Georgian College’s Entrepreneurship Centre develops hub to help local businesses during pandemic

The hub offers a number of tools for small and medium-sized businesses

Challenging times ahead for area businesses and Georgian’s Henry Bernick Entrepreneurship Centre (HBEC) is dedicated to helping businesses succeed and is aware of the challenges the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic is creating for their clients.

HBEC has built a business hub with a variety of resources to assist local companies, in particular those with less than 500 employees that would be considered small and medium-sized businesses. They made up 80 per cent of companies in our region. HBEC is also aiming to provide specific resources for small companies (less than 20 employees) because they may be the hardest hit.

“We realized that businesses in Central Ontario would need support now more than ever,” said Jamie Doran, Executive Director, Research, Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Georgian College. “We have a great team of experts and mentors who are all committed to helping and we wanted to use our collective knowledge and the resources of our extended network to bring important and timely information to companies in this region. The hub represents just a part of our strategy to help companies. We’re also running several online programs to reach companies in different ways, such as Coffee Talk every Monday morning, where companies can connect with our business mentors and each other live online.

The goal of the hub is to make it easier for local companies to find quality information and resources. There’s a vast amount of information on the web right now. The college’s post-graduate researchers have taken on the task of combing through everything to find the most relevant information. The content is focused on doing three things:

  • Share articles that help businesses forecast the coming months so they can better develop strategies to cope with short-, medium-, or longer-term shutdowns. These articles help to answer these questions: What will the next month look like? How long might the COVID-19 pandemic affect the economy and in what ways?
  • Share best practices on how companies can adjust their operations. We’re collecting information on practical options for companies such as managing cash flow, accessing government funding when it becomes available, shifting to e-commerce, managing suppliers, and navigating challenges with import/export.
  • Provide tips and best practices on how companies can maintain good communication with both their employees and customers.

“The biggest advantage of the hub is that it contains curated information,” said Doran.  “We only post items that we’ve reviewed, and think will be helpful to local companies; the site changes daily to reflect new learning and new content. Beyond the hub, we’re also leveraging the collective knowledge of our mentors to coach clients one-on-one, while also cross-promoting programs being offered by our regional partners, like the Sandbox. This is really a community effort to help local businesses cope with COVID.”

Businesses are encouraged to follow HBEC on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@GCHBEC) to stay on top of the latest events and programs.

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