Dianne St. Jean

North Basin Business Advisor Roberta Ciolli will be back in Valemount, offering yet two more business workshops.

The first, on May 31 will be another ME INC workshop for those who missed the one in March. The other workshop, Succession Planning in Business, will be held on June 1. The Succession Planning workshop is ideal for business owners who are considering selling or retiring from their business and passing it on.

Overall, the Basin Business Advisors (BBA) provides a range of support services for all types of businesses and the particular challenges they face. 

In March Ciolli was in Valemount to facilitate two workshops – ME INC and Building Your Social Enterprise.

The first workshop focused on the fundamentals of starting up or expanding an existing business and the questions individuals need to ask themselves when going into business - hence the name ME INC. The basics of the ME INC workshop was covered in a recent article by Marie Birkbeck in our April 20 issue.

The second workshop facilitated by Ciolli was “Building Your Social Enterprise” which focused on tools to successfully operate a non-profit business.

The difference between a for-profit and non-profit business is the emphasis on social impact, which involves meeting certain social, cultural or environmental goals. Basically a non-profit social enterprise constitutes a social mission that contributes to community sustainability.

A successful social enterprise can create or enhance job opportunities, address environmental issues, stimulate economic revitalization, reduce poverty, and provide accessible health care or social programs.

The range of what types of non-profits that constitute a social enterprise is limitless and could include anything from health care, arts and recreation, to general retail and manufacturing.

The workshop looked at various ways a non-profit can generate income through the sales of goods and services, an increasingly important aspect for non-profits especially if funding is or has become limited or inaccessible, a challenge which many face.

According to BBA, more and more non-profits are looking at how they can increase their revenue, not only as a means of stabilizing their funding bases, but also to be able to enhance and expand the programs and services they provide to the community.

The workshop also looked at the practicalities and legalities of operating a social enterprise, including business feasibility and planning, start-up, performance measurement and business growth.

The session wrapped up with a group exercise that included a self-assessment questionnaire that helped to pinpoint potential business strengths and weaknesses.

As with all BBA workshops and services, a key support is knowledge and practical awareness, which can make the difference between running a successful business, or running it into the ground.

Also provided was a Columbia Basin Business Resource Directory, which lists essential information for business owners on services the BBA provides including Business Skills Development and Training, Employee Skills and Wage Subsidies, Access to Capital and Grants and other helpful topics. The Directory is available on their website.

 The BBA has been around since 2000, and now has four advisors who cover the Basin area working with existing or prospective business owners and managers.

If you have any questions or need some business advice, call 250-837-5345 X 3204 or toll free at 1-855-510-2227, or visit http://bbaprogram.ca.

The BBA Program is funded by Columbia Basin Trust, and administered and managed by Community Futures Central Kootenay. It provides free, one-to-one, confidential business advisement services, workshops and other resources.  u