Tech Community Offers Pro Bono Support to Small Business

YYJ Locals for Locals

A group of tech and marketing specialists have banded together to form YYJ Locals For Locals, a service offering pro-bono assistance to local small businesses, restaurants, and bars.

Victorians Emily Hannan, Eve Olynyk, Tara Price and Nathan Sorochan, all members of the YYJ Tech Slack and YYJ Tech Ladies Slack groups, formed the service out of a desire to do something quickly to help local businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

Emily Hannan says she became involved because “I went through the last recession in 2008 – 2009 and watched so many small businesses fail. With this crisis, the four of us realized that a small amount of marketing and web and design work could help small businesses transition online and keep their sales up. So many restaurants and retailers especially need creative solutions when they cannot welcome customers to their physical location during COVID-19.”

Interested business owners can request one of their eight pro-bono services through their website – A tech and marketing volunteer will, if able, contact the business and get started designing what they have asked for.

“Our hope is to help our more traditional small businesses, that may have not had the opportunity to digitize, to stay open and okay during this crisis,” says Hannan. “Even one Instagram ad could mean the difference between no sales or a flood of sales. Victorians are eager to support their local businesses, but often struggle to find them online.

We are local designers, marketers and developers who want to see you succeed during this time. If you have someone to help in your family or friends, getting a basic website online is key. Google sites offers free website hosting and design tool, as do many other website providers right now.”

Criteria for assistance requires that the business be located in Victoria, Vancouver Island or the Gulf Islands.

The group has amassed over 60 volunteers in the last few days, but are always looking for more, if any marketing experts, web and graphic designers want to donate their talent.