Have you ever had visitors to Saturna who have said that they really would like to move to this amazing island, perhaps with a young family, in order to escape the Big City? How many times have you heard young people say that they would like to set up a business here but lack the experience -- even sometimes to know what questions need to be addressed before they can do so? Even existing business owners on Saturna have been heard to say that they could use a little advice and coaching on how to take their businesses to a new level.
Enter SIBAC: we hope you will hear a lot more about us in the months to come. The Saturna Island Business Advisory Committee ("SIBAC") grew out of the Economic Development Conference held on Saturna on April 22, 2012. SIBAC intends to foster and encourage a business-friendly, sustainable environment for successful enterprises on Saturna Island. We hope to provide advice and mentoring services in a variety of fields that we will assist both new and existing businesses on Saturna Island, as well as to encourage off-island people who might be interested in re-locating or establishing a sustainable business on Saturna and help keep our community vibrant. Already we have assisted a couple who are starting a new business on Saturna: so we are now truly launched.
SIBAC's goal is to provide advice and guidance to both non-profit and for-profit enterprises. Each member of our Committee has a minimum of five years professional or business experience; an interest in giving back to the community; and the ability and time to work with those seeking our advice. To meet SIBAC's goals, we will set up a network of mentors who meet criteria that we have identified. While we expect most of our mentors will be part of the Saturna community, there are obviously many other people who have some sort of relationship with Saturna who would be of great help as well. We intend to identify a network of people with varying skill sets who could also assist.
Who are we? We have members with skills and training in a variety of businesses: in IT, in law, in accounting and knowledge of how our intricate local government works. There is a remarkable depth and breadth of talent on Saturna. We are actively seeking a variety of additional people to enrich our offering. If you think that you may be interested in assisting as a member of our team, please contact me.
What will we do? We will advise on business and financial planning. What do banks look for? Exactly what is an effective business plan? What about marketing or money management or taxes or land-use issues or how to navigate through the governmental maze? These are the kinds of things that SIBAC will address.
How? Some of us will be "advocates", or what might be better termed "coordinators". Most likely, no single mentor will have all the background and information needed to guide those seeking our help from the start up of a business all the way from start to finish. A variety of mentors may be involved. Therefore we will have a single "coordinator", who is assigned to each person seeking help from SIBAC. The coordinator will be responsible for ensuring that the person seeking help will be able to connect at the appropriate time to the appropriate resources - either within SIBAC or through our database of persons with differing skills and expertise. The coordinator or advocate will make sure that the one-on-one assignment works, and timely progress is maintained from start to finish. Needless to say, all information that is received will be kept in strictest confidence.
Perhaps there will be a demand for a workshop or training session. If so, this will be offered. We expect that a one-on-one relationship will be the most effective way to help.
A work plan will be developed for everyone who expresses a need. There will be no charge for our services. We will use our various networks to do an initial assessment of what is needed and find the right people to address each individual 's needs.
We are open for business. We look forward to being of service.
Murray Rankin, SIBAC coordinator: