Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Connect Grant to help small businesses still struggling

The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is gearing up to support more small businesses with another round of its Connect Grant, it announced in a release Tuesday.

“The Connect Grant can help small businesses with digital and marketing support, legal advice, HR services, overall business strategy or accounting. Applications for the second round of the program are now open,” the release reads.

The grant is designed to help build sustainability for business owners working hard to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Downtown Winnipeg BIZ said the program was first launched late last year and matched nearly 60 small businesses that needed help with other downtown businesses that could provide it. Simply put, it helps two downtown businesses with one grant.

“If there’s one thing we’ve learned through this pandemic, it’s that we’re stronger together,” says Kate Fenske, CEO of the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ.

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Human Bean is a coffee and tea shop located in Cityplace and it is one of 57 grant recipients that have already completed the program.

“The support we received during this pandemic from the BIZ and Tandem Collaborative has been so helpful to us as a business,” said Gina Wildeman, co-owner of Human Bean Coffee & Tea.

BIZ says the shop needed help with marketing and business strategy and was matched with downtown business Tandem Collaborative, which provided them with a social media marketing strategy, hands-on training, professional photos and help to promote the small business online.

“They really listened to our needs and provided us with tools that will be extremely valuable to our growth as a business,” Wildeman added.

According to BIZ, not only did the grant help struggling retailers, coffee shops, salons and restaurants during a challenging time, it helped downtown service providers as well.

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The program created connections and helped generate revenue on both sides.

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“The Connect Grant has facilitated relationship building and strengthened the downtown community. That helps build the foundation for our post-pandemic recovery,” said Fenske.

Another match the grant made was between Tétro Design with 2 Kelly’s Cafe to create the restaurant’s very first website, a redesigned menu and new signage.

“Many were small family-run businesses, like ours, being hit by COVID-19 and facing some significant challenges to stay afloat. We met hard working, passionate business owners who cared deeply about their customers,” said Mark Reimer of Tétro Design

“The grant program was a win-win as it brought us work during the worst of our COVID-19 slowdown, and enabled us to help fellow small businesses who were struggling with the same.”

Click to play video: 'Specialty food shop grows when forced to move business online'

Specialty food shop grows when forced to move business online

Specialty food shop grows when forced to move business online – Aug 10, 2021