COVID-19 Relief for Local Businesses in Northern British Columbia
In 2020 Centerra responded to the immediate needs of local communities affected
These funds were predominantly directed to not-for-profit groups and other organizations supporting community members through the unprecedented times. When we consulted with Mount Milligan’s neighbouring communities at the end of the year to see where the need would lie in 2021, we heard that there was a lack of support for the hard-hit local businesses, many of which were family or sole proprietor owned and operated.
Out of this consultation was born the Mine the Gap: Shifting Forward program. As an economic development project, it was the first of its kind for Centerra – a grant program aimed at supporting businesses. We invited local businesses to apply for up to $20,000 in funding to support their efforts to become more resilient in the changing world. We received applications from business owners looking for grants to cover things like transitions to online platforms, expand services to populations hit hardest by the pandemic, receive business coaching, complete renovations to improve staff safety and hygiene and purchase equipment and supplies to help them shift their business services to a more pandemic-friendly model.
In the end, Centerra was proud to grant $100,000 in funds to 11 local businesses whose services span health and wellness, arts and culture, food services, sports and recreation, and transportation and manufacturing. Grant recipients represented multiple communities and included both female and Indigenous business owners.
The success of the Mine the Gap: Shifting Forward program is a testament to the great work that can be done by listening to the needs of communities and responding in an agile and impactful manner. We look forward to watching the grant recipients grow their businesses and continue to contribute to the robust and diverse local economies in the regions where we operate.