Last month the Government of Canada announced its new Canada Digital Adoption Program aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) adopt digital technologies that can help them stay competitive in Canada’s fast evolving digital economy. Through a series of programs, the CDAP will provide grants, funding and expertise to support the digital advancement of SMEs. This is a great opportunity for a lot of our small business customers, so we wanted to share it on Webnames Blog along with a few other funding opportunities (both government and otherwise) that we think are valuable to explore and apply for.
Canada Digital Adoption Program
The Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) has been established to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) realize their full potential by increasing digital transformation through adoption of new digital technologies that boost efficiency and growth.
At its core, Digital Transformation (DT) is the process of implementing changes in the way you run your business to better meet today’s evolving digital opportunities and expectations. For a small or medium-sized business, this might mean launching an e-commerce platform or improving their organic SEO, or perhaps larger scale endeavors such as implementing technology solutions to automate processes, workflows, customer support, or lead generation.
[Helpful Resource – Small Business BC: A Short Guide to Small Business Transformation]
To support SME digital transformation goals such as those listed above, the CDAP has developed two separate funding programs:
Grow Your Business Online (Grant Program)
This program was designed for smaller, consumer-facing businesses, including those in service industries. Its intention is to help smaller businesses increase their e-commerce engagement by supporting a wide range of digital activities, including website development, search engine optimization, subscription fees for e-commerce platforms, and the implementation of social media advertising. A grant program, it does not require repayment.
- 90,000 grants of $2,400 are available
- Businesses must be registered or incorporated
- Businesses must have at least one employee
Visit the Grow Your Business Online page to assess your eligibility using the program’s tool and start your application process.
Boost Your Business Technology (Funding Program)
This program was designed for Canadian SMEs that want to accelerate their digital transformation and further improve their productivity to become more competitive in the digital marketplace. A funding program, repayment is required, however interest rates range from 0 to single-digit percentages depending on the funding source.
- Up to 70,000 SMEs will be eligible
- Businesses must have between 1 and 499 employees
- Businesses must have annual revenue between $500,000 and $100 million
Visit the Boost Your Business Technology page of the CDAP to assess your eligibility for the program and begin a Digital Needs Assessment.
More Government of Canada Grant and Funding Programs for Entrepreneurs and SMEs
Given the time and effort required to compile the necessary information for grant and/or funding applications, it’s always a good idea to leverage that hard work by applying to additional programs that make sense for your business, increasing your chances of securing funding. With that in mind, here are some additional funding opportunities worth exploring in addition to the Canada Digital Adoption Program.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA GRANTS & FINANCING – This is the central hub for information on federal funding programs for businesses of all sizes, particularly startups and SMEs. Find information about all of the following:
- Government financing programs
- Grants, contributions and other financial assistance
- Loans and capital investments
- Wage subsidies
Save time by making use of the Business Benefits Finder tool to find the right programs and services, whether you’re starting out or scaling up. We also recommend following @CanadaBusiness on Twitter and/or Facebook to not miss the latest news on program developments and opportunities.
WOMEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP LOAN FUND – A relatively new Government of Canada initiative, the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) is a $6-billion investment that aims to increase women-owned businesses’ access to the financing, talent, networks and expertise they need to start up, scale up and access new markets.
While loans are not yet available, this part of the program is expected to go live in 2022 with up to $50,000 available to eligible women business owners. We recommend monitoring for updates so that you can act quickly once details about the loan application process are announced.
Keep tabs on the new developments by regularly checking the WES landing page, as well as Twitter feed mentioned in the section above.
FUTUREPRENUER – If you’re a small business owner, or aspiring to be one, and between the ages of 18-39, Futureprenuer Canada is a website you want to dig into. A nation-wide nonprofit, Futurepreneur provides a wide variety of financing, mentoring, resources, support tools for young entrepreneurs. Take note of their specialized financing and mentorship programs for Black and Indigenous entrepreneurs, as well as the 1 in 3 Canadians who are running a side-hustle.
Explore all of Futureprenuer’s programs and learn more about the application process here.
For businesses and employers looking for government grants and contributions to help fund job creation, apprenticeships, or employee skills training, you’ll want to bookmark Employment and Social Development Canada’s Funding Programs page. While it can take a bit of effort to sort through the various programs, there are great initiatives aimed at helping businesses hire, train, and retain underrepresented and diverse Canadians, from Indigenous youth, to persons with disabilities and vulnerable youth.
Funding Canadian Small Business Growth and Employment
The federal government grant and funding programs outlined above are just a microcosm of the different funding sources available to Canadian SMEs. We also highly recommend researching available provincial and local government grants if your business is local in its focus, delivery and/or economic impact.
Looking for more great tips to help your online business? Here are 150 things to know about starting a business in Canada (135-141 involve grants and funding!).
Now act fast, and good luck in your funding journey!