Slave Lake Community Futures is “just starting a COVID recovery plan,” says executive-director Josh Friesen.
Part of this is the development of an online local support hub to help deal with the aftermath of COVID-19. The goal is to support businesses and the community, by providing online learning tools and relevant information on rules, regulations, and opportunities, and available programs.
Representatives from Community Futures, Slave Lake and District Chamber of Commerce, and Alberta Labour and Immigration offices in Slave Lake and High Prairie met at the end of April to get the ball rolling.
In the coming weeks, the group will be looking for other businesses and organizations to make a video, webinar, or online course on a subject of interest to local businesses.
The host can advertise within the webinar as long as the content is educational.
Some of the ideas discussed at the first meeting were: legal and human resources considerations – to do with COVID-19 layoffs; COVID rules and regulations; a shop-local campaign; business planning; strategic planning for businesses; municipalities, and non-profits; innovation in business; online marketing; mental health; and cash-flow planning.
The content will depend on which local businesses and organizations make webinars.
These webinars are in the same vein as a series of in-person events which were cancelled due to COVID-19.
Community Futures and partners were able to sneak in the first event before all events were cancelled in mid-March. This was “Thriving in Business” which focused on the 2019 Slave Lake 2019 business survey.
However, the April and summer events were cancelled. These included a job fair and customer service workshops.
Even before the online hub gets set up, Community Futures has supports for local businesses. Its offices are physically closed, but the four staff, including Friesen, can be reached by phone or online. It continues to offer business loans and business advice, just not in person.
There is a large pool of money which the Canadian government announced will be sent out through Community Futures, but Friesen had received no information of how these funds would be allocated.