MONTREAL -- To help ease some of the stress the COVID-19 pandemic has inflicted upon small businesses across the province, local entrepreneurs are calling on Quebecers to make an online purchase from local start-ups on April 2.

A few Montreal businesses began featuring one another in their newsletters to increase their visibility amid the pandemic, which eventually led to the idea of hosting a Facebook event that invites people to buy local. 

“(The newsletters were) kind of a give-to-the-next-person initiative,” said Julien Brault, CEO of Hardbacon, an app that allows people to link their bank account and investment accounts together to make better financial decisions. 

The tight-knit start-up community created a Google document, listing local businesses, their descriptions, promos and discount codes for shoppers to consult on the Facebook event page.

Anyone can edit the document and people are encouraged to add their businesses – or those of others – to the list. 

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Not all start-ups in the city are experiencing the same types of problems, Brault explained.

Travel-booking app Hopper, for example, is one that is struggling a lot right now, he said, given the uncertainty surrounding when the pandemic will end.

Nevertheless, he says the start-up community has a habit of helping each other out in both the best of times and the worst of times.

Brault admits he struggled when he first started Hardbacon and office furniture start-up Ugoburo, who is co-hosting the Facebook event, decided to gift him a few items. 

“I had no money and I was complaining on social media of having no desk and he sent me four desks,” Brault said. “It’s a wonderful community.” 

Facebook users have been quick to point out that prioritizing local businesses shouldn't only happen on April 2, but all year-round.

To consult a list of start-ups in the province, head over to the event page on Facebook