|2021 BC Economic Development Award Winner|
On March 18, 2020, the City of Quesnel initiated the Business Support Team by calling together Community Futures North Cariboo, Quesnel & District Chamber of Commerce, South Quesnel Business Association, Quesnel Downtown Association, and West Quesnel Business Association to discuss business supports during the Covid-19 pandemic. The first meeting was scheduled on March 25, via Zoom, with discussion focussing on two objectives: 1)Maximizing available provincial and federal supports flowing into the community, and 2)Maximizing local dollars being spent locally during the pandemic.
To achieve the first objective, a Business Support Hotline was up and running in early April, with each organization taking turns reaching out to business and managing incoming calls. Every business with a business license and business address in Quesnel received a phone call. Call were prioritized by the perceived hardest hit businesses (those forced to close or alter operations), but all business types received at least one outreach call. On the call, business owners/managers were asked a series of questions and directed to applicable funding programs. If needed, a follow up call was scheduled to provide assistance with the application. Over 220 businesses accepted the offer of assistance. Each of these businesses received a follow up call in late May/June to monitor success of applications. With new funding programs now available, including additional training through Community Futures, and the Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant, all businesses are receiving another outreach in a third round of calls.
To achieve the second objective, all partners as well as the Cariboo Regional District, contributed to a robust series of #InQuesnel shop local campaign, using our Love Quesnel platform through Northern Development Initiative Trust. The campaigns included 28 days of gift card giveaways based on social media engagement, summer staycation gift pack photo contests, a series of local business videos, in store draws each Saturday leading to Christmas, and a local business Bingo through December.