The B.C. government has enhanced the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program to make it easier for businesses to qualify and has increased support for those in the hard-hit tourism sector.
The program is part of StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan. The plan outlines the latest steps the Government of British Columbia is taking to help people, businesses and communities come out of COVID-19 stronger and better prepared.
“We know that small businesses are struggling as they contend with the challenges of operating during a global health pandemic,” said Ravi Kahlon, B.C.’s Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “While many businesses have benefited from our government's supports and programs, we wanted to do more. As part of our government’s commitment to an economic recovery for all British Columbians, we developed the recovery grant program for businesses. We recently engaged stakeholders, listened to their ideas and responded quickly to adjust this program. Now, more businesses can access this much-needed funding.”
Adjustments made to the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program include a streamlined application process and simplified criteria. For example, the criteria has been expanded from a minimum revenue drop of 50% to a drop of 30%. This change will allow more businesses to be eligible. Additionally, the previous three-year operation requirement has been reduced to 18 months. This means businesses only need to have been in operation nine months before the pandemic to apply for the grant.
Businesses impacted by the pandemic will be eligible to receive a grant up to $30,000. The grant for the tourism sector has been increased, meaning those hardest-hit businesses in the tourism sector will be eligible for a grant up to $45,000.
The changes to the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program were made in consultation with industry associations and business groups that represent the small and medium-sized business community.
"B.C. restaurants need the support of government to get through the significant impacts of COVID-19 on our industry,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO, BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association. “Helping business owners pivot and get through this tough time is essential. We are grateful for the revisions to the grant program and the support it offers to businesses facing financial pressures.”
Cybele Negris, vice-chair, Small Business Roundtable, and CEO and co-founder of Webnames.ca, said, “B.C. businesses create meaningful jobs for people throughout the province. They are vital to helping communities thrive and spur economic growth. Collectively, we need to do everything we can to support the future of businesses. The new structure of the grant program will allow more businesses to benefit from funding that will help position them for a better future.”
The revised application process and eligibility criteria are now in place. Small- and medium-sized businesses are encouraged to apply online: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/economic-recovery/business-recovery-grant
- Businesses impacted by the pandemic will be eligible to receive between $10,000 and $30,000 in a non-repayable grant.
- The additional amount available to tourism-related businesses has been increased up to $15,000. This amount is available on top of the base grant, for a total of up to $45,000.
- Eligibility changes include:
- instead of requiring a revenue loss of 50% or more, the criteria has been reduced to 30% at the time of application;
- the requirement to list a variety of remittance accounts, like the registration numbers for the goods and services tax, provincial sales tax and WorkSafeBC, have been removed;
- businesses that have been in operation for the last 18 months are now eligible (reduced from three years);
- applications can now be submitted by sole proprietors; and
- businesses that are temporarily closed or seasonal are now eligible for the program.
For more information on the Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program, including the application process and eligibility, visit: https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/economic-recovery/business-recovery-grant
For more information on StrongerBC, visit: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/
For a Punjabi translation: https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2020JERI0044-002118#translations