Startup in a Day Initiative
Startup in a Day is a City of Vancouver initiative to streamline licensing, permitting and other requirements needed to start a business, with the goal that any entrepreneur can apply for the basic permits to start a business within one day. Startup in A Day was launched by the United States Small Business Administration in 2014, and cities across the U.S. have joined, pledging to make the startup process easier. Vancouver was the first city in the region to join the Startup in a Day Initiative.
City of Vancouver Licenses and Permits:
The City of Vancouver requires any firm that conducts business in the city to hold a valid city business license. (Certain businesses may qualify to be exempt from city license fees, but must still hold the license.) The State of Washington also has business licensing requirements, and partners with the city to create a one-stop-shop where you can apply for, or renew, both your state and city licenses. For more information about city business license requirements, including exemption criteria visit Business and Special Licenses.
The city also requires that certain types of businesses (e.g., food vendors, pawnbrokers, movie theaters, etc.) hold a city special license, in addition to holding a city business license. For more information about special license requirements, visit Special Licenses, or contact Jack Allemang at (360) 487-8410 option 3, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Home Occupation Permits
A business that is conducted from a residence located in the city limits is required to hold a valid Home Occupation Permit issued by the city’s Community & Economic Development Department (CEDD). For more information about home occupation requirements, visit Home Occupation Permit or contact Sandy Wozny at (360) 487-7820 or email@example.com.
Zoning determines the specific uses and types of development that can occur in different areas, or zones. For zoning information on a specific property, visit Clark County Property Information Center, and enter the address of the property. For information on the land use review process, visit City of Vancouver Land Use Planning.
For information on building permits and applications, development fees, building codes and regulations and engineering services, visit City of Vancouver Building and Permitting Services or contact the Permit Center at (360) 487-7800.
Mobile Food Vending
For information on requirements for mobile food vending, including licenses and approvals, please visit City of Vancouver Mobile Food Vending or contact Kristian Corbin at (360) 487-7818 or Kristian.Corbin@cityofvancouver.us.
County and State Agencies:
Clark County Public Health Food Safety
Clark County Public Health regulates food storage and safety in Clark County.
Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board regulations the production, sale and distribution of alcohol and marijuana in the state of Washington.
Department of Labor & Industries-
The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries regulates workplace safety, including fire and life safety elements for mobile vending units. Visit their Conversion Vehicle and Medical Units webpage for more information on requirements for mobile food vendors.
Southwest Washington Clean Air Agency
The southwest Washington Clean Air Agency (SWCCA) is responsible for enforcing federal, state and local outdoor air quality standards and regulations in Clark, Cowlitz, Lewis, Skamania, and Wahkiakum counties.
City of Vancouver Pre-Lease Program
A program that targets business owners who want to buy or lease a commercial space, property owners that want to improve an existing commercial space, and food truck vendors locating in the City of Vancouver.
Small Business Month
Each May, the City and its partners celebrate small business month with a series of workshops, trainings and social events that support small businesses in our community. The City of Vancouver supports this program through annual funding.
Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce
A local non-profit organization that provides comprehensive business development and support services to individuals looking to start a new business or grow an existing business.
Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce
A local non-profit organization that provides comprehensive business development and support services to individuals looking to start a new business or grow an existing business. The City of Vancouver supports this program through annual funding.
Individual Development Accounts are bank savings accounts for future assets. Over the course of two years, participants save up to $2,000 to be used for starting a business. The SHARE IDA Program provides a 2:1 match on this savings, which can them be put toward business startup fees. The City of Vancouver supports this program through annual funding.
The Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) provides free one-on-one counseling and training to help businesses in Clark, Cowlitz and Skamania Counties understand how to do business with local, state and federal agencies. PTAC staff are co-located with the Greater Vancouver Chamber of Commerce.
Resources for Starting a Business (344 KB)
Startup in a Day Overview (293 KB)