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Kamloops, Okanagan businesses eligible for COVID relief grants for websites and e-commerce

November 02, 2020 - 8:00 AM

$5,000 grants are now available for website and Ecommerce development to offset the damage caused to local business by COVID-19.

It is estimated that B.C.’s economy suffered a deficit of $12.5 billion for 2020-21 with a predicted economic decline of 6.8 per cent by the end of 2020. In two scenarios designed by the Business Council of British Columbia, retail trade will decline -11 to -33 by the end of the year.

Today, uncertainty remains as we move forward into 2021 with public health measures still in place. There is no doubt that online shopping continues to trend, as consumers respond to this pandemic by staying home and browsing through their favourite stores on a mobile device or PC.

The Canada United Small Business COVID Relief Fund

Canada United is a movement started within RBC to reimburse local business owners for COVID-19 related expenses. Financial relief is available for PPE (personal protective equipment), physical space renovations and the development of websites with Ecommerce capabilities. The new application window opened October 26, 2020 for small businesses across Canada tapping into $12 million in relief funds contributed by the Federal Government. This relief fund is managed by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce on behalf of the national Chamber network.

Successful applicants can receive a grant of up to $5,000 for COVID related economic recovery, including developed or improved Ecommerce capabilities for your business. The funds will be distributed broadly to all regions across the country and you do not have to be a member of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce to apply. The pre-application checklist available on their website is easy to read and prepares applicants for the process. This is a reimbursement grant, so applicants must have completed all activities related to eligible expenses prior to applying for the grant.

Full program guidelines and criteria for applicants are available on their website, and in part, include:

  • One application per ownership group.
  • Small to medium sized companies from all sectors and all regions of Canada.
  • Be incorporated, or operating as a sole proprietor/partnership, in Canada as of March 1, 2020.

You will need to submit your proof of business registration, business license, and other documents as listed in the full program guidelines. Priority applicants for consideration include businesses owned by Indigenous People, women, visible minorities, LGBTQ2+, and persons with disabilities. The following section is taken directly off the Canada United Program Guidelines under category details.

“Enhancement of website/ developing e-commerce capability

Enhancement of website/ e-commerce capability involves developing or upgrading a website to better serve customers and pivot business operations as a direct response to COVID-19. Detailed description of enhancements must be provided including quotes where applicable.

Enhancement of website – Expenses can include:

  • Creating or designing a website
  • Hiring external staff for copywriting to write/ enhance descriptions found on the website
  • Having professional photos taken for products

E-commerce capability – Expenses can include:

  • The one-time set-up fee for online e-commerce transactions
  • Monthly fees (from March to September 2020) to support new e-commerce set up. Costs must be incremental – monthly costs associated with pre-existing e-commerce platforms are not eligible.
  • Webinar software to allow continued engagement with customers
  • Hardware allowing for touchless payment

COVID relief reimbursement grants are available for website and Ecommerce development
COVID relief reimbursement grants are available for website and Ecommerce development

Why develop Ecommerce for your business?

During these unusual times, online shopping has dominated retail sales. COVID protocols have significantly affected how consumers shop. While retail sales fell as a result, Ecommerce sales nearly doubled. In some sectors across BC, mandated business closures resulted in a greater shift to online shopping. If you are an entrepreneur, consider implementing Ecommerce into your sales strategy and take advantage of online profits from sales through Black Friday to December 2020 and beyond.

We Can Help

Setting up an Ecommerce store is not as hard as you may think. The website development team at iNFOTEL MULTIMEDIA continues to work with local business owners to develop Ecommerce for online sales. Our clients have designated account executives to assist with digital solutions and consultations personalized for business growth. We invite you to contact us for encouragement in moving your business online or expanding into Ecommerce and digital advertising. We provide detailed quotes for website/ Ecommerce enhancement along with copywriting services and product photography to assist with your grant application.

Call (250) 260-7776 or toll free: 1-800-599-5399

Article Resources

Canada United
Canada United Program Guidelines
Ontario Chamber of Commerce/ Canada United Small Business Relief Fund
Ecommerce statistics

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