The B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service has served more than 4,200 businesses through phone, chat and email since its launch in April 2020, and has had more than 200,000 visits to its COVID-19 web page.
The support service is a crucial link that helps businesses navigate the supports and services offered by the provincial and federal governments, and industry and community partners, during the pandemic. It is operated by Small Business BC (SBBC), a not-for-profit organization that delivers a variety of services to B.C. businesses through financial support from the provincial and federal governments.
“Businesses need the support service to help navigate the rapid pace of change during this pandemic,” said Michelle Mungall, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness, in a news release. “We greatly appreciate our partnership with SBBC and the work it does for the business community. The support service is invaluable, and it will continue to be in place during the economic restart so that businesses can get the support they need to re-open, provide jobs and contribute to our communities.”
Numerous supports have been announced by the provincial and federal governments to support businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic. The B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service brings all the information together in one place, making it easy for businesses to access the resources they need.
“This is a difficult time for businesses, but there’s help at hand,” said Tom Conway, CEO, Small Business BC. “We’ve established the support service to ensure that businesses are able to access and leverage all the supports they are eligible for, so that they can emerge successfully from the impacts of this pandemic.”
In addition to the support service, SBBC continues to offer numerous other free and low-cost resources to help businesses succeed, including webinars and customized business advice, and the recently launched online non-medical Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Marketplace.
The new online PPE directory has been put in place to help businesses find vendors who supply non-medical products, like hand sanitizer, masks and face shields. This further supports B.C.’s restart plan by creating safe workspaces for employees and helping customers return with confidence, knowing that the businesses they are visiting are taking the required precautions.
“As a startup impacted by the aftermath of COVID-19, we were struggling to find government support programs that we qualified for until we got in touch with the B.C. Business COVID-19 Support Service,” said Jonathan Kim, CEO of The Home Key, a professional workspace for the e-sports and gaming community in downtown Vancouver. “The staff were incredibly helpful and took the time to reconnect with our company as new support measures were deployed. With their insight, we managed to stay one step ahead on applications and are optimistic about the programs we applied for.”
Government remains committed to supporting B.C. businesses as they recover from the impacts of the pandemic.