On February 3, the provincial government announced a new grant program that will help more than 1,500 eligible small and medium-sized businesses create or improve their online stores, allowing them to respond to changing consumer behaviours. 

The Launch Online Grant Program, which will be managed by Alacrity Canada, will allow qualifying businesses—which will include hardest-hit sectors including tourism—to apply for grant funds of up to $7,500, which can then be applied to eligible expenses related to their online stores. Of the $12 million in funding, up to 25% will be allocated to Indigenous businesses and businesses outside of the lower mainland and greater Victoria.

Grant recipients will have to use at least one local marketing / technology service provider when completing their online store, which will further support BC businesses. 

Online shopping continues to grow, with the province stating that in 2019, e-commerce sales in Canada were valued at over $305 billion, with double that figure expected for 2020 and further growth anticipated for 2021. Having access to this grant program will allow businesses to capitalize on this growing market. 

For more information on the program requirements, and to apply, visit launchonline.ca.