New program offers B.C. businesses grants to build or expand online stores

·1 min read

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government is introducing a new grant program to support small and medium-sized businesses in expanding or pivoting to online sales.

Ravi Kahlon, minister of jobs, economic recovery and innovation, says the government is investing $12 million to help about 1,500 businesses launch or upgrade online stores.

A portion of the funding will be reserved for Indigenous businesses.

The grants will provide business owners with up to $7,500 each and comes from the $1.5-billion Stronger BC funding announced in September.

Kahlon acknowledged during a news conference today that there have been delays in getting some previously announced support funding out the door for small and medium-sized businesses.

He says the recovery grant program, for example, requires a two-step process that takes time, but there has been strong interest in the program with the province receiving about 4,000 new applications in the past few weeks.

Applications for the new e-commerce grant are open online at launchonline.ca.

"COVID has shifted the way we do business and the way consumers consume. And so it's critically important that we, as a province, support our businesses in that shift," Kahlon says.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2021.

The Canadian Press