Nanaimo is now experiencing a great deal of growth, especially in the old city area and on the waterfront. In recent years, Nanaimo's economy has moved from a base largely dependent on the forestry sector to a diversified base including retail and wholesale trade, construction, manufacturing, and technology companies, as well as government services. 

Nanaimo is 1.5 hours from Victoria, BC's capital city, while Vancouver is two hours away by ferry and only 20 minutes by seaplane. As a result, Nanaimo has seen an influx of mainland commuters relocating here to take advantage of lower housing costs. Nanaimo residents enjoy all the benefits of any busy urban centre from fine dining to arts and cultural festivals. A well-trained and educated workforce, sophisticated telecommunications infrastructure and reliable transportation links make Nanaimo the city of choice for new business start-ups. Nanaimo's business climate is conducive to self-employment and entrepreneurship. The City of Nanaimo's Economic Development Office provides assistance and helpful information services for those seeking to do business in the Harbour City.

Results of Business Confidence Survey

To gauge the level of business confidence in Nanaimo, the City of Nanaimo's Economic Development Office sent out a survey to all business licence holders in the city and asked questions regarding several factors contributing to overall business confidence levels, including staffing and investment plans, as well as current demand for their product of service.  Over 1,000 businesses completed the survey, the majority of which predict their overall business situation will be the same in one year; only 4% of respondents predict it will be substantially worse.  Although most businesses do not plan to make staffing or capital investments within the next year, a fair number still do (32% and 26%, respectively)