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eCommerce Grants: Canada Digital Adoption Program

Published on April 4, 2023

Funding for small businesses

Canadian grants for small businesses – do they exist? Of course, they do! At least for now. Starting a new business can be tough, and keeping it going past the first year can sometimes be the make-it-or-break-it point.

Sometimes, technology can zoom ahead at a pace that’s just a little too fast for some of us. While we may have the best intentions, getting your product out into the eCommerce world can feel overwhelming. It almost feels like on top of being an entrepreneur, you also need to be a computer whiz to have a chance against the competition. Improving your “digital adoption” is one of the new keys to success in today’s eCommerce world. We found a couple of grants that can help you get to where you need to be.

What is digital adoption?

Digital adoption is a new term that describes the ability to adapt to new technology and use it to its full potential. This means keeping on track with new technological releases and developments, then using them to improve your business’ ROI.

In other words, digital adoption uses new technology to make running a business easier and more efficient.

Examples of digital adoption

Examples can paint a better picture of what all this means. Here are some scenarios that digital adoption has had a role in improving:

  • Automated reminder texts about upcoming appointments or bill payments. This means more contact with the customer but less work for the staff.
  • Cloud storage allows for important information to be securely stored all in one place. No more basements filled with filing cabinets! Accessing information is seamless and takes no time at all.
  • Chatbots have been used in medical settings to help screen patients and direct them to the appropriate next step, which eases up the workload for hospitals and medical staff.

Two feet standing at the beginning of a starting line.

What is the Canada Digital Adoption Program?

The Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) is a government-funded program that helps small businesses grow online. Most commonly, grants help small businesses build websites to advertise and sell their products. The technology portion helps propel businesses into becoming more tech-savvy.

The Canadian Digital Adoption Program helps businesses connect with their customers, improve service, attract new customers, and get their business more in-tuned with current digital adoption technologies.

What grants are available under the Canada Digital Adoption Program?

The CDAP offers two fantastic grants to kickstart your business to the next level.

Four men at a laptop. From left to right each man looks progressively more comfortable and successful.

Grow Your Business Online Grant

The Grow Your Business Online Grant offers up to $2400 to kick up your virtual business to the next level.

You can use your grant in several areas. Some ideas include:

  • Creating or updating your eCommerce website to improve functionality (cannot redesign just for fun, unfortunately)
  • Contracting a digital marketer
  • Improving your Search Engine Optimization (SEO) (this must be paired with an overall plan, and cannot be used as a stand-alone item)
  • Maintain cybersecurity
  • Maintain loyalty programs, discounts, and inventory

The purpose is to have an overall eCommerce plan, so utilizing a few items from the list instead of concentrating on one topic is required.

Boost Your Business Technology Grant

The Boost Your Business Technology Grant offers up to $15 000 for obtaining advice and up to $100,000 in interest-free loans from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to apply to various technologies for your business.

A hand about to press a large button with the words "Business Model" on it.

What am I unable to claim under either grant?

The grants aren’t free money being thrown your way. There are exceptions to how you use it.

Some ineligible items that you cannot claim include (but are not limited to):

  • Connection fees
  • Domain renewals
  • Logo redesign and rebranding
  • Salaries
  • Rent costs
  • Staff lunches

Most of these are common sense, but you’d be surprised what some people try to claim!

The purpose of the program is to help your existing business grow from a technological standpoint. It doesn’t cover basic costs like hosting, your internet bill, or overhauling your website for a fresh redesign.

Do I qualify for a grant to help build my website?

For a quick response, you can try out the assessment tool to find out if you qualify. If you don’t want to sit through that, take a quick browse at these requirements below.

CDAP funding eligibility requirements (for Grow Your Business)

  • Have a registered or incorporated for-profit business
  • Consumer-facing with in-person services
  • Last year’s annual revenue was at least $30 000 OR you have hired at least 1 employee (not including the owner!)
  • Willing to apply a digital adoption strategy for the next 6 months
  • Be open and willing to fill out surveys to follow up on your experience, including publicizing your name

CDAP funding eligibility requirements (for Boost Your Technology)

  • Canadian owned
  • Between 1 and 499 employees
  • The business has had annual revenue of at least $500 000 in one of the last three years

CDAP Dealbreakers

  • chain, franchise, or registered charity
  • the multi-level marketing company (e.g. Avon, Scentsy, Young Living, Mary Kay, etc)
  • Real estate brokerage
  • A reselling store or business (liquidation), or one that relies on some other third party for products and services to resell
  • Wholesale (some exceptions apply)

How do I apply for a digital adoption program?

You can apply for one of these grants by clicking the link and following the prompts.

Apply for the Grow Your Business Grant 

Apply for the Boost Your Business Technology Grant

A strip of blue paper being peeled away to reveal the word 'application'.

More information about the Canadian Digital Adoption Program

If you are interested in reading more about the CDAP, please feel free to check out the following links:

Official page for the Canadian Digital Adoption Program

Grow Your Business Grant

Boost Your Business Technology Grant 

Become a Digital Advisor 

Upcoming Events and Webinars 

Even if you feel that you may not qualify for this program, a website refresh or maintenance plan can help keep your website updated and accessible for your users. Curious about what’s under the hood? Our team can help you understand what state your website is in and give suggestions on how to improve it for your visitors. Feel free to have a peek at our digital marketing services, or contact Mark at your convenience for more information.

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