From honey producers to tourism opportunities, Parkland County is home to many unique, profitable, and growing small businesses. If you’ve been wanting to start a small business, it’s time to get started! Our Economic Diversification team is here to help you through the process.  

Parkland County has a couple different business types that a small business can fall under. Whether you’re starting a home-based business, cottage industry, or commercial or industrial business, you will likely need a development permit


Home-based businesses 

Many small businesses operate out of their homes. To start a home-based business, first you need to determine which level it would be considered, according to the County’s  Land Use Bylaw.  

Level 1: No Development Permit Approval Needed

The following criteria must be met to be considered a Home-Based Business Level 1: 

  • Business activities located indoors; 

  • No client visits; 

  • No storage of products or materials; 

  • No commercial vehicle; 

  • No signage; and, 

  • No employees 

An example of a Level 1 Home Based Business would be an Accounting Home Office. 

Level 2: Development Permit Approval Needed

The following criteria must be met to be considered a Home-Based Business Level 2: 

  • No outdoor storage of products or materials; 

  • Minimal on-site client visits; 

  • Minimal signage; 

  • Minimal commercial vehicle parking; and, 

  • No employees. 

Examples of a Level 2 Home-Based Business would include a snow removal company that is parking one truck with a trailer carrying a skid-steer, or a hair salon, where there’s no other employees and 4-5 clients visiting per day.

Level 3: Development Permit Approval Needed

The following criteria must be met to be considered a Home-Based Business Level 3: 

  • Not located in or within 150m of a Multi-Parcel Residential Subdivision; 

  • May include outdoor storage of products and materials; 

  • May include on-site client visits; 

  • Minimal signage; 

  • Commercial vehicle parking; and, 

  • Maximum 4 employees. 

 An example of a Level 3 Home-Based business would be Firewood Sales, where there’s the storage of lumber, 3 employees, and on-site and off-site sales and deliveries. 

Cottage Industry Business 

Cottage Industry businesses highlight or support agricultural activities taking place on the parcel. This includes a range of small-scale rural businesses such as a gift shop, indoor café, U-pick farm, butcher shop, photography studio, or small microbrewery or winery. 

A Cottage Industry business requires a development permit. Unsure which home-based business level your company falls under? Contact Planning and Development at

Other new business scenarios 

Starting a business in an existing building with no changes to the building

If you would like to start a business in an existing building, with no changes to the building or renovations, you will need a Change of Use development permit.  

Note: Not all buildings may be constructed to the appropriate standard for the scope of your proposed business activities. It is best to confirm that no further building or trade permits are required

Starting a business in an existing building with alterations to the building
If you would like to start a business with changes to the building (renovations/alterations), you will need a Commercial/Industrial development permit and various building and trade permits.
Constructing a new building for commercial/industrial business

If you would like to construct a new building for commercial/industrial business, you will need a Commercial/Industrial development permit and various building and trade permits

Off-site levies for subdivision 

You may also need to provide off-site levies when applying for subdivision (outside of your Commercial/Industrial development permit application). Off-site levies are charges that help pay for roads and utilities that are outside (off-site) of a development or subdivision.  

In Parkland County, off-site levies apply to parts of the land in and adjacent to: 

  • Acheson Business Park area 

  • Fifth Meridian Business Park area 

  • Big Lake residential area, north of Highway 16 

  • County residential areas 

Commercial/industrial applications may include those for: 

  • Cannabis cultivation or processing 

  • Change of use (ex. moving a welding company to a building previously used for retail sales). 

  • Industrial commercial development 

  • Natural resource extraction

Tri-Municipal license program 

  • Regarding the former Tri-Municipal license, if you are a City of Spruce Grove or Town of Stony Plain active business license holder, your license permits you to do business in Parkland County.
  • Alternately, if you have an approved development permit to operate your business in Parkland County, this serves as your proof of business license. If you are seeking to do business within the City of Spruce Grove or Town of Stony Plain, please consult with them directly for their latest policy direction on operating in their jurisdictions. Your Parkland County development permit may provide you with streamlined licensing in their jurisdiction. All questions regarding permitting outside of Parkland County should be directed to the City of Spruce Grove or the Town of Stony Plain.

Creating your business plan 

A business plan is crucial for guiding your small business by outlining goals, strategies, and financial projections, helping secure funding and navigate challenges effectively. It provides a roadmap for success. 


1. Build your business plan


A business plan is made up of many different sections that provide an overview of your business idea, your strategy, financial projects, and more to help you understand your business’s viability and potential for success.  

Be sure to include these sections: 


  1. Summary and Business Strategy: A concise overview of your business concept and your plan for achieving success. 
  2. SWOT Analysis: An assessment of your business's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats in the market. 
  3. Financial Plan: Detailed financial projections, including income statements, balance sheets, and cash flow forecasts. 
  4. Marketing Plan: Your approach to attracting and retaining customers, including market research, target audience, and marketing strategies. 
  5. Operations Strategy: How you plan to run the day-to-day operations of your business, including location, equipment, and suppliers. 
  6. Strategic Plan: Long-term goals and the strategic initiatives needed to achieve them, ensuring the sustainability and growth of your business. 
2. Complete Market Research

Market research is like getting to know your future customers and competition. You collect info on who your customers are, what they like, how big the market is, and what's happening in your industry. It's like your reference for making smart business decisions and giving people what they want. 

Here's some of the info you'll want to gather: 

  • Who your customers are (demographics) 

  • What they like and how they live (psychographics) 

  • How big your market is 

  • Trends in your industry 

  • What your competition is doing 

  • What your customers really need 

  • How much people are willing to pay 

  • Where and how people usually buy what you're selling 

  • Any rules or regulations in your industry 

  • The challenges you might face (barriers to entry) 

All this info helps you plan your business and marketing in the best way possible!

3. Business Coaching & Consultation

The Greater Parkland Region Chamber of Commerce encourages growth in the region by providing plenty of business assistance and opportunities. Explore potential opportunities offered by the Chamber, including: 

  • Build reputability of your business  

  • Networking opportunities  

  • Advertising and promotional opportunities  

  • Educational opportunities  

4. Site Selection

Every business operates out of somewhere! If you are starting a home-based or cottage industry business, that location is likely your home.  

For other small businesses or new commercial/industrial businesses, you will need to select a site! Explore the County’s maps  or browse through available real estate

5. Business Financing

As the old saying is goes, “You’ve got to spend money, to make money”. Even with small businesses this can ring true. Ensuring you have the cash flow needed to start your business is a crucial key to your success. 

There are traditional routes such as bank loans and investors. Explore the grant and funding opportunities that may be available to you.

6. Permits, Regulations, and Business Licenses

Making sure you have all the required documentation in place is an important step in starting your business. BizPal makes it easy. This free interactive tool will scan all federal, provincial, and municipal requirements required to get your business of the ground!  

For County specific permits, you can also contact our team for any questions you may have and to guide you through the permitting necessities.  

Business Supports & Resources 

Running a business is a lot of work! Thankfully, there are a lot of great supports and resources available to help you on your journey.   

  • Alberta Regional Dashboard helps answer questions you might have about living, working, investing, or doing business in Parkland County. 

  • BDC offers several resources in their Entrepreneur’s Toolkit, whether your business is just starting up or is already well established. 

  • Biz Connect provides supports to help Alberta entrepreneurs and small businesses start, grow and succeed. 

  • BusinessLink helps Alberta small businesses start and thrive, providing clarity and confidence as you start and grow your business. 

  • Capital Region provides training programs for young entrepreneurs, women in business and other groups.  

  • Community Futures supports small and medium-sized businesses with access to business, financial, advisory and capital services  

  • Digital Economy Program is a free service open to small businesses who would like to optimize and undergo a digital transformation. This program is in collaboration with the University of Alberta School of Business, Business Link, and Digital Main Street.   

  • Edmonton Unlimited provides free programs and workshops wherever you are in your entrepreneurial journey.  

  • Fututerpreneur, offers mentoring sessions and loans to entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39. 

  • Google for Small Business helps you get your business on Google for free. 

  • Start Up Canada connects Canada’s entrepreneurs with the tools, community, and support they need to start and build their businesses. 

  • WCB Alberta information for employers. 

  • Women Building Futures prepares women for careers leading to economic wealth and champions for a more inclusive workplace.