Meet Gary Webb: Business Accessibility Advisor

Reach Gary Webb at [email protected] for more information on your accessibility journey.

Over 30 years ago, the Province created an agency to help new entrepreneurs. In 2002, Small Business BC was established out of this agency as an independent non-profit. Ever since, SBBC has supported small business owners with a roster of products and services designed to equip entrepreneurs with the skills needed to thrive today.

One of SBBC’s most familiar faces is Gary Webb. For more than 20 years, he has worked as a Business Advisor helping small business owners get started. Now, he’s stepping into a new role as SBBC’s first-ever Business Accessibility Advisor. This focus on accessibility is just the beginning of a bright new chapter of SBBC’s work.

Meet Gary Webb

Gary has been working at SBBC since 1998. He’s always been interested in helping new entrepreneurs connect with the right resources for them. Over the years, Gary has become an expert Business Advisor. More recently, he’s been involved in project review and evaluation for the Workplace Accessibility Grant.

Now, he’s excited for the opportunity to focus on helping clients create more accessible workplaces. As a Business Accessibility Advisor, Gary is a point person that small businesses can contact for accessibility questions.

“It’s hard enough to start a business, but other people have additional barriers to get over. There are many different regulations and steps that entrepreneurs have to go through. We are a pathfinder for people so they can know where to look for certain things and what resources are available out there,” said Gary.

Small Business BC as a Pathfinder

According to Gary, there are many different governmental departments, many of which have departments within departments. Budding entrepreneurs can get burnt out trying to figure out which office to contact with their questions and concerns.

“Phone here, phone here, phone here, and then they go back to the first person they found — it’s just a big loop for people, that’s very common,” said Gary.

Gary says that he sees Small Business BC as a go-to place to help people find the right resource for them. This helps ease entrepreneurs’ frustrations with the process, guiding them forward on a clear path, which is especially helpful for the topic of accessibility.

Workplace Accessibility Resources

SBBC’s Workplace Accessibility Resources is a hub for small business owners to improve inclusivity. In the hub, you’ll find articles, webinars, checklists, and free resources to help you at any stage of your accessibility journey.

For example, if you’re just getting started with workplace accessibility, read our Getting Started Guide. If you want to improve your organization’s communication, refer to our Accessibility Glossary to learn more about best practices when talking about disability and accessibility in the workplace.

Explore the hub and learn more about the benefits that creating an accessible workplace can have on your business and your community. Of course, Gary can help you navigate through the most applicable resources for you and your unique business, including advice on how to fund accessibility changes.

Workplace Accessibility Grant

From his experience with the Workplace Accessibility Grant, Gary is able to provide expert advice on project ideas on how to make your workplace more accessible.

The Workplace Accessibility Grant is a reimbursement grant of up to $5,000 that eligible small business employers can access to help fund accessibility improvements.

“It is quite open on what they’ll reimburse, so as long as applicants can explain what they’re buying and how it addresses accessibility in the workplace, it will generally move forward and get accepted,” said Gary.

“Applicants can explain what service they’re purchasing or what products are purchasing and how it’s going to affect accessibility,” said Gary.

Gary says that the grant is realistic for most Small Business BC clients who are small and don’t have vast resources to get started.

While the majority of workplace accommodations cost employers less than $500 to implement, the Workplace Accessibility Grant gives businesses the option to go big with their upgrades, no matter how tight their budget is.

“We see employers buying equipment for their employees and solopreneurs with disabilities buying equipment for themselves, whether it’s a laptop or screen reader or something that makes their work more efficient,” said Gary.

“We get comments like, ‘This is going to help me,’ and ‘Oh, this might just make things a lot easier for me,” he said. “I think it’s something that people should be taking advantage of if the money is there.”

Advice for Entrepreneurs

Gary’s final advice for new entrepreneurs is to spend more time planning. Many entrepreneurs become confused and overwhelmed Gary encourages them to take a step back and keep things simple. “Don’t overwhelm yourself,” said Gary. For example, doing some basic financial research will start you off on the right path.

You can reach Gary Webb at [email protected] to inquire about a free consultation.

Continue your Accessibility Journey with SBBC

Small Business BC is a non-profit resource centre for BC-based small businesses. Our Accessibility Resources for Business page is full of tips, tools, and more to support your next stage.

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the Province of British Columbia through the Ministry of Social Development and Poverty Reduction.