Community Futures British Columbia
The Wildfire Business Transition Project is a regional collaboration between five local Community Futures organizations – Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin, Central Interior First Nations, North Cariboo, Sun Country and Thompson Country – working together with the provincial association, Community Futures British Columbia, to help small and medium-sized businesses, Indigenous communities and not-for-profit organizations that were impacted by the 2017 wildfires, the worst in B.C.’s history.
The initiative started with $200,000 from Northern Development Initiative Trust and $140,000 from the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition to hire a team of Business Ambassadors to work with businesses in the regions served by Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin, North Cariboo and Sun Country. An additional $1.3 million from Western Economic Diversification enabled Community Futures to extend the Business Ambassador program, develop targeted training programs, and expand its coverage to include Community Futures of Central First Nations and parts of Thompson Country.
The WD funding was set up to be as flexible as possible to allow each Community Futures office to design the types of programs that would most benefit the unique needs of their communities. In January 2019, the project was extended another year, thanks to additional funding from WD and the Canadian Red Cross.