How Canada Digital Adoption Program helps online businesses

Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the Canadian economy. In the aftermath of COVID-19, most small businesses find themselves feeling insecure about their finances. The Government of Canada provides financial support in the form of loans, grants, and subsidies to small businesses to promote economic growth and development. Finding the right financing option is essential to the success of any startup and it’s important to research these options before coming to a decision. 

One such initiative is the Canada Digital Adoption Program to help Canadian-owned SMEs grow their online presence and upgrade or adopt digital technologies. Under this grant, businesses can cover 90% of costs upto $15,000 to access digital advisory services to develop a digital adoption plan. They also have access to interest-free loans from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and opportunities for student placements. 

According to Hon. Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, “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 owners and entrepreneurs to apply for the CDAP and leverage technology to grow their business and access new customers around the world.”

Eligibility criteria

In order to be eligible for this financing option, you and your business must meet the following criteria.

  • You must be a business owner or director. 
  • Your business must be legally registered. 
  • Your business must be privately owned and run for profit. 
  • Your business must have between 1-499 full-time employees. 
  • You must have at least $500,000 of yearly revenues in one of the previous three tax years.

Start your application

  • Provide basic information about yourself and your business.
  • Complete a digital needs assessment for your business. 
  • Outline your company’s digital maturity and compare it with the industry benchmark.
  • Once you’ve submitted your digital needs assessment, you will be assigned a digital advisor for developing your digital plan. 
  • When the digital adoption plan is complete, you can submit it to process your grant payment. 

Quick facts

Here are a few quick facts about the program’s efficacy in helping SMEs improve their financial standing in a post-pandemic world. 

  • The CDAP is expected to support as many as 160,000 small businesses and create employment opportunities for thousands of individuals. 
  • Funding includes $1.4 billion in grants and advisory services to SMEs to help cover the cost of digital transformation plans. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has seen a sharp increase in e-commerce sales. Canada alone saw a growth of more than 75% in 2020 as mandatory isolations pushed shoppers to rely more heavily on online retailers.