If you are a small-medium sized business that is considering entering or expanding in the digital economy then this is the place for you!
The Digital Economy Response Program: (DER3) is a free service supported by Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET) and powered by Innovation Island Technology Association (IITA). The program is open to individuals or businesses living or working on Vancouver Island, north of the Malahat, on the Sunshine Coast, or Gulf Islands. DER3 offers one-to-one business and technical consultations for businesses that are considering entering or expanding their online presence or putting technology-based tools in place to better serve their needs. When required, the program will also match businesses with regional service providers who can deliver contracted solutions. Register here
Tech Co-op Grants Program: Need talent? Get up to $20,000 per year in funding to hire co-op students. Innovate BC’s grant program is open to tech based companies and non-tech organizations looking to grow their innovation footprint. Visit here for program eligibility.
Below you will find recent announcements, updates and resources to support business April 24 to 30, 2020
Please note links and information are changing frequently. Check your resources often and revisit links to view updated information.
- NEW Community Futures COVID Resources Page
- Government takes action to help forest sector keep doors open – April 30
- London Drugs wants to help local small business owners sell their products – April 28
- Prime Minister releases joint statement by First Ministers for restarting the economy – April 28
- Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speaks with British Columbia Premier John Horgan – April 27
- Government of Canada announces new Canadian Seafood Stabilization Fund to help Canada’s fish and seafood processing sector – April 25
- Prime Minister announces partnerships with provinces and territories to deliver the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses – April 24
- Prime Minister speaks with premiers on continued efforts to address the impacts of COVID-19 – April 24
- Rent Relief on the way for BC Small Businesses – April 24
- Funding to improve rural internet connectivity – April 24
- Governments Invest $2.5 Million to Grow Agri-food e-Business During COVID-19 – April 24
Federal Government Support
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses: The federal government has reached an agreement in principle with all provinces and territories to implement the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) for small businesses. This program will lower rent by 75% for small businesses, not-for profits and charities that have experienced hardship during April, May and June. The program will be administered through landlords who enter into an agreement with their tenants to lower rents by 75%. The federal and provincial government will cost share 50% of the cost through a forgivable loan to landlords, while landlords cover the remaining 25%. Eligibility: Impacted small business tenants are businesses paying less than $50,000 per month in rent and who have temporarily ceased operations OR have experienced at least a 70% drop in pre-COVID-19 revenues. This support will also be available to non-profit and charitable organizations. It is expected CECRA will be operational by mid-May.
- Canada Employment Wage Subsidy (CEWS) opens for applications April 27, 2020: The Government of Canada has opened applications for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy program, a 75% temporary wage subsidy for businesses impacted by COVID-19. The first payments are expected to be processed on May 7th. Employers can apply for the CEWS through My Business Account or through the CRA’s online application portal, and their representatives can apply through Represent a Client.
- Indigenous Tourism Association of Canada Opens Applications for Development Stimulus Fund: This program will assist in providing relief for Canadian Indigenous tourism businesses impacted by travel restrictions and loss of revenue due to COVID-19. Eligibility is restricted to Canadian Indigenous tourism businesses who are at least 51% owned by Indigenous entrepreneurs, communities or economic development organizations. Deadline for applications is 5:00pm PDT, April 30, 2020.
Provincial Government Support
- BC government is deferring one of the fees it charges to help people, communities and forest companies navigate through the COVID-19 crisis: Stumpage, the fee operators pay the Province to harvest, buy or sell trees from Crown land, is being deferred for three months. The deferral with interest is available to Tree Farm Licence, Replaceable Forest Licence and First Nations’ Woodlands Licence holders who are in good financial standing with the Province. They also must be following through on their reforesting obligations.
- BC Emergency Benefit for Workers opens for applications May 1, 2020: The B.C. government has announced applications for the BC Emergency Benefit for Workers will open May 1st. This one-time, $1,000 payment is designed to support BC residents whose ability to work has been impacted by COVID-19.
- BC Museums Association to Launch BCMA Resilience Grants for Museums, Art Galleries, and Cultural Heritage Organizations: The BC Museums Association (BCMA), with the support of the B.C. government, is launching a new micro-grant program to help museums, art galleries, heritage organizations, and Indigenous cultural centres across the province during the COVID-19 shutdowns. This program will provide one-time micro-grants of either $2,000 or $4,000 to cultural organizations in financial need. Applications to the BCMA Resilience Grants will open April 27, 2020 and organizations will be able to assess their eligibility and submit a short application through the BCMA’s website here.
Road to Recovery
- Tourism Sector Survey: The Tourism Industry Association of Canada (TIAC) and Destination Canada are working with the federal government to understand impacts on the tourism sector in the face of COVID-19. To help understand the sector’s needs once public health restrictions start to relax and market activity resumes, businesses in the tourism sector are encouraged to complete a brief survey. Complete the survey.
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.