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B.C. expands grant program to help businesses grow online

Last Updated Mar 17, 2021 at 5:58 pm EDT

VICTORIA — The B.C. government says it’s adding $30 million to its program aimed at helping businesses build or expand their online operations during the COVID-19 pandemic in response to high demand for the grant money.

The province committed $12 million last month to launch its online grant program, which was set to provide 1,500 businesses with up to $7,500. 

Premier John Horgan says more than 3,500 businesses have applied so far, exhausting the initial fund.

The province says the additional money will help about 4,000 more businesses.

Horgan says the grants will help businesses adapt to the way the pandemic has pushed more customers to shop online, while the program has also been expanded to include businesses that sell services in addition to goods, benefiting the tourism sector and those with online booking systems.

B.C. says 30 per cent of the funds will be reserved for businesses whose owners are Black, Indigenous and people of colour, which is up from the 25 per cent that was previously set aside for Indigenous and rural businesses.

The province says in a news release that successful applicants will work with local service providers to complete their online store, meaning the grants help support marketing and technology companies in the province.

“More B.C. small businesses from the hardest hit sectors will have access to the tools they need to boost their online presence, grow their e-commerce capacity and become more resilient,” Horgan said in a statement on Wednesday.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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