Small- and medium-sized businesses in B.C.’s tech sector have never experienced an economic crisis like the one brought on by COVID-19. Even seasoned entrepreneurs are struggling with uncertainty as they reassess budgets, redesign marketing strategies and prepare cash-flow projections.
Over the past months, the Government of Canada has taken action to help these businesses keep employees, pay rent and get access to capital to cover costs. As our economy reopens, the federal government continues to make important investments to support B.C.’s tech sector.
Today, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages, and Minister responsible for Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD), announced $2.95 million in federal support to help businesses in B.C.’s technology sector address the impact of COVID-19.
This funding will help support them through the new B.C. Technology Sector Resiliency Program, developed and delivered by Innovate BC in partnership with the BC Acceleration Network (BCAN,) its provincial network of business accelerators and incubators.
This program will expand existing advisory services and resources across B.C. to support tech entrepreneurs starting and scaling up their businesses, with a focus on training, advice and resources dedicate to helping them recover from the impact of COVID-19.
“This federal funding will enable Innovate BC and our network of provincial partners to provide direct support to local businesses that are dealing with the economic fallout of COVID-19. Through this program, B.C. businesses will get access to training, mentorship, and advisory services that will maintain jobs and ensure that companies across the province are set up for resiliency and success,” commented Raghwa Gopal, President and CEO, Innovate BC.
Innovate BC will also work with BCAN and other organizations to expand the innovative ”Digital Economic Response” (DER3) program across the province. Originally piloted by Nanaimo’s Innovation Island Technology Association, DER3 provides one-to-one business and technical expertise for companies hoping to improve their digital capacity.
The funding will benefit up to 2,500 innovative companies and support as many as 1,000 jobs. Up to half of these businesses are either owned or operated by women, youth or Indigenous people.
This funding flows from the $304 million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund for Western businesses, announced by Minister Joly on May 13, 2020.