A sign on a shop window indicates the store is closed in Ottawa, Monday March 23, 2020. The Canadian Federation of Independent Business is raising its estimate for the number of businesses that are considering the possibility of closing permanently. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

More relief coming for Alberta small and medium-sized businesses

Alberta is now accepting new applications for the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant program.

The program is designed to offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives and non-profit organizations with fewer than 500 employees that have faced restrictions or closures due to COVID-related public health orders, and have experienced revenue losses of at least 30 per cent.

Eligible organizations can receive a payment of up $10,000 to cover rent, employee wages or to replace inventory, as well as help businesses expand their online presence or e-commerce opportunities.

Application intake for the program is open until May 31 with a budget of $350 million.

“We have to be there to help small businesses in Alberta get to the other side of this pandemic,” said Doug Schweitzer, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Innovation.

“With the expansion of the relaunch grant, we are helping small businesses make it through the third wave of COVID-19. We know the past year has not been easy and are grateful for what all small businesses in Alberta have done to help protect the lives of Albertans in their communities.”

In a press release, as of Thursday, Alberta’s government has provided more than $527 million to more than 40,400 small businesses through the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant.

Organizations that did not apply under the previous run of SMERG will not be able to apply for the prior payments – only the new $10,000 payment.

Applications received before the previous program closure on March 31 will continue to be processed and money received under SMERG does not need to be repaid.

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