In its zeal to promote small business pandemic measures, the provincial government recently issued a news release claiming HyLife received funding for small businesses, despite the eligibility of a particular stream of funding to also be open for large businesses.
On Thursday, Jan. 7, the provincial government issued a press release called "Governments of Canada and Manitoba Provide Support to Small Business," announcing funding directed to agri-processors and industry service providers "to expand their market presence." The funding could be directed to market research, tradeshow opportunities and scaling up production, among other things.
"Manitoba’s small businesses have made many sacrifices to protect the health and safety of their employees and all Manitobans throughout the COVID-19 pandemic," Manitoba’s Resource Development Minister Blaine Pedersen said in a statement.
Of the total $149,215 available split 60-40 between federal and provincial governments, Hylife received $20,000, according to a government spokesperson. But La Broquerie-based Hylife has some 3,500 employees worldwide, exports to 20 countries and produces 3.4 million hogs per year, according to its website.
Some of the businesses that also received funding included Danny’s Whole Hog Inc. in Stonewall, and Little Brown Jug Brewing in Winnipeg.
Some small businesses in Steinbach The Carillon recently talked to have faced hard times with restrictions regulating how they can sell their products, and haven’t been eligible for small business grants.
However, while the recent funding was announced in the press release to be for "small business," large businesses were also eligible to apply, and nothing in the criteria said only small businesses could apply.
The label of "small business" to the funding announcement appears to have been made only in the press release and not elsewhere, such that HyLife didn’t apply for "small business" funding, nor was HyLife granted "small business" funding.
A HyLife representative declined to speak on the record.