Federal and provincial government grants and funding opportunities are plentiful to help female business owners pivot due to COVID and beyond. They apply to a wide variety of business sectors, but it can be challenging keeping on top of deadlines, eligibility criteria and opportunities.

Here’s a few grants to investigate and determine if they are right for your business and your business goals and growth or recovery.

Canada United Small Business Relief Fund 

This relief fund had previously closed, but it was just announced that it had re-opened with Grants up to $5,000.

Applications are open for all provinces and territories as of February 16th, 2021 at 1 p.m. EST. and managed through the Ontario Chamber of Commerce.

There are three categories of purchases that are eligible for reimbursement under the program:
• Purchase of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
• Renovation of space to adhere to re-opening guidelines
• Enhancement of website/ developing e-commerce capability

RBC helped establish the Canada United Small Business Relief Fund (CUSBRF), a fund established to help small businesses across Canada offset the cost of expenses required to reopen safely or adopt digital technologies to move more of their business online. RBC brought together more than 70 of Canada’s leading brands, the national Chamber of Commerce network and business associations to rally Canadians to “show local some love”

With support from the Federal Government and a $1 million contribution by Northbridge Financial Corporation, the total contributed to this relief fund is over $14 million.




Small & Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant

Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available to small and medium sized B.C. businesses impacted by COVID-19. An additional $5,000 to $15,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses.

If your business is eligible, a recovery plan is required. All applications are done online.

The program runs until March 31, 2021 or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.




The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

The fund totals over $2 billion and is designed to help Canadian businesses mitigate the financial pressures brought on by COVID-19 and allow normal operations to continue. It provides funding to Canadian SMEs who do not qualify for the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA).

Last day to submit applications is March 31, 2021.

Eligible businesses can receive interest-free, repayable funding of up to $1,000,000. There are four categories of eligibility: rural businesses up to $40,000; woman-owned or woman-led businesses up to $40,000; all other small- and medium-sized businesses up to $60,000; funding over $40,000.




Under the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund – Women’s Enterprise Initiative Stream for Women-led or Women-owned businesses

Financial support is available directly to small and medium-sized women-owned or woman-led businesses. Loans of up to $60,000 are available through Women’s Enterprise Initiative (WEI) organizations across Western Canada to address COVID-19 impacts on short-term stability.




Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA)

Eligible businesses can now access a second CEBA loan of up to $20,000.

This is on top of the initial $40,000 that was available to small businesses. Half of this additional financing, up to $10,000, will be forgivable if the loan is repaid by December 31, 2022.

The Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) supports businesses by providing financing for expenses that cannot be avoided or deferred when the business is shutdown during the pandemic. The aim is to help businesses successfully relaunch when the economy reopens.

The application deadline for CEBA has also been extended to March 31st, 2021.




The Accelerating Manufacturing Scale-Up Grant 

This grant program is part of the $14.25 million Supply Chain Resiliency and Value-Added Manufacturing project, as detailed in StrongerBC and B.C.’s Economic Recovery Plan.

Eligible businesses can apply for cost-shared funding of up to $250,000 from a total of $10 million to:

  • Pivot, retool or scale-up production to adjust to shifts in the economy
  • Commercialize products close to being market-ready more quickly
  • Increase transparency and secure supply chains for critical goods where B.C. businesses are competitive

Expected outcomes from the program include accelerated innovative capacity in the manufacturing sector, strengthened provincial critical supply chains, diversified economic opportunities for businesses to increase revenue streams and create jobs throughout the province.




Launch Online Grant Program

The Launch Online Grant program funds eligible expenses for launching or upgrading an online store up to a maximum of $7,500 per business.

Businesses that apply must be ready to start and finish their online shop within 12 weeks.




Unity Women Entrepreneurs Program

Through the Unity Women Entrepreneurs Program, Vancity is offering loans of up to $150,000 to women entrepreneurs who have been in business for more than two years.

The program also provides support services from the Women’s Enterprise Centre, including online education and resources on financial management, and preferred entry into the Women Enterprise Centre’s Mentoring Program.




The Giustra Foundation Bursary Fund for Women Entrepreneurs

This is a multi-year $150,000 fund and provides tuition bursaries to women entrepreneurs in financial need and women belonging to marginalized groups, supporting the FWE’s commitment to leave no woman behind.

This fund will be available to offset tuition costs for any of FWE’s programs, including Money Moves, and has already supported 37% of the women in our pilot cohort.




There just might be a funding or grant opportunity here that might make the difference for your business between surviving or thriving. Good luck with your applications!

Westshore Women’s Business Network (WWBN) believes in the power of connection, the strength of collaboration and the value of community. We host learning, connection and networking events for female business owners, and donate a portion of revenue to women’s social profits in Victoria, BC.

Learn more about becoming a WWBN member www.wwbnvictoria.com/register