The Ontario government is providing additional support to small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government will be providing a minimum of $20,000 to a maximum of $40,000 to businesses who have applied for the second grant, said Kwok Wong, spokesperson for the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade.
The Ontario Small Business Support Grant (OSBSG) was launched in January to provide small businesses with a minimum of $10,000 to a maximum of $20,000 to support business, Wong said.
“Small businesses that are confirmed eligible recipients of the OSBSG are automatically entitled to a second payment in an amount equal to the first payment they received,” he said.
The payments are expected to be received later this spring, Wong said. The small businesses had to meet requirements in order to be eligible for the grant, he said.
These requirements included being forced to close as a result of the province-wide shutdown on Dec. 26, 2020, have less than 100 employees, and have a minimum of 20 per cent revenue decline, Wong said.
The deadline to apply for the grant by submitting an online application due on March 31, he said.
Hair Granted, a new black-owned beauty supplies business that opened in August 2020 located in North Etobicoke, is one of the firms that applied for the support.
Zhorrah Grant, owner of Hair Granted, said about 95 per cent of the grants do not apply to new businesses but they were able to apply for this new grant.
“We were able to apply because we have less than 100 employees and were affected by the lockdown but there was no guarantee the application would be accepted,” she said.
Business has been very slow and inventory is good, as shelves were replenished twice during the lockdown period, which is not usual for a beauty supply store, Grant said.
Online shopping and a presence on social media increased, resulting in people coming to the store and purchasing products curbside, Grant said.
“We went on Instagram live at least once a week to talk about hair care, products, and a healthy hair journey and realized it was making an impact as customers would purchase promoted items and they would sell out within two weeks,” she said.
Online engagement is what has kept the business going and they will continue to take advantage of that presence and adhering to safety protocols, Grant said.
Small businesses will be able to use the grant in any way they feel is suitable for their business but need to remember the OSBSG is a taxable grant, Wong said.
Business should refer to the Ontario Small Business Support Grant user application guide which outlines the program overview, calculating revenue loss, and what deems business ineligible, he said.
Business owners are also encouraged to look for other grants the government has to offer if they do not qualify for this one by visiting Ontario.ca/COVID support, Wong said.
“Ontario remains committed to helping small businesses of all sizes and from all sectors to recover, rehire, and rebuild better than ever,” he said.