Charitable Choices: Be Local YYC Supports Businesses During COVID-19

As Calgary businesses begin to navigate the uncertain territory of re-opening, Be Local YYC is ready to help! To support the community during COVID-19, Be Local YYC is offering complimentary annual memberships to eligible businesses until July 31, 2020! This week we spoke to Be Local YYC Coordinator, Meredith Perich, to learn more about how Be Local YYC is helping local businesses!

be Local YYC

Describe your organization in a few sentences.

Be Local is Calgary’s only values-based business network. Our members are locally owned, community-focused businesses that care about people and planet, not just profit.

What problem does it aim to solve?

Be Local is a unified voice for businesses doing good in Calgary. We make collaborations between businesses easy, and help businesses tackle challenges and achieve success that might not be possible on their own. We also create the conditions for a thriving local economy where no one is left behind.

When did you start/join it?

The Be Local network was founded in 2008, by REAP (Respect for the Earth and All People). REAP operated for the network for 12 years.

What made you want to get involved?

We saw an incredible opportunity within Be Local – a group of community-focused businesses that are already convened and engaged is a dream come true for advancing collaborations strengthening the local economy. When REAP suggested we might operate the network at the end of 2019, it was an enthusiastic ‘yes’.

What was the situation like when you started?

The Be Local network has always been about businesses that care. There was some discovery to do to understand what was important to the businesses in the network at first. We needed to get to know them to understand how we could truly be in service. Of course, when COVID-19 hit, this process was kicked into overdrive.

How has it changed since?

We’ve done some incredible things in a very short period of time. In light of COVID-19, we saw an awesome opportunity to show up, be of service, and grow our network into a movement. Towards this, we’re offering free membership for a year to community-focused businesses in Calgary.

We’ve also convened amazing conversations about how businesses can collaborate, and helped see those collaborations through. To support businesses in navigating some of the logistical challenges of shifting their operations to include more delivery/online sales, we’ve launched an online store, where businesses can list their products and customers can purchase products from across multiple community-focused businesses in a simple easy transaction.

What more needs to be done?

There is lots more we can do to support local community-focused businesses. What exactly that looks like for Be Local will be built out in partnership with our community. We know that there is an appetite to further explore how we can support businesses to sell online. We also know that with 1 in 10 people living in poverty in Calgary, there are clearly more advancements to be made in ensuring everyone has access to the economy.

How can our readers help?

Readers can support Be Local by:

  1. Are you a community-focused business? Join the network!
  2. Purchase from Be Local businesses here.
  3. Follow, like, and share our movement on social media and use the hashtag #belocalyyc

Do you have any events coming up?

We just launched our website and have pickup times every Saturday morning between 9am and 12pm. Come by, say a socially distanced ‘hi’, and pick up your order!

Where can we follow you?

Facebook: Be Local

Instagram: Be Local (belocalyyc)

Twitter: Be Local Network (belocal_yyc)