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Classified in: Business, Covid-19 virus
Subjects: ECO, SBS, CFG

Statement - Minister Valdez kicks off Small Business Week 2023 by highlighting the Government of Canada's commitment to supporting small businesses

OTTAWA, ON, Oct. 16, 2023 /CNW/ - The Honourable Rechie Valdez, Minister of Small Business, made the following statement today in recognition of Small Business Week:

"Today marks the beginning of Small Business Week in Canada. Canada's small businesses aren't "small"?they make up 98% of all Canadian businesses and are at the heart of our communities and economy.

"This year, as we begin to move on from the pandemic, we recognize that the challenges of the last few years are still having an impact. We know that small businesses, especially those in the hospitality and tourism sectors, are still seeking relief, and we are here to listen and act.

"As just one of the most recent examples of this, our government has given small businesses more flexibility for repaying their Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) loans, which helped so many businesses keep their doors open and their workers employed during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses with CEBA loans now have until January 18, 2024, to take advantage of the forgiveness option and get up to $20,000 of their loan forgiven, so they don't have to spend their holidays at the bank. Businesses that need more time but still want to take advantage of the forgiveness option have until March 28, 2024, if they refinance their loans. We have also further extended the deadline for paying back the term loan by an additional year, until December 31, 2026, giving businesses additional flexibility.

"This is on top of actions we've taken to reduce the small business tax rate, cut credit card transaction fees and establish agreements with all provinces and territories for $10-a-day child care, which all help relieve the financial pressures that make it harder to run a business.

"Creating a strong economy that works for everyone is at the core of our small business supports. That's why we are delivering historic programs like our nearly $7 billion Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, and just today I announced nearly $3 million to support women entrepreneurs in accessing the resources they need to start up and scale up their businesses. This is on top of programs like the Black Entrepreneurship Program, Futurpreneur Canada and the 2SLGBTQI+ Entrepreneurship Program, which are helping remove systemic barriers that entrepreneurs from under-represented groups face in accessing the resources they need.

"Last week, I was happy to announce an investment of up to $25 million in five venture capital fund managers as part of the inclusive growth stream of the renewed Venture Capital Catalyst Initiative. This will mean better access to capital for diverse business owners from coast to coast to coast who are looking to make their innovative business ideas a reality and create jobs.

"More broadly, the $4 billion Canada Digital Adoption Program, launched in March 2022, has already helped thousands of businesses boost their e-commerce, which became especially significant with the COVID-19 pandemic. And the Canada Small Business Financing Program, a long-standing support for small businesses, is now providing additional and more flexible loan and financing options, while cutting the administrative burden.

"I would like to take this opportunity to commend and thank all of Canada's small business owners. You have shown incredible resilience in the face of great challenges in recent years, and we will continue to have your backs as you adapt to rise above them and thrive.

"I invite Canadians to join me in supporting our local businesses in any way we can during Small Business Week and to keep doing so every week thereafter. Together, we will build a strong and resilient economy for all Canadians."

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SOURCE Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada

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