By SIMONE MERCER
STEPHENVILLE — Small Business Week takes place each year in October. This is an opportunity to pay tribute to entrepreneurs throughout our region. The week is designed to celebrate the outstanding service and contribution that small businesses give to our communities. This year’s celebrations will take place from Oct. 17 – 23.
To ensure proper homage was done to honour these businesses, the Long Range Small Business Week Committee was formed several years ago and consists of members from several organizations, including the Department of Immigration, Population Growth and Skills, the Long Range CBDC, the College of the North Atlantic, Qalipu First Nation, Community Education Network, the Bay St. George Chamber of Commerce, Ulnooweg, and RDEE TNL.
The week consists of information and training sessions geared towards employers and potential entrepreneurs in the Long Range region, which covers the area from Stephenville, Port au Port, St. Georges, Bay St. George South, and Ramea/ Burgeo.
In the past the events were typically held in-person, however, due to COVID-19, events have been shifted online, which in retrospect allows more people, in a broader region, to avail of the sessions. This is the week’s schedule thus far:
• Tuesday afternoon: Immigration Basics. The Office of Immigration, a division of the Department of Immigration, Population Growth and Skills, will be virtually presenting on the provinces immigration programming and how small businesses can avail of immigration to fill hard-to-fill positions.
• Wednesday evening: Long Range CBDC Stakeholders Meeting. The meeting will highlight the success of the Long Range CBDC for the past year, offer an array of interesting speakers and showcases the recipient of the Long Range Business Award of Distinction.
• Thursday afternoon: How to Start Your Own Business. This session will be offered by the Long Range CBDC and explain the process of starting your own business from the initial idea to making it actually happen. They will cover the legalities, licenses, financial support, and the employer programming that is available.
• Thursday evening: Long Range Awards Ceremony. The voting has been completed and the communities have chosen their winners in 11 categories. This is a very exciting evening!
Everyone is encouraged to visit the: Long Range Small Business Week Committee’s Facebook page, which is continually being updated. To see the week-long agenda once it is finalized, simply follow the page and send a message if you have any questions.
An exciting venture that is being worked on is the development of an informational video by Carl Dymond, of Dymond Corp., who recently purchased the Stephenville Airport. The video would highlight his past experience and shed light on future opportunities within the region.
Organizers are also exploring the possibility of having a session about E-Commerce on Wednesday afternoon. The pandemic has impacted our lives significantly and many businesses have felt pressure to move or expand their businesses online, either by selling their products online or by receiving orders online. There are ongoing discussions with several potential trainers in the hopes of bringing this idea to fruition, as it may provide valuable assistance for small businesses adapting to our new normal.
The largest and most popular event, however, is the Long Range Awards Ceremony, as mentioned above. During this ceremony, 11 awards will be presented to employers throughout the region in recognition of their individual achievements as entrepreneurs.
The Long Range Business Awards begins with a general call for nominations, followed by voting on our Facebook page. The awards themselves are sponsored by community agencies, but it is the general public who ultimately decides who wins the awards. In just 10 days almost 6,000 responses were received. Voting has now concluded and the top 3 in each category have been announced. The actual awards ceremony will take place on Oct. 21. The businesses with the most votes in each category are awarded the Long Range Small Business Awards. Last year the virtual awards ceremony received over 10 000 views in 24 hours!
The evening concludes with presentations by sponsoring agencies, the Business Spotlight award, and the Lifetime Achievement award.