COVID-19 Resources & Support
Women’s Enterprise Centre is focused on supporting women-owned businesses through this crisis so that when it is over you can get back to business as usual.
We’re here for you!
We know this situation is fluid, and is changing on a daily basis. We’d like to encourage any of our clients to utilize our complimentary Business Advisory Services if you need an understanding person to talk to about your particular situation.
Please see below for the concessions we’re making for loan clients and some helpful resources for business owners and employers.
We keep this page updated with the latest information.–>
- BC Launch Online Grant – Grant for BC-based businesses to create an online store or an online booking system and/or improve their existing online presence. The grant will cover 75% of eligible expenses up to a maximum of $7,500. Businesses must have generated sales of $30,000 ore more in 2019 or in the year preceding the application. The application deadline is September 30, 2021 or until funds are fully expended, whichever comes first.
- Circuit Breaker Business Relief Grant for hospitality and fitness businesses – Grants of $1,000 to $10,000 are available to hospitality and fitness businesses impacted by the March 30, 2021 PHO orders on gatherings and events and liquor and food serving premises. Grants are available until June 4, 2021 or until funds are fully expended, whichever comes first.
- Accelerating Manufacturing Scale-Up Grant – The goal of this program is to support small and medium-sized businesses in British Columbia to accelerate innovative capacity in the manufacturing sector, strengthen critical provincial supply chains, and create new, sustainable economic opportunities for businesses. The Program opens to proposals on April 15, 2021 with a deadline of May 31.
- Highly Affected Sectors Credit Availability Program (HASCAP) Guarantee – Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) will work with participating Canadian financial institutions to offer government-guaranteed, low-interest loans of up to $1 million to businesses in sectors hit hard by the pandemic. Eligible businesses can apply for the HASCAP starting Feb 1 at principal financial institutions.
- BC Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant – Grants of $10,000 – $30,000 available to small and medium sized B.C. businesses impacted by COVID-19. An additional grant of up to $15,000 is available to eligible tourism-related businesses with no obligation to repay. Businesses must show a 30% revenue loss from March 2020 to now when compared to the same one-month period in 2019. The program has been extended to August 31, 2021 or until funds are fully expended, whichever comes first
- Canada Emergency Business Account – As of December 4, 2020, CEBA loans for eligible businesses will increase from $40,000 to $60,000. Applications have until Mar 31, 2021 to apply for $60,000 or for the $20,000 expansion. (updated Dec 4, 2020, See news release)
- Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) – funding requests up to $60,000 for SMEs who don’t quality for CEBA
- Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) – Now provided directly to tenants. The new rent subsidy is based on a sliding scale and subsidizes up to 65% of eligible expenses until Dec 19, 2020., An additional 25% top-up is available to businesses required to temporarily shut down (updated Oct 9, 2020, See news release)
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) – The maximum wage subsidy rate has increased to 75% for the period beginning Dec 20, 2020 to June 5, 2021. (updated Mar 3, 2021, See news release)
- Canada Emergency Response Benefit (CERB) – program has ended. Retroactive applications will be accepted until Dec 2, 2020. New recovery benefits are available to those who continue to need income support. Learn more >>
- Canada Recovery Benefit (for self-employed individuals) – effective Sep 27, 2020 for one year (updated Sept 24, 2020, See news release)
- Work-sharing Program – increased support and flexibility due to Covid-19
- Tool from the Government of Canada: Find financial help during COVID-19
- Up-to-date source for Government of Canada Financial and Other Supports
- COVID-19 and Returning to Safe Operation, from WorkSafeBC
- Guidance for Industries Returning to Work, from the Province of BC
- BC COVID-19 Go-Forward Management Strategy, from the Province of BC
- Guide to Navigate Government Supports for Businesses and Individuals in BC, [updated July 9] from the Province of BC
- COVID-19 and Canada’s International Trade, from the Trade Commissioner Service
- Updates from the BC Centre for Disease Control: COVID-19 Information for the public
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Resources for Canadian businesses, from the Government of Canada
Resources from Women’s Enterprise Centre
Access to the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) for BC women entrepreneurs
Women’s Enterprise Centre is pleased to provide access to this Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to women entrepreneurs in BC. The RRRF provides loans of up to $60k, and the chance to convert up to $20k into a forgivable grant!
If your business was healthy prior to Covid and you could use a financial cushion to cover your non-deferrable fixed expenses while you work on your business, then this is a low-cost lending option for you. Deadline to apply is March 31, 2021! Learn more >>
Free one-on-one appointments with a Business Advisor
Our Business Advisory team is available to discuss your situation, review your cash flow and generate ideas for how you can navigate this difficult time. Connect with a Business Advisor >>
Unity Women Entrepreneurs Program, in partnership with Vancity
Women’s Enterprise Centre is excited to partner with Vancity to support women entrepreneurs as you navigate your business through COVID-19 and beyond! Access a line of credit or loan from Vancity, and receive complimentary support from us. Learn more >>
- Recording from March 25, 2021: Ask Me Anything on Government Contracting
- Recording from March 11, 2021: How to Do Keyword Research
- Recording from February 16, 2021: How to Build Trust and Connection Online
- Recording from January 19, 2021: Indigenous Businesses: Open Doors by Selling to the Government
- Recording from December 1: Ask Me Anything: Doing Business with the Government
- Recording from November 30: Financial Support for Women Entrepreneurs: Regional Relief and Recovery Fund Info Session
- Recording from October 14: Build Back with Trust
- Recording from September 17: How to Get and Grow Your Website Traffic: The Basics
- Recording from September 15: Privacy: How to Outsource Work While Keeping You and Your Customers Safe
- Recording from September 10: Export Ready: Resources to Grow Your Business Outside of BC
- Recording from August 27: How to Plan and Launch a New Website
- Recording from August 10: Small Claims: A Practical Guide to Dispute Resolution
- Recording from July 15: Application of Force Majeure Clauses During a Pandemic
- Recording from June 23, with Women of Whistler: National Support for Women Entrepreneurs
- Recording from June 10: Social Media: Save Time Using a Content Calendar
- Recording from May 14: Blogging for Business
- Recording from May 6: SEO for Beginners: How Customers Find You Online
- Recording from April 23: Grants for Business: Where to Find Them, How to Use Them
- Click here to view recordings of past Strength in Numbers Sessions for Businesses Affected by COVID-19, including:
- Conversational Intelligence®: Shift Your Conversations from Good to Great, from June 30
- Meeting Privacy Compliance During COVID-19, from June 16
- The Back to Business Edition, from May 26
- New Rules of Zoom Engagement, from May 19
- The Self-Care Edition, from May 9
- Gaining Momentum Edition, from May 1
- The HR Edition, from April 24
- Legal Q&A, from April 17
- Best Practices Forum, from April 9
- List of Shop Local Initiatives in BC
- Cash Flow Template Excel File
- 7 Ideas to Keep Your Small Business Going During the Pandemic
- Learning Guide downloads available for $15 each:
Tell us: What Help Do You Need?
- Resource Hubs from our Partners
- Connect with your local Chamber of Commerce, as many are holding local roundtables to discuss the specific needs of businesses in your community.
- Small Business BC – Complimentary COVID-19 support service, resources for small businesses and Small Business Marketplace to list your business as open or find other businesses to support
- Forum for Women Entrepreneurs – Webinars, chats and resources on topics for women entrepreneurs affected by COVID-19
- Women of Influence – Hub of resources for women entrepreneurs adapting to a new normal
- Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) – Small business help centre
- BC Economic Development Association – Extensive list of supports available for BC businesses
- Greater Vancouver Board of Trade – Business resiliency webinar series and timely updates on government supports
- Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Canadian Business Resilience Network with list of financial supports, recovery tips and helpful videos
- HR Resources
- Coronavirus Employer Guide, from Osler
- Step-by-Step Guide: How to Apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, from the Canadian Business Resiliency Network
- Coronavirus disease (COVID-19), from Employment and Social Development Canada
- Current guidance on issuing ROEs and the codes to use, from Service Canada
- Discounts and complimentary tech services for small businesses, list from Unbounce
- Low-cost online mediation program, from MediateBC
- Mental Health
- Virtual Mental Health Supports for COVID-19 on the way, from the Province of BC
- Canada Wellness Together Portal, from the Government of Canada
- Virtual Resilience Program, from Forum for Women Entrepreneurs (FWE): A free, self-led resilience program for women entrepreneurs. Join FWE and women entrepreneurs from across Canada for a free, online educational dive focused on rebuilding your business with resilience and re-examination. Includes a full downloadable workbook and expert advice through a special edition podcast.
- Webinar Recording: Supporting Rural Women Entrepreneurs Through COVID-19 and Beyond, from Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub (WEKH)
Financial Response Measures
- We suggest you contact your primary bank to ask for what types of supports are available to you.
- Small Business Relief Fund, from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce – Will provide 62 small Canadian businesses with $10,000 grants to help their recovery efforts.
- COVID-19 Relief Fund, from BC Hydro – up to three months of business electricity usage waived, for eligible customers
- CEBAQuestions.ca, from the Government of Canada – info about the Canada Emergency Business Account
- FortisBC Billing Support During COVID-19
- BMO Celebrating Women Grant Program will provide 10 women business owners each with a $10,000 grant
Upcoming Events › COVID-19 Support
In recent years, workplace mental health has taken on greater importance for conscientious leaders. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated this mindset, amplifying these ongoing struggles and heightening our awareness. As a small business owner or leader, you may feel at a disadvantage in coping with these challenges compared to larger organizations with more resources. This is why WorkSafeBC has initiated this webinar to help you with practical resources and tools you can apply at an individual and team level. Join…Find out more »
COVID-19 and the need to maintain physical distancing has dramatically impacted on our ability to network and make new contacts. Don’t despair, there are still plenty of ways to make the connections you need for your business to succeed. Now is the perfect time to assess your network and increase your connections so your business is well poised to benefit as our economy gradually reopens. Join Cathy Kuzel, Business Development Strategies and Advisor, and learn key tips for leveraging your…Find out more »