Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant

Small and medium-sized businesses are vital to British Columbia’s economy. The Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program provides fully-funded grants to businesses to ensure they have the support they need during and beyond COVID-19.

Last updated: November 4, 2020

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How the program works 

The Small and Medium-Sized Business Recovery Grant program will invest up to $300 million in targeted financial support for some of the hardest hit businesses in B.C. that employ between two and 149 B.C. residents and have experienced declines in revenue since March 10, 2020.

Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available. An additional $5,000 to $10,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses that have been hit especially hard by COVID-19.

The program runs until March 31, 2021 or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.

The program happens in five steps

Step 1

Businesses apply for funding and provide information to demonstrate that they meet the eligibility criteria.

Step 2

A business that meets the eligibility criteria is matched with a professional services provider who will help develop a recovery plan or assess the business’s current plan (a value up to $2,000 in professional services, in addition to the grant amount).

Step 3

Once a recovery plan is developed, submitted and approved, funding is provided to the business to implement the actions outlined in their recovery plan.

Step 4

Businesses must provide regular updates that account for the spending and status of their recovery efforts supported by the grant funding.

Step 5

All businesses must agree to participate in a third-party audit at the end of the program.


Determine your eligibility

Review the criteria to determine if your business is eligible for the program. 

Base grant

A business must meet all eligibility criteria to receive a base grant.

Eligibility criteria

The majority share of the business is owned by one or more B.C. residents.

The business’s sole or primary operations are located in B.C.

The business is currently operating.

  • Businesses not currently operating due to a provincial health order affecting their business or sector are not eligible for the program. Businesses that only operate seasonally but that are ready to open during the appropriate season (and meet all other eligibility criteria) are considered operating

Has been operating in B.C. for at least three years prior to March 10, 2020​.

The business is registered in B.C.

  • Only B.C.-based businesses are eligible. You must be registered and headquartered in B.C. and have a fixed place of business in the province. B.C.-based subsidiaries of organizations that maintain a corporate headquarters outside B.C. are not eligible for the program

Pays taxes in B.C.

Employs between two and 149 people in B.C. for at least four months of the calendar year.

  • Employee is defined in Section 1 of the B.C. Employment Standards Act. The program is available to businesses that directly employ between two and 149 B.C. residents for whom they deduct and remit payroll taxes, for at least four months of the calendar year. Self-employed contractors are not included. Where the business owner(s) work in the business without drawing wages and submit their Canada Pension Plan and other contributions through income tax returns, one business owner can count toward the employee requirements of this program

Prior to COVID-19, had positive cash flow for the last financial statement. 

Experienced revenue loss of at least 70% during March 2020 and April 2020.

Continue to earn 50% or less of pre-COVID revenue levels.

Has and maintains a payroll account number with the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).

  • In lieu of maintaining a payroll account number with the CRA, the business may utilize a payroll service provider to make remittances on their behalf

​Maintains a: 

  • ​Goods and Services Tax number with the CRA
  • WorkSafeBC registration number
  • Provincial Sales Tax number and Municipal and Regional District Tax number with the Ministry of Finance (where applicable)
  • Business licence and all other operating licences as required

Has accessed or applied to access federal supports for which their business is eligible including the:

Disclose all provincial or federal funding received since March 10, 2020 to support COVID-19 response, restart or recovery efforts.

  • Businesses are required to provide specific details for each of the major federal programs they accessed, including:
    • Date of application
    • Status of application
    • Amount received
    • Eligible for CECRA or landlord did not apply

Owner(s) have not prepared the business for closure or dissolution following March 10, 2020. For example: 

  • Announced a permanent closure to their customers
  • Held a closing-out sale
  • Listed their business for sale
  • Given notice to their employees

Tourism grant top-up

Tourism-related businesses can qualify to receive up to an additional $10,000 grant if they meet all the general eligibility criteria and the tourism grant eligibility criteria.

Eligibility criteria

The business can demonstrate that at least 75% of their total demand and revenue comes from visitors to B.C. who are traveling for the purpose of leisure.

  • A visitor is an international or non-B.C. resident taking a trip to British Columbia, for a stay of less than six months, for the purpose of leisure travel
  • Leisure travel excludes routine trips (those that are made at least once a month), business trips, visits to friends and family and visits made for educational, religious or medical reasons

The business is part of the tourism sector.

  • The tourism sector is a business that provides transportation, accommodation, food and beverage services, recreation and entertainment services or travel services
    • Accommodation includes hotels, inns, lodges, campsites, recreational vehicle rentals and other similar businesses. It excludes long-term stay, apartment or condominium sub-leases, home-stay arrangements and vacation rentals

How much funding is available?

Both grants are subject to a business meeting eligibility criteria and developing a realistic and implementable recovery plan.

Grants are fully-funded. A business would only need to pay back the funding if any of the information they submitted was untrue, if they did not implement their recovery plan or if they used the funds for purposes that are not eligible under the program.

Base grant, based on total revenues

Pre-COVID revenue Grant amount
Less than $100,000 $10,000
$100,000 to $1,000,000 $15,000
$1,000,000 to $2,000,000 $20,000
More than $3,000,000 $30,000

Tourism grant top-up, based on the number of B.C. resident employees

Number of B.C. resident employees Grant amount
2 to 4 $5,000
5 to 149 $10,000

Submit your application

Before you begin, review the eligibility criteria for required information. 

Be prepared to upload:

  • Payroll documents from the last 12 months
  • Current year balance sheet plus two years of financial statements
  • Actual monthly revenue for the past 24 months
  • Business tax returns from the last three years, specifically:
    • Notice of Assessment
      or
    • For unincorporated businesses, the first section of the owner’s tax returns (Form 5010-R)
    • For incorporated businesses, the first section of the T2 return, not including the schedules

​​Submit your application 


Complete a recovery plan and receive funding​

Once your application has been reviewed to ensure that it meets eligibility criteria, Small Business BC will match your business with a professional services provider. They are available to begin their work as soon as you are ready.

  • It is expected that recovery plans be developed between the businesses and the professional services provider within two weeks of an initial meeting

A recovery plan contains important information about the steps you plan to take to get your business back on track, both during COVID-19 and longer. It outlines the steps your business can take to support continued operation under the “new normal” conditions of COVID-19 and the timeframe over which those steps would be implemented.

The recovery plan template, guide book and workbook are available by logging into the application  

Once your recovery plan is submitted, it will be evaluated to ensure it provides a realistic and implementable path to stabilizing your business and meeting your “new normal” minimum revenue thresholds until COVID-19 is behind us. Once the recovery plan is approved, grant funding will be provided.


Frequently asked questions

Eligibility

 

I have received other funding, including federal funding. Am I still eligible for this program?

Generally, yes.

Businesses should be able to benefit from programs provided by the Government of Canada and government of British Columbia, so long as they do not receive funding for the same activity twice.

Many of the StrongerBC programs are complementary. For example, it would be possible for a business to receive grant funding under this program, while also receiving all or any of:

  • Support to transition some sales online through the Digital Marketing program
  • A reduction in Provincial Sales Tax on machinery or equipment purchased to support business recovery
  • Partial wage support for any additional employees

Applicants must disclose all sources of provincial and federal funding they have received since March 10, 2020 to support their business’s recovery efforts.

 

I was considering selling my business. Can I still apply for funding?

The program is intended to develop recovery plans that will support businesses to remain in operation and wherever possible retain their employees until COVID-19 restrictions are behind us.

A business that has prepared for closure or dissolution following March 10, 2020 are not eligible for the grant. For example:

  • Announced a permanent closure to their customers
  • Held a closing-out sale
  • Listed their business for sale
  • Given notice to their employees

If you have not taken any of these steps, you can apply so long as you develop a recovery plan that provides a realistic path for your business to remain solvent and continue operating.

 

Why do the dates for the 70% revenue loss in this program not align with the state of emergency declared on March 18, 2020 and the beginning of Phase 2 in the BC Restart Plan released on May 18, 2020?

Many jurisdictions around the world entered COVID-19 lockdowns or declared a state of emergency on March 10, 2020.

While the Canada United States border was closed to non-essential travel on March 18, 2020 and B.C. entered its state of emergency on the same date, small and medium sized businesses were already being impacted by reduced international and domestic customer volumes.

Actions that your business had implemented prior to the StrongerBC announcement on September 17, 2020 are not eligible for funding. 

As noted previously, program funds cannot be used retroactively, for costs related to reopening businesses that were ordered closed under a Provincial Health Order, or costs related to meeting WorkSafeBC safe operating guidance.

 

Business definitions

To be eligible, businesses must be registered in B.C. and operate a staffed office in B.C. with at least 65% of the business’s operations physically located and conducted in B.C.

Only your B.C. revenues and B.C. resident employees employed at a B.C. location count toward the revenue and employment requirements of the program. 

For the purposes of this program, solvent is defined as assets that are greater than liabilities or demonstration that the company has an ability to service its debt.

 

Recovery plan

 

Why do I need a recovery plan?

The program is set up to help businesses succeed for the long term. To receive funding, you must demonstrate that you have a recovery plan that is consistent with the criteria of this program and that clearly shows a path to regain solvency upon grant funding and have a realistic, implementable path to remain solvent into the future.

The professional services providers associated with this program have received specific training related to the program and will be able to assist in developing a recovery plan or evaluating a recovery plan if you already have one.

No.

The providers that will be matched with businesses under this program were selected through an expression of interest process, have received training to carry out the work and are approved to provide professional services up to $2,000 per business.

This amount will be paid directly to the provider. Businesses are welcome to have their current professional services providers participate in the development of recovery plans, but only the provider assigned to your business will be paid through the program for this work.

 

Funding

 

How can I use the money?

Funding can be used to implement the items identified in your recovery plan. For example, you might propose to:

  • Diversify your business
  • Provide new services
  • Make new modifications to your business to make your customers feel comfortable visiting your physical premises
  • Access new customers by shifting a portion of your business online or other similar “reinvention” or “repositioning” activities

To a limited degree funds can be used to support fixed costs such as rent/lease or other overhead costs. However, it is important to recognize that grant funding in this program is finite and provided on a one-time basis. If coverage for fixed costs would be required over an extended timeframe, grant funding under this program will not be sufficient to support the business until COVID-19 is behind us. The business would need a realistic and implementable plan to remain viable during and beyond COVID-19.

Businesses that meet the eligibility criteria and that can develop a realistic and implementable recovery plan to stabilize the business, meet minimum revenue needs and remain viable during and beyond COVID-19 will receive grant funding through the program.