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ICET emergency business relief coming

Two programs will be offered for businesses starting in April
Two business recovery programs funded by ICET are coming in April. ICET photo

Emergency support is on the way for Vancouver Island businesses under two programs.

Two response programs have been set up by Tourism Vancouver Island (TVI) and Innovation Island Technology Association (IITA) with funding from Island Coastal Economic Trust. The programs have been set up to help businesses with rapid recovery from the challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

First is the Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Project, which was set up by TVI to help tourism businesses navigate the crisis to their eventual recovery. It offers a range of targeted aid, which will match businesses with tourism advisors who will help find expert advice and coach the businesses to recovery.

“The tourism industry has been especially hard-hit by the impacts of COVID-19 and programs like these will help people access support today and plan for recovery,” said Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Lisa Beare. “This is an important first step that builds on federal and provincial supports for people and businesses, and it will help us to be ready to welcome visitors back to B.C. as soon as it’s safe to do so.”

Also included will be digital resources and communication forums tailored to the region.

The second program is called the Digital Economy Response Program, which will be run through IITA. It will provide technical and industry knowledge to businesses who are looking to transition their business models to a more digital basis. It is a free initiative that will help those businesses who want to make the transition and adopt more digital tools and practices that will also build the region’s tech industry.

“This situation is a major call to action for many businesses to make a swift and smart shift to the digital economy,” said IITA executive director Graham Truax. “We’re dealing with a black swan event that, at least in the short term, will change many consumer behaviours.”

The programs are available starting in early April. More details are to be announced in the coming week.

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