Wood Buffalo Business Recovery Hotline - Background

Economic developers are trained in business retention and expansion; business and investment attraction; workforce development; opportunity identification and performance metrics. Increasingly they are also being trained in the area of business and economic recovery. They work with a range of stakeholders on a daily basis, and are able to align themselves with government, the private and non-profit sectors. As a result, they are the ones that need to be empowered to lead business and economic recovery in their community. They have the ultimate accountability. 

It was because of this accountability model that we presented the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) and the Canadian Red Cross (CRC) with a phased business and economic recovery plan, in which establishing a Hotline was the first step. 

Data Points - The Result: 

On May 30, 2016, Economic Developers Alberta (EDA) opened the Wood Buffalo Business Recovery Hotline in Calgary, Alberta as a resource for businesses affected by the wildfires. Solely funded by the Canadian Red Cross, the Hotline was developed and operated by EDA, in close collaboration with the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) as their offices at the time were inhabitable.  

Its goals and objectives were to:

  • Contact approximately 4,000 companies with current RMWB business licenses;
  • Update contact information on these companies;
  • Collect information on their specific needs after the wildfire;
  • Provide resources to help with their identified needs;
  • Assess their eligibility for Red Cross Small Business Relief Funding in the amount of $1,000; and
  • Advise of the eligibility status and provide further instructions as needed.

From May 30 – August 31, the Hotline handled 15,669 calls; 4,890 incoming, and 10,779 outgoing, By the end of August,  3,496 small businesses received $1000 in emergency financial aid.

    Lead by Economic Developers Alberta in collaboration with:

    • Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo Economic Development Department- staff, resources, additional management support, liaison with various government and community stakeholders, RMWB website updates and communication
    • Canadian Red Cross- funding
    • ATB Financial- support with distribution of emergency funds to small businesses
    • ExecutivePulse Inc.- CRM system, survey development

    Your Economic Development Network in Alberta


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