E-commerce and digitalization | Four billion for “digital adoption”

Nearly 160,000 small and medium -sized businesses in Canada that want to enhance their online presence or modernize their operations now have $ 4 billion. This is the global value offered by the new Canadian Digital Adoption Program (CANP), a commitment of the Trudeau government’s 2021 budget.

Updated March 4th

Karim Benessaieh

Karim Benessaieh
The Press

Under this four -year program, these SMEs will have access to a maximum of $ 22,300 in grants. For the implementation of the actual change, an interest -free loan of up to $ 100,000 will be offered by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC).

“Small and medium -sized businesses in Canada need more tools, resources and financing to go digital,” Isabelle Hudon, President and CEO of BDC, said in a press release.

Investing in digital is investing in Canada’s future competitiveness and growth.

Isabelle Hudon, President and CEO of BDC

SMEs with at least one employee can now register for this relatively complex program, which has two distinct parts, for which journalists were given a 45 -minute technical briefing on Friday.

The first part aims to develop commercial activities online, through an existing transactional website or one to be developed, and will entitle you to a maximum grant of $ 2,400 to “alleviate the costs associated with use. of digital technologies ”, he explains. -We. More importantly, these companies will have access to a network of e-commerce consultants registered in a federal government database, who will guide SMEs through this process.

For this first phase, we target all SMEs that are “consumer accessible, offering services in person”, we explain in Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada. The example is given by retail businesses, restaurants or tourism, which have at least one employee. 90,000 companies are expected to participate in this first phase.

Internships and loans

The second part of the program is much more generous. Its purpose: “to enable SMEs to use new digital technologies to transform their activities, to be more competitive and productive”, we explain.

First, to establish a plan for this digital shift, we offer a grant to reimburse up to 90%, for a maximum of $ 15,000, of associated costs. Once this plan is adopted, SMEs will be entitled to a $ 100,000 interest -free loan from BDC to implement it. At the same time, the $ 7,300 wage subsidy makes it possible to offer paid internships to young graduates, to support these companies in their digital transformation. We expect to offer 30,000 internships.

We target companies from all sectors, especially retail, manufacturing, construction, professional services, health, food production and agriculture. Sizes range from 1 to 499 employees, with annual revenues of $ 500,000 to $ 100 million. 70,000 businesses are expected to participate in the second phase of the program.

Registration for the Canadian Digital Adoption Program has already begun and is being done on the website designed for the occasion. We suggest in particular an evaluation tool, the presentation of eligibility criteria and the consultation of a bank of nearby suppliers. SMEs have until March 31, 2025 to take advantage of it.

“I encourage small business owners and entrepreneurs to apply for CANP and use the technology to grow their business and find new customers anywhere in the world,” Mary Ng said in a statement. , Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development.

This new program is in addition to the Digital Transformation Offensive, launched by the Legault government in March 2021, which provides funding of 130 million to support companies that want to modernize their activities.

“Good initiative” … to improve

The federal program has been relatively well received by the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), which brings together about 100,000 SMEs nationwide. “It’s a great initiative,” said Jasmin Guénette, vice-president of national affairs. “When business leaders are asked what their priorities are in the coming years, connecting with consumers online is one of them.»

On the side of Quebec Manufacturers and Exporters, the CEO, Véronique Proulx, also qualifies this program as a “good initiative” that will help the smallest companies take the big technological step. “We see that large companies are taking a 4.0 turn. This is a size that is suitable for the smallest manufacturing SME that wants to take the first steps; it” eliminates risk “the operation, especially for the irreversible which is part of the grant. »

At the CFIB, Mr. Guénette said, however, that the PCAN raises “some question marks”. The internship program offered to young graduates, at first, seemed vague to him. “What kind of skills will be needed to be hired in the work of service-providing organizations? How can we be sure that these young people really have the necessary training to offer counseling services tailored to needs?»

The financial standard for the second phase, which targets digital transformation of SMEs with revenues between $ 500,000 and $ 100 million, is not appropriate, he added. “Does a company with a revenue of 100 million need such a program to improve its technologies?»

Leave a Comment