The Business Resiliency Program was developed to support local business with COVID recovery efforts by helping improve their marketing or digital presence.
The pandemic had a significant impact on the St. Albert business community. To better understand the challenges the pandemic was placing on local businesses, the City of St. Albert and the Chamber of Commerce conducted a survey with local business owners. This survey provided insights into specific areas that business owners felt the municipal government could provide additional support for during these challenging times.
Administration and a Recovery Task Force approved funding to a maximum of $100,000 toward the Business Resiliency Program. Through this program, St. Albert in-town businesses with less than 50 employees had the option to apply for 1 of 2 available grants:
The Digital Transformation Grant funded up to 50% of eligible costs, to a maximum of $1000, towards areas such as website development, graphic design, brand development or SEO.
The Marketing Grant covered up to 50% of eligible costs, to a maximum of $500, toward the creation of a marketing plan or marketing material.
The program was launched on May 3, 2021 and applications were reviewed on a until Sept 30, 2021.
Along with the two grant streams, there were two additional components of them program, which included online learning courses and a summer marketing student position. The position was hired specifically to promote local businesses by sharing photos and videos on the Support St. Albert FB page and helping develop online profiles or promotions.
The key objective of the program was to streamline and adapt local business service delivery (online) and provide incentives for new development and growth initiatives for local businesses.
Two of the top priorities indicated by business owners in the survey were to increase their marketing and promotional activities and to improve their online presence. The online learning component connected businesses to relevant online courses within LinkedIn. Businesses were able to take advantage of these courses with a free membership through the Public Library.
The program was administrated by the Ec Dev department with a goal of receiving 50 applications. The department received an astounding 101 applications with $82,648.50 of the funding allocated to support local businesses with their marketing plans or expenses related to the improvement of their online business presence. 60% of those that accessed funding utilized a local marketing service provider, which reinvested $50,000 grant dollars back into the community. 85% per cent of grant recipients indicated an immediate positive impact to their business because of this grant.
The grant improvements resulted in Power Plated Meals developing a professional online presence. The Business Resiliency Grant has been instrumental not only in providing resources to make improvements, but also in creating a mindset to ensure that a strong foundation for digital transformation is established and maintained.
Websites or additional online promotion expenses that businesses had launched prior to May 2021 were not initially considered part of the grant’s eligible expenses. Some businesses voiced disappointment with this stipulation and as a result, that portion of the criteria was eliminated to consider any eligible expenses that were made in 2021.
This program was geared toward in-town St. Albert business owners. Approximately 1,000 licensed businesses were identified as having under 50 employees and a minimum of one full-time staff member. 101 businesses participated in the program, resulting in a total engagement of 10% of all in-town businesses.
Resiliency Program News Release
Digital Transformation Application