WINNIPEG — It’s no secret small businesses have been hit hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Add in the fact that 65 percent of Winnipeg’s downtown workforce continues to work remotely, and those businesses left are barely hanging on.
A new grant from the Downtown Winnipeg BIZ is extending a lifeline to help businesses sustain the second wave of the pandemic.
The new Downtown Winnipeg BIZ Connect Grant will connect downtown businesses that need support with other downtown businesses who can provide it. The program is designed to build sustainability for the recipient while also supporting the member business who provides the service.
“We know downtown businesses need more support to make it through this challenging time,” said Kate Fenske, CEO of Downtown Winnipeg BIZ.
“The Connect Grant gives small business owners access to services and advice they might not be able to get on their own. We hope this will have a lasting impact that helps businesses generate revenue not just in the immediate future, but for months to come.”
The grant will fund services in several areas based on what applicants choose, including marketing, advertising, branding, web services, accounting, HR, legal services, IT and business strategy.
The Downtown Winnipeg BIZ says 20 percent of the grants will be allocated for BIPOC-owned (Black, Indigenous, person of colour-owned) businesses and 20 percent of the grants will be allocated for businesses owned by women.
Applications are now open to businesses that employ fewer than 50 employees. The grant program has $50,000 to distribute, but may expand its capacity if additional funding becomes available.