In late December, the provincial government made changes to the Small and Medium-sized Business Recovery Grant program so that more BC businesses would be eligible to apply, while also increasing the top-up grant for eligible tourism businesses.
Some of the changes in eligibility criteria for the base grant (of up to $30,000) include:
- Sole proprietors and seasonal businesses (or those that are temporarily closed) are eligible to apply, as are businesses that do not have any staff.
- Businesses in operation for at least 18 months at the time they apply are eligible (decreased from three years in operation)
- Demonstrated revenue loss has to be at least 30% at some point from May 2020 to present (decreased from 50% or more)
- Businesses that are seasonal can present revenue information that aligns with their business cycle.
- Businesses are no longer required to list GST, PST, or WorkSafeBC registration numbers.
In addition to the base grant, tourism-related businesses can apply for a top-up of up to $15,000. If your business serves travellers and you can declare that a significant portion of your business' offerings is purchased by visitors, you should be eligible for the top-up. You can find out more about the eligibility requirements online.
As part of the program, businesses must complete a recovery plan. Additional funding of up to $2,000 is available for businesses to hire a qualified service provider to prepare their recovery plan; this is provided in conjunction with Small Business BC.
The grant program only runs until March 31 and, so far, is undersubscribed, so we would encourage all local tourism businesses to review the program criteria and apply if eligible to take advantage of the available funds.
The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association has also asked any tourism stakeholders in the region to contact them via email if, after reviewing the program, they are still deemed ineligible.