British Columbians Urged to Support Local Businesses this Holiday Season and into 2022
Today, the BC Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with the federal government, is pleased to announce that 88 applications have been received, seeking over $5 million in asks to support Shop Local initiatives across the province, encouraging British Columbians to “Shop Local” and help support small- and medium-sized businesses in their community.
“Through the pandemic, small- and medium-sized businesses across the province have worked hard to keep their doors open, and provide goods and services in their communities,” says Fiona Famulak, President and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce. “It’s been an emotionally and financially draining time for many of these business owners, and that’s why the BC Chamber of Commerce is pleased to be working with the federal government to deliver the innovative Shop Local program in British Columbia and support local businesses across the province.”
Shop Local is an initiative funded by the federal government to encourage people to support businesses as they seek to recover from the economic impacts of the pandemic. The program, delivered nationally through provincial and territorial chambers of commerce, provides grants for programs and campaigns that encourage Canadians to Shop Local.
The Shop Local program in British Columbia launched on November 1, 2021, with applications received and assessed by the BC Chamber of Commerce, supported by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC), on a first-come, first-served basis. Under the program, successful applicants must complete their campaign by February 15, 2022.
“I’m happy to say that the program has been a huge success in British Columbia and all the funds will be allocated, meeting our goal of $5 million,” Famulak says. “It’s a testament to the support that British Columbians have for small- and medium-sized businesses, which are the backbone of the province’s economy.”
The BC Chamber of Commerce ensured that the program is inclusive, with funds distributed equitably in the following seven economic development regions:
- North Coast/Nechako
- Vancouver Island/Coast
An interactive map is available to track each of the Shop Local initiatives that are live, from Stewart to Fort Nelson, Port Hardy to Fernie. Each participating community has proposed engaging ways for how they will be implementing their Shop Local program, including:
- Keep Calm and Shop On – Online trade show for Dawson Creek businesses, including local farmers and ranchers (Dawson Creek Chamber of Commerce).
- Hidden Treasures – Ad campaign to encourage Vancouver Island visitors to discover Sooke businesses (Sooke Chamber of Commerce).
- Shop Local Saturdays – Hosted by Summerland Chamber of Commerce Winter Series includes Experience Summerland event days with activities for all ages and giveaways for local businesses.
- Dine Around BC – Promotes a multi-day culinary experience for all ages across the province to be led by the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association.
- Black Business Association of BC – Will lead the development of an online marketplace and directory and host cultural events to promote black owned businesses across B.C.
“I am over the moon about getting started on this project and I can’t thank you enough,” said Kathy Sommerville, Manager of the Quesnel & District Chamber of Commerce. “It has been such a tough time for our businesses and now with all the flooding and devastation in the lower mainland my heart just goes out to our province.”
The program was open to chambers of commerce and boards of trade that were both members and non-members of the BC Chamber, other non-profit organizations and business improvement associations, and to existing shop local programs that support businesses. It was designed to encourage collaboration across applicants to maximize the benefit of the grant awarded, encourage local supply chain use, and encourage youth employment.