By Andrea Arnold
Local small businesses across the province have a new platform for advertising and connecting to clients. BC Marketplace (https://marketplacebc.ca/), a new initiative by Small Business BC, provides the opportunity for small businesses to reach new customers, while providing consumers a place to buy local. The platform is free to use for the customer and business owner.
“The BC Marketplace was created to help BC small business owners promote their goods and services as they continue to face the impacts of COVID-19,” said Dylan Hrycyshen, BC Marketplace Program Manager. “We know that more people are shopping online, and more people want to support local businesses, so the BC Marketplace brings it together in one place and helps BC residents discover new and exciting products and services they might not otherwise have known about. We want to showcase BC entrepreneurs and encourage the public to buy local.”
The website says 98 per cent of all businesses in our province are classified as small businesses. “When these entrepreneurs thrive, we all thrive.”
For businesses with a website, the BC Marketplace will provide relevant site links, helping to boost online presence, said Hrycyshen. For businesses not currently online, the BC Marketplace offers space to create a “digital footprint,” making it easier for customers to discover them.
At this time, only a few businesses in the valley have joined BC Marketplace.
Valemount resident Silvia Jungo, owns The Swiss Bakery with her husband Bogdan Wasaznik. The pair have taken advantage of the opportunity.
“I heard about it through the Small Business BC website,” said Jungo. She said it was an easy process of completing the registration online. The bakery has been advertised through other media prior to the creation of BC Marketplace. “We have amazing local support,” said Jungo. “And travellers know us from Google, Tripadvisor, Facebook, etc.”
As the site and the Swiss Bakery’s presence on the site are still very new, they have not yet seen an increase in business directly related to the listing.
Upon visiting the BC Marketplace website, consumers are given the option of filtering their search by Region, District or City. Or, if the search covers all 241 communities currently represented, a list of 20 business types available.
“We will be using our marketing channels and networks, along with paid media, to promote the BC Marketplace to as wide an audience as possible—with thousands of page views each month,” said Hrycyshen. “To further promote the businesses listed on the BC Marketplace, we feature stories and highlight businesses through blog posts and social media content, bringing more awareness to the awesome diversity and creativity in our own province.”
Businesses interested in joining the BC Marketplace community can visit https://marketplacebc.ca/register/ and follow the registration process.