Many small businesses across Canada are struggling to stay afloat as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic, and Alberta has released a list of resources to help support small business owners.
Business Link is meant to serve as a one-stop shop to connect small businesses with free advice, coaching and information on COVID-19 resources and supports available to them.
Some of the resources include one-on-one guidance for those who operate a small business, as well as the opportunity to connect with a business strategist by phone, email or live chat.
Free programming will be offered on the website through June, including webinars on a variety of topics, online events and free expert sessions with lawyers, accountants, marketing specialists and e-commerce specialists.
“We feel it is important to provide support to Alberta entrepreneurs as they navigate these difficult times,” Business Link CEO Barbara Mckenzie said Thursday.
“We want to break down the barriers to information and ensure business owners know what is available to them for support.
“We know that Alberta is in a tough place right now, but we want to ensure the small businesses that are the drivers of our economy can last long beyond this pandemic.”
Last year, nearly 674,000 Albertans were employed at businesses with fewer than 100 employees, according to the Alberta government.
“Small businesses inject billions into our provincial economy. They create good jobs and are a cornerstone of our communities,” Minister of Economic Development, Trade and Tourism Tanya Fir said in a media release.
Small businesses have been forced to find new ways to operate, after the novel coronavirus led to the closure of non-essential businesses in Alberta. Even those that remain open have been met with big challenges.
Businesses like hair salons, clothing and other retail stores are no longer allowed to be open, and restaurants can provide delivery and take out but no in-room dining.
In an address to the province Tuesday night, Premier Jason Kenney said the restrictions put in place to try to slow the spread of COVID-19 will likely be in place until the end of May.