Columbia Basin Trust is expanding the ways it can help people and businesses move forward in response to ongoing COVID-related developments. (Columbia Basin Trust photo)

Columbia Basin Trust expands programming to support businesses

The revised programs will help local businesses to reopen and modify operations

Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) is offering four revised programs to help local businesses with their reopening or modified operations now that BC is in phase two of the provincial restart plan.

In a press release, CBT explained that in response to COVID-19 related developments, the Trust is making an effort to expand the way it can help people and businesses move forward.

“The current phase of the provincial government’s restart plan has introduced new requirements with public health and safety as the priority,” said Johnny Strilaeff, Columbia Basin Trust President and Chief Executive Officer. “To help the region’s businesses and workforce navigate these changes, we are adjusting our programs and services to provide relevant support, such as low-interest loans to help with modifications to business operations, free advice on how to become more tech-savvy, wage subsidies to hire summer students, and support for short-term training.”

READ MORE: Columbia Basin Trust announces $11.7 million in COVID-19 support funding

The four revised plans include Small Business Working Capital Loans, Basin Business Advisors, Summer Works and Training Free Support.

The Small Business Working Capital Loans program provides working capital and operating funds to help small businesses and social entrepreneurs adapt to the new re-opening requirements.

“The low-interest loans can now be used for capital expenses, such as equipment needed for re-opening, and the maximum loan amount has increased to $40,000,” says CBT. “Applicants may now apply even if they have received funding from other programs. The financing can also be used for items like rent, wages, inventory, renovations and personal protective equipment. Learn more at ourtrust.org/wcloans.”

The Basin Business Advisors program focuses on helping small and medium-sized businesses to become more tech-savvy, alongside the Trust’s free, confidential, one-to-one business advisement.

“For example, a business might need to increase their online presence, develop an e-commerce website, create a digital marketing plan, move to cloud based file management or boost manufacturing productivity,” said CBT. “This program is delivered by Community Futures. Learn more at bbaprogram.ca.”

READ MORE: No active confirmed COVID-19 cases in Interior Health: BCCDC

The Summer Works program is being re-opened for the 2020 summer season and the Trust is increasing the number of small businesses that can receive wage subsidies to hire students.

“Although the program had already closed for the 2020 summer season, it is being re-opened to accept applications as of June 5, 2020,” CBT said in the press release. “Administered by College of the Rockies, this program provides wage subsidies to help small businesses hire high school and post-secondary students, in part-time or full-time positions, over the summer. Learn more at ourtrust.org/summerworks.”

Lastly, the Training Free Support program helps unemployed and underemployed people take short-term courses, online or in-person, that help them to secure employment, explains CBT. Even more people will be eligible for the program now, including self-employed people, workers that have been laid off or had their hours reduced and need to diversify their skills. People can now access $1,000, up from $800. The program can also support up to $7,500 of training costs for Specialized Skills Training, now including early childhood, health care and agriculture related certification. Learn more at ourtrust.org/tfs.

The Trust has also increased assistance through existing programs like the Impact Investment Fund, Basin RevUP and the Career Internship Program. See all the resources and support available at ourtrust.org/covid19 or call 1.800.505.8998.



corey.bullock@cranbrooktownsman.com

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