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

Greg Janicki (left), owner of Dogwood Pet Mart rasied $410 this year for the Campbell River SPCA’s Loonies for Love fundraiser which he presented to Stephanie Arkwright, branch manager of the BCSPCA – Campbell River Community Animal Centre. Photo contributed
Pandemic doesn’t stop annual Loonies for Love SPCA fundraiser

Fundraising has been a bit challenging over the past year, but the… Continue reading

NIC Engineering student Johnny Marshall lowers a prototype oyster grow-out system into the ocean for testing in Campbell River. Photo courtesy NIC
NIC partners with Cortes shellfish company on oyster research

Study and testing hoping to mitigate the impacts of warming oceans on oyster mortality

The intersection at Dogwood Street and 13th Avenue, next to the No. 1 Firehall, will see some improvements over the next six weeks or so, according to the city. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Intersection improvements coming to Dogwood and 13th Avenue

Expect delays for up to six weeks once work begins, city says

Oyster River fire has responded to 56 calls so far in 2021. Photo courtesy Oyster River Fire Department
Oyster River Fire averaged one call per day in busy February

One weekend saw 12 calls for service from crew

The students in the Timberline Musical Theatre program are rehearsing this year’s production, Once Upon a Mattress, three days per week after school in preparation for their upcoming virtual performances. Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Timberline Musical Theatre hoping for last minute ticket surge

Popular annual run of shows costs $7,000-$8,000 to put on. They’ve sold $750 in tickets

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

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Mid day at the Vancouver Port Intersection blockade on March 3, organized by the Braided Warriors. (Zoë Ducklow photo)
Anti-pipeline blockade at Vancouver intersection broken up by police

Demonstraters were demanding the release of a fellow anti-TMX protester

One person is dead after a camper van caught fire Thursday morning in Victoria’s Beacon Hill Park. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
One person dead after vehicle fire in Beacon Hill Park

Victoria firefighters were already extinguishing the fire when police arrived on scene

(Government of B.C.)
Chelsea Harry was last seen Feb. 21. Photo via Comox Valley RCMP
Vancouver Island RCMP seeking help locating a missing woman

Missing person last seen in Courtenay on Feb. 21

Backcountry skiers are dwarfed by the mountains as they make their way along a mountain ridge near McGillivray Pass Lodge located in the southern Chilcotin Mountains of British Columbia, Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2012. Avalanche Canada has issued a special warning to people who use the backcountry in the mountains of western Alberta and eastern British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Avalanche Canada special warning for mountains in western Alberta, eastern B.C.

Avalanche Canada also says everyone in a backcountry party needs essential rescue gear

A recently finished $4.3-million taxiway extension at the Victoria International Airport (not pictured) is unusable because of a blind spot. (Black Press Media file photo)
Blind spot leaves Victoria airport’s new $4.3-million taxiway extension unusable

Solution has been put on hold by COVID-19 pandemic, says airport authority

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

Most Read