This scan was first published on May 27, 2020 and will be updated on an ongoing basis. Most recent update: June 5, 2020.
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on entrepreneurs, start-ups, scale-ups, and small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Canada. These individuals and businesses drive innovation, job creation, and economic growth that benefit many Canadians. In the face of the current public health crisis, it’s critical that the government implements supports that not only ensure the survival and growth of our entrepreneurial ecosystem, but also facilitate long-term resilience and encourage future business creation after the crisis.
To date, Canada’s federal and provincial governments have developed a number of supports to address the economic impact of COVID-19 on start-ups, scale-ups, entrepreneurs, and SMEs. These include wage subsidies, commercial rent assistance, and small business loans.
A few resources have emerged to help businesses navigate the rapidly changing policy environment, such as Deloitte’s federal and provincial relief measures for business and Shopify’s list of small business government relief programs by country. However, Canadian policymakers can also learn from how other governments are responding to immediate challenges and safeguarding long-term economic potential. This scan identifies and categorizes COVID-19 policies and programs from around the world.
This page will be continuously updated as more policies are implemented. If there is a policy we have missed, please let us know using this form.
We have provided the Canadian dollar (CAD) equivalent for foreign currency in brackets throughout this scan.
- France: Start-ups can receive advanced tax returns, in particular VAT returns and tax returns on research and development investments, representing a liquidity injection in the form of a cash advance of approximately €1.5 billion ($2.3 billion).
- Germany: Businesses unable to pay their taxes as a result of the pandemic can apply for temporary, interest-free deferrals of these payments. This measure applies to income tax, corporation tax, and value-added tax.
- Singapore: There are enhanced tax supports for small businesses and entrepreneurs through the newly created Resilience Budget, including the automatic deferral of income tax payments for three months for companies and self-employed persons (SEPs), a Corporate Income Tax Rebate capped at SGD $15,000 ($14,700) per company, and an enhanced property tax rebate for non-residential properties.
- South Africa: South African Revenue Service (SARS) is accelerating tax credits to allow SMEs to defer certain tax liabilities.
- Sweden: For sole proprietors severely affected by the COVID-19 outbreaks, 100 percent of the taxable profits for 2019, up to SEK 1 million ($144,780), can be set aside in the tax allocation reserve, which can then be set off against possible future losses. This means that many sole proprietors can get back the preliminary tax they paid in 2019.
- Israel: Small businesses whose turnover rate was significantly affected between March and April 2020 can apply for financial support to cover fixed expenses through the Grant for Participation in Fixed Expenses for Small Businesses; salaried and self-employed peoples (SEPs) with a yearly taxable income of up to ILS 1 million ($397,000), who experienced a drop of 25 percent or more in sales revenue between March and June can apply for support through the Grant for Self-Employed People.
- United States:
- Michigan: The Entrepreneur Resilience Fund provides recovery grants between USD $1,000 – $5,000 ($1,400 – $7,000) to small businesses to assist with reopening or pivoting.
- France: Start-ups awarded innovation support grants from the Programme d’investissements d’avenir (PIA) will receive accelerated payments for unreleased projects that have already been validated.
- Finland: Entrepreneurs already receiving a start-up grant who cannot work due to COVID-19 are entitled to a further unemployment benefit.
- Germany: Smaller start-ups ineligable for private funding can receive financing via regional development institutes (which will receive federal money to top up existing programs), as part of Pillar 2 of the government’s €2 billion ($3.05 billion) startup-specific support. Going forward, the government is planning a €10bn ($15bn) future fund to support startups in the coming years.
- Japan: Small and mid-sized companies whose revenue has decreased by at least half during the pandemic, along with self-employed persons or freelancers, can apply for financial support from the government’s relief plan.
- United States: Through the newly established federal CARES Act, small businesses can apply to receive a loan of up to USD $10,000 ($14,000) through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Emergency Advance or USD $25,000 ($35,000) through the SBA Express Bridge Loans.
- Massachusetts: The Small Business Recovery Loan Fund provides emergency capital of up to USD $75,000 ($105,000) to Massachusetts-based small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
- Florida: The Small Business Loan Program is available to small businesses to cover expenses such as start-up costs, equipment, and business procurement.
- Michigan: The Entrepreneur Resilience Fund provides recovery microloans between USD$5,000 – $10,000 ($7,000 – $14,000) loans with a repayment period of up to three years.
- Connecticut: The Connecticut Bridge Recovery Loan Program provides emergency cash flow support to small businesses up to $75,000 ($105,000), or equivalent to three months of operating expenses.
- Israel: the Finance Ministry is providing working capital loans for small businesses of a maximum of NIS 500 000 ($200,000) or up to 8 percent of a company’s last annual turnover. Companies have the option to defer payment for 6 months, while banks are directed to provide credit approval within nine working days.
- Germany: Loans may be provided via an accelerated approval process to SMEs. Under this scheme, German state-owned bank KfW may grant a loans that are up to three times the average monthly revenue generated by the SME in 2019.
- Japan: The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) will subsidize unsecured, interest-free institutional loans through regional banks and other lending bodies to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19, with a repayment period of up to five years.
- Singapore: There have been changes made to existing programs such as increasing the maximum Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) loan from SGD $5 million ($4.9 million) to SGD $10 million ($9.8 million), along with expanding the government’s risk-share to 80 percent, and increasing the maximum EFS-SME Working Capital Loan from SGD $600,000 ($590,000) to SGD $1 million ($980,000) with a maximum repayment period of five years.
- France: Start-ups can access state-guaranteed treasury loans distributed by both private banks and state-owned bank Bpifrance worth up to twice the 2019 wage bill, or if higher, 25 percent of the company’s annual revenue.
- Chile: Loan payment deadlines for SMEs can be extended for up to six months without penalty.
- Nigeria: SMEs can access loans of up to N25 million ($90,000) with a maximum tenor of three years and interest rate of 5 percent as part of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s COVID-19 intervention fund.
- New Zealand: Under the small business cash flow loan scheme, SMEs with 50 or fewer employees are eligible for a one-time loan of up to NZ $10,000 ($8,530) plus NZ $1,800 ($1,500) per employee.
- Ireland: Small businesses with less than 10 employees and annual turnover below €2 million ($3.05 million) who have experienced a reduction in profit of at least 15% due to COVID-19 are eligible for loans of up to €50,000 ($76,000) from Microfinance Ireland.
- Sweden: SMEs that have been adversely affected by COVID-19 can borrow up to a total of SEK 75 million ($10.94 million), with a 70% guarantee from the central government.
- Switzerland: Start-ups can access loans totalling up to CHF 1 million ($1.4 million), jointly guaranteed by federal (65%) and canton (35%) governments.
- Bolivia: The authorities have announced a 2 month moratorium on loan repayment for small companies.
- France: Start-ups already in the process of raising a new funding round can access a bridge round financed by the Programme d’investissements d’avenir (PIA) and managed by state-owned bank Bpifrance. The funding will be provided in bonds with possible access to capital, and is intended to be co-financed by private investors for a total amount of at least €160 million ($255 million).
- United Kingdom: Start-ups that have raised at least £250,000 ($426,000) from investors in the last five years will be eligible for Future Fund loans of £125,000 ($213,000) to £5 million ($8.5 million), with private investors matching government financing.
- Germany: Larger start-ups can access financing through Pillar 1 of the government’s €2 billion ($3.05 billion) startup-specific support, which splits funding with venture capitalists (generally 50/50 but with a state-stake of up to a maximum 70 percent). Additionally, the more general €750 billion ($1.1 billion) COVID-19 rescue package can also be accessed by start-ups with a company value of at least €50 million.