B.C. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon announces more grant funds for small businesses to move to online sales, B.C. legislature, March 17, 2021. (B.C. government)

B.C. Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon announces more grant funds for small businesses to move to online sales, B.C. legislature, March 17, 2021. (B.C. government)

B.C. adds $30 million as online sales program sees ‘explosion’ of applications

$7,500 grants offered for expanded to service-based businesses

B.C.’s $12 million grant fund for businesses who want to move to online sales didn’t last long, and another $30 million has been added to keep up and expand the program to service businesses.

Premier John Horgan and Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon announced the additional grant money Wednesday, after the “launch online” grant program opened in early February saw 3,500 applications in the first few weeks for the $7,500 grants to hire consultants to set up online sales.

“E-commerce sales doubled in 2020, and we can expect to see further increases in the years ahead,” Horgan said.

The application portal is at launchonline.ca for qualifiying small businesses. To qualify, a business has to be registered and paying taxes in B.C., currently operating with fewer than 150 employees, and can show sales of more than $30,000 in the year preceding the application.

Kahlon said the expansion to services as well as businesses delivering goods is a major step based on response from the business community.

“Whether you’re bear viewing or you’re a massage therapist or tourism operators that do tours, now you can apply,” Kahlon said. “Businesses that already have a website but have found that it’s not adequate, we’ve heard from many businesses that did it themselves and didn’t have the financial means to do so, they can also apply for this and get professional help and professional services in order to expand their site and put on other features than perhaps they could do themselves.”

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