FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Small business owners are among the hardest working people in our province, and with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, this has become clearer than ever before. Over the past ten months, businesses have hustled to make changes and adapt to the new realities created by a global pandemic, all while keeping their customers and staff safe.
On June 29, 2020, the Alberta government launched the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant (SMERG) to give businesses some much needed support. In December, we lowered the requirements and expanded the program for the second round of payments.
Any small business, non-profit, or cooperative affected by public health orders that experienced a 30% revenue reduction can receive up to $20,000 in funding.
Small businesses from across Alberta have applied for the SMERG, and the government has given more than 45,000 grants to date; with the majority of these being paid within 11 calendar days. This has resulted in more than $311 million being placed into the hands of the small businesses that form the backbone of our economy.
Job creators have been using the money to rehire staff (over 227,000 Albertans are employed by the SMERG applicants), pay everyday business costs, purchase personal protective equipment, and more. The goal of the program is not to tell small businesses where to spend the money, but for them to determine where the money is needed most.
One business owner told us the grant money was “a game changer, we were able to bring our staff back on mostly full time.” We’ve heard from other business owners they were able to put the money towards buying hand sanitizer and face masks, pay rent, and renovate their business to properly follow Alberta’s COVID-19 guidelines.
The SMERG program is still open and accepting applications. If you own a business and were forced to close or reduce your services as a result of COVID-19, I encourage you to apply. If you received the first payment in the spring, apply now for the second payment and receive up to triple the funding from your first payment.
You’ve told your government what you needed, and your government is listening. We are here for all of Alberta’s job creators as the pandemic continues to affect their businesses and livelihoods.
To learn more about the Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant, or to apply, visit Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant | Alberta.ca.