Preparing for Changes that would occur as the economy evolves
Manage the transition to the new economy
To address the emergence of the rapidly growing digital economy, the Task Force recommended The City prepare for the future by looking inwards and creating a good environment where businesses, small and large, can thrive.
The Business and Local Economy team continues their collaborative efforts to support businesses through everchanging economic realities and create conditions where businesses can succeed:
- Creation of an online Business Hub – provides a one-stop-shop where businesses to go for updates, resources and information to support businesses during COVID at Calgary.ca/business.
The new business hub design incorporates new features and technology to existing business pages that have been organized to improve the overall customer experience business owners have with The City. It was ideal for launching the Calgary Reopening Grant in July 2021 and the Restrictions Exemption Program (REP) Support Grant in October 2021.
Between June and October 2021, the business hub had 258,196 page views with a higher than average time spent per page than most City of Calgary web pages. The highest traffic was in July and October, with 71 per cent coming from organic web searches and 45 percent were new visitors to calgary.ca. The pages with the highest views were Business Licensing and Starting a Business.
- Patio Program – following Council approval of a COVID relief package to support temporary outdoor patios, a new process was developed and implemented to support local establishments obtain approvals for temporary patios. Temporary permits for outdoor patios were issued at no cost and Administration also waived development permit fees. This use of outdoor space was one way to support local establishments while enabling physical distancing for patrons and staff during COVID.
Of the 441 patio permits issued by The City in 2021, almost 50 per cent were temporary patio permits in rights of way. Following the success of this program, City Council approved the establishment of a permanent patio program in September 2021. The Planning and Development department has begun to guide its implementation.
- Restaurant / Brewery Experience Improvement Program – after hosting three confidential meetings with the Business Advisory Committee and representatives from the restaurant and brewery sector to identify issues, the Business and Local Economy team has been working to implement solutions, beginning with the Business Experience Representative Pilot that started in March 2021.
The Business Experience Representative (BER) acts as a consistent “one-stop-shop” / concierge service for business customers. The pilot ends on December 1, 2021. To date, the program has improved business licensing timelines for restaurants and breweries by 21 per cent. While the focus of this improvement program has been on the restaurant/brewery sector, the solutions will support the entire business community in Calgary.
- Support Local YYC – the Business and Local Economy team has once again launched its seasonal #SupportLocalYYC campaign to support local entrepreneurs and businesses who are the life of our economy. The supply chain issues and continuing effects of the pandemic make it timely for Calgarians to seek out locally available products and services. Consumers can find shelves stocked with unique discoveries inside Calgary businesses. For every $100 spent at a local business, $58 is circulated back into our local economy