In light of the pandemic, with in-person shopping hit hard, province is launching a new grant program called the Launch Online grant program, to help pivot businesses online.
According to a news release issued by the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, people’s reliance on online shopping has increased in the past two years with over $305 billion in e-commerce sales in Canada in 2019 and for 2020, the e-commerce sales are projected to have doubled due to the pandemic-related restrictions. This upwards trend in online shopping is expected to continue in 2021.
Through the grant program, over 1,500 eligible small- and medium-sized B.C. businesses, including those in hard-hit sectors such as retail, tourism and restaurants, will get up to $7,500 to build or improve their online store and promote BuyBC at a local, national and international level.
“Businesses need access to the tools and supports that will help them adapt and pivot during this uniquely challenging time,” said Ravi Kahlon, minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation. “This program will provide business owners with the ability to expand their online presence and create a customized e-commerce site that will give them the boost they need to keep moving forward.”
The province is hoping to help businesses launch or upgrade an online store that will provide the platform they need to increase their sales revenues, become more competitive and grow. Up to 25 per cent of the program funds will be reserved for regional and Indigenous businesses.
Grant recipients can use the funding for a variety of online-related expenses, including pictures, creating an online inventory system, advertising costs, subscription costs of an e-commerce platform and training staff to manage the website.
As part of the program, successful applicants must use one or more local B.C. service providers to complete their online store. Through this model, the grant funding can be reinvested in B.C.-based marketing and technology companies to generate revenues for local companies and help secure and grow jobs.
The Launch Online Grant program is part of B.C.’s $10-billion COVID-19 response and will be administered by Alacrity Canada. Small- and medium-sized businesses are encouraged to apply online: www.launchonline.ca
The program will run until Mar. 31 or as long as the funds last.