Last week, a startup in the Kitchener-Waterloo region launched to offer Canadian businesses a resource to secure sanitization products and PPE.
Supply+Protect is the latest Canadian tech startup born out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The startup offers an online PPE marketplace specifically targeted toward businesses. The company is led by CEO Amber French, a Kitchener-Waterloo tech entrepreneur, as well as David Chilton, entrepreneur and former ‘dragon’ on CBC’s Dragon Den.
Supply+Protect also aims to give the Canadian economy a boost by sourcing only from Canadian brands.
As Canada faces the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, one top concern cited by businesses is maintaining an adequate supply of personal protective equipment (PPE), according to Statistics Canada. As of August, 671,811 businesses across Canada reported they required more PPE to operate in accordance with COVID-related public guidelines.
Statistics Canada also found that of the nearly 3,600 Canadian businesses that need safety supplies to operate, about 32 percent expect a shortage of at least one type of product in the next three months.
“There is an obvious need for a convenient and cost-effective platform to purchase vetted personal protective equipment and an even greater need for a trustworthy source in this all-important area. And that is exactly what Supply+Protect offers,” said Chilton.
Supply+Protect aims to not only ensure businesses are equipped with PPE, but also to give the Canadian economy a boost by sourcing only from Canadian brands. Manufacturers and distributors, such as Hunter Amenities and The Canadian Shield, are two of the companies providing products. Supply+Protect noted that more are added to the platform each week.
“Supply+Protect will give our vendors access to more customers and more reach through cross-product marketing and education,” said French. “Our heavy emphasis on Canadian manufacturers helps ensure that our national supply chain remains sustainable.”
Supply+Protect also claims to filter out “counterfeit and substandard” products by requiring insurance, licenses to sell, and product certifications for every product sold. The company also offers preferred pricing for larger volume order customers and customizable products for all businesses, including branded cloth masks and sanitizer bottles.
Supply+Protect is not the only tech company to have emerged during the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the company’s vendors, The Canadian Shield, spun out of EdTech startup InkSmith in March, when it obtained a license from Health Canada to produce medical supplies.
Other tech startups have retooled or pivoted their offering during the crisis, to support Canada’s recovery efforts. Staffy, which offers an online marketplace that connects businesses with skilled workers in the hospitality industry, shifted its focus from hospitality to a range of other industries during the pandemic.
These new companies and initiatives indicate that despite the harsh blow COVID-19 has waged on many industries and individuals, the crisis is also fuelling innovation that has the potential to lessen those negative effects.
Image source Supply+Protect.