This program invests up to $12 million to help small and medium-sized B.C. businesses move their operations online
The Launch Online Grant program provides funding to B.C.-based businesses to create an online shop or an online booking system, and/or improve their existing online operations to attract new local customers and expand to new markets. The grant will pay for up to 75% of eligible expenses, up to a maximum of $7,500 per business.
Applications are now being accepted up to September 30, 2021, or until the funds have been fully disbursed. There is $42 million of grant funding in place and will be awarded on a first come first serve basis to small and medium-sized B.C. businesses.
How does the Launch Online Grant work?
The B.C. government allocated funds to help businesses become more competitive and adapt to the online era by providing up to 75% of the project cost, up to a maximum of $7,500, to build online e-commerce websites, booking systems, implement online marketing strategies, and train staff to become more ready for the digital business transformation.
Who is eligible for the grant?
To be eligible for the Launch Online grant a business must be owned by a B.C. resident(s) and:
- Have sole or primary operations located in B.C.
- Be in operation
- Is registered in B.C.
- Employs up to 149 B.C. residents
- Pays taxes in B.C.
- Maintains a federal business number, GST number, and PST and WorkSafeBC number (where applicable)
- Have generated sales of more than $30,000 in the past year (in 2019, or in the year preceding the application)
- Does not currently have an online store or online booking system, or has an online store or online booking system, that has no more than three of these online store features:
- Customer registration and information security features
- Shopping cart and order management capabilities
- Payment processing options including the application of appropriate taxes and shipping costs at time of ordering
- Product catalogue, search, and inventory status
- Website analytics and reporting capabilities
What are eligible expenses?
Funding will help cover up to 75% of costs for expenses like:
- Service provider costs:
- Platform, online shop, and online booking system development
- Copy and online content writing
- Developing an online inventory of goods, products, and services
- Pictures (including hiring a photographer), stock photos, or related graphics needed
- Digital Customer Acquisition:
- E-commerce platform subscription (up to 1 year)
- Online advertising (up to 1 year)
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
- Creating banners and other embedded advertising
- Course fees to cover staff training to manage the online shop or an online booking system, learn about digital marketing, etc.
Successful applicants must use one or more B.C.-based service providers to build or improve their online store or online booking system. The only non-B.C.-based eligible expenses include:
- Platform subscription costs
- Purchase of online photos and graphics
- Purchase of online promotional space such as Facebook ads
- Online course fees
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.