Monday , 17 January 2022

More COVID recovery aid for Alberta’s small businesses

Alberta’s government is expanding the small business relaunch grant to put more money in the hands of job creators when they need it to survive the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Alberta government is offering small businesses affected by the most recent public health orders another payment of up to $10,000 from the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant.

According to a government news release, Alberta businesses affected by the latest public health orders will be eligible to apply for another payment in the second half of April. This additional payment will also be available to new businesses that began operating between March 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, as well as hotels, taxis and ride-sharing services.

“Small businesses have borne the brunt of pandemic restrictions, and have made real sacrifices to protect our health-care system and save lives,” Jason Kenney, Premier said in the release. “That’s why Alberta’s government has already committed over $500 million in support through the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant, and it’s why we are expanding that support today.”

Small and medium enterprises are an important part of Alberta’s economy, accounting for more than 99 per cent of all businesses and nearly 55 per cent of all employment.

“We’ll continue to be there to support small businesses that we’ve asked to make sacrifices to help keep us safe during this pandemic,” Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation said. “Alberta’s economy relies on the successful recovery of small businesses and we’ll be there to support them to get to the other side of this pandemic.”

As of April 6, Alberta’s government has provided more than $451 million to more than 39,000 small businesses through the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant.

“We know how difficult this past year has been for small businesses, and this program will provide some much-needed capital to these businesses,” Martin Long, parliamentary secretary for Small Business and Tourism said. “The relaunch grant program has already had nearly 50,000 applicants, with total program costs of more than $500 million. With this latest expansion, small businesses that have qualified for all three rounds will have received as much as $30,000.”

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant (SMERG) offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives 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.

Funds can be used to:

  • Cover costs of items that help prevent the spread of COVID-19, such as personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies.
  • Pay rent, employee wages or replace inventory.
  • Help businesses expand their online presence or e-commerce opportunities so that they can continue to serve customers.

“Today’s announcement is welcome news,” Annie Dormuth, Alberta provincial affairs director, Canadian Federation of Independent Business said.It is vital for small business survival that proper supports are in place until the economy can fully reopen.”

Applications for the additional $10,000 payment will open in the second half of April for any organization that meets the eligibility criteria.

  • Applications received before the previous program closure on March 31 will continue to be processed.
  • Companies that did not apply under the first run of SMERG will not be able to apply for the initial payments – only the new $10,000 payment.
  • Money received under SMERG does not need to be repaid.

The program is scheduled to be open for applications until May 31 and is capped at $350 million.

The updated SMERG program will replace the previously announced Enhanced COVID-19 Business Benefit and will provide funding to more businesses facing increased public health measures as announced on April 6.

For more information click here.

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About Arthur C. Green

Arthur C. Green is an award winning journalist and is from Whitbourne Newfoundland. Green graduated from the CNA Journalism Program. Arthur also studied Business Marketing and Political Science at Memorial University in Essex England and St. John's Newfoundland. Green has worked for such organizations as CBC, CBC Radio, NTV, Saltwire, Great West Media, CKLB Radio, River Radio, Vista Radio, and Postmedia. He also loves Jiggs Dinner and can fillet a Codfish.