A new business recovery helpline was launched this week to support businesses as they prepare to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic through both access to supports and interest free lending.
Dozens of Rupert-based companies say the pandemic is to blame for unprecedented revenue declines, cash flow problems and dashed hopes of a summer tourist season that may never arrive. Some small businesses are better off than others, but all are challenged. As the BC Government looks to slowly reopen public life and business, many entrepreneurs are looking for help in navigating this re-entry.
The Business Support and Recovery Helpline, a partnership of Community Futures and the City’s Economic Development Office, is a way to connect business people to resources, up-to-date and accurate information, and ways to finance the costs of re-entry.
As one caller remarked, “I’ve been going from site to site to understand all these different business subsidies and found it so confusing. It’s great to have [you] walk through them and provide clarity.” Information on the new Community Futures Emergency Loan Fund will also be available on the helpline for those businesses affected by the public health crisis. A $40,000 no payment, interest-free, loan is available to those entrepreneur’s ineligible for other federal subsidies.
The helpline, available at (250) 624 4416, is open weekdays from 9 am to 3 pm. If the line is busy, a call-back can be expected within 24 hours.
“As the economy opens, the need is shifting from coronavirus information to requests for wage subsidies, consulting rebates, health and safety plans, and interest-free loans,” says Community Futures GM John Farrell. “Businesses especially in retail are looking to pivot to on-line. Restaurants are looking to switch from eat-in to take-out. Owners want guidance and resources to shift that business model and that’s where our business advisors can also help … from the other end of the phone."
“As the curve flattens and the economy restarts in a phased-approach we want businesses to come back stronger than before,” says Paul Vendittelli, Manager of Transportation and Economic Development for the City of Prince Rupert. “That can only happen if they are provided with the resources, best practices, and guidance needed to adapt to our rapidly changing economy.”
For more information, contact:
John Farrell, General Manager, Community Futures of the Pacific Northwest
Phone: (250) 622 2332
Paul Vendittelli, Manager of Transportation and Economic Development, City of Prince Rupert
Phone: (250) 627 5138
Or call the Helpline directly at (250) 624 4416