For more than two years, Northern Development offered a rebate program to businesses that were negatively impacted by the wildfires that burned in its Cariboo-Chilcotin/Lillooet region in 2017 and 2018. In late 2019, the Trust committed nearly $15,000 to Splitrock Environmental Sekw’el’was, a St’at’imc-owned business that specializes in environmental services, ethnobotanical products and nursery plants, to develop an e-commerce website.
“Splitrock Environmental Sek’wel’was is a company that is passionate about protecting our environment and promoting environmental awareness,” said Shauni McDonald, office administrator with Splitrock Environmental Sekw’el’was. “Within that past few years Splitrock has felt the negative impacts of wildfires that surrounded our area when our revenue was unexpectedly reduced due to road closures and smoke. After this unexpected drawback we are ready to move forward stronger than before. To strengthen and diversify our business, we are launching an e-commerce website to allow more people to order our ethnobotanical products and learn more about the environmental services we offer. This launch in being made easier by Northern Development’s support. Stay tuned for our new and enhanced website.”
Developing e-commerce websites have proven popular to businesses looking to diversify and grow income streams following the wildfires. For Splitrock Environmental Sekw’el’was, this new platform will allow them to showcase and sell their products to a larger audience, resulting in an increase in sales and job opportunities. The online option also facilitates connections with potential and existing customers when access to their physical location may be limited due to road closures or other unforeseen circumstances.
“We’re pleased to be supporting Splitrock Environmental Sekw’el’was as they seek new ways to grow and sustain the business,” said Felicia Magee, director of business development with Northern Development. “Working with a professional consultant to curate a specialized e-commerce website is a valuable investment that will generate revenue and awareness for years to come.”
Funding for this project comes from Northern Development’s Competitiveness Consulting Wildfire Recovery Rebate which ended December 31, 2019. This program offered resources to businesses that were impacted by wildfires by providing a rebate to help cover the cost of hiring a consultant to assist with business recovery efforts. Up to 75 per cent, to a maximum of $15,000, of costs associated with hiring a professional consultant could be recovered. Small- and medium-sized businesses can still receive financial rebates from Northern Development through the Competitiveness Consulting Rebate and the Forestry Affected Business Consulting Rebate.