Cowichan Strong has issued its first newsletter which provides highlights of support programs available to help businesses and entrepreneurs. This weekly newsletter is one way Cowichan Strong is working to support our business community, by compiling support programs relevant to the Cowichan region. I encourage you to sign up to receive the newsletter and other updates from Cowichan Strong.
We are stronger together!
Below you will find recent announcements, updates and resources to support business. Please note links and information are changing frequently. Check your resources often and revisit links to view updated information.
- Support for students and new grads affected by COVID-19 – April 22
- BC Companies, Societies and Cooperatives now able to meet electronically – April 22
- Prime Minister announces support for Indigenous businesses – April 18
- Prime Minister announces new support to protect Canadian jobs – April 17
- BCBusiness: What you need to know about federal and provincial support for BC businesses and workers during the COVID-19 pandemic – updated April 17
Federal Government Support:
- Canada Student Service Grant will help students gain valuable work experience and skills while they help their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. For students who choose to do national service and serve their communities, the grant will provide up to $5,000 for their education in the fall.
- Canada Emergency Student Benefit proposed April 22 would support post-secondary students and recent graduates who are not eligible for the Canada Emergency Response Benefit. This benefit would provide $1,250 per month for eligible students or $1,750 per month for eligible students with dependents or disabilities. The benefit would be available from May to August 2020.
- Canada Employment Wage Subsidy (CEWS) Calculator announced for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program. Businesses can begin applying for CEWS effective Monday, April 27, 2020. When a business applies it will be asked to enter amounts such as the number of eligible employees and gross payroll. To get ready for the Monday launch, businesses can use the new calculator to determine these amounts and preview its subsidy claim now, based on information that is entered. The calculator is a tool for businesses to estimate the amount of their wage subsidy.
- Regional Development Agencies will received $675 million in funding to support tech startups that have not qualified for the federal emergency programs such as the 75 percent wage subsidy and emergency business loans.
- Community Futures network will received $287 million in funding to support rural businesses and those that may not have existing relationships with financial institutions.
- Aboriginal Financial Institutions will receive up to $306.8 million in funding to support and help small and medium-sized Indigenous businesses. The funding will allow short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions through Aboriginal Financial Institutions, which offer financing and business support services to First Nations, Inuit, and Metis businesses.
- Futurepreneur Canada, which offers funding and mentorship to aspiring business owners aged 18 to 39, will receive $20.1 million so it can provide payment relief to its clients for up to 12 months.
- Industrial Research Assistance Program (IRAP), a long-running National Research Council effort that helps small and medium-sized businesses build their innovation capacity and bring ideas to market. The federal government is funding $250 million to assist innovative early-stage companies that can’t access existing business support. To register your interest in the IRAP Innovation Assistance Program, click here.
- Farm Credit Canada will receive an additional $5 billion in lending capacity to producers, agribusinesses and food processors. The goal is to help keep farmers and processors deal with cash flow problems and lost sales, respectively.
Provincial Government Support:
- New Ventures BC Grants: Innovative initiatives support BC businesses + students. Get up to $10,000 a year to hire a student. The program has been extended and is now open to all BC companies (not just tech companies). Grants available for May 1, 2020 to April 30, 2021. The ISI Grant program provides flexibility regarding start times, end dates, and payout (so log as they meet the $1000 minimum). Lower payouts will be considered as well, depending on circumstances. With this grant, you may hire a student who is working from home/remotely. If your company is facing hardship due to COVID-19 and can’t meet certain eligibility requirements, please email us. We are here to support you and will provide exceptions on a case-by-case basis. For more information visit newventuresbc.com/accelerate/isi/
- BC Hydro online application for Small Businesses now open
If you own a small business that needed to close due to COVID-19 measures, you may be eligible to have your business’ electricity use charges waived for up to three months. To have your charges waived, you need to apply for the program and be approved. If you’re approved, the charges will be automatically waived from your account.
To keep businesses informed and up-to-date Economic Development Cowichan has compiled a COVID-19 Business Resource guide. Visit here to view essential links.