Purpose: The purpose of the Flagstaff Region Recovery Plan was to support the Region’s economic and social resiliency in unprecedented times and provide small businesses with the tools and information they need to adapt and thrive in the mid to long term. We wanted to deliver an ambitious strategy that would deliver valued services and community supports, create safe environments and healthy workers, and foster innovative thinking regional business operations. This plan follows a phased approach that is guided by Public Health, individual business needs, staff capacity, and Alberta’s framework for reopening the province.
Effectiveness: The Flagstaff Region’s COVID-19 response is an ongoing extensive plan that provides aggressive and effective supports and programs that continue to grow and diversify our Flagstaff Region back to prosperity. Recovery activities include the distribution of several press releases and lists of available essential services, the creation of business success programs, workshops and webinars, social resiliency and mental health initiatives, and shop local events. As a first step, Flagstaff County, in collaboration with all Battle River Economic Opportunities Committee (BREOC) partners created a COVID-19 Information Resource Page and a unique, no-cost, “Business Success Program.” 69 businesses have been accepted into this program thus far to receive the support they needed to manage their businesses effectively – this included free access to professional services (such as HR, accountants, lawyers, mental health professionals etc.). The business support program also provides access to support dollars of up to $5000 per business to implement professional advice. We developed several webinars that focused on helping small businesses up-level their online presence and create a future mindset. 32 businesses participated online. Two social resiliency initiatives were created as a method of spreading appreciation and thanks throughout the Flagstaff Region. “Random Acts of Kindness” was launched to encourage community members to share their uplifting stories so that we could share them with others on our “Page of Positivity”. “Nominate a Frontline Hero” was launched the first week of May and over the course of 5 weeks received 114 inspiring nominations. For the month of June and into July, our team planned and delivered “The Flagstaff Online Showcase” – a series of virtual shop local events that connect customers to local businesses from the comfort of their own home. On average, the Flagstaff Online Showcase reached over 195,600 people and received over 23,750 engagements. 96% of businesses experienced an increase in sales and customers and were excited to continue learning how to transition their marketing online. Amidst all these activities, our team and the rest of Flagstaff County staff participated in an online mental health workshop series while working from home.
The biggest challenge is navigating the speed, scope, and consequences of COVID-19 as each day progresses. To try and combat these barriers, our team is consistently keeping up to date with local, provincial, and global news/events happening around the world and how they will affect our region. Our team is also committed to keeping our business community engaged via phone, email, and zoom conversations giving them direct access to quality information and supports that are adaptable to each individual business’s needs.
Our target demographic is composed of small business owners and community members located within the Flagstaff Region. The intent is to provide information and support to those involved in the Flagstaff Region and continue to be progressive and innovative.
Sustainability: This recovery plan provides sustainability by providing our region and small business community with the knowledge and support required to fully grow, adapt, and succeed within our new COVID environment.