Local businesses benefit from federal funding initiative

A provincial membership program is adding even more benefits for local entrepreneurs in towns like Sun Peaks.
Kyle Vike, Julie Kimmel and Sonya Trevisi smile and stand in front of a blue wall with a white logo that reads "Flight Dek Cannabis Co." Kimmel is holding a white sign that says "Taking Care of Business with community Futures."
Flight Deck Cannabis’ Kyle Vike (left) and Sonya Trevisi (right) stand with CFBC ambassador Julie Kimmel (centre). Photo provided by Sonya Trevisi.

A provincial membership program is adding even more benefits for local entrepreneurs in towns like Sun Peaks, thanks in part to a 2022 federal government initiative.

Launched by the Community Futures Development Association of BC (CFBC), Taking Care of Business is a membership program where business owners and nonprofits can find resources, training opportunities and direct professional support.

Current membership benefits include free peer mentoring, training workshops and consulting services for owners and employees. 

Sun Peaks councillor and CFBC program ambassador Julie Kimmel said the program’s free resources have helped strengthen Sun Peaks businesses.

“The Community Futures, Taking Care of Business platform is an extremely valuable tool for businesses operating in our region,” she said. “I’d love to see more businesses from the Whitecroft and Heffley areas take advantage of the free resources offered within the program.” 

Among the Sun Peaks businesses that have already participated are Ohana Market and Deli, Roxxy Bombs Pet Food and Supplies, Sun Peaks Yoga, Vertical Café, Zuzy Rocka and McSporties. 

Some of the workshops are even facilitated by locals, including Emma Hull from Life Untethered Coaching and Wellness and Jackie Van Vliet, an investment advisor with CIBC Private Wealth.

Kimmel has also taken part as the owner of a Sun Peaks-based consulting business. 

“I have found benefit from a number of the workshops and will continue to take advantage of the programming,” she said. “I’m also gaining so much insight and useful information from the free consulting services that would have otherwise cost my business thousands of dollars.” 

In Sept. 2022, CFBC received $5.5 million from the federal government to support B.C. businesses and nonprofits impacted by natural disasters like wildfires and floods. This allowed CFBC to add workshops, customized training and mentorship opportunities to its website under the Disaster Recovery and Economic Adjustment Initiative (DREAI). 

Businesses can get up to 10 hours of free consultation, tailored to their needs in a variety of areas such as succession planning, bookkeeping, legal advice, grant writing and digital marketing.

The funding also allowed CFBC to reimburse small businesses up to $5,000 for business-specific training.

Chris Dodd stands in front of a business called McSporties. He is holding a piece of paper with the words "Taking Care of Business with Community Futures" on it while pointing at a sign above his head.
Chris Dodd stands in front of McSporties gear rental store in Sun Peaks. Photo courtesy of Chris Dodd.

When Chris Dodd, employee of local gear retailer McSporties discovered the program last fall, Kimmel helped out with initial advice. 

“At McSporties we have a lot of product knowledge training before every season from various [representatives] about their product,” Dodd said. “Community Futures Taking Care of Business was a great way to get training for our staff outside of the ski industry to help them develop and bring different skills to the shop.” 

Dodd said the shoulder season will be a good time to take advantage of more of the program’s workshops and give him the opportunity to work and learn alongside other local businesses.

Sonya Trevisi, Co-founder of Flight Deck Cannabis Company, joined the initiative in Dec. 2022. She said she especially enjoys the platform’s video series and workshops.

“The ‘My Hat’ series has great little quick videos with some great tools you can watch at any time and zero fees. Such a great starting point,” she said. 

With extensive material and resources to explore, Trevisi hopes to fit in different workshops over time. 

“There are really a huge variety of courses from bookkeeping to communication. I look forward to taking a few,” she said. “We also applied for [DREAI] and were approved, so we’re looking forward to utilizing as many resources from this as possible.” 

Trevisi recommends the program to all small businesses, especially if they are new. 

“It really gives you all the basic answers for starting a business you might need. Plus there is a great list of consultants if you are needing a little extra help,” she said. “I wish I would have known or sought it out sooner.” 

Sun Peaks’ local Community Futures office, located in Kamloops, serves the entire Thompson Country region. Kimmel, the region’s ambassador, can be reached by email at julie@takingcareofbisiness.biz.

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