Tech company Tiny grows its efforts to help Victoria businesses weather pandemic

The people at Tiny have come up with another couple of big ideas to help Victoria though the pandemic.

This time, the tech company has begun an initiative to help struggling local restaurants by buying gift cards that it will then resell to the public at a discount.

article continues below

Tiny has also come up with an online job board listing work that can be done from home, or at least with a minimum of contact with others.

The Victoria-based company made the news this week when co-founder Andrew Wilkinson announced Tiny would be among the local tech firms taking part in a “Double Your Donation” drive for the Rapid Relief Fund. The businesses will match up to $355,000 worth of donations to the fund, which was launched to help the city’s most vulnerable people through the current crisis.

At the same time, Tiny announced it would provide interest-free, unsecured loans of $500 to $2,500 to struggling Victoria-based small businesses affected by the shutdown. About 140 submissions had been received as of Thursday.

In a post on Reddit on Thursday, Wilkinson said the gift-card idea grew from the realization that some businesses will require more help than the small-loan program can offer.

“Some businesses need significantly more than a couple thousand dollars (in some cases $10,000-$20,000), which we can’t afford to do alone,” he wrote. So, Tiny came up with the idea of buying large amounts of gift cards — $2,500 to $20,000 worth at a time — from restaurants and cafés, then reselling those cards to members of the community at a 10 per cent discount. Tiny will absorb the cost of the discount.

“The only rule would be that you would have to commit to not use them until two months after the shutdown ends (to give the businesses a bit of buffer time) and ideally use them over time vs. all at once (to help them preserve their cash flow),” Wilkinson wrote.

Those interested in taking part are directed to a Google form where they can say how much they want to spend on discounted gift cards, and from which restaurants.

“If you have a favourite restaurant or café that you know you will frequent once the lockdown ends, and you have the means, then this is the best possible way to directly help them stay afloat.”

The other idea, the job board, aims to connect what Wilkinson called a “huge population of smart, talented people who are currently sitting at home feeling stressed, anxious, and bored” with jobs that can be done remotely, at home, or with little contact with others. The board can be found at yyjjobs.ca.

Wilkinson, 34, co-founded Tiny in 2015. The company has grown to include a family of 20 internet-based businesses, and holds interest in 80 more.

Read Related Topics

© Copyright Times Colonist

Find out what's happening in your community.

Most Popular