The Government of Canada has announced a call for applications for the first stream of the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP), Grow Your Business Online, which will fund not-for-profit organizations that can support small businesses in the development and implementation of their e-commerce strategies.

The stream will award funding of up to $336.8 million to the selected not-for-profits to support small businesses as they adopt digital technologies and expand their digital presence. This will include providing micro-grants, e-commerce advisory services and training and assigning youth digital advisors to help business owners as they adopt digital technologies such as digital storefronts and e-commerce platforms, and expand their digital presence. 

With the support of a network of up to 11,200 youth digital advisors who will provide advice to and help the small businesses adopt e-commerce, the Grow Your Business Online stream aims to help up to 90,000 smaller businesses, according to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED).

The program targets customer-facing businesses such as small-scale retail and service operations that have not made significant investments in digital technologies and are looking to reach more customers online by digitizing their businesses. Eligible businesses will receive micro-grants of up to $2,400 to help with the costs related to adopting digital technologies. 

“The success of Canada’s small businesses is critical in accelerating our nation’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and safeguarding our future as a competitive nation in an increasingly digital world. The Canada Digital Adoption Program will provide businesses from coast to coast to coast with the tools they need to bring their made-in-Canada products and services online, grow their businesses and hire workers. This program will be crucial in helping even more Canadian businesses make their market in a digital economy,” Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade noted in the July 8 announcement

Regional and national not-for-profit organizations that can support small businesses in developing and implementing new technologies, as well as hire, train, and place young people as youth digital advisors in small businesses are eligible to apply. The selected organizations will become part of a network of service providers for the initiative. 

In their application, ISED says delivery partners will need to demonstrate their ability and track record in working with regional and local businesses on digital adoption. They also need to outline their capacity to recruit, train, support and assign youth digital advisors who can support small businesses as they begin to sell their products and services online.

The call for applications will close on August 6, 2021 at 5:59 p.m. PT.

Announced in Budget 2021, the CDAP is an investment of $4 billion over four years, comprising two streams aimed at helping small and medium-sized enterprises transform digitally. It will include providing $2.6 billion in zero-interest loans to help Canadian businesses adopt new technologies.

ISED says the information on the second stream, Boost Your Business Tech, will be revealed in the coming weeks.


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