The Canadian government has announced its plan to invest $4 billion over the next four years to support small to medium enterprises (SMEs) across the country. The initiative is proposed to help 160,000 SMEs adopt digital technologies and expand their online presence.
This all comes in light of the challenges brought on by the global pandemic. The government is hoping to help businesses get back on their feet and hit the ground running into a new age of digital economic development.
“Small businesses have shown incredible resilience over the last two years as they faced unprecedented challenges from the pandemic. Supporting them has been – and will continue to be – a top priority for our government. That’s why we’re launching the Canada Digital Adoption Program to empower small businesses with the digital tools they need, while helping them create good jobs, particularly for young Canadians.”
Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada
The Canada Digital Adoption Program provides companies with the required momentum to digitally transform their operation after the stalls of the pandemic.
The world is becoming more digital by the second. To stay competitive and meet their customers’ needs in the digital marketplace, companies need to be ready to act on opportunities to adopt digital technologies and transform their operations intelligently.
When we say small businesses are the backbone of the economy, it's no joke. Small businesses account for 97.9% of the total businesses in Canada (approximately 1.2 million). On the other hand, medium and large businesses only account for 2.1%.
It is for this reason that small businesses are the focus of the CDAP. Giving these businesses a way to reduce their investment costs in new technology will have the largest gain for the country and the industry.
Adding to this, small businesses have been hit especially hard amidst the pandemic. StatsCan reported that small businesses were more likely to experience a decrease in revenue over the pandemic. At the same time, they were also reported to be unwilling to increase their debt by buying new technologies.
The CDAP hopes to see eligible companies take on more digital properties with less risk to their bottom line.
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To help Canadian businesses kickstart their digital transformation, the government of Canada is willing to invest some big money - $4 billion to be exact. Through the CDAP, companies can apply for funding from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).
The total amount is broken into 2 categories:
Companies can use the funding to make digital advancements such as:
Isabelle Hudon, president and CEO of the Business Development Bank and Canada, had this to say about the need for investment in Canadian companies.
“Canada’s small- and medium-sized businesses need more tools, more resources, and more financing to go digital. This is what our clients shared with us and the reason why BDC is so pleased to be part of the Canada Digital Adoption Program and offer advice and zero percent interest loans to entrepreneurs, helping them meet their clients’ evolving needs. This is an investment in Canada’s future competitiveness and growth.”
Isabelle Hudon, President and CEO, Business Development Bank of Canada
This push is expected to help up to 160,000 SMEs across the country meet the evolving needs of the global market and industries.
Eligibility for the program mostly comes down to the size and specific needs of your business. But there are some stipulations.
Companies can only apply if they meet all of the following requirements:
If your company meets these criteria then you are on your way to digitally advancing your operation!
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Companies can apply for access to the CDAP through two major streams:
The Grow Your Business Online steam will help up to 90,000 businesses that have not yet made the move to e-commerce. Businesses that are accepted into the program will receive small grants of up to $2,400 to help buy the software and hardware they need to advance into e-commerce integration and opportunities.
Since the stream is only available to small-sized businesses with less than 100 employees, it is a perfect opportunity for restaurants and recreation-based businesses.
The Boost Your Business Technology stream offers funding that will assist small and medium enterprises adopt new technologies. What’s great is that this program supplies eligible businesses with digital adoption experts who will help companies develop a digital roadmap that’s tailored to their needs.
Digital transformation and adoption of new technologies will enable Canadian companies to remain competitive within the ever-evolving digital marketplace. But it needs to be done intelligently and with a plan.
Pro Tip: Did you know that VKS also offers you complete digital transformation guidance? As you tell us about the specific needs of your company, we will create a custom digital adoption plan that gets your work instruction software up and running in a matter of days. With VKS, you are never alone in your digital transformation..
An influx of $4 billion geared towards digital transformation will definitely help advance Canada’s contribution to the global digital market. It will also do far more than that.
The Canada Digital Adoption Program will see 3 distinct benefits.
By investing in the growth of companies within its borders, Canada is investing in its own Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These companies will be able to leverage new technologies and make products with higher demand. Without getting too deep into economic theory, a higher GDP is beneficial for the government and all Canadians.
The program will support up to 160,000 SMEs across the country. Since the goal is for Canadian industries to adopt new technologies and pursue e-commerce, there are very few limitations on what type of business can benefit from the program.
The Canada Digital Adoption Program is geared towards helping all Canadians, as Mary Ng states:
“Our government is committed to ensuring that all Canadian businesses benefit from the digital economy – from main street retail shops to entrepreneurs to manufacturers. The Canada Digital Adoption Program will support as many as 160,000 small- and medium-sized businesses to adopt new technologies while creating thousands of jobs for young Canadians. I encourage small business and owners and entrepreneurs to apply for the CDAP and leverage technology to grow their business and access new customers around the world.”
Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
Businesses of all shapes and sizes, from manufacturers to restaurants, can use this program to digitally advance their business.
As companies adopt more digital technologies, the expectation is that the industry will need to hire and train more people. With an already growing skills gap within the manufacturing sector, getting more people involved in digital adoption will go a long way in alleviating the problem.
The government is hiring 11,200 youth digital advisors who will provide support and advice to help SMEs adopt new technology and kick start their e-commerce expansion. This opens an avenue for young people to play an integral role in the future Canadian economy while also moving into the STEM fields. Additionally, incorporating the next generation of workers in the digital transformation of the industry will help close the growing skills gap.
Pro Tip: Digital adoption is a major boost and benefit for individuals and teams of dedicated employees. Work instruction software enables people to gain new skills, enhance communication, and gather new levels of insight..
Manufacturers are key candidates to benefit from the Canada Digital Adoption Program. With complex operations becoming the norm and growing mixed-model assembly lines in high demand, Canadian manufacturers need digital and technological adoption more than ever before.
The CDAP will enable manufacturers to take their operations to the next level of performance and growth with easy investments in tools like work instruction software and e-commerce platforms. Through digitizing their operations, manufacturers gather in-depth information and knowledge that helps their business produce more quality output. And e-commerce platforms help bring this output to the world in a faster and more intelligent method.
The great part is that the Canadian government is alleviating some of the expenses associated with advancing manufacturing operations. Although, advancing with technological advancements of the era is a small risk when considering the potential losses of not adopting digital technologies sooner.
Here at VKS, we see digital transformation as more than just an opportunity. It is a necessity. Digital operations powered by work instruction software provide manufacturers and others with the means to grow intelligently and confidently.
We are excited to see the Business Development Bank of Canada support small and medium enterprises with funding towards strengthening the new connected economy while also taking steps to create more jobs and empower Canadian workers.