It’s been about six years since I moved to Prince George from Toronto and I’m happy to say that, after being unsure of where to plant my roots, the city is now my permanent home for so many reasons. My husband and I bought a house last year; something I never thought I would own before my 30s (another advantage of living here). A large part of why we chose our home here was the sense of community. We both have stable-income jobs, we love Prince George and we want to see it thrive. We want to grow the economy here. It’s honestly exciting to feel our roots growing in Prince George and getting to know so many other people that are doing the same.
I’ve been interested in being an entrepreneur since graduating university. I love the idea of trying to build a business from the ground up and watching it grow. So, last year I opened a business as a side hustle and over the course of the past year, I have noticed some location-specific advantages of being an entrepreneur in Prince George.
- Strategic Location: Since Prince George is at the crossroads of Highway 16 and Highway 97, accessibility to the Northern and Interior regions of BC is really a drive away. This allows a business’s clients to reduce travel and leave of absence costs compared to our non-regional competitors. Imagine the cost savings for companies to fly consultants from Vancouver, Edmonton or Calgary versus having a local consultant in Prince George drive to a worksite.
- Less Competition: Being in a smaller centre is so advantageous for many reasons, but more specifically for being a technical professional and consultant. There aren’t very many of us and this proves to be a great asset. Fewer people means there are fewer businesses, which means there’s a better chance for a person to carve out a niche and dominate that portion of the market.
- Networking and Resources: Some would say a smaller centre in British Columbia might have lower quality business resources, but this is far from the truth. There are many driven, intelligent and amazing entrepreneurs I have connected (in person and virtually) with in Prince George that I learn from and lean on through my growth phase. Navigating building a business is HARD – and organizations like Community Futures Fraser Fort George, SupportPG and Futurpreneur Canada really understand the advantages and challenges of working in a smaller centre away from the Lower Mainland. I love working, living and playing in my Prince George. Also, I think it gives me a little bit of street cred when central BC workers ask me where I’m from (the answer is always believe or not, not Vancouver!).
It is not a one size fits all for building a business and careful consideration needs to be put into any business plan. The advantages I have listed have worked for my business and my niche and may not necessarily work for others. I encourage anyone who is thinking about starting a business to choose Prince George and make sure to access the local resources available.