City of Prince Rupert helps Business Owners Recover through a Helpline

Divya Gill

Community Futures Pacific Northwest  has partnered-up with the City of Prince Rupert to start a recovery helpline for businesses.

The helpline was launched this week to support local business owners as they prepare to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Farrell, the General Manager of Community Futures, says this program is designed to help small, medium size businesses get back into the economy.

"Through the help line, our business advisor point them to for instance consulting rebate that Northern Development Initiative Trust is promoting which helps businesses, so NDIT will pay for 85% of a consultants fee to do things like help people move their retail business or whatever that service is to an online market place."

With the pandemic still around, local businesses say it was hard for them to understand and apply for the different funding applications given by the government. The Business Support and Recovery Helpline, is a way to connect business people to resources, up-to-date and accurate information, and ways to finance the costs of re-entry. Business co-owner of Argosy, Frances Riley says this helpline came at a great time.

"I think the recovery hotline is a really great resource for  local businesses  to help them recover  and help them navigate the programs and the funding opportunities that are available."

With only its second day of opening the help line, Farrell says they receive 12 to 20 calls a day.

"The most significant thing is most of the  business that we talk to have at least one or two questions and we've been able to guide them to resources, so we know the helpline is working and it is doing what it is supposed to do which is help."

The Emergency Loan Fund will also be available on the helpline for those businesses affected by the public health crisis. A $40,000 no payment, interest-free, loan is available to those ineligible for other federal subsidies.

The helpline, available at (250) 624 4416, is open weekdays from 9 am to 3 pm. If the line is busy, a call-back can be expected within 24 hours.

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