Innovate BC offers boost to those growing their business online

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Innovate BC offers boost to those growing their business online

JANUARY 25, 2021 | THE WILLIAMS LAKE TRIBUNE (BLACK PRESS MEDIA)

Innovate BC offers boost to those growing their business online

COVID recovery programming includes digital skills hiring grants, no-cost business coaching and more

Need help getting your business online? So is Susan. She’d been successfully running her retail shop for six years – and then COVID-19 hit.

Innovate BC enabled Susan with:

  • Subsidized digital marketing role
  • Support from a local business coach to build out an action plan
  • Access to no-fee educational content and resources

Susan is part of the Shíshál Nation and owns a store in Ch’atlich (Sechelt) that sells locally made products like jewellery, clothing and artwork. She’s built a profitable business from local tourism. But she’s struggling to make ends meet. Her business took a real hit with COVID-19 related non-essential travel bans.

Susan has worked to keep her business afloat with some government support and a sprinkling of tourists in late summer. She needs a long-term solution for the loss of foot traffic and loss of suppliers.

What she really needs are new customers and a way to find them cost-effectively. She also needs to figure out a way to get her products to buyers without eating too much into her profits.

She knows she needs to digitize her business, get online. She just doesn’t know where to start, what’s most important, what tools she needs, what skills… the list goes on. And, she doesn’t really have much extra capital. She’s been eating away at her savings over the last few months. She’s feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.

Susan Googled loans, grants and subsidies for BC businesses. Innovate BC came up. They offer COVID-19 recovery programming to business owners in the form of digital skills hiring grants, no-cost business coaching and even access to local connections. Plus, it looks like Innovate BC’s programs are focused on regional communities like hers and give special consideration for underrepresented groups.

Susan was able to get:

  • 4-month digital marketing contract subsidized
  • Help from a local business coach to build out an action plan
  • Access to complimentary content and resources…

Plus, Susan got connected to other local business owners. She’s built a strong peer support network.

Six months later Susan has her website up and running, an online store, inbound requests from suppliers, and even asks for her product from markets outside of North America. She’s way ahead of where she was a few months ago, and best of all she has recovered most of her sales revenue. Looks like she’ll also avoid the seasonal dips of off-peak season.

https://www.wltribune.com/marketplace/innovate-bc-offers-boost-to-those-growing-their-business-online/