Business Resources You Can Use Now!
Now more than ever it is vitally important that businesses be aware and connected to the resources and programs designed to help them both survive and thrive. Here are a few innovative and helpful initiatives available to small business owners right now.
Cowichan businesses have a new FREE tool at their disposal to support local producers.
Economic Development Cowichan and Community Futures Cowichan have partnered with the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance (VIEA) to offer local producers and those that sell locally made products a free Island Good license. The offer is available to eligible businesses on a first-come basis while funding lasts.
VIEA developed the Island Good brand program as a way for shoppers to easily identify local food products on grocery shelves. After launching the pilot program, the Island Good branding led to increased sales of food and beverage products by an average of 16% in 45 grocery stores over a six-month period. The success of the brand has translated into an expansion from food to now include all Vancouver Island made products.
If you grow or produce products in Cowichan, or are a restaurant/retailer that sells Cowichan made products, this program may be for you!
To fill out an application form, please visit the Island Good website at: islandgood.ca.
Business Resilience Tools – From Surviving to Thriving
The Cowichan COVID-19 Business Survey #1 made it clear that Cowichan business owners have been sharply impacted by the COVID-19 event. Every business surveyed has changed its business model in some way and many are experiencing great challenges resuming profitable business operations. As we emerge from this event and reopen the economy, building business resiliency is necessary to survive further unforeseen risks. Yet, only 41% of Cowichan businesses would characterize themselves as being resilient.
But what is business resiliency? Business resilience is the ability to rapidly adapt and respond to business disruptions, safeguard people, and assets while maintaining continuous business operations.
Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program is a FREE long-term resiliency program that is available to Vancouver Island and Gulf Island tourism businesses. This program provides tourism businesses with meaningful, hands-on guidance and support to navigate the immediate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, adapt, and work towards long-term resiliency.
Many Cowichan businesses are eligible to join this program, including tourism businesses such as accommodation (hotels, motels, B&Bs, hostels, etc), but also business that may not know they are eligible such as in food and beverage, retail, festivals & events, transportation, suppliers, and more.
To register as a stakeholder and to join the program please visit tourismresiliency.ca/victrp.
Go Digital – Don’t Be Left Behind
Increasing our digital presence is a key tool in resiliency, and more necessary than ever to thrive as a business post-COVID-19.
Early reports indicate that businesses that had an online presence before the crisis were better able to pivot their operational model to maintain financial viability once COVID hit.
As the economy opens there is significant market uncertainty, highlighting the need for Cowichan businesses to prepare for whatever comes their way. For many, this means going digital.
33% of Cowichan businesses surveyed indicated that they plan to increase their participation in the digital economy following COVID-19.
The Digital Economy Rapid Response Recovery Program (or DER3), is here to HELP. This FREE Innovation Island program will help any business that is considering entering or expanding in the digital economy.
If you have no digital presence, or already have many systems in place but need to change gears, this program has something to offer.
Upon signing up for the program an expert will provide an analysis of your situation and provide you with immediate advice, or connect you with the appropriate service provider(s) that can best support your digital journey.
To sign up to the program or to add your name to the list of local service providers/experts please visit: innovationisland.ca/der3/.
Economic Development Cowichan
Land Use Services Department