When a group of friends and colleagues decided to come together and put their tech-adjacent backgrounds to the profit of those in need during the COVID-19 pandemic, it grew into the website called Together Apart. This not-for-profit initiative is helping local businesses communicate to consumers how they can continue to benefit from their products or services during these times – through online shopping, delivery, pick-up or purchasing gift cards.
Isabel Gan, a 4th year Telfer BCom student in the Management Information Systems and Analytics (MISA) program was happy to join the team and lend a helping hand to the community.
Keeping Ottawa Alive and Well
When asked why helping local businesses was a priority for her right now, it was all about the positive impact on the city for Isabel: “Local businesses are at the heart of a city and community, and we know that they are hit hard by what’s happening right now. Drops in sales on small businesses, where profit margins aren’t very high to begin with, can be an existential threat.”
“It’s also about keeping a vibrant city that we love alive. Spending my undergrad. in Ottawa has made me learn to really love this city and its community. Ottawa has been very special to me because of all the diverse shops and different ideas, as well as the huge support for entrepreneurship,” said Isabel.
A Team of Volunteers
The Together Apart platform is run by a “team of 12 volunteers to maintain the website, reach out to businesses, promote offerings on social media, and run contests for our frontline workers” adds the Telfer soon-to-be graduate. Thanks to them, you can have access to your favourite breweries, restaurants, bookstores, retail shops and other businesses and even find information sorted according to your neighbourhood.
“We want Ottawa to continue having those amazing options provided by amazing people.” - Isabel Gan
How Can You Help?
With this website being fuelled by the volunteers' work and with the help of consumers themselves, a great way to participate is by making sure your favourite local business is featured and taking the time to submit it if it is not on the website already.
The best way to contribute to your local economy is by “[ordering] delivery from your favourite local restaurant! Seriously, it’s as simple as that,” reminds Isabel.