There is no question that 2020 was a very challenging year! With the current projections on when the vaccine will be administered to majority of the population, it appears to be that it will be early fall before we see any significant change. Realistically, we can expect most of 2021 to have similar challenges as 2020 did. This will mean that businesses will continue to struggle to survive and keep their head above water and unfortunately, may be compelled to declare bankruptcy.
When the State of Emergency was called in March of 2020, our ability to generate revenue completely and abruptly changed. No more live events meant no more money! What did we do? We pivoted our business and reinvented ourselves in the virtual world. While we had done some virtual meetings in the past, it was not, by any stretch of the imagination our bread and butter. This required a huge learning curve on our part and we managed to make it through 2020 intact. We owe a large thank you to our clients who are the biggest reason for our success and for helping us get this far!
However, we also needed to take advantage of the financial assistance that was being offered by the Canadian and Provincial governments. The two biggest ones being the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) and the Canada Emergency Rent Subsidy (CERS). As we had to lay off majority of our staff, the wage subsidy allowed us to meet payroll as well as hire some staff back. The rent subsidy helped us to revisit our existing space and reinvent, where necessary, by converting our office space into studios.
Other available funds that we have personally qualified for and recommend are the Ontario Main Street Relief Grant, Ontario Small Business Support Grant, Energy Cost Rebate and Property Tax Rebate. The application process is lengthy but it is worth the effort as the grants offer steady financial payments per month which can be directly depositted into your business account. Recently, the Ontario government announced the Ontario Small Business Support Grant which offers payments between $10,000 to $20,000.
Qualification criterias vary for each government aid and there are likely many more subsidies available for businesses. It is always worth exploring and going through the application process to help keep your business on stable ground. We hope what we have learned can help our partners in the AV industry, our clients and suppliers.