Prior to applying for your business licence, we encourage you to take some time to research the requirements for your business.
1. Register your business with Service Alberta. You may need to incorporate your business and/or register your business name. Contact Service Alberta to inquire.
2. Determine if your proposed location is zoned appropriately for your business activity. Please visit the zoning approval for your business page for more information on zoning and how to find a location that is zoned for your proposed business activity.
Once you have found a potential location, it is still recommended that you speak with City staff before you sign a lease to confirm whether your business activity is allowed at that location. This due diligence is the responsibility of the business owner as part of making an informed and responsible investment decision.
If your business activity is not allowed in the zone, you may need to inquire about applying for a rezoning or select a different location where the zoning allows your business activity. Rezoning can be a long and complicated process. If you choose to apply for a rezoning, we recommend hiring a professional planner.
3. Development and building permits. Even if your business activity is allowed in the zone where your proposed business is located, it doesn’t mean your business licence application will automatically be approved.
You may still need a development permit and/or building permits before your business licence application can be reviewed and approved. These permits help ensure that what is built is safe, meets regulatory requirements and fits in with the surrounding community.
Permits are needed if you are:
- Changing the type of business activity at the location (for example, converting retail space into a restaurant)
- Building a new space
- Undertaking significant interior or exterior renovations to an existing space and/or
- Installing or replacing a sign on or off the premises.
You may need to make renovations even if you hadn’t originally planned on it. The City encourages businesses to consider hiring professional contractors and designers to assist them, especially for more complex projects.
4. Research the regulatory requirements for other agencies. Depending on your business, you may also be subject to additional regulatory requirements from other agencies (for example, Alberta Health Services, Alberta Gaming Liquor and Cannabis).
Questions about how to start a new business in Edmonton?
Are you a small business owner? Is this your first or second time opening a business? Reach out to our Business-Friendly Support. Our one-on-one support program experts can talk you through the business licensing and permitting process to ensure your experience goes smoothly. During a one-on-one appointment, we can also help you explore location options for your business.