Thompson Okanagan Tourism Micro Loan Program Launched

TOTA Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association

CFDC logo

“This new initiative represents a pivotal moment for the regional tourism sector as well as another important evolution of our work in helping the industry recover and become more resilient for the long term,” said Glenn Mandziuk, President and CEO of TOTA. “The program will address the immediate need to mitigate financial impacts associated with additional costs and losses tourism businesses have been facing as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

In July 2020, the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) and nine Community Futures offices in the region signed a formal agreement, committing to the development of an active and meaningful relationship on the path to rebuilding a resilient tourism industry in the wake of the global Pandemic.

“Community Futures is in the business of assisting small business across the region, the province, and Canada. We have been a part of your community for over 35 years and we continue to support you with advice, training, and loans,” said Rob Marshall, Executive Director for Community Futures Shuswap and Community Futures Provincial Board Member. The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Micro Loan Program is another example of partners working together to provide help in times of need to our essential tourism industry.” 

The Community Futures and TOTA taskforce is working to implement projects, access needed resources, and share best practices to revitalize, support, and grow the tourism sector, during the pandemic and beyond. Efforts and strategies are focused on tourism growth, development, sustainability, and long-term resiliency. The “Thompson Okanagan Tourism Micro Loan Program” is in alignment with the previously announced Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) program which has, to date, provided $587,000 to 20 tourism businesses in the region.

Applicants to the program must be referred to Community Futures by a Tourism Resiliency Program Advisor and terms and conditions specific to each location apply.

Learn More & Register

Or register by phone: 1-877-431-8489 (ext 8).

About the Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA):
The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association is a non-profit society, governed by an elected Board of Directors, which represents business and community tourism interests throughout the region, and is supported by the British Columbia Ministry of Tourism, Arts, & Culture. It is an industry-led organization that represents and supports all business and community tourism interests in the region, while also helping to implement provincial tourism policies. For more information, visit

About Community Futures :
Community Futures is a non-profit organization supporting small businesses through a range of services and tools. With experts offering local assistance from 34 offices throughout rural BC, they are committed to helping business owners achieve their goals and withstand challenges. TOTA is proud to be forming a joint tourism industry resiliency task force with this outstanding organization and collaborating towards positive advancements for the tourism industry, local businesses, and communities.

Community Futures Partners

Contact the CFDC Central Okanagan loan department at 250-868-2132 ext. 227 for more information.

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Community Futures Virtual Office

To whom it may concern,

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Futures Central Okanagan office will not be open to in person traffic.

Staff will work online and by phone to serve the needs of our clients. Employee email addresses and phone numbers are listed under staff and management page on the Community Futures website.

The next Business Plan Development Program begins Monday March 23 and this program will be delivered online. Business coaching and staff support will be provided by phone, email or in a virtual meeting software platform.

Loan clients also can access services by email, phone or virtually as required. New loan applications will continue to be reviewed and processed in a timely fashion.

It is time to help each other. These are unprecedented times and Community Futures will deploy all of it's resources and connections to assist its clients and our community.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.


Larry Widmer

General Manager



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Business Continuity Support


Good afternoon,

As small business service providers, our collective organizations encourage and support B.C. entrepreneurs with business continuity planning as they start and grow their business. Business continuity is especially relevant as small businesses consider the possible impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on their employees and operations. I anticipate you have been hearing from clients and employees who are looking for information and guidance in this area.

Small Business BC and the B.C. government Small Business Branch have prepared a joint informational electronic resource that provides a checklist of considerations that small businesses can use to help minimize the impacts of COVID-19 to their employees and operations. We invite you to share the attached resource with your clients and networks, and to share Small Business BC’s social media posts (Facebook and Twitter) to help distribute this timely information where it’s needed.

Versions of the resource will soon be available in Punjabi, Korean, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese. We will send a follow up communication when these versions are ready to share.

Small Business BC is also maintaining a webpage with links to current information and relevant private sector articles on COVID-19 considerations for business. Small Business BC advisors are ready to answer entrepreneurs’ questions about implementing or updating business continuity plans, accessing the Talk to an Expert program, or finding online training to help them take the next step.

Our primary concern is the health of all British Columbians, and we continue to work across government and with our federal counterparts to help people and businesses in B.C. prepare.

Current information on COVID-19 can found on the BC Centre for Disease Control website and B.C.’s Pandemic Provincial Coordination Plan can be found here.

You can share your questions and suggestions with us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Jackie Hunter
Executive Director
Small Business Branch
Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Competitiveness

Thomas E. Conway
Small Business BC

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Happipad Launches Revelstoke Roomshare Program

Happipad Technologies Inc. was granted $30,000 for an affordable housing program designed to match seniors with empty rooms in their homes to young adults who need accommodation. According to the news release outlining the projects, the program also provides ongoing support for the seniors and the tenants are vetted. The goal of the project is to reduce social isolation and increase affordable housing. click link to read full story.




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Great BC Business Sale

If your business is for sale and you’re having trouble finding a buyer or if you’re planning on exiting your business in the next few years, now is the time to act. The Great BC Business Sale (GBCBS) to be held in October 2020 is a unique opportunity for you! It’s the first of its kind tradeshow where businesses for sale are the attraction. Held in Vancouver to maximize attendance of potential buyers, this is an opportunity to have many conversations and reach many prospective buyers in a short period of time at a very affordable cost. click here for more information


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Happipad Wins National Prize

Staples Canada Celebrates Small Business Month, Helping the Entrepreneur Community Work, Learn and Grow Français','Logo')">

News provided by

Staples Canada ULC

Oct 03, 2019, 09:20 ET

Winners of "This is How I Grow My Business" Contest Announced, Receive mentorship from Champion of Entrepreneurs, Joe Mimran

RICHMOND HILL, ON, Oct. 3, 2019 /CNW/ - To celebrate entrepreneurs, Staples Canada, The Working and Learning Company, is spending Small Business Month by celebrating three outstanding Canadian small businesses and serving up new products, programs and services designed to help small to medium enterprises in communities across the country work smarter, learn more and grow every day.

"Entrepreneurs and small businesses help fuel our communities and we are committed to supporting their ever-evolving needs," said David Boone, Chief Executive Officer, Staples Canada. "There are about 95,000 small to medium enterprises created each year across the country, though 85,000 businesses disappear within that same period*. We want to help Canadian businesses get off the ground and succeed with the right tools, inspiring products and services, as well as knowledgeable staff at every location."

A continued partnership with champion of entrepreneurs Joe Mimran has evolved to include a new product line designed for the savvy entrepreneur called gry mattr and a mentorship program tied to Staples Canada's "This is How I Grow my Business" contest. Winners of the contest will receive in person mentorship from Joe Mimran, as well as $20,000 worth of technology from Staples Canada and Solutionshop services, which offers access to various services like redesigning their logo, improving the customer experience on their website, creating branded promotional products, tech support and more.

"Research shows that 45 per cent of the Canadian workforce will be self employed in some form by 2020**," continued Boone. "We're committed to helping the small business community beyond Small Business Month. Our commitment extends to supporting them every day with new and established programs like this contest, as well as the unique services and products we offer."

All 305 Staples stores across Canada will end the month by hosting a Small Business Showcase on October 30 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. where start-ups and entrepreneurs have been invited to introduce and share their businesses with the local community.

"Giving entrepreneurs a platform to share their business with others is one of the ways we're building community in our stores to be more than just a product or service provider," said Boone. "We were impressed by so many of the businesses that entered our This is How I Grow My Business contest, and we are thrilled to be able to give additional businesses the opportunity to showcase in our stores."

Meet the Winners of the "This is How I Grow My Business" Contest

Announcing the winners of the "This is How I Grow My Business" Contest; Happipad from Kelowna, British Columbia, SenseTech Solutions from Toronto, Ontario and Animora from Quebec City, Quebec. These three winners were selected from over 1,100 inspiring entries from across Canada.

Happipad Technologies Inc. of Kelowna, British Columbia
Happipad Technologies Inc. provides a service that matches hosts with spare rooms to guests seeking fixed-term affordable rental accommodations. Happipad's main goal is to provide a beneficial experience to both parties involved; hosts have the ability to earn extra income, while guests, typically students, save on rent. With an emphasis on compatibility, Happipad has developed proprietary techniques to help hosts and guests find the right person to live with. Happipad is currently serving hundreds of clients in B.C. communities including Kelowna, Victoria, Kamloops, and Prince George. The company is co-founded by Cailan Libby and Kenneth Chau, who set out to tackle real world problems, like social isolation, housing and sustainability.

SenseTech Solutions of Toronto, Ontario
SenseTech Solutions develops accessible Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality simulations for individuals with disabilities. They design and create realistic simulations that replicate environments for those in need of rehabilitation and training. They also create simulations that act as a disability awareness outreach tool that articulates a charities vision to their local community. Their goal is to provide solutions and deliver an accessible, unique and cutting-edge VR experience that fits their client's specific needs.

The SenseTech Solutions team is comprised of four recent engineering graduates, Ali Raza Syed, Rui Amoah, Robert Ingino and Rijul Aggarwal. These young entrepreneurs value research and development as a key driver while diving into the culture of their clients. This allows them to fully understand pain points and makes client feedback the key ingredient in the completed product.

Animora of Quebec City, Quebec
Animora was founded in 2018 with a simple objective; to improve the health and welfare of pets by offering innovative products in animal health. Using their combined knowledge in dental medicine, animal health, microbiology, biochemistry and pharmacy, Andree-Ann Adam and Jean-Philippe Côté started creating quality health products for pets. Their first product on the market, a cranberry dental gel, is an innovative solution that prevents plaque, tartar, bad breath and reduces gum inflammation for your furry friends.

They have big plans to expand throughout Canada, Europe and the United States because they believe that the more accessible their product, the more pet owners around the world will have the proper tools to take care of their pet's dental health. 

* SOURCE 1: Key Small Business Statistics - January 2019 (Government of Canada)
** SOURCE 2: The Rise of the Self-Employed Economy in Canada (Intuit Canada)

About Staples Canada
Staples Canada is The Working and Learning Company. With a focus on community, inspiration and services, the company is committed to being a dynamic, inspiring partner to customers who visit its 305 locations across the country and online at The company offers three co-working facilities in Toronto, Kelowna and Oakville under the banner Staples Studio. Since its transformation to The Working and Learning Company, Staples Canada has been demonstrating a renewed commitment to small businesses and consumers, through expanded services that go beyond printing in Solutionshop, thousands of new products, tech services, special events, and informative content with the Spotlight Speaker Series and newly-launched blog. A privately-owned company, Staples Canada is dedicated to helping its customers work, learn and grow. for more information, or get social with @StaplesCanada on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

SOURCE Staples Canada ULC

For further information: Alessandra Saccal, Staples Canada, 905-737-1147 Ext. 2363, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; Kathleen Stelmach, Staples Canada, 905-737-1147 Ext. 2714, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; David Dwyer, Golin, 647-828-0140, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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