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Will this Canadian funding program help your company with digital transformation?

Recent history is littered with once-formidable brands that vanished as new digital technologies took root, replacing them. 

Thinking back, I’m reminded of Kodak, Blockbuster and so many other legacy businesses that went bankrupt as competitors used tech and digital-first business models to advance product development — as well as improve delivery and capture market share. 

Fast forward to 2022 and we know digital transformation is no longer just a priority — it’s increasingly the priority for businesses across all industries.

In fact, BDO’s 2021 Technology Digital Transformation Survey found that 92% of technology companies have a digital transformation strategy underway. And it’s not just tech companies riding that wave — EY’s 2022 CEO Outlook Survey found that 47% of CEOs see technology as key to customer engagement and maintaining or improving margin

Realizing that digital transformation is mission critical for Canadian businesses, the Government of Canada has recently launched the ‘Boost Your Business Technology’ program. 

It offers grants to Canadian-owned, small- and medium-sized companies that want to adopt or create digital technologies — an important element of overall transformation strategies. 

But is it the right fit for you? Our team has reviewed the program and here’s what we found. 

Everything you need to know about the ‘Boost Your Business Technology’ grant 

This program is a subset of a larger initiative — the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) — that launched in 2021. The CDAP has committed up to $4 billion to help Canadian companies get their businesses online, update their e-commerce presence and otherwise digitize business operations.

“Eligible businesses can leverage the grant to pay for the services of a digital advisor. These advisors will work with companies to recommend digital pathways and strategies that will help them achieve their business goals and increase their competitiveness in the digital economy,” says the Government of Canada. 

To qualify you must: 

  • Be incorporated federally or provincially, or be a Canadian resident sole proprietor
  • Be a for-profit, privately owned business
  • Have between 1 – 499 full time equivalent employees
  • Have at least $500,000 of annual revenues in one of the previous three tax years

If you are eligible, the grant can cover up to 90% of the cost of a digital advisor, to a maximum of $15,000.

You also might be able to secure a 0% interest loan from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), to facilitate the acquisition of new technologies. And there is funding available to subsidize work placements for post-secondary students, as well.

That said, I’ve come across some criticism of the program over the fact there’s no requirement that the funding be used to contract Canadian companies and vendors. So a business could choose to send grant money to massive U.S. tech companies like Meta (formerly Facebook), Google and Microsoft.

While this isn’t an ideal scenario for Canadian economic growth overall, it still might be a boon for your company because it gives you options for where you can invest the funding.

Bottom line: Take advantage of tech opportunities that help you solve business challenges

I think the ‘Boost Your Business Technology’ program could offer a step in the right direction for many smaller Canadian companies — particularly those that need help accelerating their digital transformation efforts, by adopting new tech or even launching digital apps or software.

From market competition to rising costs of labour and pressure from capital investors, we know that SMEs need to solve business problems with a technology-first approach. 

This is true for companies that don’t have tech in their DNA (e.g., traditional or legacy companies founded before the internet took hold), as well as for those that don’t have the in-house knowledge or resources to create digital products, which might help them achieve internal efficiencies or compete in their industry. 

At Vog App Developers, we often work with clients who need a digital solution to a business problem, but don’t have the capacity to create it themselves. 

Sometimes the challenge is even further upstream, if a business isn’t sure which digital product they need to advance their business

We get it. A digital transformation journey is complex and multifaceted. 

So when it comes to developing new tech as part of an overarching transformation strategy, your best bet is to find a good partner who can help determine the right technology solution for your specific business challenge — then bring that digital product to life.

To learn more about the grant, visit the Boost Your Business Technology page on the Government of Canada website.