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Chamber to run free geek service

By February 17, 2022No Comments
Rylan Wheaton, hired by the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce as a digital service squad member, is available to help small business expand their online presence for free. He spoke about the Alberta government program at the Rotary Club of Lloydminster lunch meeting on Monday. Geoff Lee Meridian Source

 

Rylan Wheaton could be the most sought-after digital expert by small business owners in the Lloydminster region in the next 12 months.

Wheaton introduced himself at Monday’s Rotary Club of Lloydminster lunch meeting as a new digital service squad pro with the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce.

His role is to provide one-on-one assistance to eligible small businesses with their adoption of technology. 

“It’s a free opportunity for small business to expand their online presence. We’re just starting this up,” he said.

A couple of Rotary members could be the first customers and he expects to be swamped.

“If I do get booked solid there will be a waiting list,” said Wheaton.

“This program goes for over a year, so there is no worry if people can’t jump on it the right way, they will have their opportunity.”

Wheaton says he can help businesses in four ways including digital basics, creating an online presence, using social media and knowing about search engine optimization.

He has a small photography business on the side and is also skilled in videography to help any business create a 360-degree view of what they do.

Wheaton was hired by the Commerce through a grant from Business Link to support business organizations throughout Alberta.

The free digital services would normally cost businesses thousands of dollars, but Wheaton thinks the Alberta government recognized the importance of businesses having a strong online presence.

“So they looked into this and got it running to help small businesses that are struggling with that lack of expertise,” he said. 

The local digital service squad covers Lloydminster, the County of Vermilion River and Vermilion, and runs until the end of March 2023.

The service will help small businesses and retailers who are still struggling to maintain business and operations that were hit hard by mandated lockdowns during COVID.

“I think if COVID showed anything, it’s that an online presence is incredibly important for a business,” said Wheaton.

He told Rotary he can help a business strengthen its online resiliency and develop a customer-focused digital and e-commerce strategy.

“I provide them with a foundation to get started from as well as the skills, so they can keep doing it,” he said.

He joked clients won’t have them change their middle name to Geek, either.

“My job is to help you get online,” he said.

He says he can meet at a client’s business or at a local coffee shop, or virtually.

“It’s whatever the business prefers,” he said.

He can be contacted at the Chamber at rylan@lloydminsterchamber.com.

Wheaton hails from Caronport, Saskatchewan, a small town about 10 minutes west of Moose Jaw and he moved to Lloydminster last summer.

He has a BA in business from Briarfest College and Seminary in Caronport.