The Haines Economic Development Corporation is accepting applications from local business owners affected by the pandemic for grant-funded marketing consulting services.

The “Pivot Program” is funded by a federal Economic Development Administration grant and is open to 15 businesses that meet eligibility criteria, including being locally owned and operated, demonstrating economic distress, showing the economic impact they have in the community and what impact growth would have been and how the business contributes to the social and cultural well-being of Haines.

Successful applicants will participate in one-on-one consulting with Whitehorse’s Aasman Brand Communications. Services include brand consulting, marketing strategy, graphic design, content creation, website and online presence including search engine optimization and digital advertising training.

“I think this is a really exciting program for businesses, said HEDC programs manager Lee Hart. “If I had a small business here, I would be super stoked for this type of support. Even if I thought I knew everything about marketing, having these opinions from professionals to help guide you is almost always a great idea.”

More details can be found at Interested business owners can apply online. Deadline is Nov. 1. Hart urged interested businesses to apply as soon as possible because HEDC hopes to start the first round of training by mid-October.

“As long as you have a reasonable application, it’s a really good idea to get in the application before November 1,” Hart said. “We’re going to take them on a rolling basis until then.”

The $260,000 grant was awarded to HEDC in March of this year and aims to enhance digital marketing for local businesses and promote Haines as a place for location-neutral workers. HEDC applied for the grant in 2019.

Hart said roughly $55,000 of the funds is being spent with a Sitka firm, Element Agency, to create a community prospectus that will aim to market Haines as a location-neutral workplace.

HEDC director Sally Andersen told the CVN in March that HEDC hopes to take advantage of a recent trend of workers moving to rural areas since the pandemic closed offices across the country.