Facebook Canada is offering $3.5 million in grants, virtual training programs, and product features aimed to support Canadian small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The donations are part of a global initiative from the social media company that is making a total of $100 million available to 30,000 businesses in 30 countries.
“These grants will provide meaningful and timely support for entrepreneurs.”
Between May 26 and June 2, Canadian small business owners can apply for grants of more than $5,000 in cash and ad credits. The 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 presence on Facebook in order to apply.
“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 … during this challenging time.”
To be eligible, businesses must have between two and 50 employees, have been in business for over a year, and experienced challenges from COVID-19.
Recently, Facebook partnered with Canadian e-commerce company Shopify to launch Facebook Shops. The new feature allows Shopify merchants to control customization and merchandising for their storefronts inside Facebook and Instagram while managing their products, inventory, orders, and fulfillment directly from within Shopify.
Starting this June, Facebook Canada will also run a free virtual training series in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce’s business resilience network, to help reduce the hurdles businesses face when going online. The first session is on June 3.
Small business owners can also join the Boost with Facebook Canada group to access advice, and visit Facebook’s business resource hub, which offers information, virtual training, and resources.
Facebook has also expanded its personal fundraiser policy to give individuals the ability to fundraise for COVID-affected local businesses. Business owners can create a personal fundraiser on Facebook for their business and ask customers for support. Businesses can also now share gift card, food order, and fundraiser stickers in Instagram Stories and on their profiles.
Facebook’s advisory council is also expected to provide Facebook with local insights and expertise as the grant program rolls out. The council includes individuals from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, Canadian Federation of Independent Business, and the regional boards of trade from Toronto, Ottawa, Gatineau, and Vancouver.
“Small businesses are the backbone of the economy, and they are doing their best to manage through the pandemic,” said Bridgitte Anderson, president and CEO of the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade. “These grants will provide meaningful and timely support for entrepreneurs to accelerate digital transformation and economic recovery.”
Image source Unsplash. Photo by Kon Karampelas.