Accelerate Okanagan is launching the Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency (DER3) Program in response to COVID-19. The program will help businesses from Salmon Arm to Osoyoos enter or expand into the increasingly online economy. (Contributed)

Accelerate Okanagan is launching the Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency (DER3) Program in response to COVID-19. The program will help businesses from Salmon Arm to Osoyoos enter or expand into the increasingly online economy. (Contributed)

Get web savvy: New program schools Okanagan businesses

Accelerate Okanagan is offering its DER3 program in response to COVID-19

An Okanagan-based organization is offering help to small businesses looking for ways to adapt to the digital world in the wake of COVID-19.

Accelerate Okanagan is launching the Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency (DER3) program that will connect small businesses with digital service providers and experts, helping them break into or expand their presence in the digital economy.

The program is open to people, small- or medium-sized businesses in the Okanagan from Salmon Arm to Osoyoos, and offers guided one-on-one consultations for those looking to expand their online presence or put in place tech-based tools to better serve their needs.

When required, the program will also match businesses with local service providers who can deliver contracted solutions.

“Our goal is to work with local businesses and meet them where they are. Whether they’ve tried to break into the digital space before, or they are stepping into it for the first time, we’re going to help them succeed in expanding their opportunities,” said Richard Takai, DER3 business advisor at Accelerate Okanagan.

“We’ll be able to identify where we think their next steps should be and with whom. We have an extensive network of digital service providers and tech experts who are ready and waiting to help.”

READ MORE: Innovation Centre prepares to open doors to Vernon co-workers

The program takes a collaborative approach, weaving together tech and the “human element,” which the non-profit organization said is especially important for those battling the challenges posed by COVID-19, who lack experience in the digital sphere.

“DER3 isn’t just for companies looking to improve their websites or host a webinar. There is more to going online than just having a website. This program is for any business, solopreneur or non-profit that needs support in the digital, tech space,” said Aidan Cole, program advisor at Accelerate Okanagan. “If you’re having a difficult time introducing a digital component to your business, it’s worth seeing exactly what we can offer. There’s no upfront cost, no risk. We just want to help you succeed.”

The program is an Innovate BC initiative with funding from Western Economic Diversification. It’s also being offered elsewhere in the province in regions including Greater Victoria; Central Island, Northern Island, Sunshine Coast & Gulf Islands; Okanagan Valley; Kootenays; Central Interior B.C.; North Central B.C.

To learn more or apply for the program, or to apply as a digital service provider looking to support local businesses, visit accelerateokanagan.com.

READ MORE: Small Business Week goes virtual in Okanagan


Brendan Shykora
Reporter, Vernon Morning Star
Email me at Brendan.Shykora@vernonmorningstar.com
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