By Stan Ashbee
New businesses and unregistered sole proprietors can now apply for Alberta’s small business relaunch grant, according to a recent media release.
Expansions to the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant program announced in January are now included on the Government of Alberta’s application portal. New businesses that began operating between March and October 2020, as well as unregistered sole proprietors, can now apply for COVID relief funding.
“Even during the pandemic, Alberta saw around 10,000 new businesses open across the province in 2020. These new businesses were started by Albertans who had the entrepreneurial spirit and confidence to bet on Alberta. Entrepreneurs, whether new or experienced, need to know Alberta’s government is here to support them,” stated Doug Schweitzer, Alberta minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation.
“We appreciate the government expanding access to the SME relaunch grant for sole proprietors and new businesses that started operations in 2020. Access to the grant for new businesses will help, considering they have largely been unable to access the federal support programs. With restrictions continuing and small businesses struggling, support programs will need to be extended and expanded in order to avoid widespread business closures across the province,” added Alberta Provincial Affairs Director Annie Dormuth, from the Canadian Federation of Independent Businesses — in the media release.
It was pointed out in the media release, the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, co-operatives and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees that have faced restrictions or closures due to COVID-related public health orders, and have experienced revenue losses of at least 30 per cent.
Businesses can use the funding as they see fit to offset the costs they are facing, as they relaunch their businesses. This includes the costs of items that help prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies, as well as rent, employee wages or replacing inventory. The funds can also be used to help businesses expand their online presence or e-commerce opportunities, so they can continue to serve customers. These grants do not need to be repaid.
The program, according to the media release, launched at the end of June 2020, and the government has committed $500 million to the grants. Application intake will be open until March 31 — unless otherwise communicated.