South Cariboo business ambassador Alisha Piccolo wants operations from agriculture to retail and from home-based to non-profits to contact her for help in recovering from the 2017 wildfires, whether or not they think they will qualify for assistance. Carole Rooney photo.

Business boost funding is available – just apply

‘You snooze, you lose’ when it comes to not asking for help

Thanks to almost $400,000 in new funding, a team of ambassadors are now available to assist businesses in the Cariboo-Chilcotin and Thompson-Nicola regions to recover from the impacts of the 2017 wildfires.

These ambassadors can help assess the impact of the wildfires on their operations, and then match their needs to available programs and services, assist with appropriate referrals and application processes, explains Community Futures Cariboo Chilcotin general manager Karen Eden.

The new program is funded by $200,000 from Northern Development, $140,000 from the Cariboo-Chilcotin Beetle Action Coalition and $56,000 from Community Futures Development Corporation.

Eden says as a result of the worst wildfire season in provincial history, many businesses in both regions are struggling to recover, reopen and generate revenue.

Emergency response co-ordinator Sue Lachancen and a team of seven business ambassadors are working from Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) offices, as well as on the road in many communities until Oct. 31 to help businesses access resources to help with wildfire recovery.

While many programs and services already exist or have recently been established to assist with wildfire recovery efforts, accessing these resources can be a daunting and time-consuming task for business owners who are busy managing their day-to-day operations, Eden explains.

Whether you have an agriculture operation that needs some ranch supports, you own a retail store suffering from lack of sales, you have a home-based handyman service or you operate a non-profit group, there is some form of assistance available to apply for – and Eden encourages you to do so.

South Cariboo area ambassador Alisha Piccolo says she also strongly encourages all businesses to apply – but convincing them to do this is not always easy to accomplish.

Most small-to-medium businesses coming out of the wildfire season in 2017 are likely facing challenges that these ambassadors and funding is aimed at finding solutions for, but Piccolo says the first hurdle is to help business people to understand the funding is there whether they accept it or not.

It seems many business owners feel they shouldn’t ask for help, or they won’t qualify – some even worry they might even be taking money away from someone who needs it more – but none of these are valid concerns that should hold anyone back from trying, she explains.

“They are not taking these funds from anybody else. These funds are for everybody – there’s enough for all businesses to apply for this … and we want to see all these funds stay in the community and support these businesses, and help them through this impact.”

Piccolo’s main message to business people is to “stop self-disqualifying themselves before they even give it a shot.”

You won’t know if you qualify unless you apply – and this impact that local businesses are feeling is exactly what these funds are there for, she adds.

“The scary thing that I’m hearing from businesses is ‘we are getting by, we are doing okay’ but they’re saying that with hesitation because they are not [okay] – they feel they are, but they’re still feeling the impact.”

Whatever your business or non-profit operations, Piccolo will help you, right down to the forms on her own laptop that she will bring to your location.

“Don’t delay in contacting me” is another of Piccolo’s key messages, as the program ends on Oct. 31 and all of the other applications also have deadlines – some of them looming.

Local farmers and ranchers may wish to note the deadline is Jan. 31 for the Wildfire Recovery Initiative for agriculture businesses, she explains. Meanwhile, the Phase 2 Red Cross application deadline is coming up on April 6, and various other cutoff dates apply to other relief programs, she adds.

For more information or to request a visit from the South Cariboo business ambassador, call Alisha Piccolo on her cell at 250-302-9405, or e-mail to alisha@cfd ccariboo.com.

Just Posted

Wranglers Joel Patsey and Dale Hladun in Top Prospects Game

‘He was one of the kids many of the scouts wanted to talk to’

This week in news from years gone by

35 Years Ago Cariboo regional fisheries biologist Jack Leggett told a group… Continue reading

Red Cross in the second phase of fire recovery and relief process

The Red Cross is now using a case-by-case approach for relief

Bantam Wranglers gets first win and tie of the season

Team beats Rockets and ties Warriors

B.C. cougar kitten rescued after mother struck by vehicle

Conservation Officers find home for young kitten found dehydrated and frostbitten near Williams Lake

World’s fastest log car made in B.C. sells for $350,000 US

Cedar Rocket auctioned off three times at Barrett-Jackson Co., netting $350,000 US for veterans

Bad timing: Shutdown spoils Trump’s one-year festivities

Trump spends day trying to hash out a deal with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer

RCMP nail sex toy thief

Shop owner plays a role in arrest

Ice-cream-eating bear draws controversy

An Alberta Wildlife Park posted a video this week of one of their bears going through a Dairy Queen drive-through

Fernie, RCMP go to court over city log books in fatal ammonia leak probe

Log books center stage in clashing of investigations between the city and RCMP

B.C.’s biggest pot plant planned for Oliver

Co-founder Tony Holler said the 700,000 sq. ft. facility would produce 100,000 kg of pot per year

High-end whisky seized in B.C. bar raids

Raids end in seizures at Victoria, Nanaimo and Vancouver whisky joints

Double-doubles and demonstrations: Employees rally outside Tim Hortons

Protests held in response to Ontario franchise owners cutting employee benefits and breaks

Most Read