eCommerce Assistance Program

With the COVID-19 pandemic, small businesses have suddenly found themselves faced with unexpected and unprecedented new challenges. With the new reality of physical distancing, it has become clear that having an online eCommerce website is a necessary tool for small businesses to survive.

Downtown Halifax Business Commission (DHBC) understands that funds are tight, and the rapid pace of change can be overwhelming for small business owners to manage. But we are here to help with our new eCommerce Assistance Program. This new program will help subsidize the cost of an eCommerce website with a maximum grant of $1,500.00 including tax per business. It is available to all DHBC members with a business in the Downtown Halifax catchment area.

We have partnered with local web design agency and eCommerce experts, Twist & Bits Creative Agency. With this partnership, DHBC has negotiated a discounted rate with Twist & Bits to create a standard eCommerce website package to help DHBC members take their business online at an affordable rate.

To be considered for a DHBC eCommerce Assistance Program grant, applicants must complete and submit the form below and agree to the Terms & Conditions by Wednesday, June 17, 2020.

The eCommerce Assistance Program grant is retroactive to March 1, 2020. If you have already created an online eCommerce website because of the pandemic situation, you are eligible to apply for the grant.

For more information, please read the Terms & Conditions, or email


Terms & Conditions

The eCommerce Assistance Program is offering grants up to a maximum of $1,500.00 including tax per business. Twist & Bits Creative Agency will be providing a standard eCommerce website package to DHBC members as part of this program. The package will include individual kickoff meetings with successful grant applicants, the creation of a web presence or web store using a customizable template on either Squarespace or Shopify (depending on the needs of the business) and Zoom training on how to manage the site and load content. The total cost for a standard eCommerce site with Twist & Bits is approximately $2,400.00 plus tax. This will leave businesses paying approximately $1,000.00 plus tax for a customized site.

Businesses do not have to use Twist & Bits to qualify for the grant and are welcome to choose their own service provider; however, DHBC cannot guarantee the same rate and/or services that Twist & Bits will be providing.

Downtown Halifax Business Commission is not responsible for the direct service between the vendor and the business receiving the grant regardless of who they choose to work with.

To be eligible, businesses must be a member of Downtown Halifax Business Commission and located in the Downtown Halifax catchment area.

Grant applications will be reviewed and approved by DHBC, contingent upon meeting the criteria and sufficient funds in the overall program. The deadline to apply for the grant is Wednesday, June 17, 2020, at 5:00 pm (ADT). If the number of businesses applying and qualifying for the grant exceeds the funds allocated for this program, DHBC will conduct a random draw of all applicants to determine the final recipients of the grant. Applicants will be notified by email by Tuesday, June 23, 2020, if they are successful or not. Successful applicants will receive more information about next steps at that time.

Once work is completed and the website is live, the service provider will send proof of completed work (including but not limited to, URL link, screen grabs, live date, etc.) and an invoice for $1,500.00 including tax to DHBC. The business will be invoiced the remaining amount. Businesses will be responsible for their own website hosting costs and any other additional costs that may arise from hosting and maintaining an eCommerce website.

If approved as a recipient of an eCommerce grant, the deadline for final submission of receipts and invoice will be Monday, November 30, 2020. Payments will be processed every thirty (30) days and mailed directly to the service provider or in the case of retroactive eCommerce site to the applicant in the form of a cheque.

Grants are provided at the discretion of Downtown Halifax Business Commission.