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

FILE – Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs have agreed to sign a memorandum on rights and title with B.C. and Ottawa, but elected chiefs are demanding it be called off over lack of consultation. (Thom Barker photo)
Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, Lake Babine Nation get provincial funding for land, title rights

Government says it’s a new, flexible model for future agreements between Canada, B.C. and First Nations.

Vanderhoof municipal office sign on Burrard Avenue. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof council discuss requests from NWRI, airport, BC Wildfire

District of Vanderhoof held their regular public meeting of council on April… Continue reading

The property on which a residential school (pictured) that was torn down years ago in Lower Post is to be the location of a cultural centre. (Indian Residential School History and Dialogue Centre photo)
Lower Post residential school building to be demolished, replaced with cultural centre

Project to be funded by federal and provincial governments, Daylu Dena Council

To send in Letters to the Editor, email aman.parhar@ominecaexpress.com
Letter: Increased aggression towards staff at Omineca Medical clinic

Dr. Davy Dhillon writes letter on behalf of the clinic

Basin Snow Water Index map for Apr. 1, 2021. (BC River Forecast Centre photo/Lakes District News)
Snowpack above normal for Upper Fraser West basin

Snowpack assessments for early April reveals above normal levels for northwestern British… Continue reading

Vancouver resident Beryl Pye was witness to a “concerning,” spontaneous dance party that spread throughout social groups at Kitsilano Beach on April 16. (Screen grab/Beryl Pye)
VIDEO: Dance party erupts at Vancouver’s Kitsilano Beach to the dismay of onlookers

‘It was a complete disregard for current COVID-19 public health orders,’ says Vancouver resident Beryl Pye

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland responds to a question during Question Period in the House of Commons Tuesday December 8, 2020 in Ottawa. The stage is set for arguably the most important federal budget in recent memory, as the Liberal government prepares to unveil its plan for Canada’s post-pandemic recovery even as a third wave of COVID-19 rages across the country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Election reticence expected to temper political battle over federal budget

Opposition parties have laid out their own demands in the weeks leading up to the budget

A syringe is loaded with COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to open up COVID vaccine registration to all B.C. residents 18+ in April

Registration does not equate to being able to book an appointment

(Black Press file photo).
UPDATED: Multiple stabbings at Vancouver Island bush party

Three youths hospitalized after an assault in Comox

Selina Robinson is shown in Coquitlam, B.C., on Friday November 17, 2017. British Columbia’s finance minister says her professional training as a family therapist helped her develop the New Democrat government’s first budget during the COVID-19 pandemic, which she will table Tuesday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. finance minister to table historic pandemic-challenged deficit budget

Budget aims to take care of people during pandemic while preparing for post-COVID-19 recovery, Robinson said

Each spring, the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale is held in Penticton. This year, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival will not be held. However, beer is still available. How much do you know about this beverage? (pxfuel.com)
QUIZ: How much do you really know about beer?

Put your knowledge to the test with this short quiz

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Tremmel States-Jones jumps a player and the goal line to score a touchdown against the Kelowna Owls in 2019. The face of high school football, along with a majority of other high school sports, could significantly change if a new governance proposal is passed at the B.C. School Sports AGM May 1. (Malin Jordan)
Power struggle: New governance model proposed for B.C. high school sports

Most commissions are against the new model, but B.C. School Sports (BCSS) and its board is in favour

Pall Bearers carrying the coffin of the Duke of Edinburgh, followed by the Prince of Wales, left and Princess Anne, right, into St George’s Chapel for his funeral, at Windsor Castle, in Windsor, England, Saturday April 17, 2021. (Danny Lawson/Pool via AP)
Trudeau announces $200K donation to Duke of Edinburgh award as Prince Philip laid to rest

A tribute to the late prince’s ‘remarkable life and his selfless service,’ the Prime Minister said Saturday

Most Read