Open to BC businesses, the BC government-funded Launch Online Grant Program offered ‘free money’ to cover up to $7,500 in costs to shift a business to online selling.
The applicant could have been a business that already had a website, but no (or only underdeveloped) e-commerce elements; or a business with no web presence that could benefit from selling its products online.
Here are examples, from my own world, of businesses that might have benefitted:
A small boutique florist has a gorgeous website but does not take orders online. Their hours are limited and parking can sometimes be a challenge. Adding an e-commerce element to their existing website could open up the sales opportunities considerably, while saving customers time, and introducing the added level of COVID protection through ‘shopping at home’.
A local café sells baked goods via Door Dash but has no online means of selling whole cakes: a key element of their sales diversification. Currently their process is to take cake orders and payments by phone. Adding an e-commerce ‘whole cake’ element to their basic (and dated!) website would reap efficiencies within the business and attract new customers.
The grant supported 75% of the costs of hiring a BC-based e-commerce specialist (and supporting actors such as writers and photographers) of your choice, up to a total grant of $7,500 (on a $10K project cost). The project had to be completed within 12 weeks of approval.
The budget for this program was expanded from $12M to $42M, due to strong demand. This higher budget was exhausted well before the hard program deadline of September 30, 2021.