Back to business

Resource Centre offers local businesses one-stop-shop of support

By Dawn Booth, Connect Weekly

Tim Hortons on Thickwood Boulevard is currently Drive-Thru only and announced on June 26 that the downtown’s Drive-Thru is also now up and serving. The downtown restaurant was the first of the Fort McMurray franchise locations to open. For updates on re-opened local busi- nesses, visit www.fortmcmurraychamber.ca Photo by Dawn Booth, Connect Weekly

Tim Hortons on Thickwood Boulevard is currently Drive-Thru only and announced on June 26 that the downtown’s Drive-Thru is also now up and serving. The downtown restaurant was the first of the Fort McMurray franchise locations to open. For updates on re-opened local businesses, visit www.fortmcmurraychamber.ca Photo by Dawn Booth, Connect Weekly

The Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) recently announced financial support is available to help get businesses in the Wood Buffalo region returned to operations.

According to a release, the Back to Business Resource Centre will act as a one-stop-shop for local businesses to access government assistance, as well as business and office resources.

This project is in partnership with the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures Wood Buffalo, Fort McMurray Construction Association, Northeastern Alberta Aboriginal Business Association (NAABA), and the Insurance Bureau of Canada.

“The Back to Business Resource Centre is a strong collaboration among the local business organizations; partnering allows us to provide the necessary support and resources that the business community needs during this challenging time” added Mayor Melissa Blake.

Coordinated by the Wood Buffalo Economic Development (www.choosewoodbuffalo.ca), the Centre is located on the first floor of the Municipal Building at 9816 Hardin Street. The Centre is also a part of the Business and Economic Recovery Plan, which is in place to enable small and medium enterprises to remain in the region, assist in overall business continuity and continue the diversification of the economy.

Business owners are able to access the internet, phones, computers, printers and meeting rooms. Business specialists will also be available to provide advisory support and guidance.

“In the face of one of our country’s worst natural disasters, Fort McMurray businesses are showing incredible resilience and taking the lead in rebuilding their city. We want to be there with owners and workers through the challenges ahead and this one-stop-shop will make it easier for them to get tools and support from local organizations who understand their unique needs,” said Honourable Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade.

“We want to thank the Government of Alberta for their generous support. These funds will allow us to make sure our local business owners can get back to a new business as usual,” said Melissa Blake, mayor of the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo. “The purpose of this project is to provide businesses a one-stop-shop to make it easier to access resources, support and expertise during the recovery process and to return to operations as quickly as possible.”

A Business Re-Opening Schedule is available on the Fort McMurray Chamber of Commerce website at www.fortmcmurraychamber.ca/bus-reopening-sched.html, where hundreds of business have registered their projected dates.

To register a business, contact the Wood Buffalo’s Business Recovery Hotline at 1-855-RMWB BIZ (1-855-769-2249). The toll-free number is available to provide information to local business owners. The hotline can be reached on Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and closed on Sunday.

“We’re committed to business in Wood Buffalo. Our businesses are the backbone of the region. They are critical economic drivers of our community, providing residents with vital goods, services and – above all – jobs,” said Mayor Blake. “Our business owners are highly resilient, but we want to ensure that they access to the necessary tools and resources to help them as we move forward.”

The hotline will also be the point of entry for business owners to complete a business recovery survey that will distinguish the business community’s distinct short and long-term needs.

For more information about the Back to Business Resource Centre, please visit choosewoodbuffalo.ca.

-Connect Weekly-