Earlier this year, we partnered with Intuit Canada, a leading global financial platform company known for products such as TurboTax, Quickbooks and Mint to launch the Intuit Prosperity Accelerator. Throughout this four-month program, we’ll work with world-class startups to pilot solutions that will help Canadian consumers, self-employed and small businesses tackle financial challenges in the wake of COVID-19.
As autumn approaches, COVID-19 cases are on the rise and small business owners continue to face significant challenges. In Canada, 1 in 7 small businesses are at risk of closing, with 48% making half or less their normal sales. As of September, only 69% of small businesses were operating at capacity. With a potential second wave of the pandemic and increased business restrictions on the horizon, the road to recovery looks long. But we’re committed to making a difference.
To help frame the challenges that this inaugural cohort will be solving, we reached out to small business owners to better understand their concerns.
Nino Gaspari is the owner of Goddess Gourmet, a family-run business that has been selling and manufacturing organic energy bars in Toronto. Alongside his staff of only four, which includes his own son, Nino had been selling his energy bars to cafes, gyms and health food stores across the GTA. When the pandemic struck, his business took a significant hit.
“When COVID-19 came, shops were hit severely and started cutting back so we saw a dramatic effect right away. I would say almost in the first few weeks our sales went down to 45%,” said Gaspari. “It was not a good place to be.’
In the months since, Nino and his team have worked to recover costs by cutting down staff, pivoting their business to direct-to-consumer sales and taking even more parts of the business into their own hands.
“I think COVID forced us to make a change and look at the business more carefully. We decided to go direct and build a website. Made it easy for people to order offered free shipping in the province. For the most part, we were doing the driving to my son and myself and following all the protocols. Our businesses probably increased about another 10%,” he added, saying that the business is now in the 60% range of where they used to be. “One of the things we realized, when we finally went online, that we could use some help in terms of expanding the base of technology that we use, to help us reach more customers, quickly and more effectively.”
Intuit Prosperity Accelerator aims to help small business owners like Gaspari tackle the financial challenges and changes business owners need to be able to make quickly in the wake of COVID-19. Alongside Intuit Canada, we will be working with some brilliant entrepreneurs to make a positive impact for small business owners across Canada in these challenging times. Can’t wait to announce the cohort of entrepreneurs joining the program! Stay tuned for that announcement coming soon.