner). No linkage will be made between a phone number and response content. There is no requirement to enter your phone number/draw.



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* 1. Please provide your first name and phone number to be entered into the draw 

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* 2. What 2 or 3 things makes Fort St. John a great place to do business?

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* 3. Where do you feel Fort St. John has specific competitive advantage that would attract new businesses/new business in your sector?

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* 4. What 2 or 3 specific things could be improved in Fort St. John to make it more business friendly and/or support growth of your business?

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* 5. What are your key challenges in operating and growing your business? (choose up to your top 5)

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* 6. Keeping Fort St John's value proposition in mind, what industries do you believe should lead the Fort St. John economy into the future?  (choose up to your top 3)

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* 7. What needs to be done to attract people/workforce to Fort St John and have them stay long-term. (choose up to your top 5)

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* 8. Are there any other specific workforce attraction and retention initiatives businesses/the City/education institutions/other organizations could work on that you feel would bring more people to Fort St. John/encourage them to stay longer?

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* 9. 60-90% of new economic growth in a community is created by existing businesses - which is why business retention and expansion is so important to the future prosperity of Fort St. John. What kinds of business retention and expansion initiatives would you be interested in seeing in Fort St. John that you feel are a best bet in terms of promoting business growth in Fort St. John? (choose up to your top 5)

** note: municipalities in BC have a tool they can use by bylaw: Revitalization Tax Incentive

9. The “Middle Ground”

As an entrepreneur in BC and Canada, there are gaps – in either availability of the right type of space, or support programs – that can stand in the way of a business idea coming to life, or that constrain business growth. As one example, cost barriers can be too big to jump from home-based business to large commercial space. A little help from others at a key time can be critical. These entrepreneur challenges are often called “missing middles.” The space gap can be visualized as:



Image source courtesy: Strong Towns https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2018/11/6/theres-a-missing-middle-for-commercial-spaces-too

We can add to this visualization of missing middles: Accessory Commercial Units (like a garden suite but a visible commercial enterprise in a residential district typically in a mixed-use zone or adjacent to a commercial area); co-work spaces, incubator/accelerator/hub space to grow companies – particularly tech companies; market spaces and buildings; and the “corner store.”

There’s no end to the types of financial, mentorship, learning, start-up and other support programs that can help support entrepreneur development and business growth. What is ultimately offered is about considering programs that best work for local business. 

In this context….

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* 10. What types of “middle ground” spaces do you feel would best help businesses and entrepreneurship grow in Fort St. John? (choose up to your top 5)

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* 11. What kinds of programs do you feel would best support development of your business/all Fort St. John businesses to nurture success? (choose up to your top 5)

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* 12. What priorities should an Economic Development Strategy place on the following business and investment enablers? (choose up to your top 5)

12. Municipal economic development programs typically contain the following elements:


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* 13. Based on what you feel is important to a prosperous future for Fort St. John, which programs do you think Fort St. John should focus? (choose  only your top 2)

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* 14. What sector is your business in? (check the category most appropriate to your business. Note: these are standard Census Canada industry sector categories)

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* 15. If you have any additional comments about the future of Fort St. John and its needs, challenges and/or opportunities, please comment in the space provided.

Thank you!

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