Wildfire Business Transition Project News

Funding for the Wildfire Business Transition Project extended for another year

January 30, 2019

Community Futures British Columbia is pleased to announce that support for businesses that were impacted by the 2017 wildfires in British Columbia has been extended for another year, thanks to additional funding of $540,000 from Western Economic Diversification.

The Wildfire Business Transition Project has been helping small and medium-sized businesses, Indigenous communities and not-for-profits to rebuild through outreach and advisory services, workshops, and customized training delivered through five Community Futures offices – Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin, Central Interior First Nations, North Cariboo, Sun Country and Thompson Country.

The project extension allows Community Futures to continue providing a full range of support to businesses in the impacted regions, including the one-on-one support provided by the Business Ambassadors and Outreach Workers, and the self-directed training program developed by Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin, North Cariboo and Sun Country.

The additional funding also allows the project to expand its coverage to include Community Futures Nadina and 16-37. Several communities in those regions were significantly impacted by the wildfires that swept through northern B.C. last summer, particularly the First Nations community of Telegraph Creek, northwest of Terrace.

Also included is funding for a series of Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity workshops to be delivered in selected communities.

About the Wildfire Business Transition Project

The Wildfire Business Transition Project is a regional initiative between five Community Futures organizations working together with 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 in October 2017 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 allowed Community Futures to extend the Business Ambassador program, develop targeted training programs, and expand the project to include Community Futures of the Central Interior 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.

The Wildfire Business Transition Project has assisted more than 3,250 small and medium-sized enterprises to December 31, 2018, including 567 Indigenous-owned and 844 female-owned businesses. That assistance has allowed those businesses to invest in the adoption of new technology and sound management or business practices, create new and/or maintain existing jobs in their local communities, and expand or diversify their businesses to take advantage of new opportunities.

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About Community Futures

For over 30 years, we’ve been fostering entrepreneurship in rural BC. We offer small business loans, business counseling and specialized programs to help you start or grow a business, and to help communities become more resilient and dynamic. Find out more…

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