On Sunday afternoon, I and a handful of other friends and family members who own small businesses threw together a website calling on business owners to share their stories about how COVID-19 is impacting them. We were frustrated: we felt like what we were hearing from Ottawa about economic measures weren’t helping the huge number of small businesses across Canada who are the lifeblood of our communities.
SaveSmallBusiness.ca exploded. Within 24 hours we had collected 2,500 stories. At the time of this writing, we’re nearing 15,000 stories and counting.
Click here to access the spreadsheet with nearly 15,000 stories on how small businesses are impacted by COVID-19.
Every community across Canada has small businesses that are impacted. That’s why we’ve decided to publicly publish the data for other journalists and organizations to use. Click here to see the spreadsheet. If you can’t find contact information for a small business owner online, email me and I’ll connect you.
Their stories are heartbreaking. Many have closed their doors for the greater public good. They’ve stopped operations and laid off their staff. They’re trying to figure out if they’re going to be able to pay their rent on April 1st or if they will survive this.
As journalists, we rarely advocate for anything, but as a small business owner, I felt like I had to do something. Data shows that small businesses account for more than 30 per cent of Canada’s GDP. The stories coming in through this website aren’t those of big business: they’re from ma-and-pop shops, self-employed folk, Indigenous entrepreneurs, parents balancing side hustles with childcare, family restaurants, small employers. We built SaveSmallBusiness.ca because we weren’t hearing their voices reflected in the conversations happening about the economic crisis.
If you are a small business owner, you can submit your story here. If you’re a journalist, you can use the tool to spark a story about your community. What does your local data tell you about how this is impacting your community? What trends do you see? Share your stories using the hashtag #savesmallbusiness and let’s talk.[end]