VICTORIA — The B.C. government is investing $12 million to help businesses launch or upgrade an online store that will provide the platform they need to increase their sales revenues, become more competitive and grow.
The new Launch Online Grant program is designed to help more than 1,500 eligible small- and medium-sized B.C. businesses adapt to changes in consumer behaviour and pivot to market their products online.
These grants will provide business owners — including those in hard-hit sectors, such as retail, tourism and restaurants — with up to $7,500 to build or improve their online store and promote BuyBC at a local, national and international level. Up to 25 per cent of the program funds will be reserved for regional and Indigenous businesses.
“Businesses need access to the tools and supports that will help them adapt and pivot during this uniquely challenging time,” says Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. “This program will provide business owners with the ability to expand their online presence and create a customized e-commerce site that will give them the boost they need to keep moving forward.”
Grant recipients can use the funding for a variety of online-related expenses, including pictures, creating an online inventory system, advertising costs, subscription costs of an e-commerce platform and training staff to manage the website.
As part of the program, successful applicants must use one or more local B.C. service providers to complete their online store. This model ensures grant funding can be reinvested in B.C.-based marketing and technology companies to generate revenues for local companies and help secure and grow jobs.
The program is administered by Alacrity Canada. Small- and medium-sized businesses are encouraged to apply online at launchonline.ca.