Free services for entrepreneurs and small businesses to adjust to the effects of COVID-19

SARNIA, ON: Free coaching, mentorship and advice from specialists is available to local entrepreneurs and small business owners through the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership’s Business Enterprise Centre. Professional advisors will help businesses to pivot their services and adjust to the effects of COVID-19 by providing confidential one-on-one consultations.

The program has been expanded for the month of September to include additional topics and advisors including Accounting (Brian Moore), Information Technology (Emily Branton) and Legal (Andrew Maloney) in addition to Marketing (Brian Maxfield), Human Resources (Lisa Isaac), and Finance and Planning (Fraser Parry).

“The goal of these one-on-one consultations is to assist aspiring and existing businesses grow and create jobs,” said Stephen Thompson, CEO of the Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership. “Key areas include determining services a business requires to succeed, creating an action plan, building business continuity plans, initiating digital business transformation, and providing information on government programs and preparing applications,” added Thompson.

“Small business is the backbone of the local economy, making up more than 98% of the 10,533 businesses operating in the Sarnia-Lambton area,” says Thompson. “Small businesses can benefit from free advisory services and expertise to help them adapt in the ever-changing environment related to the pandemic, pivoting to online marketing and e-commerce, managing employees, and the reality of shifting regulations and legislation.”

“The program helped build my confidence, find direction, acquire grants and help me network,” says Sandra Starbuck, who recently opened SunCoast Natural Health with assistance from this program. “Their guidance and experience gave me the courage I needed to market my products on social media. I am so glad I made the call; I wouldn’t be where I am today without them,” Starbuck added.  “I would highly recommend this program for any small business getting started.”

The Business Enterprise Centre supports small businesses and entrepreneurs as they navigate the new small business economy, whether they are in start-up mode, purchasing a new business for the first time, or looking for support to add a new revenue stream to meet the evolving needs of their customers.

To learn more about how this program could support your business, contact us at 519-332-1820, or This enhanced program is available throughout the month of September 2021.

Media Contact:
Stephen Thompson, CEO
Sarnia-Lambton Economic Partnership

The Virtual Service Advisor initiative is part of the Small Business Centres (SBC) Ontario, which officially launched in February 2021 and is functioning as the Ontario Small Business COVID-19 Recovery Network. Funding for this organization is provided by the Government of Ontario under the Ontario Together Fund initiative. This new network brings together 54 Small Business Enterprise Centres (SBEC) locations that have been in operation for over 30 years through support from the Ontario Government, as well as local and regional governments. By coming together as a formalized network, SBC Ontario offers local services, events, locations, and e-learning in one web portal,, to increase awareness and access to supports available for small businesses as they recover from the economic impact of COVID-19.

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