In the digital age, it's crucial for consumer-facing businesses to develop and implement e-commerce capabilities to remain competitive. The adoption of digital technologies enables businesses to serve existing customers more effectively and to attract new customers in the digital marketplace.
The Grow Your Business Online grant will help up to 90,000 small businesses take advantage of e-commerce opportunities.
Eligible businesses will receive a micro-grant of up to $2,400 to help with the costs related to adopting digital technologies. Grants will be available through local and regional service providers across Canada. The application period to become a service provider has closed. The service providers will also support a network of e-commerce advisors who will advise and help small businesses adopt e-commerce.
Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED)
Step 1: Use the assessment tool to determine if your business is eligible and best suited for the Grow Your Business Online grant.
Step 2: Read the eligibility criteria carefully to make sure your business meets the required criteria to apply.
Step 3: Businesses will be directed to their local service providers in their home province or region for details on how to apply for the grant.
Step 4: Your service provider will ensure that your business meets the eligibility requirements.
Applications can only be submitted by a small business that meets all of the following criteria:
- Is a for-profit business (including for-profit social enterprises and co-operatives)
- Is a registered or incorporated business
- Is a consumer-facing business
- Can be accessed by consumers or provides in-person services to consumers
- Has at least one employee (other than the owner)
- Indigenous-owned businesses and businesses located in the Territories must have either one employee (other than the owner) OR have had at least $30,000 in annual revenue in the most recent tax year
- Must commit to maintaining digital adoption strategy for six months after participation in the program
- Must consent to participating in follow-up surveys, sharing information with the Government of Canada (ISED and Statistics Canada), and having the name of the business published as a recipient of funding
The following types of small businesses are ineligible:
- Corporate chains, franchises or registered charities
- Representatives of multi-level marketing companies
- Real estate brokerages
- Businesses that engage in online reselling or drop-shipping businesses reliant on third-party suppliers
- Wholesale or distribution businesses and manufacturers (unless their business model includes direct sales to the end consumer)
Eligible and ineligible costs
Eligible costs* include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Costs related to the implementation or improvement of a digital e-commerce plan (e.g. online reservation/booking tools, online ordering systems, electronic payments)
- Costs related to website search optimization
- Note: plan cannot be used solely for website search optimization, it needs to be tied to overall eCommerce implementation plan, and not a standalone item
- Costs related to the installation of an e-commerce platform (including subscription fees/costs);
- Costs of back-office solutions to support an e-commerce strategy
- Costs of social media advertising
- Note: plan cannot be strictly social media advertising, it needs to be tied to overall eCommerce implementation plan, and not a standalone item
- Costs related to the creation of customer databases
- Hiring a consultant/agency to execute Digital Marketing initiatives related to your e-commerce store
- Development of new e-commerce website
- Upgrading existing eCommerce site for added functionality (i.e., new plugins, or features);
- Please note redesign of an existing site is not eligible
- E-commerce software including:
- Software to track and manage product inventory, as well as fulfill and ship orders,
- Software for product databases
- Software to track sales, market to customers, offer discounts, maintain a loyalty programs
- Software to simplify marketing
- Cyber Security software or certifications
- Hardware and accompanying software up to 20% of total grant amount
- As for examples of limited coverage for software, it would be any software that is bought with the equipment that is required to support an e-commerce strategy. For instance, if a small business buys a new e-commerce integrated point of sale (POS) system that costs $1,300 (including software), CDAP will cover 20% or $260.
* Please note all eligible costs must be directly tied to the sale of goods and services online (i.e. online reservations/ordering or chat bot function on website), and you will need to clearly outline this in your application.
Ineligible costs include, but are not limited to, the following:
- Costs of connectivity
- Costs related to the shipping of goods purchased through the e-commerce platform
- Purchases made prior to grant approval
- Renewal of digital services such as domain name, software subscription etc.
- This includes existing eCommerce subscriptions
- Signage and printing
- Logo redesign and rebranding
- Business Owner's salary or current employee salary for executing the project
- Costs of land, building or vehicle purchase
- Costs of intangible assets such a goodwill, whether capitalized or expensed
- Depreciation or amortization expenses
- Interest on invested capital, bonds, or debentures
- Bond discount
- Monthly mortgage, loan and/or rent payments
- Refinancing of an existing debt
- Losses on investments, bad debts, and any other debts
- Fines or penalties
- Costs related to litigation
- Fees for administrators including payments to any member or officer of the Recipient's Board of Directors
- Opportunity costs
- Hospitality and entertainment costs
- Franchise fees and/or franchise license costs
- Lobbyist fees
- New capital expenditure
- Consulting fees for submission of CDAP application or any costs not related to the acquisition or set up of technology solution
E-commerce advisors will have the opportunity to work with local small businesses to assess their digital needs and help them develop their e-commerce strategies and deploy new digital technologies.
Eligible e-commerce advisors must be one of the following:
- Individuals who have graduated from high school and are planning on pursuing a post-secondary education;
- Individuals currently pursuing post-secondary education; or,
- Individuals who have recently graduated from a post-secondary institution.
Advisors will receive training from their service provider covering several topics:
- Understanding the Grow Your Business Online grants
- Learning the capabilities of several e-commerce solutions and related tools
- Understanding the basics of cyber security
- Developing communication skills
- Determining an individual business's needs and values
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