Vancouver Business Networking Where You Work

June 18, 2010 by · Leave a Comment 

Robson Square lit up at night during the 2010 Olympics.

Getting involved in your local Business Improvement Association is a bit like joining a board of trade on the street where you work. You get to know the local banker, barista and nail bar owner on a first-name basis. They provide a great opportunity for Vancouver business networking.

Based on a long and successful history in the United States, the Business Improvement Association represents all businesses within a neighbourhood bringing together local merchants, entrepreneurs and professionals.

In Vancouver’s Lower Mainland, there are 35 individual Business Improvement Associations. Downtown Vancouver itself has seven BIAs including Robson Street, Gastown, the West End, Yaletown, Chinatown and Strathcona.

Unlike other business organizations and associations which charge a fee at the door for everyone who attends, participating in BIA events, meetings and committees are free. All business owners within the zone contribute financially through an annual levy against property taxes.

Whether you own a business or work for one, attending meetings and joining committees provides an inroad to developing local clientele as well as networking among those who run businesses or work near you. It also provides free access to marketing surveys, neighbourhood profiles, special studies and reports for the area.

Most Business Improvement Associations are run by a volunteer board of property owners and business community members. Apart from regular meetings, the BIA holds special events, business networking events and forms committees to promote community awareness, marketing and street beautification /image enhancement as well as safety. Marketing committees get involved in everything from developing advertising and media campaigns to orchestrating street festivals and community events.

If you are a professional, getting involved in your BIA will bring you in touch with neighbourhood lawyers, accountants, insurance brokers, and medical and dental practitioners. The opportunities for business networking and making new contacts with other Vancouver professionals and business owners are excellent.

If you are a newcomer, the first step is to get to know your BIA’s executive director or president. This individual is your personal welcome wagon host to the local business community – in many cases, on a first name basis with business owners and bankers alike.

Vancouver Business Networking at the Local B.I.A.:

To find out more about the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association, go to

For more details on business associations within Vancouver, visit