Calgary

Small businesses quick to apply for Calgary reopening grants

The applications for Calgary's new reopening grants program are pouring in.

City council approved $15M in grants to help specific businesses hurt by pandemic

Calgary's new reopening grants program is targeting restaurants, bars, pubs, fitness centres and entertainment venues like nightclubs. (Colleen De Neve for CBC News)

The applications for Calgary's new reopening grants program are pouring in.

City council approved the $15 million program last month to help businesses with reopening costs.

It is targeting restaurants, bars, pubs, fitness centres and entertainment venues like nightclubs.

All faced temporary or full-scale shutdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic.

City manager David Duckworth told CBC News that since the city started accepting applications on July 2, more than 2,300 business owners have submitted their paperwork.

The city estimates approximately 3,800 businesses are eligible for the grants.

Relief for small businesses

The reopening grants have three categories:

  • Bars, restaurants and pubs: $2,500 each.
  • Fitness centres: $7,500 each.
  • Entertainment establishments (night clubs and music venues): $15,000.

Duckworth said city council intended for the grants to help these businesses get back on their feet.

"We know that small businesses in particular are kind of the backbone of our economy. They create a lot of jobs," said Duckworth.

"City council really wanted to do whatever we could do with some of the stage funding that we ended up saving or receiving from the federal government and provide some type of relief to small businesses that were hit the hardest."

The city said applications will be processed within 30 days of being received with the money flowing soon after.

The deadline for applications is August 10, unless the grant money runs out sooner.

Chamber welcomes grants

Deborah Yedlin, president and CEO of the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, said the rush of applications is a sign that these grants are a good idea.

"There's a need in the community and it's very good to see that kind of take-up because we know that what we want to see is a return to business vibrancy in Calgary and this is one way to help businesses reopen," said Yedlin.

Given how things are going, Yedlin said business owners shouldn't delay applying.

"I think if I'm a business, I'm going to start looking at these numbers and saying, 'If I want to access this pool of support, I should get my application in sooner rather than later because there's a very high probability that that money will be spoken for pretty quickly.'"

In the interest of transparency, the city has committed to publishing a list of the grant recipients.

It's expected that list will become publicly available in September.

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