The City of Airdrie has launched a three-month pilot project to help support local businesses that have faced hardship due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Economic Development Officer Tara Levick, the Right For Business Support Program (RFBSP) will provide businesses access to critical advisors and business professionals to help them remain resilient during the pandemic. The program will run from May 21 to Aug. 21.
“This program is good for businesses because it gives them access to professionals they might not realize they need, or might not be able to afford at this time,” Levick said. “The program is free for any business to apply, and I think it can help businesses build a resiliency plan to help their business during this pandemic, and hopefully, be here on the other side of it.”
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RFBSP includes three streams. Stream A includes a mentorship program that will group local businesses with volunteer mentors, all of whom received training from the City. Businesses in this stream will also have access to local online learning opportunities, including participation in small-group Ask-an-Expert webinars.
For Stream B, Levick said, the City has partnered with MNP LLP, which will assist businesses in building an action plan to help them navigate the new business environment. In order to participate in this stream, business owners must be willing to disclose their company’s up-to-date financial information to their advisors.
Stream C, meanwhile, caters to businesses that need one-on-one support. Each business will work with a rapid response team to prioritize needs and develop a resiliency plan.
“A business will apply for the program as a whole, and we will take away what they put in their application and what their specific needs are, and then place them in the associated stream,” Levick said. “Businesses will be allowed to move from stream to stream if there is need for that.”
Business owners or managers can apply for RFBSP at airdrie.ca/rightforbusiness. According to Levick, applications will remain open for the duration of the pilot project.
“We hope lots of businesses apply,” she said.
While any licenced business within city limits may apply, she added the program will prioritize storefront businesses that employ 10 or more employees. Applications will be assessed on an industry-specific basis and preference will be given to businesses that are operational.
Levick encouraged anyone with questions about the program to contact Economic Development at 403-948-8844, or by email at [email protected]