Wildfire Business Transition Project

wildfire disaster recovery cycle

The Wildfire Business Transition Project provided support for rural small businesses, Indigenous communities and not for profit organizations that were impacted by the 2017 and 2018 wildfires in British Columbia, the worst in the province’s history.

Six Community Futures offices in the areas most affected by the wildfires – Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin, Central Interior First Nations, Nadina, North Cariboo, Sun Country and 16/37 –  provided targeted support to help small businesses rebuild and strengthen their operations to become more resilient and better prepared for the future.

Assistance provided includes:

  • Advisory services and outreach
  • Disaster preparedness and business continuity planning
  • Financing
  • Training
  • Workshops

Background

The Wildfire Business Transition Project was a regional initiative involving six Community Futures organizations working together with Community Futures British Columbia. The initiative started in October 2017 with an initial project investment of $340,000 from Northern Development Initiative Trust and the Cariboo Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition to hire a team of Business Ambassadors in the regions served by Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin, North Cariboo and Sun Country.

That initial investment was successful in leveraging an additional $1.3 million from Western Economic Diversification, allowing Community Futures to extend the original Business Ambassador program, develop customized training, and expand the project to include Community Futures Central Interior First Nations and 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.

Additional funding in January 2019 extended the program another year, to December 2019, and expanded 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. in the summer of 2018.

Business Ambassadors Wildfire Project

Wildfire Business Ambassadors for Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin, North Cariboo and Sun Country were hired in January 2018. Pictured from left to right: Simon Turner, Wendy Coomber, Andre Kuerbis, Alex Minshull (Red Cross), Alisha Piccolo, Renata King (Northern Development Initiative Trust), Karen Eden (General Manager, CF Cariboo Chilcotin), Deanne Hoversland, Laurie Rice and Sue Lachance (Coordinator).

 

WATCH: Video series documenting the support provided to small businesses and Indigenous communities by Community Futures after the 2017 wildfires. 

Part 1: Project Overview  

PART 2: Business Ambassadors and Outreach Workers

Part 3: Perspective from the Businesses

PART 4: Focuses on Community Futures of the Central Interior First Nations and its work with Indigenous communities that were impacted by the 2017 wildfires:

Contact

Community Futures British Columbia
33163 2nd Ave
Mission, BC  V2V 6T8
  1-604-289-4222
 

About Community Futures

logo whiteFor over 30 years, we’ve been fostering entrepreneurship in rural BC. We offer small business loans, business counseling and specialized services to help you start or grow a business, and to help communities become more resilient and dynamic. Learn More

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