BY AMAN SINGH
NDP MLA for Richmond-Queensborough
IT has been over a year since COVID-19 arrived in B.C. and Canada, and there is hardly anyone in our province whose life has not been touched by the pandemic. While we are not out of the woods yet, the arrival of vaccines has brought a lot of hope for the better, brighter days that are ahead.
Unfortunately, many of the impacts of the past year will not be addressed by vaccines alone. Our small and medium-sized businesses have suffered due to the pandemic and will continue to feel the effects for quite some time. Sadly, some beloved local businesses will not reopen.
As a small business owner myself, I know that owners pour their heart and soul into their businesses, and right now they are worried about providing for their families and doing right by their employees. And that is why our government is stepping up to help.
The Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant provides up to $30,000 for eligible businesses, and up to $45,000 for eligible tourism-related businesses. These funds do not need to be paid back – they are there to help business owners get back on their feet.
Our government wants to get this funding into the hands of business owners as quickly as possible. If your business has been impacted financially by the pandemic, please apply now at https://bcbusinessrecoverygrant.com/
We have all had to adapt to incredible challenges this year. One major change for many business owners has been pivoting to digital marketing and e-commerce, as people have changed the way we browse and shop.
Changing the way you do business can certainly be a challenge. In order to support businesses in the transition to online sales and marketing, our government is providing grants to help them Launch Online. This is a grant of $7,500 to help with creating or improving your online store. Applications are only open until March 31, so please apply soon: http://www.launchonline.ca/
And if you are not familiar with how to market your business online, there is a free program for you or your employees to learn from experts. The Digital Marketing Bootcamp will teach you how to advertise online and reach new customers over an 8-week course. Visit https://www.alacritycanada.com/online-digital-marketing-bootcamp/ for more information on this learning opportunity.
Small and medium-sized businesses are the lifeblood of our community, and when they thrive, we all thrive. Our government is committed to supporting business so they cannot only survive the pandemic, but emerge from it even stronger and more resilient.
If you are a business owner, please check out the programs mentioned here and take advantage of the funds that are available. If you are a fan of your local businesses, now is the time to show them your support. Visit your local grocer, buy a coffee at your favourite coffee shop, and browse online for locally-made products. Remember that we will get through this, together.