Business Development Bank of Canada President and CEO Michael Denham suggests careful cashflow management and some out-of-the-box thinking to help local entrepreneurs get back on their feet post COVID-19. Following what BDC officials are regarding as the sharpest economic slowdown on record, local business owners, in particular, are being advised to look ahead beyond the end of the pandemic, plan for a worst-case-scenario and manage their cash flow.

“You need to focus on three things: one is, you need to take full advantage of all the government and non-government programs to get access to credit, liquidity and support — and every single entrepreneurship should be doing that,” says Denham.

“Second we say to make sure you do plan for the worst and do your cash flow management accordingly and just look at every week, cash coming in, cash coming out so you can plan and hopefully preempt crises; thirdly and this is easy to say, hard to do, [is] just get very creative and see if there are some ways to when your markets aren’t strong to find revenues.”

Alberta was already in recession in 2019 and its dependence on oil and gas makes it more exposed to the ongoing economic downturn than other provinces. Denham suggests, based on research conducted by the BDC, the economic forecast for Alberta projects a GDP contraction of nine to 10 per cent, followed by a GDP growth of approximately six per cent the following year.

“There are so many factors at play— public health, oil pricing, etc that look at a range of scenarios and I can’t be more pinned down than to say that we should be back to where we were pre-COVID sometime between late 2021 and mid-2023 so it’s a big range and there are lots of ways that recovery could unfold.”