Victoria-based Eagle Wing Tours has received support from the Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Project, part of the BC Tourism Resiliency Network
Our weekly series celebrates organizations that are stepping up to help others
After taking some time off last week, we’re back with a fresh round of B.C. businesses and other good citizens making an effort to support their community. Despite a recent uptick in COVID-19 cases, the province appears to be heading down the right path when it comes to social distancing and promoting safe business practices. While we all learn to navigate the new normal, it goes without saying that patronizing local shops and companies is the right thing to do. Whether it’s backing local tourism or ensuring that entrepreneurs have the tools they need to keep moving forward, here’s to everyone who’s making a difference. And to all those continuing to work in front-line roles and keep people safe, we thank you!
BC Girl Guides offers a variety of virtual activities to keep girls connected during the pandemic. The organization invites members, friends, family and the public to join free summer events held on Facebook Live. Recent family-friendly sessions have explored the science of viruses with a researcher, female athletes’ achievements with the BC Sports Hall of Fame, animal care with the BC SPCA and rescuing wild animals with the Wildlife Rescue Association of BC. Watch past events via BC Girls Guides’ Facebook page, and stay tuned for new live videos.
By confronting urgent environmental and social issues in the local community, this nonprofit aims to use the power of brands to do good. In response to the pandemic, Brands for Better is hosting a one-day virtual consulting session, aptly named The Comeback, to help Vancouver businesses navigate the post-COVID reality. The September 9 event will see 10 businesses work with industry experts to find solutions to the big challenges facing them in 2020. If you could use some help, apply here.
When COVID-19 the struck the B.C. tourism industry, Tourism Vancouver Island launched the Vancouver Island Coastal Tourism Resiliency Program with Island Coastal Economic Trust. Designed by the industry for the industry, the program supports more than 300 tourism enterprises on the Island. It also secured funding from Western Economic Diversification Canada to go provincewide as the British Columbia Tourism Resiliency Network. Led by the B.C. Regional Tourism Secretariat and supported by the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, Destination BC and Indigenous Tourism BC (see below), the network is now giving some 1,300 tourism businesses one-on-one support to deal with the impact of the pandemic, find ways to adapt and move toward long-term resiliency. Tourism operators are sharing their stories of resilience here. No matter where they are on the road to recovery, businesses are encouraged to reach out for help at TourismResiliency.ca.
Planning to explore the province this summer? ITBC’s new Indigenous BC mobile app, an interactive trip planning and educational resource, helps support the I in the BIPOC community. Highlighting Indigenous-owned tourism businesses, which have been hit hard by the pandemic, the app “immerses travellers in the cultures, traditions and raw beauty of B.C.’s diverse Indigenous territories,” according to ITBC. Besides enjoying digital storytelling that draws on the rich oral traditions of local First Nations, users can take language lessons on the platform and unlock geotargeted content and recommendations as they travel.
Recognizing that well-stocked food banks are crucial during the economic upheaval of COVID-19, Ritchie Bros. is lending a hand. The Vancouver-based company has made $187,500 in donations to 52 food banks worldwide, everywhere from Canada and the U.S. to France, India and Japan. Fittingly, one of its bigger gifts was $25,000 to the Greater Vancouver Food Bank.
Spocket is revolutionizing the world of e-commerce with a drop-shipping platform that lets anyone set up an online store in less than an hour. On its mission to empower a million entrepreneurs, the Vancouver-headquartered business noticed the devastating effects of COVID-19 on small businesses. So from March through May, Spocket offered free courses via its online academy. This program, which featured more than 40 classes from industry experts, helped budding entrepreneurs learn how to grow an online business. All told, Spocket delivered 7,000 free courses to more than 1,800 people.
To give back during COVID-19, a group of friends in Vancouver are selling lawn signs, with all proceeds going to SafeCareBC’s Operation Protect, which supports front-line workers in long-term care, home care and assisted living facilities. The effort, inspired by a Toronto fundraising drive, accepts donations via GoFundMe, PayPal and e-transfer. You can learn more by visiting the Thank You Frontline YVR’s website.
Vancouver-based Tmrw recently launched its plant-based burger and mince products in major grocery chains throughout the province. To celebrate, the company has joined forces with North Vancouver silviculture firm Zanzibar Holdings to plant 10,000 trees in Williams Lake, whose forests have suffered major damage from fires over the past few years.
Wize pioneered coffee leaf tea to give year-round employment to Nicaraguan farmers who previously had to rely on the three-month season for harvesting coffee beans. To build on that positive social impact, the Vancouver-based company launched its new canned iced tea lineup during COVID-19. By supporting farmers in the off-season, Wize is helping the struggling Latin American coffee industry, whose troubles have only worsened due to the pandemic. Every can of Wize Iced Tea provides two minutes of work for coffee farmers in need. So far, the company has generated some 75,000 hours of off-season employment, with a goal of 1 million.
If you know a B.C. business that is going above and beyond to help others during the pandemic, drop us a line! We’d love to feature them in this weekly series. Please email email@example.com