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15 Alternatives to Government Funding for Small Businesses

Most businesses grappling with the financial fallout from COVID-19 have taken advantage of support programs set up by the Government of B.C. and the Government of Canada. Proving the old adage that “it takes a village,” community organizations, private companies, and other non-governmental organizations have also stepped up.

Here’s a list of community resources, private grants, and other non-governmental supports that could provide some much-needed financial help. But move fast. Some, like Facebook’s Small Business Grants program, have limited availability or small windows in which to apply.


Facebook Small Business Grants

Facebook is offering $3,200 in cash and $2,000 CAD in optional ad credits to eligible small businesses in Canada experiencing challenges due to COVID-19.

Innovator Skills Initiative

All companies in B.C., can apply for up to $10,000 to hire a post-secondary student to help with post-COVID-19 business planning and operations. Technology businesses hiring for a business or tech role are eligible, along with any business hiring for a tech role.

Format Photographer Fund

Online portfolio platform Format is offering $25,000 in grants to freelance photographers affected by COVID-19. The fund offers assistance of up to $500 per eligible person.

Canadian Writers’ Emergency Relief Fund

The Writers’ Trust of Canada, The Writers’ Union of Canada, Royal Bank of Canada, and Access Copyright Foundation jointly launched a $250,000 relief fund to support professional creators financially hit by the pandemic. Successful applicants each receive a grant of $1,500.



Futurpreneur is supporting young Canadian business owners with temporary loan relief, interest rate cuts, peer-to-peer support, a national collaboration Slack channel, and an up-to-date digital resource guide.

Community Futures

Community Futures offers entrepreneurs loans up to $150,000 that are designed to help businesses grow. Their processes are streamlined so that they can move at the speed of small business.

Shopify Capital

Ecommerce platform Shopify is offering financial support in the forms of fixed-fee loans from under $2,000 to over $100,000. The service is open to Shopify users and eligibility is based on your history with the platform. Repayment is through a percentage of your future sales through Shopify. Shopify also extended its free trial from 14 days to 90 days.

Farm Credit Canada
If you are in the agriculture and food industry sector, Farm Credit Canada is offering access to an additional credit line up to $500,000 and other financing products.

Vancity Credit Union

Vancity is offering mortgage payment deferrals, payment flexibility, fee waivers, and emergency working capital to members.

Women’s Enterprise Centre Business Loans

The Women’s Enterprise Centre offers business loans for women-owned businesses in B.C. During COVID-19, the organization is also offering loan clients concessions, such as repayment holidays.

Credits and Freebies

Thinkific Growth Fund 

Got an idea for an online course? Online course platform Thinkific has created a $1m growth fund to support entrepreneurs. They will match you with a mentor and provide free access to their platform to create and sell a course. The program also provides ad credits to promote your course.

Email marketing platform MailChimp committed $10m in price relief support to its small business customers. The company is also giving away free custom .com domains for five years to customers.


If your business is in healthcare, education, or not-for-profit, inbound marketing platform Unbounce is offering a free account for three months.

Google Ad Credits

Google is offering $340 million in ad credits to small- and medium-sized businesses around the world.

And Finally…

Want to promote your business to a local audience? Add your small business to our Small Business Marketplace.

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Back to Business

At Small Business BC, we’re committed to helping business owners reopen in a safe and successful way. Our Back to Business campaign features specific advice and guidance in the following areas:

  • Operational Health & Safety
  • Restart Strategy
  • Marketing & Communications

Alternatively, visit our BC Business COVID-19 Support Service and connect with our Business Advisors to get answers to your specific questions on reopening.

Find Out More About Getting Back to Business