TORONTO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Facebook Canada today unveiled several new initiatives to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The announcement includes nearly $3.5 million in grants, virtual training programs, and product features across Facebook’s family of apps to promote local businesses.
“We know small businesses are being hit hard right now, and we want to help,” said Garrick Tiplady, Managing Director of Facebook and Instagram Canada. “We’re listening to the challenges Canadian small business owners face and want to do all we can to provide useful resources - including much needed financial support - for them during this challenging time.”
Providing direct relief for Canadian small businesses
In March, Facebook announced $100 million in grants for up to 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries to support those hard-hit by the economic slowdown that the coronavirus pandemic is causing. Now in Canada, between May 26 and June 2, small business owners can apply for grants of more than $5,000 in cash and ad credits.
Nearly $3.5 million in grants are available for approximately 650 small businesses in cities where Facebook has offices: Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau, Montreal and Vancouver. Businesses do not need to have a Facebook presence in order to apply.
For more information on eligibility criteria and how to apply for funding, please visit: facebook.com/grantsforbusiness
Facebook is committed to engaging local experts in the small business community to ensure the needs of Canadian business owners are taken into consideration. The program’s Advisory Council, comprised of individuals from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Toronto Region Board of Trade – World Trade Centre Toronto, Ottawa Board of Trade, Chambre de Commerce de Gatineau and Greater Vancouver Board of Trade, will provide Facebook and program partners with local insights and expertise.
Equipping small businesses with the skills to pivot
In 2019, only 4 out of 10 Canadian small and medium sized businesses reported having an e-commerce website,1 and in 2017 nearly half (46%) didn’t have a website at all.2 At a time when people must increasingly shop online, it's clear that Canadian small businesses need to quickly adopt digital strategies to remain resilient. This is all the more critical as small businesses employ a huge majority of Canadians3 across the country and are the heart of our local economies. To help reduce the hurdles businesses face when going online, starting this June, Facebook Canada will run a free virtual training series in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and their Canadian Business Resilience Network. The first session will take place on June 3 and will be available at canadianbusinessresiliencenetwork.ca
Additionally, small business owners can join the Boost with Facebook Canada group, where they can access peer and expert advice, and visit Facebook’s Business Resource Hub, which contains advice and information to help businesses during the crisis, as well as virtual trainings and resources.
Helping people support the small businesses they love
Facebook has added new ways for people to support and discover small businesses, along with more tools for keeping businesses informed and connected with their customers, including:
● Fundraising for local small businesses: Facebook has expanded its Personal Fundraisers policy to give individuals the ability to fundraise for COVID-affected local businesses. Business owners can also create a personal fundraiser on Facebook for their business and ask their loyal customers for support during this critical time.
● Gift cards and food orders: Businesses can now share new gift card, food order, and fundraiser stickers in Instagram Stories and on their profiles. When users see gift cards or food orders, they can tap to make a purchase through our partner’s site.
● “Support Small Business” Sticker: This new Instagram sticker lets people give a shout out to a business they love. Accounts people follow - who use the sticker - will be added to a shared Instagram story, allowing users to see other businesses that people are supporting during this time.
“Small businesses across the country are struggling to keep their doors open and overcome the many challenges of COVID-19. As resilient and innovative as they are, they need and deserve all the support they can get. Nobody understands the needs of business like other businesses, and that’s why the Canadian Chamber created the Canadian Business Resilience Network. Facebook’s grant program and webinar series share the spirit of businesses helping businesses, and doing so in a meaningful and local way. Today is good news for businesses in the communities where Facebook has its Canadian roots,” - Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
“Right now, small businesses need all the help they can get. According to one of our recent surveys, half of Canadian small businesses are worried they will not be able to pay June rent without further help. These grants, along with Facebook’s and CFIB’s other support programs, will help small businesses become more resilient as we work toward recovery. We are happy to work with Facebook in providing some grant relief to many deserving business owners and we are proud to support its efforts to promote local shopping.” – Corinne Pohlmann, Senior Vice President, National Affairs and Partnerships at CFIB
“We are proud to be partnered with Facebook Canada and our Chambers colleagues across Canada to offer this important grant program for small businesses in our region. It is very aligned with the tactical support that our business community needs during this time; fast access to funding, support for pivoting their business to digital and the ability to promote a buy local program. It demonstrates the kind of innovative thinking that will move the resilient members of our business community through this time and into a stronger position for the future.” - Sueling Ching, President & CEO, Ottawa Board of Trade
“La Chambre de commerce de Gatineau is pleased to team up with Facebook to help support the reopening of businesses in the region. This partnership demonstrates the importance of working together on all fronts to ensure the vitality of our economic development during and after the crisis. More than ever, we should buy local – an initiative that will make a difference for many small businesses!” - Anne-Marie Proulx, Executive Director, Chambre de commerce de Gatineau
“As we turn our efforts to recovery, access to the digital marketplace is more important than ever. We’re looking forward to working with Facebook to roll out their new grant program for small businesses expanding their online reach – grants that will complement our own Recovery Activation Program to help businesses in the Toronto region transform their digital operations. These technological tools and business supports are critical to jump starting our economic recovery.” - Leigh Smout, Executive Director, World Trade Centre Toronto, Toronto Region Board of Trade
“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and they are doing their best to manage through the pandemic. These grants will provide meaningful and timely support for entrepreneurs to accelerate digital transformation and economic recovery.” – Bridgitte Anderson, President & CEO, Greater Vancouver Board of Trade
119, “Strong online presence drives growth: BDC study,” Business Development Bank of Canada.
217, “Summary of the Survey on Financing and Growth of Small and Medium Enterprises, 2017,” Government of Canada.
319, “Key Small Business Statistics - January 2019,” Government of Canada.