Small Business Recovery Outreach Program

This toolkit includes a comprehensive list of tools, resources, and programs that can assist you with the next stages of recovery and reopening for your business.

Earlier this year, the Waterloo Region Small Business Centre interviewed over 100 small business owners. 

We heard about financial challenges caused by the pandemic, the desire to retain and support employees, the need to strengthen online presence and sales, interest in how other businesses are addressing challenges, the uncertainty of how to re-open and how to do so safely, and the emotional toll of all this.

Our team offered resources and advice in an effort to support small businesses. 

Now, we’ve compiled all those resources here. We also heard that the sheer volume of available resources is overwhelming. So, we’ve organized the most requested resources here in a way that we hope will help to make things a little less overwhelming.

We know small businesses have been hit hard financially due to COVID-19. Learn more about the available funding and financial planning.

What financial assistance is available, and how do I apply for it?

Learn about available government COVID-19 initiatives
Consider the Starter Company Plus Program (applications currently closed until next cohort)
Learn more about music grants and funding for musicians and music-related businesses
Apply for a Futurpreneur loan for business owners ages 18-39
Look into community sports sponsorship opportunities with Canadian Tire & BMO
Check out funding opportunities for non-profits & charities through KW Community Foundation, United Way, BarterPayitForward100 Men Who Give a Damn & 100 Women Who Care 

Where can I learn more about financial planning?

Check out our funding & financing page 
Subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming financial planning webinars
Sign up for Mentorworks government funding webinars
Sign up for webinars through Enterprise Toronto    
Sign up for webinars through the Business Advisory Centre Durham 

Paying rent has been a struggle for many small businesses during COVID-19. Learn about rent assistance and the roles and responsibilities of landlords and tenants.  

How do I get assistance paying my rent?

Learn about Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA)  

Where can I get information about paying my rent during COVID-19?

Use the search tool on the CFIB’s Frequently Asked Questions Page to learn more about commercial rent during COVID-19.
Watch the Commercial Real Estate During a Pandemic Webinar (May 22, 2020) from the Greater KW chamber of commerce
Check out Gowling WLG’s Commercial Landlord Survival Guide

We know you’re worried about your employees, learn about programs that help keep your employees working, managing employees during COVID-19, and hiring options.

How do I get assistance paying my employees? 

Apply for the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy Program    
Participate in the Government of Canada work-sharing program 

Where can I get information on managing my employees during COVID-19?

Use the search tool on the CFIB’s Frequently Asked Questions Page to learn more about employee management during COVID-19
Browse recordings of past COVID-19 webinars from the Greater KW chamber of commerce

How can I hire subsidized/temporary employees?

Connect your business with local students through the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce's Access Student Talent Program 

Check out the Canada Summer Job program
Learn about co-op student hiring, financial incentives & tax credits, and posting available jobs through Conestoga college employment services 
For charities and non-profits, connect with the Volunteer Action Centre  

COVID –19 has highlighted the importance of having an online presence, but restructuring your business can be overwhelming. Learn about available programs and information to help get your business online.

How do I get support for moving my business online?

Sign up for the Digital Main Street shopHERE program 
Consider the Digital Transformation Grant
Consider the Future Proofing Transformation Teams program 
Get in touch with the Digital Service Squad, apply by filling out the form

Check out the Digital Main Street Programs

Where can I learn more about e-commerce and marketing?

Try out some Digital Main Street workshops
Check out our marketing and sales page

Check out the Ad Project, WLU's students offer a range of FREE digital marketing services
Watch a recording of Video to the Rescue: How to Use Video to Your Advantage in the Current Climate (May 6, 2020) a webinar from the Greater KW Chamber of Commerce
Sign up for webinars through Invest Ottawa Education Centre 
Keep an eye on the TechConnex events calendar  for the upcoming workshop

We heard small business owners want to communicate with and learn from others who own similar businesses. Learn about connection opportunities and examples of others in your industry. 

Supplying goods and services in support of Canada’s response to COVID-19

Supply goods and services in support of Ontario's response to COVID-19

Where can I meet others in my industry? 

Join our Peer2Peer group sessions
Get involved with our Mentor Program (coming soon)
Join the Hacking Health Waterloo Virtual Meetup Group 
Join the I lost my gig Facebook group

Where can I learn more about my industry in relation to COVID-19?

Check out our newsletter for some industry-specific webinars 
Musicians and music-related businesses, check out the Kitchener Music Office
Look through Ontario’s resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace page for sector-specific guidelines and posters

Food Industry

Read through Restaurants Canada on navigating COVID-19: Updates and resources for foodservice operators
Read through the Region of Waterloo Re-opening Restaurants and Food Services guidelines and recommendations

Connect with individuals and experts in the food industry through a Peer2Peer group session

Read through the Help For My Restaurant resource package for restaurant, bar, and hospitality venues to help them through the toughest of times; whether that is a pandemic, natural disaster, or act of terrorism.
Read through the Hospitality Startup Experts, post-pandemic planning

Check out online food safety courses with COVID-19 training through Safe Check Learning

Personal Care, Psychology, Health & Wellness etc.

Read through the College of Psychologists of Ontario’s COVID-19 updates and information page
Use Brownstone Health’s customer experience outline as an example
Learn about Hacking Health Waterloo

Dance, Gym, & Fitness Facilities

Read through Mindbody’s page on how to manage your fitness studio during COVID-19
Read this article on what fitness studios will look like when they re-open

Hair Salons

Please read Re-opening of Personal Service Setting Regulations by Region of Waterloo Public Health

Check out the National Canadian Association for Beauty Professional on COVID-19 support

Use Chatters’ COVID-19 & Salon Reopening section as an example for communicating with clients
Read this article on COVID surcharges at salons and restaurants


Read through the Tourism Industry Association of Canada on COVID-19 specific support

Check out the WR UNITED campaign 


Check out the Canada Council for the arts COVID-19 info and support page 

Many business owners are excited to re-open but also unsure where to begin. Learn more about what to consider and best practices for re-opening your business.

How do I safely re-open my business? 

Use the search tool on the CFIB’s Frequently Asked Questions Page to learn more about re-opening your business
Look through Ontario’s resources to prevent COVID-19 in the workplace page for sector-specific guidelines and posters
Check out KPMG’s Returning to the workplace guide (PDF download)
Look through the Retail Council of Canada’s retail recovery checklists
Read through the Retail Council of Canada’s customer health and safety document

When can I re-open my business? 

Check for updates on the government’s reopening Ontario page 

How do I properly clean my workplace and equipment?

Read the government’s cleaning and disinfecting public spaces during COVID-19 page
Reference HKPR’s document for cleaning public washrooms - PUBLIC HEALTH GUIDANCE FOR USE OF PUBLIC WASHROOMS
Reference the NAMM foundation’s instrument cleaning guidelines and information page

Personal protective equipment is in high demand, learn more about where to purchase PPE and how to use it.

Where can I purchase PPE?

Get help with Ontario's Main Street Relief Grant: PPE Support of $1,000

Contact PPE Access, a local non-profit looking to facilitate PPE purchasing, learn more about PPE Access 
Contact Westmount Signs & Printing to order plastic shields, floor decals, and signage 
Order touchless thermometers, hand sanitizer, disposable face masks and more PPE from Fusion
Order face masks through Day Dreamer Accessories Inc
Contact Cober Solutions to order signs and plexiglass shields 
Contact Rotalec to order plexiglass shields 
Order hand sanitizer & disposable face masks from Gunther Mele
Use the Ontario government PPE directory

The PPE supplier information provided is for general information purposes only. The information about providers and services contained on this website does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the City of Kitchener. It is your responsibility to verify and investigate providers and services.

What PPE is recommended for my business? 

Recommended steps for putting on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) by Public Health

PPE Suppliers and Buyers by the Government of Canada

Business Sustainability Grant Program (COVID-19) by Downtown Kitchener BIA

Agri-Food Workplace Protection Program - Producers by OMAFRA 

We’ve heard from newer small businesses that you still need general startup assistance. Learn more about available programs and startup information. 

What programs are available to help scale my business? 

Apply for the Starter Company Plus program (applications currently close until next cohort)
Register for the Social Enterprise Institute’s Investment Readiness program

Where can I learn more about owning and operating a small business or non-profit?

Check out our startup guides  
Check out our frequently asked questions 
Attend some YSpace webinars covering various topics 
Join the Pillar non-profit network, members get access to events, online community, and resources
Keep an eye on WR Fundraising Executives for any upcoming events

COVID-19 has put everyone under an increased amount of stress. Learn about ways to keep you and your team motivated and managing mental health. 

How can I stay motivated and productive?

Check out our newsletter for webinars on topics relating to productivity, engaging your employees and more!
Keep an eye on upcoming leadership workshops for learning, getting inspired, and connecting with other entrepreneurs through Tamarack Institute  

How can I take care of my mental health during COVID-19?

Attend Wilfred Laurier’s FREE Positive Psychology: Essential Self Care and Resilience course 
Attend some YSpace webinars that focus on resiliency & mental health

Last updated November 24, 2020