Small businesses getting help; Schweitzer
By Lethbridge Herald on February 24, 2021.
Small businesses in Alberta are being offered a helping hand.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to hinder small businesses, the province is offering supports to help owners through a tough time with additional pandemic support through a new financial relief program, the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit, beginning in April.
The Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit provides financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees.
Under the new Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit, up to $30,000 in support will be available to small and medium-sized businesses that have been most affected by the pandemic and ongoing health restrictions.
The existing relaunch grant, the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant program, will continue until the end of March, said Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation.
“That’s up to $20,000 of support for small businesses. Supporting our businesses across Alberta is critical. We’ve asked them to make an immense number of sacrifices during this pandemic to keep all of us healthy and we need to make sure we’re there to support small businesses so they can get to the other side of this pandemic.”
The additional $10,000 payment can be used to offset costs associated with COVID-19, such as purchasing personal protective equipment, paying bills or hiring staff or helping businesses expand their online presence or e-commerce opportunities.
“There are a lot of different federal supports that are out there, but we see gaps in the programs, particularly for severely-impacted businesses,” said Schweitzer. “We’re providing another round of support with our Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit. So, if they’ve had a drop in revenue of 60 per cent they’re eligible for this program and we want to make sure they have that additional support available to them.”
The application program is available online through the Government of Alberta website, said Schweitzer.
“It’s very similar to our relaunch grant that exists right now. We’ve had over 50,000 businesses across Alberta apply for the relaunch program. This one is targeted, based on the data we have, at about 10,000 to 15,000 businesses (who) will be eligible for this enhanced support and targeted support we’re bringing in place right now. We really want to make sure it’s going to those businesses that have been impacted the most across Alberta.”
Schweitzer said the existing relaunch grant was budgeted for over $500 million and it might go up to $600 million depending on how applications come in over the last month.
“This additional support is going to be $120 million for small businesses. It’s in the neighbourhood of around $700 million of support available for small businesses across Alberta. “It’s the immense amount of gratitude we have for small businesses across Alberta. They’ve made their sacrifices for all of us and we have to make sure we continue to support them.”
Payments under the Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit will be available in April following the conclusion of the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant program.
Organizations eligible for the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant can apply for funding through this program until March 31.
Detailed information on program parameters will be included in the program guidelines closer to the launch date in April.
Money received under this program does not need to be repaid.
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