Business Beat: A #CanadaUnited that puts Local First
Last week the Chamber of Commerce highlighted four campaigns including Local First, ShopHere, The Big Spend and Canada United, that are all focused on the importance of supporting the business community as they adapt and recover from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 global pandemic. By promoting these initiatives, we are encouraging residents of the region to spend their dollars locally in order to facilitate the revitalization of the economy.
We recognize that these have been unprecedented times and it’s been very challenging for our business community, so we are looking at how we can make sure we strengthen the message of Local First and supporting our businesses who create jobs, drive innovation, generate wealth and contribute to the social fabric of our community.
Local First is a project that emerged out of the Business Retention Expansion and Workforce Development survey and is a campaign formed in partnership with the Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures Entre-Corp, Medicine Hat Construction Association, City Centre Development Agency, Medicine Hat Accommodation Association, Tourism Medicine Hat, Jim Pattison Broadcast Group, Verge Economic Development and Invest Southeast Alberta, which will be a campaign that emphasizes all the ways that residents can put local first. Through the #localyxh initiative, we’ll be promoting shopping, hiring, contracting and visiting cultural and heritage resources and various ways people can support local to help keep dollars circulating in our regional economy. We’ve also created a toolkit for participating businesses with window decals and social media graphics and information, so that everyone can participate.
The Chamber also partnered up with the Invest Medicine Hat, Community Futures Entre-Corp and APEX Alberta in order to help get businesses online through an e-commerce program in collaboration with DMS ShopHere powered by Google, which was launched on July 13th. The partners identified very early on that the primary reasons businesses were not online was due to time, expertise and money. This program provides businesses the opportunity to establish an online presence and e-commerce store by enlisting the help of student support, advertising campaigns and training to assist business get a kick start. By having an online presence, it will make it easier for people to find local businesses and support them by using these online shops to make purchases locally. The organizations are also working with local businesses to build a business support package as businesses will need support through this process and we have a number of amazing local businesses that can help.
#TheBigSpend also took place this past weekend on Saturday, July 25th with the Chamber encouraging people to purchase at local small business and map spending across Canada so we could track our economic impact at thebigspend.com. The Big Spend set a goal of $100 M in economic impact and encouraged people to register their Big Spend online to meet this target.
Most recently, the Medicine Hat & District Chamber of Commerce joined the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and RBC in order to rally Canadians to “show local some love” and support local businesses as part of a nationwide Canada United movement. This movement encourages Canadians to support, shop and dine locally, celebrating and supporting our local businesses throughout the year, but particularly leading up to and including our Canada United Weekend from August 28 to 30, 2020.
Through this campaign RBC is also contributing funds to support business across Canada. Canadians are encouraged to watch the Canada United videos online at GoCanadaUnited.ca, like and share posts from @GoCanadaUnited on social media and use #CanadaUnited to demonstrate their support. For each of these actions, until August 31, 2020, RBC will contribute 5 cents up to a maximum contribution amount of $2 million to the new Canada United Small Business Relief Fund. In turn, small businesses across the country will be able to apply for up to $5,000 in grant funding. Small business owners who are interested in the program can visit GoCanadaUnited.ca to learn more.
Through all of these efforts, we want to create a movement of support, create even stronger relationships and connections with our business community and promote Local First. Our businesses are our friends, neighbours, coaches, service providers and colleagues, so make sure you put Local First and help us make a collective impact within our community by supporting local.
Let’s make sure our business community emerges from this period more resilient, adaptable and stronger than ever. Join Us!