The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is partnering with Salesforce, a global leader in Customer Relationship Management, to offer a $10,000 lifeline to help 62 small businesses across the country cope with the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.
The new program, the Canadian Business Resilience Network Small Business Relief Fund, will provide small Canadian businesses from coast to coast to coast with $10,000 grants to help their recovery efforts during these unprecedented times.
“During the COVID-19 crisis, the Canadian Chamber’s mission is to help as many businesses as possible stay afloat and remain open. Small business owners put everything they have into their businesses, and these grants will help give a little bit back to them. Good people coming together is how Canadians have managed this crisis, and the Canadian Chamber and Salesforce are following their lead, one business at a time,” said Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce.
“We realize that compared to the hundreds of thousands of small businesses that are hurting right now this is a small program but for 62 companies it will help out. It’s designed to be aimed at private sector companies that are small where a $10,000 grant could really make a difference. We’ve tried to make the criteria as broad as possible to allow as many people in any part of the country to apply.
For some companies every single dollar at this point is critical and could mean life or death for smaller businesses.
“What’s happened is that the main streets of Canada have become dark and many of the lights won’t come back on sadly,” said Beatty. “What we need to do is make sure as many of those businesses as possible are able to reopen.”
The grant is targeted to small, for-profit businesses that have been operating for several years and are now experiencing challenges because of COVID-19. The application period will open on June 1 on the CBRN website and will close on June 12. The successful applicants will be announced in late June to early July with the funds being transferred to the successful applicants shortly thereafter.
The applications that best demonstrate how the funds will help the businesses, their employees, and their communities will receive the funding, said the organizations.
Salesforce is funding the initiative for a total of $620,000. Businesses can use the $10,000 grants to support their recovery efforts, including paying salaries, acquiring safety and personal protective equipment for staff, replenishing materials or paying for the measures required to adapt business models to the economic impacts of COVID-19, among other key priorities.
“We care deeply about the challenges small businesses across Canada are facing as a result of the pandemic and recognize that they have been hit especially hard,” said Margaret Stuart, Canada Country Manager, Salesforce. “With this initiative, our focus is supporting the resilience of Canadian small businesses owners and helping them recover. Small businesses are some of Canada’s most innovative and hardworking communities, and it is our priority to help them get back to work safely and prepare for Canada’s next normal.”
Salesforce also announced it plans to distribute $5 million USD to small business owners internationally.
“It is a generous gesture by Salesforce, which appreciates the difficult circumstances in which many small businesses find themselves,” said Karl Littler, Senior Vice President, Public Affairs at the Retail Council of Canada.
“Obviously, private support can extend only so far, which is why RCC is focused on improvements to major programs, including the the next phase of the CEWS wage subsidy, the take-up by landlords of the CECRA rental support program and the delivery of the long-awaited rental support program for larger retail tenants.”
Mary Ng, the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, said: “Small business owners and entrepreneurs are innovative and resilient. To support the businesses who make our communities strong, our government has taken decisive action to help them keep their costs low, keep their teams together, and keep up with their operational expenses.
“With the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Salesforce stepping up, even more small business owners are going to get the help they need at this critical time. We’re all in this together, and we’re going to be here for small businesses every step of the way.”