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We are elated to start awarding small business grants.

Grant One | Balila Taste Kitchen

A family run restaurant in Vancouver whose revenue stream has been severely impacted by the slow of sales due to COVID-19.

Even though Balila is struggling amidst the pandemic, they started a Buy a Meal Donate a Meal program whereby for every three meals purchased, they donate one to health care heroes in their community. When asked about the program they said “Times are tough but a community that continues to help each other always survives.”

The awarded grant will go primarily towards employee wages. Balila expressed that their employees’ job security comes first. The remaining amount will help towards their store rent, and any ongoing PPE requirements as needed.

Thanks Balila for how you’re continuing to give back to your community, even though you are struggling yourself. We hope this grant helps make a difference.

Grant Two | MaqOBA

Maq0BA believes everyone, regardless of race, gender, or social class should have access to mental health Initiatives and treatment.

They offer pro-bono therapy sessions, warm meals, and gift bags – made possible by proceeds from sales of eco friendly products at The pandemic caused their sales to drop, which impacted the social impact they could have.

Even with their decrease in sales, they’re managing to help others in additional ways, providing free groceries to those most affected by the Coronavirus pandemic!

The grant will help keep their core mission afloat, and to raise awareness that even during Covid, people with mental health still need help, if not now more than ever!


Grant Three | Alpine Roots Farm

Sponsored by: Jeff Kruck – IG Wealth Management

From Farmer to Table.
No Chemicals. No Pesticides.

Based in the Okanagan, Alpine Roots Farm was born out of a desire to get closer to the land, live happily, healthily and sustainably.

They sell microgreens, edible flowers and some other specialty crops direct to restaurants, but lost all customers instantly when restaurants and bars closed.

They will use the grant funds to help adapt their business and broaden their offerings, as they’re concerned the demand for niche garnishes and edible flowers may not be as high for chefs in struggling restaurants. They expressed the grant money would also help with considerable seed expenses they racked up over the last couple months and “go a long way in helping me get my business back on track.”

Grant Four | Chickpeace Zero Waste Refillery

Refill. Reuse. Repurpose.

Chickpeace is all about helping local and global communities to reduce packing waste through conscious consumerism. They offer bulk food and lifestyle products + a commercial kitchen for rent in the back of the refillery

Their refinery was set to open May, in Kelowna, but due to Covid the opening date was delayed. As a zero waste bulk refill store, the pandemic has drastically changed their business model.

The back of their store was intended to be a community kitchen, but with so many events cancelled – the space was not booked with chefs, caterers and food producers as they had hoped.

They will use the grant funds to help their local and global community learn about their business, and the ways they are trying to reduce single use plastics and remove barriers towards living a zero waste lifestyle.

Grant Five | HomeStart Foundation

Furnishing homes to help families in need rebuild their lives.

HomeStart Foundation is a Vancouver furniture bank that accesses the available supply of surplus furniture, and furnishes homes for people in need. In an average month they furnish 40 homes! They had to suspend operations in March in order to protect their crew, donors and the vulnerable population they serve.

The grant will help with their reopening, and cover the costs of extra cleaning and PPE that will be necessary.

They want to reassure donors and clients that they’re operating safely, but it’s an extra cost they hadn’t budgeted on. They stated the funds will be essential to their successful reopening and “make an enormous difference for us.”

Grant Six | Sitti Social Enterprise

Bringing fair wage employment to refugee women through handmade natural olive oil soap empowering them to gain financial independence for themselves and also for their families. Each bar of soap that they produce is a testament to the self-determination of the women who make up the Sitti Soap team.

When events were cancelled across Canada they were very affected as many customers purchase their beautiful soap for wedding favours.

Since the pandemic they have been working hard to help on the ground to support refugees both with securing partnerships to ensure they continue not just to keep everyone employed but thinking of ways to maximize their impact on the ground. Today with World Refugee Day they see that 1% of the global world population have been forcibly displaced or are refugees. Advocating for the marginalized those that lost everything they have seems so much more essential than ever.

Grant Seven | Busy Beans Play Cafe

Sponsored by: Summerland Credit Union

Busy Beans Play Cafe is over 3300sq feet of kids indoor play space in Penticton where parents/guardians, grandparents or anyone else that loves kids, can come relax and spend quality time together to play, connect, learn and meet others doing the same.

They have been shut down completely, with 100% loss of revenue due to Covid-19, since March. The grant would help to reopen, and complete all the safety implements they need to run their businesses in a safe manner.

When notified of the grant they said
“Words cannot cover how truly greatful we are … you have no idea how much this helps!”

Grant Eight | Aikidaily International Academy

A traditional Japanese martial art club in Squamish, BC, that strives to make members healthy; both physically and mentally.

Their small club serves more than 100 families in the community and employees four people. The pandemic has forced them to close their doors and redefine how they teach their students, and put a lot of financial strain on their business.

Now with permanent changes being required of businesses if they desire to reopen, they need to add new equipment to their facility in order to meet the health authorities guidelines.

The awarded grant will go towards meeting this need and helping cover the necessary PPE measures to safely reopen their club that impacts their community in so many ways.

Photo Credits: Thuy Tran Photography

Grant Nine | The Paisley Notebook

Since 2017, they’ve been hosting pop up dinners across the Okanagan to shine a light on farmers and tell their stories.

Their ever-changing moveable feasts are on held in stunning locations including farms, mountaintops and wineries. Every pop-up dinner has a surprise menu inspired by what’s in season and celebrates local. Creator, Aman, believes “For people to value something, they need to experience it first-hand.” Together, they’ve built trust in where our food comes from, how it’s grown, raised or sprayed.

The grant will help to off-set a few of the operating costs with smaller more distantly spaced outdoor dinners to keep everyone extra safe.

[The Paisley Notebook] feels it’s more important than ever to show people where their food comes from, and how you are what you eat and you are what you buy. Every decision, when supporting local, has an impact.

Photo Credits: Nicole Hemeon

Grant Ten | Mandala Mamas

Mandala Mamas is a safe, accepting and loving environment where mamas can connect with their body, their baby and a supportive community of women. They offer Prenatal Yoga, Baby + Me Yoga and Community Mama Yoga. Their classes provide the opportunity the opportunity for authentic conversation and connection amongst mamas.

When Covid-19 hit, all the yoga studios were closed, and their ability to connect and support these mamas in person was taken away.

Mandala Mamas will use the grant to implement new ways to keep the mamas and babes safe while practicing yoga. Investing in removable and washable bolster covers (locally made), hand sanitizer bottles and ingredients, mat and prop spray bottles, extra blankets and blocks to accommodate washing and sanitizing.

Owner, Megan McMichael, said this of the grant “Thank you SO much for this wonderful opportunity! I am beyond grateful.”