B.C. startups unhappy with government response to COVID-19 pandemic: survey

Report paints a tough picture for early-stage businesses.

Report paints a grim picture for early-stage companies

Starting a business is a tough endeavour, even in a picture-perfect economic climate. So it’s more than understandable that early-stage companies in B.C. and across the country are having a hard time during the COVID-19 pandemic.

And while federal and provincial levels of government have rushed to support businesses and individuals alike, startups reportedly aren’t impressed.

When Vancouver-based startup consultant Virtus Groups surveyed 55 early-stage companies in the province, 80 percent said that the government response hadn’t helped their business. The national results—73-percent disapproval among 150 startups polled—weren’t much better.

That’s coupled with the fact that 73 percent of the B.C. companies surveyed felt that their business had been negatively impacted by the pandemic.

The most popular forms of government assistance for B.C. startups are an expansion of the federal small business loan program and a lowering of the revenue-loss threshold for wage subsidies. But as the survey notes, many can’t access revenue-based wage support because they‘re in the pre-revenue and fundraising stages.

Most of the B.C. startups surveyed that were fundraising have postponed or cancelled those activities, though the proportion still raising capital (44 percent) was higher than the national average of 34 percent.