According to various news agencies. the $300 million Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant program still had about $280 million of its allocated funding unspent as of late February.
A few changes that may not have pinged on your radar:
- Unincorporated businesses including partnerships and sole proprietors (e.g. individual contractors, freelancers, creators, artists, actors, musicians, writers …) can apply for funding (but not non-profits)
- Applicants do not need to hire a “qualified professional service provider” that has registered with Small Business BC (but if they do, the government will pay up to $2K to help with costs)
- The minimum grant is $10K, top is $30K, with top-ups from $5K to $15K for tourism-related businesses.
- Update: The top-up can include magazines that offer listings of restaurants, events, tourist attractions or feature or list other businesses that have been affected by the pandemic. This includes free magazines and other publications.
- Update: This top-up can also be claimed by anyone whose business (even if self-employed) has been affected by the drop in tourism, as this top-up is trust-based. You will have to register for a business number if you don’t already have one.
- Approved grantees can spend the funding on any actions identified in their recovery plan.
- This can include paying fixed or overhead costs such as business rent/lease/phone, as well as moving online, enhancing your website, adding an online store, equipment, marketing, professional development to retrain or to develop new skills, promotional videos etc.
- Unfortunately, it doesn’t include living costs, even if you have a home-based business.
- There doesn’t seem to be a minimum amount a person or company has to have earned in order to claim the minimum $10K grant, as long as they’re basically viable.
- Update: Applicants have to have experienced a 30%+ drop from March 2020 to the present “at some point” compared with the same period a year earlier. (They dropped the 70% drop during March and April 2020 requirement.) This decline can be measured over any consecutive 4-week period.
- It’s a 2-part process but once you get past the verbiage (plus an evil address field that requires an exact format or it won’t submit the application, and an application form that’s error-intolerant), it’s pretty straightforward to apply for, but may take few days to collect financial information and documents (do your taxes, already!), do recovery planning (which can be very simple) and perhaps consult with a professional.
- Update: The deadline has been extended to August 31, 2021 or until the money runs out.
Sylvia Skene, Executive Director, MagsBC