Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings. (B.C. government)

Businesses continue to struggle under COVID-19 restrictions on gatherings. (B.C. government)

B.C. offers $7,500 grants for small business online sales help

Applications open for $12 million COVID-19 relief fund

The B.C. government is offering qualifying small businesses up to $7,500 to build or upgrade their online sales portals to help get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon announced the “launch online grant” program Wednesday, with a portal at launchonline.ca open to take applications. The $12 million online sales fund is the second small business assistance program from the B.C. government’s $1.5 billion StrongerBC fund, announced before last fall’s election.

“Business practices that we thought were five to seven years away are here now,” Kahlon said Feb. 3, with online sales being the way for many to keep going.

Kahlon said Wednesday the changes made in December have revived the larger $300 million COVID-19 aid program, with another 4,000 applications coming in since the restrictions were eased. The initial uptake was little more than 1,000 businesses who could qualify. Both the larger grant program and the new online sales grant are open until the end of March, or when the allocated money runs out.

B.C. Liberal jobs critic Todd Stone said Kahlon should have fixed the original business recovery program first, and extend the deadline so more struggling businesses can apply for it.

“It’s outrageous that the NDP opted to NOT fix the business recovery grant which continues to be a complete mess,” Stone said on Twitter. “Instead, they announce an e-commerce grant which is a drop in the bucket, too late for most businesses, and not going to help those trying to keep their lights on.”

The original grant program for small business and tourism attracted few applications because of strict rules for showing pandemic-related loss. In December Kahlon was appointed to cabinet and announced a reduced requirement of showing revenue losses, with businesses qualifying for grants up to $30,000 by showing 30 per cent loss of income at the time they apply.

RELATED:B.C. eases rules for COVID-19 small business relief

RELATED: B.C. pubs, restaurants want clear Super Bowl rules

The original program required businesses to show they lost at least 50 per cent of their revenue in each month of pandemic restrictions. With the December changes, business in operation for 18 months were allowed to apply, down from the original limit of three years, and an additional grant for tourism-related businesses was increased from maximum $10,000 to $15,000.

David Nicholls, general manager of Vancouver Island Brewing, said the pandemic forced the brewery to turn to online sales with the marketing website it has. The grant will allow the brewery to provide a full e-commerce service, and expand sales to the rest of B.C., he said.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

BC politicsCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
43 new COVID-19 cases in Interior Health

368 cases in the region remain active

File photo
Driver reports being followed on Hwy 5 from Kamloops

Submitted by Sgt. G.D. Simpson February 25 The Clearwater Fire Department requested… Continue reading

The RCMP arrest one of the suspects on Highway 97 courtesy of cell phone footage shot by a bystander. (April Thomas photo)
WATCH: Two suspects arrested after multi-jurisdictional chase

A half dozen police cars were seen heading north on Highway 97

A nurse performs a test on a patient at a drive-in COVID-19 clinic in Montreal, on Wednesday, October 21, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
Interior Health reports 16 new COVID-19 cases

423 cases remain active in the region

(Phil McLachlan/Capital News)
Murder charge laid in February 2020 stabbing death of Smithers man

Michael Egenolf is charged with the second-degree murder of Brodie Cumiskey

Health Minister Adrian Dix looks on as Dr. Bonnie Henry pauses for a moment as she gives her daily media briefing regarding COVID-19 for British Columbia in Victoria, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
7 additional deaths and 542 new COVID-19 cases in B.C.

Provincial health officials reported 18 new COVID-19 cases linked to variants of concern

The City of Vancouver estimates there are 3,500 Canada geese in the city right now, and that number is growing. (Bruce Hogarth)
Help tame Vancouver’s Canada goose population by reporting nests: park officials

The city is asking residents to be on the lookout so staff can remove nests or addle eggs

Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson (Office of the Chief Justice)
Judge questions whether B.C.’s top doctor appreciated right to religious freedom

Lawyer for province says Dr. Henry has outlined the reasons for her orders publicly

A sample of guns seized at the Pacific Highway border crossing from the U.S. into B.C. in 2014. Guns smuggled from the U.S. are used in criminal activity, often associated with drug gangs. (Canada Border Service Agency)
B.C. moves to seize vehicles transporting illegal firearms

Bill bans sale of imitation or BB guns to young people

BC Housing minister David Eby is concerned that Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter will result in a “tent city” similar to this one in Everett, Wa. (Olivia Vanni / Black Press file)
‘Disappointed and baffled’ B.C. housing minister warns of tent city in Penticton

Penticton council’s decision to close a local homeless shelter could create tent city, says David Eby

A recently published study out of UBC has found a link between life satisfaction levels and overall health. (Pixabay)
Satisfied with life? It’s likely you’re healthier for it: UBC study

UBC psychologists have found those more satisfied with their life have a 26% reduced risk of dying

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada has secured through a deal with the Serum Institute of India in partnership with Verity Pharma at a facility in Milton, Ont., on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio - POOL
Federal panel recommends 4-month gap between COVID vaccine doses due to limited supply

The recommendation applies to all COVID-19 vaccines currently approved in Canada

A vial of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a family doctor office, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021 in Paris. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP -Christophe Ena
Trudeau ‘optimistic’ that timeline for rollout of COVID vaccines can be accelerated

Canada set to receive more than 6M COVID-19 vaccine dose than initially expected, by end of March

Beginning late Tuesday, anti-pipeline protesters blocked the intersection of Hastings Street and Clark Drive in Vancouver. (Instagram/Braidedwarriors)
Demonstrators block key access to Vancouver port over jail for pipeline protester

They group is protesting a 90-day jail sentence handed to a fellow anti-pipeline protester

Most Read