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What Business Owners Need to Know Before Applying for the New Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP)

By Diane Amato

Published November 28, 2022 • 5 Min Read

Even if you own a brick-and-mortar business, the benefits of implementing digital capabilities are undeniable. Not only can you reach a broader range of customers when you take your business online, but digital technology can also help you automate tasks, develop more efficient processes, boost your brand presence, and access a greater selection of inventory and suppliers.

However, implementing digital technologies may be an overwhelming prospect for many small- and medium-sized businesses. There’s a lot that can stand in the way of making a digital shift, whether you’ve always done business a certain way, have little time to research and implement new or additional technology, or lack the expertise to make it happen. Recognizing this reality, the Government of Canada has launched the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP), a $4 billion investment to help small- and medium-sized businesses get online and adopt new technologies in order to increase competitiveness and resilience.

“Giving Canadian small businesses and entrepreneurs access to programs and services that can enable them to digitize their business is a crucial strategy, especially given current market conditions that reward businesses that are agile, adaptable, and innovative. CDAP is just one example of the many grant programs available that are supporting business owners as they grow and make investments.” Dieter Eisbrenner, President of GrantMatch, a software-enabled services firm that specializes in securing government grants and incentives for diverse North American businesses across many sectors.

CDAP supports businesses in reaching their full potential through two funding options to help businesses get online and use technology to grow.

How to Apply for a CDAP Grant:

  • Visit the CDAP page on the Government of Canada website and identify which grant you may be eligible for.

  • Connect with a local service provider listed on the program web site who will help you develop a spending plan and apply for the grant.

  • Depending on your local service provider’s criteria as well as what you are looking to fund, once your grant is approved you will be reimbursed for the new costs incurred as part of your approved spending plan or you will choose from a list of approved vendors/digital adoption advisors on the CDAP web site to implement your approved plan.

Grow Your Business Online Grant

For smaller, consumer-facing businesses, the Grow Your Business Online grant is designed to help SMEs adopt e-commerce technologies.

What is it?Eligibility Requirements
Offers up to $2,400 in funding, this grant is intended to cover costs related to:
  • The implementation or improvement of a digital e-commerce platform
  • Website search optimization
  • Software solutions to support an e-commerce strategy
  • Applicants must be a registered or incorporated for-profit, consumer-facing business.
  • Social media advertising
  • The creation of customer databases
  • Businesses must have at least one employee (other than owner) or at least $30,000 in annual revenue in the most recent tax year.
  • Cyber security costs
  • Relevant hardware and software purchases
  • Applicants must also commit to maintaining their digital adoption strategy for 6 months
  • Costs to hire an agency to help plan and implement a digital solution

The grant doesn’t cover costs related to connectivity, upgrading a current website, existing operations, payroll, rebranding and other costs that don’t support the new development and/or implementation of digital solutions.

Boost Your Business Technology Grant

Designed for larger businesses ready to adopt new digital technologies.

What is it?Eligibility Requirements
  • Businesses must be incorporated federally or provincially or be a Canadian resident sole proprietor.
  • Provides businesses with up to $15,000 to get advice on the technologies that can propel their business forward. In addition, it offers up to $100,000 in interest-free loans from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) to implement those technologies.
  • For-profit, privately owned businesses with 1-499 full-time equivalent employees are eligible, providing they have at least $500,000 in annual revenue in one of the previous three tax years.
  • Businesses can leverage the grant to pay for the services of a digital advisor who will provide strategies that will help them achieve their business goals and increase their competitiveness in the digital economy.
  • Further, businesses must have completed a digital adoption plan (as part of CDAP or another recognized digital adoption program) and submitted it to CDAP.

Hiring Support for Service Providers

In addition to offering funding opportunities to support technology-related projects, these grants also help support and train young entrepreneurs looking to become e-commerce advisors to Canadian businesses.

“The grant will help businesses across Canada realize their full potential by adopting new technologies and recovering from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic”, says Mark Patterson, Executive Director, Magnet. “The grant also offers employers access to wage subsidies to hire youth to support the implementation of new digital strategies and technology. In our capacity as a program delivery partner, Magnet will support 16,800 youth work placements across Canada over the next three years.”

What is it?Eligibility Requirements
Your business can benefit from a funded work placement through Magnet if:
  • Business owners can hire youth using the work placement portal powered by Magnet to support eligible businesses approved by the Boost Your Business Technology grant, with access to wage subsidies of up to $7,300.
  • For-profit, privately owned businesses with 1-499 full-time equivalent employees are eligible, providing they have at least $500,000 in annual revenue in one of the previous three tax years.
    • You have a recognized Digital Adoption Plan and have been approved by CDAP for the BDC loan fast track.

To learn more about grant details, eligibility requirements, and the application process, visit the Government of Canada website.

This article is intended as general information only and is not to be relied upon as constituting legal, financial or other professional advice. A professional advisor should be consulted regarding your specific situation. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the authors as of the date of publication and are subject to change. No endorsement of any third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products or services is expressly given or implied by Royal Bank of Canada or any of its affiliates.

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