Additional grant funding and expanded eligibility criteria announced for the Launch Online Grant program.

The B.C. government has invested an additional $30 million to help BC-businesses move their business online. There is now $42 million of grant funding in place to help small- and medium-size businesses across B.C. move their business model online.

Grant eligibility criteria has been expanded. Businesses that want to enhance or build an online booking system are now eligible to apply. The original eligibility criteria for businesses that want to enhance or build an online shop remains in place.

How the program works

The Launch Online Grant program provides funding to B.C.-based business 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.

The program supports a rapid response for businesses and is accepting applications from businesses ready to start and finish their online shop within 12 weeks.

Up-to 30% of funds will be reserved for Black, Indigenous and people of color owned businesses and businesses operating outside of the lower mainland and greater Victoria.
The funds must be used to hire B.C.-based company(ies) to do the online store or online booking system development.

Application deadlines

Program application intake is open until September 30, 2021 or until the funds have been fully subscribed. Funding will be awarded on a first-come first-serve basis to small- and medium-sized B.C. businesses.

For the projects to have an immediate benefit, the funds will be given as soon as a business has been approved for the program.

Determine your eligibility

Review the following criteria to determine if your business, including sole proprietors and non-profits, is eligible for the program.

Applicants must meet ​all of the following ​general eligibility criteria:

  • The business is owned by a B.C. resident or residents;
  • The business’s sole or primary operations are located in B.C.
  • The business:
    • Is currently operating;
    • Is registered in B.C.
    • Employs up to 149 B.C. residents;
    • Pays taxes in B.C.
    • Maintains a
      • Federal business number
      • GST number
      • PST and WorkSafeBC number (where applicable)
    • Generated sales of more than $30,000 in the past year (in 2019, or in the year preceding the application)
  • One of the following applies:
    • Does not currently have an online store or has an online store that has no more than three of the five identified online store features optimized
      • Customer registration and information security features
      • Shopping cart and order management capabilities
      • Payment processing options including application of appropriate taxes and shipping costs at time of ordering
      • Product catalogue, search and inventory status
      • Website analytics and reporting capabilities

        OR

    • Does not currently have an online booking system or has an online booking system that has no more than three of the five identified online booking features optimized
      • Customer registration and information security features
      • Schedule navigation and reservation management capabilities
      • Payment processing options including application of appropriate taxes at time of ordering, if applicable
      • Automated replies and reminders
      • Website analytics and reporting capabilities

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

Mandatory online shop features

At the end of the 12-weeks your online shop will need to have:

  • Customer registration and information security features
  • Shopping cart and order management capabilities
  • Payment processing options including taxes and shipping costs at time of ordering
  • Product catalogue, search and inventory status
  • Website analytics and reporting capabilities

Mandatory online booking system features

At the end of the 12-weeks your online booking system will need to have:

  • Customer registration and information security features
  • Schedule navigation and reservation management capabilities
  • Payment processing options including taxes at time of ordering, if applicable
  • Automated replies and reminders
  • Website analytics and reporting capabilities

Before applying

Please review the eligibility information on this page. If you have any questions, please use the contact form at the bottom of this page for support before submitting your application. Incomplete applications cannot be approved to receive a grant.

You will be asked to provide:

  • Current year or past fiscal year income statement
  • Federal business number
  • PST and WorkSafeBC registrations, if applicable
  • Income tax return:
    • Notice of assessment (2019); or
    • First section of T2 return or first section of owner’s tax return (form 5010-R) (2019 or 2020)
  • B.C. business registration number and official registered name

Receive funding to build your online store

Successful applicants will receive funding within 2-3 weeks of approval and are required to develop or upgrade their online shop or online booking system within 12 weeks of receiving the grant.

Application Process

  • Before completing, please read the Launch Online Grant Program Guide
  • Before submitting your application, please ensure that all required information is completed. Incomplete applications cannot be approved to receive a grant.
  • Meeting the criteria does not guarantee that the application will be approved for funding.
  • Upon review, additional information may be requested from the applicant.
  • Only one application per business will be considered.
  • Applications are evaluated within three weeks.
  • By submitting this application, you allow the Program to share information with the B.C. Government.
  • To foster information sharing, applicant information maybe shared with other levels of government and funding programs.
  • Personal information is collected for administration of the Launch Online Grant program including for confirming residency, under the Personal Information Protection Act. If you have questions about the collection you may contact Alacrity Canada at 844-487-1266 or info@launchonline.ca