Anyone knows that starting a business can have a lot of details that need to be met, and a lot of paperwork that needs to be filled out. It can be an overwhelming process, and small business owners in Edmonton are saying that all of the red tape that they’ve had to go through has been painstakingly slow, and is hurting small business in the city. For some, it’s taking several years before their plan goes from proposal to being finalized.
This is the case for Katy Ingraham and her business partner that wanted to open a deli. Once they got the idea to do so, it took a total of three years. Their first proposal was declined because of parking issues, which shouldn’t have been a problem, they say, because the building that they were moving into had already existed. After all of the delays, investors started to pull their money back as they fought for permits, and it delayed the business even further.
Ingraham even needed crowdsourcing funds to help keep that dream of owning a deli alive. “I’ve said this before that, you know, taking a risk is the most Edmonton thing you can do; we hear it all the time,” she said. “That it really is a cautionary tale.” Those that are in charge of licensing and developing new business within the city, though, say that they stand by the process in which people have to go through in Edmonton.
The city does have an interest in small business, as many have decided to come to Edmonton to begin their entrepreneurial careers. Edmonton provides a lot of support grants and has support programs with advisors in place in hopes of speeding up the process, even if there have been those like Ingraham that have had to go through a lot. “It has been a strain on us personally,” Ingraham said. “If you want something and you believe in it and you have the vision to do that, you need to have the leadership to get it there.”
Most of the work for permits can currently be done online, though there are some things that need to be done in person. The process seems to be getting longer by the year, but for many, it’s been worth it in the long run.