Hard economic times call for a strong strategic plan for recovery. The Town of Canmore's Economic Development Department has been rolling out an ambitious Recovery Plan backed by $281,000 in funding that focuses on business retention and survival during and post-pandemic.
For example, the Bow Valley Restart Fund, managed by the Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce, was able to support 39 businesses with grants totaling $98,000, and the Business 2 Business Voucher program connected businesses with local services. Other supports include regular Business Needs Surveys, our online support hub, and the #supportlocalCanmore digital campaign. This work helps to support the resilience of our local economy.
Updated - Feb. 18, 2021
Business Recovery Task Force - IN PROGRESS
The Business Recovery Task Force will address and respond to business needs. It includes diverse members of our business community, Town Council, and the Canmore Business Association.
The mandate of the task force will also be to develop recommendations to support the return to work of Canmore’s workforce; to support business operations in the recovery efforts and future growth, and to identify opportunities to propel our community beyond the recovery stage.
Councillor McCallum and Councillor Marra sit on the task force as the Council representatives.
Click here to view the selected Task Force members and to review the Terms of Reference
Economic Development Webinar Series - COMPLETE
Economic Development has partnered with local and regional industry experts to facilitate a weekly webinar series that addresses concerns derived from the Business Needs Survey and direct conversations with business owners. As part of the Economic Recovery Plan, $10,000 from tax stabilization will make the continuation of this series possible to include topics relevant to supporting the re-opening of Canmore’s businesses.
Labour Force Retention, Attraction, and Development - IN PROGRESS
To support our business community, we will develop a comprehensive strategy to address the various challenges associated with recruitment, retention, and development of the workforce. Components of this include but are not limited to: a job resource board, skill development, hiring fairs, and a Workforce Retention Expansion Program.
• In July 2020, The Job Resource Centre launched their online job board which the Town of Canmore has promoted online and via the Economic Development business update newsletter.
• The Business Visitation Program throughout August focused on the downtown core and includes questions about staffing issues.
• A digital business-needs survey will also go out to the wider business community in November, 2020.
• The Business Recovery Task Force is looking at labour-force related data to move projects forward.
Business Support Hub - IN PROGRESS
Our online Business Support Hub, along with our Town of Canmore staff provide local businesses with the go-to source of relevant information and resources to support economic recovery. Our staff are available and trained to address business calls inquiring about programming, supports, and processes. We continue to expand the Business Support Hub to include:
•Business Tools: Economic Development would work with industry experts to develop a set of tools to support business continuity planning, such as developing a re-open plan with templates for scheduling, re-hire agreements, stock, or staffing needs overview, marketing and planning tools, etc.
• Financial Aid: Directing businesses to financial aid provided by the various levels of governments and private sectors
• Employee Supports: Access to social support services such as how to find housing
• Supports for the Self-Employed: Directing self-employed individuals to applicable resources.
Re-opening Working Group - ONGOING
We are working with internal and external stakeholders to develop a robust re-open plan for Canmore following provincial guidelines as they become available. The planning process has been broken down into five elements:
1. Business physical distancing and safety requirements
2. Communication to community on physical distancing to residents
3. Town Planning: How do we accommodate physical distancing and visitors/community sentiment in the various reopening stages?
4. Traveler communication on community expectations, best practices, etc.
5. Marketing to boost the economy when all industries are allowed to re-open
The group is paused, as Canmore's local economy reopened in response to the Province of Alberta's guidelines. The group will build a plan for any 2021 approaches to supporting our local businesses depending on the Covid-19 situation.
SMARTstart Entrepreneurial Program - LAUNCHED
To ensure we set up our new entrepreneurs for success, we are launching SMARTstart to recruit both students and mentors for a fall program start as originally planned and part of the current approved Economic Development Department budget. The additional funding will support a program-fee refund program for participants who complete the program.
SMARTstart is an entrepreneurial training program with three components: online learning, in-person seminars, and mentorship. Over eight months, 15-20 entrepreneurs would undergo 50-60 hours of online training, workshops, and mentorship meetings. The program objective is for participants to take away a completed business plan, strategic plan, or feasibility study, as well as strong network connections.
Apply for the class of 2022! Applications open until May 9, 2021
Canmore Business to Business Voucher Program - ONGOING
The B2B Voucher program will help small businesses maintain cash flow. Promoting businesses-to-business support fosters a duplicator effect and doubles the Town’s investment into its business community. The voucher program provides eligible businesses with additional coaching and/or technical training or services.
Apply for round two of the B2B Voucher program
Patio Rebate Program - COMPLETE
When we closed Main Street to vehicles to promote physical distancing and encourage business owners to expand onto the sidewalk to safely accommodate customers, we provided rebates to those business owners in the affected areas who have already paid for a patio permit for this season.
Rebates were provided to affected businesses.
Canmore Business Re-Start Fund Program - COMPLETE
We will provide seed funding to a start-up fund grant program, managed by the Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce. Funds contributed to this program would be used to support Canmore-based businesses. Some of the costs that would be eligible for coverage under this program are inventory, staffing, pre-open deep-clean of the business’s physical location, or commercial space re-design to accommodate physical distancing.
The program has closed due to full subscription.
Neighbourhood Art Project Grant - COMPLETE
We allocated $38,000 to a COVID-19 neighbourhood building art project in 2020. This will fund 10 artist-led neighbourhood projects that build social cohesion. These projects would have long-lasting effects and will support the Know Your Neighbour initiatives currently implemented by the Community Social Development Department.
The art projects have been installed in communities around town! Click here for more info
Community Event Relief Fund - COMPLETED
Annually the Town of Canmore runs an Event Grant as well as a Community Grant program. These programs have been cancelled in 2020 as part of the budget savings adjustment. As a replacement, Economic Development, Recreation, and Community Social Development will collaborate to offer relief for events impacted by the pandemic.
The application period for the relief fund has closed.
#SupportlocalCanmore - COMPLETE
This digital campaign in partnership with the Bow Valley Chamber of Commerce encourages residents and visitors to support local businesses.
The campaign ran until the end of August. Thank you for supporting local!