Like many of you, I am glad to see 2020 coming to an end. I tend to be the type of person who feeds off the energy of others. Working in solitude, often in a windowless office, for days on end has been very difficult to adapt to. That said, I also respect how fortunate I am to work from home for a company that was able to pivot to remote work quite quickly at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic. For that I am very grateful — I know many others have not been as fortunate in this province.
For those entrepreneurs and businesses that are feeling the financial pinch, our friends at Platform Calgary recently summarized a number of available resources, to which we’ve added a couple links:
- Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant – Offers a grant of up to $20,000 to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations that saw a revenue reduction of at least 30% due to COVID-related closures.
- NRC IRAP Innovation Assistance Program – On November 6, 2020, the Government of Canada announced over $155 million to extend Innovation Assistance Program funding for existing recipients.
- Canada Emergency Bank Account – Provides interest-free loans for small businesses and nonprofits. As of December 4, 2020, CEBA loans have increased from $40,000 to $60,000. Previous successful applicants of the $40,000 loan are now eligible for an additional $20,000.
- Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy – Provides Canadian employers who have seen a revenue drop in their business a subsidy to cover up to 65% of your employee wages retroactive from March 15, 2020. In November, the subsidy was extended to June 2021.
- Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy – Canadian businesses, non-profit organizations, or charities who have seen a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic may be eligible for a subsidy to cover part of their commercial rent or property expenses, starting on September 27, 2020, until June 2021.
- WD’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund – The RRRF is a $1.5 billion lifeline for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic that are unable to access other federal pandemic support programs.
- Alberta GrowthX Program – The Alberta Innovation Network launched this program for technology and knowledge-based Alberta small and medium size enterprises with current sales looking to scale their growth. This program will run as a limited cohort from December 2020 to March 2021, with registration required before November 10, 2020 to be eligible for selection.
Digital Alberta continues to work in the background to ensure the digital sector remains visible to the Minister of Jobs, Economy, and Innovation, Doug Schweitzer. Additional meetings with him and his team have been scheduled in advance of the spring budget. We will continue to focus our message on how Digital Alberta members represent job growth opportunities that will help rebuild our provincial economy. With the right level of partnerships, we can be important contributors to Alberta’s tech sector.
I hope everyone has a chance for some much needed downtime over the holidays. I look forward to a post-COVID era when we can socialize once again at networking functions in Alberta. Perhaps one day soon we can all meet in-person!