Talking about the Adopt a Business Challenge

Talking about the Adopt a Business Challenge

Big Ideas

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July 16 2020
Big Ideas

Earlier this month, Marty Fisher, CEO of Sherpa, was invited on the Conquer Local Podcast with host George Leith to discuss the digital transformation that many small businesses will need to embrace going forward.  

George and his team were intrigued by Sherpa’s Adopt a Business Challenge initiative (applications now closed) that aimed to support businesses in the community affected by COVID-19 with free marketing services. In this segment George asks Marty about the initiative and how it came together.

George: So the reason that you and I are meeting here on the Conquer Local Podcast, I was made aware of your organization and an initiative that you’ve started through one of my colleagues, who’s been speaking to you and I was, when speaking to Logan, I’m like, “We need to get Marty on the podcast.” Because you share a passion that we have on the Conquer Local Podcast for local business. And unfortunately, due to recent events, our local business community, I don’t care where you’re listening to the sound of my voice, is under attack and you have come up with an amazing initiative to help those local businesses.

Marty: Yeah, we were sitting around trying to figure out what to do with all of our spare time that was, unfortunately, a consequence of all these businesses being forced to stay home and we decided, you know what, we’ve got some available time, let’s try and put some good karma back out into the world. And so, Sherpa decided to start something called the Adopt a Business Challenge. And so, we staked $50,000 worth of marketing services, and said, to any small businesses, please apply to receive these services. And then I turned around and said to some other agency and marketing group owners that I knew, “Hey, I’m doing this, can I sort of tag you in?” And say, “Hey, Doug Darling at Tripwire, are you in?”

We actually had the idea, even before the U.S. started that All In Challenge, we were already soliciting other agency owners to offer their services to small businesses who needed it. And so, it’s really got a bit of a life of its own now, we’ve got over 11 partners and we’ve raised over $200,000 in free marketing services for small businesses and helping them take some of those, either, first baby steps digitally or helping them become more savvy marketers in social or taking advantage of Google’s favoring of hyper-local search results.

Cartoon car and repair shop

George: Well, I applaud you in this initiative and that’s why we wanted to have you on the podcast was to learn some more about what are you hearing as we take a pulse with local business owners? What are you hearing from local businesses? And was it one particular meeting that you had? Or was it, you don’t strike me as the type of person who would have a lot of free time on your hands, but there had to be some sort of impetus that was like, “We need to do this, we need to help.”


"We’re not in the business of saving lives, but with our skills and know-how we might be able to help save a livelihood"

Marty: It really wasn’t anything specific in terms of a place that we consumed, so much as many of the local businesses, whether they’re are restaurants or small boutiques that my staff consumes their products and services, and they’re like, “Oh my gosh, like this place could go out of business, what can we do? They don’t have a good website; they don’t have a good social media presence. Is there anything that we can do to kind of help them?” And we’re like, “Yeah, let’s get on this.” And so, we basically created these custom landing pages with applications, then we’ve had something like 50 businesses now apply for us to assist them, and us and our partners to assist them with marketing.

We’re not in the business of saving lives, but with our skills and know-how we might be able to help save a livelihood, and so that was really where things came from. And as a Canadian and in particular a Western Canadian, we haven’t necessarily been affected by the pandemic, as brutally as people in places like Spain, France, Toronto, and New York City. We’re just, our geographic isolation, in some ways actually played to our favor, but it didn’t change the fact that the economic impact of this is in some ways, at least in our geography, greater than the actual physical pole, so that’s part of the motivation for us as well.


Listen to Marty’s full interview HERE

Learn more about the Adopt a Business Challenge and our adoptees:

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