Opening a small business in Calgary has never been easier!

Calgary celebrating Small Business Week

Small businesses are the heart of our community. They offer spaces for people to connect, contribute, and cultivate a strong sense of belonging. We’re continuing to make it easier to open a small business in Calgary through the Business Experience Improvement Program.

Through this program, people who apply for a business licence are assigned to a Business Approvals file manager. The file manager reviews the business licence application and works with the business owner to ensure that they have applied for and submitted all the right permits needed to open their business.2016-1822_FRZ_1361_63118

When the program launched in May 2022, only people who wanted to open restaurants, breweries, distilleries, food production businesses and outdoor cafes or patios were able to participate in this personalized service. The initial launch of the program was so successful that in June 2023 we opened the program to all business licence types.

“During the first year of the program we received 1,812 business licence applications,” says Ulrik Seward, Manager of Business and Building Safety Approvals; Development, Business & Building Services. “It was important to open the program up because small businesses play such an important role in Calgary’s local economy. Through this program we can support anyone who wants to apply for a business licence, whether they are a lifelong Calgarian or a newcomer to our city or country.”

Today, regardless of what small business you want to open, we’ve got you covered through the Business Experience Improvement program. Our file managers will help you apply for all of the necessary permits you’ll need to open your dream business, whether it’s a hair salon, a small retail store, restaurant or home-based child care business.

“In 2023, we have seen business licence applications increase by 14 per cent year-over-year,” says Seward. “This tells us that people are excited about opening small businesses in Calgary. To encourage this excitement and support small business owners, we also began offering free webinars in November 2021 that cover a range of topics to help you open your business in Calgary.”

To celebrate Small Business Week, we are hosting virtual webinars on opening a restaurant or brewery, home-based business, or commercial business on Oct. 18, 24 and 25 respectively. If you want to learn more or register for one of these upcoming webinars please visit All our past webinars are also posted on that web page if you’d like to check them out.  

If you’re interested in opening a small business of your own visit to learn more about how the Business Experience Improvement Program can help you achieve your small business dreams.