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Running a business

What Is a PBN?

If you want your business to become a supplier for the Canadian government, you are required to obtain a Procurement Business Number (PBN). The process is simple and free. So if your company sells supplies needed in government offices, it could be a good way to boost your sales a bit.

Before applying for a PBN, you need your legal business name as it’s registered with the Canada Revenue Agency and your business number. A Goods and Services Tax (GST) or Harmonized Sales Tax (HST) number also works if you don’t have your business number. Remember, if your business is registered as a sole proprietorship, your legal name is your business name.

Once you have this information ready, you can register your company through the Canadian Supplier Registration Information (SRI) system. After you enter your business name and number into the SRI system, you receive an email containing your PBN. Then, you can go back into the SRI system to complete the registration process.

To complete the registration process, you go to the "My Account" link. Then, enter your PBN, choose a username and password, and enter the type of goods and services your company can supply the government. If you’re unsure what commodities you are allowed to enter, you can consult the site’s Goods and Services Identification Number (GSIN) page.

Keep in mind, registering for a PBN and adding your business to the SRI system doesn’t guarantee the Canadian government will contact your business for goods or services. But if you know anyone in a government office that might need your services or products, you should consider sending them an email to let them know that your business is a registered supplier to get the ball rolling. Also, consider making it a point to attend local events to network with some of the government officials in your area. If you build good relationships with them, your company may be able to land several government contracts.

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