Business Technical Assistance and Financing Plan

Table of Contents

Scope of the Business Technical Assistance and Financing Plan

The Business Technical Assistance (TA) and Financing Action Group (AG) Plan focuses on the informational guidance and financial products necessary to support businesses during economic disruption. Business technical assistance includes the necessary support for navigating business processes involved in recovery, and financial products include those that are specifically developed to support businesses in times of disaster.

AG Plan Organizations that Participated

AG Lead:        Community Futures South Kootenay

AG Members:

  • Hub International Insurance
  • Basin Business Advisors
  • Leadership Consultant, Board Member
  • Kootenay Savings Credit Union
  • Community Futures South Kootenay


Additional organizations who may be able to provide guidance, case management and support

Non-Profit Organizations

  • Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST)
  • Basin Business Advisors (includes Columbia Basin Trust)
  • West Kootenay-Boundary Investment Cooperative
  • Trail & District Chamber of Commerce
  • Lower Columbia Initiatives Corporation
  • The Skills Centre
  • WorkBC
  • Kootenay Career Development Society
  • Le Roi Community Foundation
  • Simon Fraser University Community Economic Development
  • Selkirk College
    • Applied Research & Innovation
    • Rural Development Institute
    • Applied Research and Innovation Centre

Private Organizations

  • Kootenay Savings Credit Union and other financial institutions in area
  • HUB International Insurance and other insurance agencies in area

Incident Quick Start Checklist

  1. Convene the AG committee.
  2. Set up Business Intake Centre in conjunction with the BEOC.
  3. Consult the Economic Impact AG and determine TA and finance needs for impacted businesses.
  4. Consult case management organizations to determine needs and resources for special populations.
  5. Roll out Disaster Financial Assistance and related workshops, as necessary.
  6. Roll out rapid-response finance programs, as necessary.
  7. Support insurance claims process and insurance guidance.
  8. Feed concerns of businesses back to the ERAP Committee, as appropriate.
  9. Liaise with the EOC, especially if support is needed to lobby provincial and federal governments for support for the business community through the EOC Policy Group (Elected officials and CAO’s).
  10. Work with the Communications AG to disperse timely, accurate and helpful information to business owners. A new regional disaster website is currently being created and will be the main source for communications.

Current Inventory of Existing Programs and Assets for Business TA and Financing

There are several existing programs that provide business support and would be helpful during time of crisis to accelerate business resiliency and recovery.  In addition, the Business Technical Assistance and Financing Action Group developed additional options to be considered before, during and after an emergency event.

  • The Basin Business Advisors (BBA) Program offered by Columbia Basin Trust (CBT) provides free individualized one-on-one support to businesses on how to respond to and recover from a natural disaster. More information:
  • Community Futures South Kootenay offers business financing and loans to area businesses who may find it hard to find financing from traditional institutions. More information:
  • Community Futures South Kootenay offers fully furnished office space for lease with full business amenities. CFSK also offers access to the CRE8 Digital Media Creation space.  More information:
  • The Kootenay Association for Science & Technology (KAST) provides support to science and technology businesses. Sometimes, a fee is required for KAST programs. More information:
  • Sources of financing for businesses would include traditional banks (CIBC, RBC, BMO, Canada Trust, Scotia Bank), credit unions (KSCU and Nelson and District Credit Union – Rossland branch), the West Kootenay – Boundary Investment Coop, Community Futures South Kootenay, Columbia Basin Trust, Western Diversification Canada and Southern Interior Development Initiative Trust. Note, that loan approvals are never guaranteed and the provision of grants during or after a disaster is at the discretion of the funder, and this ERAP plan has no control over the availability of grants and loans. More Information:
  • Additional funding sources may be available through federal and provincial governments for business recovery. Assistance from case management organizations will likely be necessary for these programs to have the maximum recovery potential.

Business Technical Assistance and Financing Preparedness Activities

A list of recommendations from the Business TA and Financing Action Group that may be taken in advance of a disaster or economic downturn to increase the level of resilience within area businesses are as follows; 


Business Continuity Planning:

Assisting local businesses in developing their own disaster plan will increase business resiliency and help to mitigate losses, as well as, decrease business interruption. A FREE fillable template is available at Business continuity planning requires direct input from those who know the business intimately.


Training and Workshops:

Training and workshops are best offered between September to November and again from March to June, as business owners may have more opportunities to participate outside flood, wildfire and summer / tourist seasons.  Evenings and midweek time periods are preferable.


Insurance Seminars:

Assisting local business owners to determine the right insurance policy and coverage for their business, to help mitigate the impacts of a disaster.

* Business interruption insurance is highly recommended but often overlooked.

Provide opportunities for businesses to learn more about insurance processes, such as;

  • How to file an insurance claim if needed?
  • How to navigate through their own business insurance policy to determine that they have the right coverage. Encourage them to sit down with their insurance broker to get these answers prior to a disaster.


Business Record Keeping Seminars:

Assisting businesses to implement proper record keeping practices, including ensuring that business files are backed up and stored at an offsite location. Most businesses back up onto a Cloud storage, such as Drop Box/Google Drive/ One Drive/ Amazon Drive, just to name a few, as this information can be readily accessed from any computer, phone, tablet, or location. Insurance claims are based on providing proof of revenue and property loss. The “onus of proof” is up to the business owner to demonstrate a valid claim. It is also recommended that they do not leave out information to reduce premiums or misrepresent revenues on their tax forms.

Video or photos of the business’s facility/assets are extremely beneficial for an insurance claim or when applying for government relief programs and insurance purposes.  Small Business BC provides numerous webinars, in-person and online training opportunities to learn about best practices for business record keeping.  More information:


Mitigation and preparation for business facilities and utilities:

Supporting businesses to undergo “disaster proofing” their business location.  This is also linked to the Structures and Access AG as well.

Various government agencies and support organizations are currently working on disaster reduction programs such as, the FireSmart program being developed by the RDKB and flood proofing businesses. The following links provide great preparedness information.


Appropriate Insurance:

Business owners must be aware of any fire or flood proofing requirements that are needed for their insurance coverage, such as back flow preventers on sewers.  It is recommended that they discuss with their insurance providers on what options are available and which is best suited to their needs.  They should also strongly consider the need for business interruption insurance.

The Insurance Bureau of Canada has an exhaustive list of insurance guidance, including articles specific to every kind of disaster that might impact area businesses, and guidance for proper insurance coverage.  More information:


Bridge Financing:

Businesses are encouraged to inventory and understand their borrowing power for their business.  Access to lines of credit, savings, pre-approved loans and, in some cases, credit cards, can provide important bridge financing for businesses during economic disruption.  Seeking out opportunities to enhance borrowing power during times of regular operation can be helpful.


Business or Facilities Risk Assessment:

Each business should do an on-site assessment for potential hazards or potential areas that are at high-risk for an insurance claim.

During and Post-Disaster Business Technical Assistance Programs

Listed below are various programs and initiatives that may be explored and implemented by the Action Group during a disaster in the Trail area that affect businesses.

Note, that there are various timelines associated with the suggested activities below.  Some are during or immediately following a disaster (days to weeks).  Others are more long term (weeks to months).  Suggested potential timelines are provided for each, where appropriate.

Some of the programs noted below are useful for general business operations but it is important to note, that the intent of this ERAP is to only support businesses effected by disaster and not provide day to day support services.

Business Resiliency Centre (BRC):

Having a single location where businesses can access various organizations that can support them during their recovery is crucial. Organizations like Community Futures South Kootenay have both the facilities, trained staff and mandate to help provide these services.  The intent would be to have a one-stop shop (in-person or virtual) where business owners could access a variety of information. If determined to be useful by the AG, the BRC could also house the case managers who would be working with area businesses.

Business Ambassador Programs / Business Case Management:

Proving one-on-one business TA supports to impacted businesses is an important part of helping business cope through a disaster. These sessions involve as much listening to business owners as it does information sharing.

During COVID-19, CFSK created an on-line forum where business owners and local governments joined in a weekly online round-table meeting. These meetings were designed to discuss best practices and solutions during a time when the path forward was unclear.  These sessions included:

  • Updates about the latest information.
  • How to continue doing business with new pandemic protocols in place.
  • Ways of coping and managing through the response and recovery process.

These sessions were very well attended and provided a venue for emotional support, which was so desperately needed during these difficult times.

This plan recommends creating a list of affected businesses following a disaster (which will be completed by the Economic Impact Assessment AG), at which point, the ERAP Executive Committee will ensure that one-on-one support is provided to each business owner. This is best achieved by using business case managers who will maintain communication with each business owner through the response and recovery phases of a disaster, to ensure those businesses have the support they need to make it through the difficult times.

The case managers can be drawn from a variety of sources. They would likely be short term hires or contractors funded through emergency relief funds. They could be hosted by CFSK, TDCOC, LCIC or Trail FAIR. As well, there are other community partners that may be able to assist with case management including The Skills Centre, Inside Job Consulting, and Kootenay Career Development Services.

Timeline:  During response, and immediate recovery up to 12 months following the event.


Insurance claims seminars: 
Educating business owners on how to submit claims and navigate the claims process. This included making business owners aware of their rights, and how to identify mistakes in the adjustment and payment process.

Timeline:  During response, and immediate recovery up to 6 months following the event. 


Consider hiring or contracting independent insurance and building repair advisors:

It was identified during the 2018 Grand Forks flood, the importance of having an insurance expert and building contractor on-hand to answer any questions that may arise and offer sound advice to the residents and business community, during the rebuilding stage of recovery. Having an independent insurance expert available to assist with claims, offer advice on their legal rights as an insurance policy holder, and guide them through making significant decision on a path forward, such as enhanced rebuilding opportunities, not rebuilding or relocating, etc. A retired insurance professional could be contracted for a short period of time to support the businesses thought this critical time.

On the building contracting side, having access to a resource who understands municipal zoning laws, building codes and inspection requirements, and who can answer questions about building construction and navigate complex decisions about rebuilding is something that provides incredible value to business and property owners.  This could be a retired building contractor, building inspector, or other building professional who would be contracted for a short period of time to support the business rebuilding process and provide guidance.

Timeline:  During response, and immediate recovery up to 24 months following the event.

Technical assistance for Point of Sale, IT and other needs:

Various for-profit organizations with local offices, such as Ralcomm and F12 IT group can provide technical assistance to restore Point of Sale systems, online shops, IT infrastructure and other technical needs online for businesses following a disaster.  Organizations such as the Basin Business Advisors can advise on local experts.

Timeline:  During response, and immediate recovery up to 6 months following the event. 

Business closure and succession planning:

Helping business owners understand the necessary steps to closing their business, liquidate their assets, dissolve corporations, or retirement/succession planning. Basin Business Advisors and Community Futures South Kootenay can assist in guiding these processes.  There are many online and existing resources on this subject, so it may be enough to direct business owners to available resources.

Timeline:  During recovery up to 12 months following the event. 


Entrepreneurial development and support:

Helping new entrepreneurs fill the gaps left by closing businesses and start new businesses in a sometimes chaotic and changing environment. Programs such as Community Futures BC’s venture connect program can assist with this process.

Community Futures South Kootenay works with local entrepreneurs and provides sound business advice and funding to start up a new business or purchase an existing business in the area.  Their mandate is to assist businesses with startup funding, which may not otherwise qualify for traditional funding.

Timeline:  Following recovery – 12 to 18 months following the event. 

Post-Disaster Financial Products and Programs

The Business Technical Assistance and Financing Action Group is the group that is best positioned to advise on what financial supports may be available to business owners following a disaster. The primary role of this action group will be to identify, circulate and make available information about these programs. 


Rapid response loan products: Provide short-term cash infusions to enable quick actions by local businesses. These might include targeted products related to different needs including:

  • Lines of credit to replace inventory
  • Bridge loans to cover expenses while waiting for insurance payments, etc.
  • Equipment loans to replace core equipment needed for production/operation.
  • Community Futures, charter banks, credit unions, the West Kootenay Investment Coop and others can provide support in some cases.


Small grant programs for particular needs: Grants can be used in situations that will not necessarily generate a direct link to repayment like equipment or inventory loans might. These are usually for soft costs like marketing or short-term operating gaps or might simply be small infusions that provide emotional or material comfort to specific sectors or populations. These were common during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Western Economic Diversification Canada and other provincial and federal governments frequently offer these types of funds. 


Workforce subsidies: Fund can be dispersed to businesses to subsidize employment and reduce layoffs. Often offered by higher levels of government.


Loan restructuring: The need to restructure loans (by using interest only periods, payment holidays, extension of repayment terms, etc.) is usually quite high during economic disruption. Positive actions by banks or other financial institutions to ease the burden of existing debt can reduce defaults by those clients in the long run. Community Futures loans can be discussed from this perspective.


Capitalizing revolving loan funds: Foundations, trusts, community forests, or other entities with flexible capital can capitalize revolving loan funds in financial institutions with specific targets for lending to impacted or vulnerable populations.


Other supports to facilitate lending: Governmental agencies, foundations, and others can provide supports beyond direct capitalization to facilitate lending. This could include guarantees for defaults, the establishment of loan-loss reserves to back loans, and interest rate buy-downs to make capital cheaper to lend.  This action group will work to seek innovative solutions to business resiliency issues.

Future Preparation and Mitigation Activities

It is encouraged that all South Kootenay business owners take the time to educate themselves on how to best prepare themselves for the next disaster or economic downturn, and take the necessary actions to create a disaster plan unique to their own business. As Benjamin Franklin one said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

It is encouraged that all South Kootenay business owners take the time to educate themselves on how to best prepare themselves for the next disaster or economic downturn, and take the necessary actions to create a disaster plan unique to their own business. As Benjamin Franklin one said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.


Business continuity planning: Identify opportunities to support businesses to put continuity plans in place. A Community Futures business continuity workbook template can be found at:


Business disaster education and preparation: Design insurance, DFA, business continuity, business resiliency sessions, webinars, courses and other educational materials to ensure business continuity planning and resiliency is promoted. 


Print and digital resource development: Develop print or digital business resilience materials that can be shared with, and support the business community.

Mitigation and preparation for business facilities and utilities: Assisting businesses in “disaster proofing” their business locations and having backups for major utilities and IT resources.


Business community information inventory: Catalog businesses in the South Kootenay area and identify which kinds of disasters these businesses are susceptible to. Offer education and support to help them minimize their chance for disaster. “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”


Inventory supply chains and suppliers:  Identifying where local businesses can source goods and services locally during a disaster will help build resilience in the event of a disaster. 


Human resource planning: Some of the most significant issues during and following a disaster is the availability of trained staff to operate businesses.  Identify in advance, where to access workforce pools to ensure a quicker recovery.  The Workforce Support AG has direct linkages to these activities.


Business closure and succession planning: Helping business owners understand how to close businesses, liquidate assets, dissolve corporations, and retirement/succession planning.


Entrepreneurial development and support: Helping new entrepreneurs fill the gaps left by closing businesses and start new businesses in a sometimes chaotic and changing environment.


Develop cyber-security preparedness materials: More and more businesses are facing cyber threats as they continue to move operations online.  Awareness sessions may be helpful in combatting these issues. 

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