COVID-19 Support for Small & Medium Businesses in BC

The Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program offers fully funded grants to businesses in British Columbia. These funds are meant to support businesses during and after COVID-19.

The program runs until March 31, 2021, or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.

What funds can businesses receive under this grant?

Small and medium-sized BC businesses affected by COVID-19 can receive grants of $10,000 to $30,000. Eligible tourism-related businesses can access an extra $5,000 to $15,000 grant.

How does the program work?

Step 1: Start your online application

BC Businesses will need to fill out an online application and upload financial documents. If your business is eligible, you will be asked to create a recovery plan.

Step 2: Complete your recovery plan

A recovery plan lists the specific actions your business can take to support continued operation under the “new normal” conditions of COVID-19. It must be realistic and easy to execute.

Your recovery plan must also clarify the timeframe for the action to be completed and how much each action will cost.

If your application meets the eligibility criteria, you will have two options to complete your recovery plan:

  • Access professional services assigned by Small Business BC to develop your recovery plan
  • Prepare your recovery plan with support from your own service provider as needed. Your own service provider must register with Small Business BC at: expressionofinterest@smallbusinessbc.ca

If your recovery plan is approved after evaluation, grant funding will be provided.

What’s the eligibility criteria for the grant program?

A business must meet all eligibility criteria to receive a base grant:

  • The majority share of the business is owned by one or more BC residents
  • The business has been operating in BC for a minimum of 18 months as of the date of application to the program.
  • The business’s sole or primary operations are located and conducted in British Columbia
  • The business is registered in BC. It is current and pays taxes in BC.
  • The business is currently operating. (Seasonal or temporarily closed businesses are also eligible.)
  • The business employs up to 149 people in BC for at least four months of the calendar year.
  • This includes businesses that had employees or contracted staff prior to February 1, 2020
  • For businesses that do not have staff, please explain in your application how the grant funding will support your recovery and benefit your community
  • The business had positive cash flow for the last financial statement, prior to February 1, 2020
  • The business experienced revenue losses compared to the same period in 2019 of at least 70 per cent at some point during March or April 2020 and, at least 30 per cent at some point during May 2020 to present.
  • The business’s ownership has not prepared the business for closure, dissolution or for sale following February 1, 2020

Not-for-profit organizations are not eligible.

What about tourism-related businesses? 

Tourism-related businesses in BC are eligible to get up to $15,000 in additional funding if they are eligible for the base grant and meet the tourism grant top-up criteria.

The tourism grant top-up is based on the number of BC resident workers employed or contracted:

Number of pre-COVID BC residents employed    Grant top-up amount
0 to 1    $5,000
2 to 4   $10,000
5 to 149  $15,000

What’s the eligibility criteria for the tourism grant top-up?

To receive the tourism grant top-up, a business must declare that a major part of its total goods or services are purchased by visitors.

Tourism sector businesses can include:

  • Transportation
  • Accommodation
  • Food and beverage services
  • Recreation
  • Entertainment services
  • Travel services

Accommodation includes:

  • Hotels
  • Inns
  • Lodges
  • Campsites
  • Recreational vehicle rentals
  • Other similar businesses

Accommodation excludes:

  • Long-term stays
  • Apartments
  • Condominium sub-leases
  • Home-stay arrangements
  • Vacation rentals  

In what cases may a business have to pay back the funding?

A business will need to pay back the funding if:

  • Any of the information submitted is untrue
  • They do not implement their recovery plan or
  • They use the funds for purposes not eligible under the program

Are there any restrictions on how I may use these funds?

The grant funding can be used to carry out the actions listed in your recovery plan. For instance, a business may propose to offer new services to customers, modify physical location, move online, or install new outdoor patio with social distancing barriers.

Funds can be used to support fixed costs such as rent/lease or other overhead costs.

Actions that a business implemented prior to the StrongerBC announcement on September 17, 2020 are not eligible for funding.

Need support navigating business issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Our experts can help you develop company policies as well as with any other HR, health and safety, or employment advice you may need. See how we have helped other small and medium businesses get their business compliant with provincial legislation.

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