Free webinar series target small-business success

Anyone looking to start a small business on Haida Gwaii can now join a series of free how-to webinars

Anyone looking to start a small business on Haida Gwaii can now join a series of free how-to webinars.

Allison Smith, a business development officer at Haida Gwaii Community Futures, says the pilot project will bring six small-business webinars to the Community Futures office in Masset from now until March, giving islanders a chance to meet fellow entrepreneurs.

If all goes well, the series will expand to other islands communities.

“I think people here respond better to in-person events,” Smith said, noting that in the past, few islanders have signed on to the webinars from home.

“I think there’s a lot of value in realizing that other people might be in the same spot as you and might have the same struggles, the same questions.”

Broadcast live from Vancouver, the three-hour, interactive webinars feature a range of business coaches — established entrepreneurs, academics, or commercial lawyers — and they cover topics such as how to make a business plan, marketing strategies, and handling tax issues.

The webinars typically cost between $40 and $80 each, but thanks to a new partnership with Small Business BC, Community Futures will subscribe to the whole series and screen them for free in the Masset office — the building with the un-missable birds mural at 1587 McLeod Street across from the Jessie Simpson Memorial Library.

After the first webinar, a business-mapping session held on Jan. 13, everyone went home with a starter business plan.

But Smith said while that sort of hands-on coaching is great, the real value of the sessions is in networking with the people hosting each event, and everyone else in the room.

“It’s always good to have more mentors, and more people in your circle to call on,” she said.

To join the webinars, visit the Haida Gwaii Community Futures group at meet-up.com or phone 250-559-4499.