The provincial Northern Development Small Business Recovery (SBR) Consulting Rebate is helping businesses in the North impacted by COVID-19.
In Smithers, Bugwood Coffee Cafe on Main Street, and their coffee roasting business, transition from being completely closed in the beginning of the pandemic to open and thriving.
The SBR Consulting Rebate reimburses small and medium sized businesses up to 85 per cent for the cost of hiring a consultant to assist with business efforts up to a maximum of $25,000.
The rebate was designed to directly support small and medium size businesses impacted by the economic downturn in Northern Development’s service region.
With a consultant, the program is designed to implement strategies to attract customers, market a business and/or improve profitability to sustain businesses and employment in central and northern B.C.
For Bugwood, it meant pivoting from merely a retail coffee outlet to providing wholesale services to industrial clients, such as mining camps.
Bugwood applied for the rebate, was approved and nine days later began working with a consultant. They saw results immediately from the marketing strategies designed specifically for them, and have gone on since June to acquire a bigger coffee roaster for their industrial clients and continue to welcome new business.
The retail operations on Main Street were also able to reopen to the public in June and it remains a lively hub of activity in the heart of downtown Smithers.
The SBR rebate is designed to help businesses reduce the barrier to accessing professional expertise and recover the costs of third-party consulting projects.
These types of projects focus on ways to sustain businesses during the current economic downturn and are available to businesses in a broad range of industries.