Two new business advisors are serving the North Okanagan Shuswap region as the province begins implementing a re-opening strategy to help businesses recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Robyn Cyr and Janet Doyle are consultants who will provide support to assist with grant applications, digital marketing strategies, financial planning, business planning and other areas of business development.
Cyr has been involved in economic development and tourism development for the past 20-plus years, working for Community Futures, local government, and Indigenous communities in Squamish, Williams Lake and the Shuswap region.
In 2019 she left her role as Economic Development Manager for the Columbia Shuswap Regional District, which included the management of Shuswap Tourism and the Columbia Shuswap Film Commission, to start her own business — Brabyn Business Solutions. She is now working directly with local communities on business development and business recovery projects.
“We know that the communities in our area are no strangers to disaster; fires and floods and have laid the groundwork for effective business development strategies and this program is moving quickly to ensure all businesses are receiving adequate support,” said Cyr.
A woman who is passionate about the communities in the region, Cyr also sits as a director on the Splatsin Development Corporation, the Shuswap Trail Alliance, the South Shuswap Chamber of Commerce, and the Skmana Ski Club.
Doyle is a marketing and media specialist with more than 20 years of experience in digital communications, drawing on knowledge built over a colourful career that spans across Canada.
Her community-focused approach is genuine; she loves discovering the local charm of each destination and is looking forward to working with local business owners to ensure they receive the personalized advice they need to navigate the quickly changing world of social media and marketing.
“I’m looking forward to working with them to creatively address their unique challenges,” said Doyle. “And help them build a successful online presence that will prepare them for full recovery. Our region is second to none in beauty and what we all crave – open space. We expect the next few years to see explosive growth as customers return, and we want businesses to be ready to capture that market.”
Doyle’s experience working in rural communities across Canada gives her a practical understanding of the common problems faced by rural businesses:
Seven communities in the region formed a collaborative group and submitted a funding application to ETSI-BC (Economic Trust of the Southern Interior) to hire advisors, who will be available to work with business owners in Armstrong, Chase, Enderby, North Shuswap, South Shuswap, Sicamous and Spallumcheen.
“We are very thankful for the opportunity this support through ETSI provides to our business community,” said Sean Newton, Armstrong Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce board president. “We are anxious to move forward and begin to recover from the last 16 months.”
The business advisors will be out in each of the communities over the next nine months to work with local business owners on their individual business development requirements. Both advisors are looking forward to connecting with business owners and collaborating with other regions on solutions to ensure businesses can source the support that they require to reopen and take advantage of new opportunities.
“Our business community was hard hit by the pandemic,” said Judy Dangel of the Enderby and District Chamber of Commerce. “Many need support to apply for the federal and provincial grants offered for recovery and this funding through ETSI will provide advisors to assist them.”
For more information on how the program can help your business or to be referred to an advisor, contact one of the participating chambers in the North Okanagan Shuswap.