Town of Sylvan Lake develops strategy to move businesses out of pandemic

The Business Resiliency Strategy has three stages to help businesses reopening from COVID-19

The Town of Sylvan Lake is introducing a Business Resilience Strategy, to help local businesses come out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Using information gathered in the Business Resiliency Survey, and based on a similar plan developed to help Fort McMurray rebound after the forest fires in 2016, the strategy has three distinct areas to help businesses.

“The strategy is a three-part, evolving plan to help business owners and operators overcome, and recover from the many new challenges they face as a result of COVID-19,” Amanda Mercer, economic development officer with the Town, said.

The three areas of focus in this plan are:

1. Clear Dissemination of Information and Needs Assessment

2. Town Initiatives that Support Businesses Through Re-opening

3. Targeted Business Support and One on One Guidance

Part One of this strategy has already begun, as this section includes the business survey the Town conducted.

This part of the strategy also includes the launch of the Virtual Business Resource Centre and the Economic Development Newsletter. The newsletter currently has 118 subscribers.

Part Two is currently under development. Mercer says an “interdepartmental team” is working together to find ways to help businesses as they reopen.

This team will be looking into ways they can help businesses adjust to social distancing, review opportunities to reduce red tape, and develop community promotion and marketing initiatives.

“The strategy focuses heavily on providing resources that can be used immediately to help businesses take their next best step forward,” Mercer said.

Part Three of the strategy: Targeted Business Support and One on One Guidance, will be done through two different “streams.”

The first stream offers businesses support through webinars and training while the second stream offers business coaching from a Certified Management Consultant.

“While this isn’t something that was specifically asked for through the survey results, it was clear to us that our business community was looking for something like this to help move them out of the pandemic,” said Mercer.

“I think this strategy shows we are there for our businesses and want them to do well.”

This strategy is specifically for local businesses coming out of the pandemic. Businesses who reside out of town but sometimes do business in Sylvan Lake will not be eligible for the help provided in the strategy.

“A similar strategy was developed in Fort McMurray and to the best of my knowledge it is still used there,” Mercer, who previously worked in Mort McMurray, said.

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