Coalition of Progressive Electors candidates Ellen Woodsworth and RJ Aquino want to see the establishment of more collaborative work-spaces for creative small businesses in Vancouver.
Based on a model like the Network Hub, a downtown co-working space shared by entrepreneurs and start-ups, Woodsworth and Aquino said they want to fast-track licensing for people wanting to set up similar spaces.
“The Network Hub is a space that really identifies and highlights how entrepreneurs need this kind of environment in order to thrive in the city,” said Aquino at the Network Hub.
“It’s much less costly than investing in downtown real estate, so it allows people to work together and provide that infrastructure that is affordable and gets them started.”
The COPE candidates also want to see lower taxes for small businesses.
“A lot of small businesses are going under as the value of land increases, so we think that there should be a differential tax rate for small business than the larger businesses,” said Woodsworth.
The candidate noted she introduced a motion in city council calling for the creation of a small business centre to make it easier for start-ups to “get through red tape quickly”.
“There needs to be somewhere within the bureaucracy that can really help the small business consolidate all the bits and pieces of licensing and setting up a business and finding a location, knowing what zoning they can go into, things like that,” she said.
Aquino and Woodsworth added COPE also wants to provide seed money for emerging artists and innovative new small businesses.
“We know that arts really funds the local economy,” said Woodsworth. “A dollar into the arts leverages anywhere from $7 to $14 dollars. So this is critical for us.”
Aquino and Woodsworth are two of three COPE candidates running for city council in the November 19 civic election under a common slate with Vision Vancouver.