Facebook Canada unveiled several new initiatives to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19 on Tuesday.
The announcement includes nearly $3.5 million in grants, virtual training programs, and product features across Facebook’s apps to promote local businesses.
“We know small businesses are being hit hard right now, and we want to help,” Garrick Tiplady, Managing Director of Facebook and Instagram Canada, said in a statement.
“We’re listening to the challenges Canadian small business owners face and want to do all we can to provide useful resources — including much needed financial support — for them during this challenging time.”
The initiative aims to provide direct relief for Canadian small businesses.
In March, Facebook announced $100 million in grants for up to 30,000 small businesses in over 30 countries to support those impacted by the economic slowdown caused by the pandemic.
Now in Canada, between May 26 and June 2, small business owners can apply for grants of more than $5,000 in cash and ad credits.
Nearly $3.5 million in grants are available for approximately 650 small businesses in cities where Facebook has offices: Toronto, Ottawa-Gatineau, Montreal, and Vancouver. Businesses do not need to have a Facebook presence in order to apply.
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“Small businesses across the country are struggling to keep their doors open and overcome the many challenges of COVID-19. As resilient and innovative as they are, they need and deserve all the support they can get. Nobody understands the needs of business like other businesses, and that’s why the Canadian Chamber created the Canadian Business Resilience Network,” Perrin Beatty, president and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said.
“Facebook’s grant program and webinar series share the spirit of businesses helping businesses, and doing so in a meaningful and local way. Today is good news for businesses in the communities where Facebook has its Canadian roots.”
The goal of the Facebook initiative is to make more Canadian small and medium size businesses e-commerce friendly.
According to Facebook, in 2019, only four out of 10 Canadian small and medium sized businesses reported having an e-commerce website.
“At a time when people must increasingly shop online, it’s clear that Canadian small businesses need to quickly adopt digital strategies to remain resilient,” the statement said.
In order to help reduce the hurdles businesses face when going online, starting this June, Facebook Canada will run a free virtual training series in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and their Canadian Business Resilience Network — the first session will take place on June 3.
Additionally, small business owners can join the Boost with Facebook Canada group, where they can access peer and expert advice, and visit Facebook’s Business Resource Hub, which contains advice and information to help businesses during the crisis, as well as virtual trainings and resources.
Facebook has also added new ways for people to support and discover small businesses, along with more tools for keeping businesses informed and connected with their customers, including:
- Fundraising for local small businesses: Facebook has expanded its Personal Fundraisers policy to give individuals the ability to fundraise for pandemic-impacted local businesses. Business owners can also create a personal fundraiser on Facebook for their business and ask their loyal customers for support during this critical time.
- Gift cards and food orders: Businesses can now share new gift card, food order, and fundraiser stickers in Instagram Stories and on their profiles. When users see gift cards or food orders, they can tap to make a purchase through our partner’s site.
- “Support Small Business” sticker: This new Instagram sticker lets people give a shout out to a business they love. Accounts people follow – who use the sticker – will be added to a shared Instagram story, allowing users to see other businesses that people are supporting during this time.