Grow Your Business Online: Quick facts

Current status: Closed

Thank you for your interest in the Call for Applications for Service Providers for Stream 1: Grow Your Business Online. The call for applications is now closed.

About the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) – Grow Your Business Online

What is Grow Your Business Online?

Grow Your Business Online will help smaller, retail businesses digitize and take advantage of e-commerce opportunities. Eligible businesses will receive micro-grants to help with costs related to adopting digital technologies, as well as support and advice from a network of youth digital advisors.

What is the aim of Grow Your Business Online?

The aim of Grow Your Business Online is to help Canadian small businesses adopt e-commerce digital technologies, and to provide training and work opportunities for youth.

What are the terms and conditions?

Funding for Grow Your Business Online will flow through the terms and conditions established under the Canada Digital Adoption Program.

About eligibility

Who is eligible to apply?

Grow Your Business Online will award funding to regional and national not-for-profit organizations that can support small businesses in developing and implementing new technologies, as well as hire, train, and place young people as youth digital advisors with small businesses to help them implement their plans (a young digital advisor will support more than one business).

Eligible applicants must be Canadian incorporated not-for-profit organizations such as:

  • A business and entrepreneur support organization;
  • A research/innovation hub;
  • An Indigenous organization;
  • A Provincial/Territorial Crown corporation, agency or other entity created by a provincial/territorial government or provincial/territorial ministry;
  • A business accelerator or incubator; or,
  • A consortia of not-for-profit and for-profit organizations/entities where the not-for-profit organization is the lead proponent.

Who is not eligible to apply?

For-profit organizations are ineligible to apply for Grow Your Business Online. However, a for-profit organization can be a partner in an application, but cannot be the lead partner.

What activities are eligible for funding?

Eligible activities are those that support small businesses in developing and implementing their e-commerce strategies.  Through these activities, Grow Your Business Online seeks to increase digital adoption and business competitiveness for Canadian small businesses. To view the eligibility criteria, please consult the Application Guide.

What costs are eligible costs funding?

Eligible costs are those that are necessary to support small businesses  in developing and implementing their e-commerce strategies. For a list of examples, please consult the Application Guide.

What costs are ineligible?

For a list of examples, please consult the Application Guide.

How is capacity building defined?

Capacity building is the process by which organizations obtain, improve, and retain the skills, knowledge, tools, equipment, and other resources needed to do their jobs competently. It allows individuals and organizations to perform at a greater capacity (larger scale, larger audience, larger impact, etc.).

Based on the CDAP eligible costs the following capacity building costs are admissible:


  • Professional development for management and administrative staff;
  • IT requirements; and,
  • Marketing/promotion.

Youth Digital Advisors:

  • Recruitment, training, and deployment to small businesses; and,
  • Costs that support the use of tools and products for skills development (amortized on a per-youth digital advisor basis over the period of use).

About the application process

How can I submit my application?

Please see the application guide for details.

How long is the application process?

The application process will last 4 weeks and close on August 6, 2021 at 17:59 (Pacific Daylight Time).

What documents do I need to submit as part of my application?

The documents required to support your application are provided in a checklist within the Application Guide. You may also attach any other documents that you find relevant to your application.

How do I download and open the application form?

The Application Form is an electronic Adobe PDF form that can only be opened using Adobe Reader. We recommend that you download the PDF, save it locally, and open it using Adobe Reader. The Internet Explorer browser is usually able to open this type of PDF form, but other browsers will likely not allow you to see this PDF because specific browser configurations are needed. These other browsers will still allow you to download the PDF locally, where you can work with Adobe Reader.

Downloading and opening PDF files for PC users:

  • Find the link of the file you want to save (you may need to go back to the previous page to find it);
  • Right-click the link;
  • Select "Save target as" or "Save link as";
  • Choose the location on your computer where you would like to save the file;
  • Select "Save";
  • Use Windows Explorer to get to the location where you saved the file;
  • Right click on the PDF file;
  • Select "Open with";
  • Select "Choose program";
  • Select "Adobe Acrobat Reader";
  • Make sure to check the box that says, "Always use this program to open these files"; and,
  • Select "OK".

Once the form is completed, attach the required additional documents to it, and electronically submit by clicking on the "Submit" button at the bottom of the application form.

Can I submit more than one application package?

Eligible organizations may submit only one application package.

Can applicants select which official language they wish to submit their application in?

Yes. Applicants may submit their application documents in either English or French.  However, services to Canadian small businesses will need to be provided in both official languages.

What are your service standards?

Once you submit an application, our goal is to acknowledge the receipt of a completed and signed application package within 48 hours of receiving it (during working days). We will respond to general inquiries within 48 hours (during working days).

What if I miss the deadline for applications?

The deadline of August 6, 2021 at 17:59 (Pacific Daylight Time) is firm. All applicants are encouraged to download the Application Form and Guide ahead of time and ensure that they are finalized and submitted well before the deadline. Technical issues within the last 24 hours of the close of the call for proposal do not constitute reasonable grounds for not meeting the deadline. If you need assistance with the Application Form please email a minimum of 24 hours prior to the close of the deadline.

Will there be another round for applications?

We do not anticipate another intake for CDAP at this time.

Can I get reimbursed for the application fees that I paid to the company who filled out my application?

Any costs associated with submitting an application to CDAP are not reimbursable, as outlined in the Application Guide.

Can my organization be part of more than one application?

An organization that is acting as the lead applicant in one application may be a supporting partner in another application. In fact, collaboration among organizations at the regional level is encouraged, and may lead to a stronger application. It should be noted that each organization's responsibility for each milestone in each proposal must be plainly stated, as they may vary between projects.

About the assessment process

When will decisions be made about the applications and how will applicants be notified?

Funding decisions are expected to be announced this summer. All applicants will be notified in writing if their application has been approved or rejected. 

How will applications be assessed?

An initial screening will be conducted. Applications will all be assessed to ensure that they are complete and that they met the eligibility requirements. Incomplete applications – that is, those that do not follow the published application guidelines or do not meet the eligibility requirements – will be screened out and not advance to the assessment stage. In addition, applications that do not respond to the priorities outlined in the applicant guide will be screened out. Applications responding to the priorities will be assessed against the assessment criteria published in the Application Guide.

Will certain types of organizations be preferred over others?

Preference will be given to applicants that:

  • Have multi-regional (more than 2 provinces or territories) or national reach;
  • Demonstrate significant experience in delivering digital adoption activities;
  • Are seeking to amplify existing service offerings in digital adoption; and,
  • Have the capacity to start service delivery by early Fall 2021.

Can the project start and end date be changed?

All applicants whose applications have been approved will have the opportunity to adjust the project start and end dates. However, projects cannot have an end date later than March 31, 2025.

Can my application be reconsidered through an appeal process?

Funding decisions are final. There is no appeal mechanism.

About funding

How many organizations will receive funding?

The number of successful applicants will be determined based on the number of organizations that apply and the availability of funding.

How will funding be given in Grow Your Business Online?

Non-repayable contributions will be allocated over a four-year period to selected projects via the Call for Applications process.  Successful applicants will enter into a contribution agreement with the Government of Canada.

What amount of funding can I request in my proposal?

The total amount requested may not exceed $45,000,000 per applicant.

Can I start working on my project and incur expenses before hearing about the approval?

Any costs incurred before an application is approved and a contribution agreement is signed are not eligible for reimbursement.  The applicant will need to absorb these costs.

How long a duration should my project be?

Applicants should submit a proposal with a target start date of early Fall 2021 and end by March 31, 2025.

Can the $2,400 micro-grant be used to cover training for small business?

The $2,400 micro-grant cannot be used for training for the small business. However, the small business may use these funds to cover consultation services to help achieve e-commerce proficiency that cannot be offered through the youth digital advisor.

What costs can be covered by the $7,300 per youth digital advisor?

The funding of $7,300 per youth digital advisor can be used to cover youth digital advisor-related costs, including: salaries and benefits (including, at minimum, a salary based on your province's minimum wage); recruitment, training, and deployment to small businesses; cost of equipment or tools used by the youth digital advisor (amortized on a per-youth digital advisor basis over the period of use); and source deductions. Youth digital advisor training and work opportunities must be linked to support for small businesses in the development and implementation of their e-commerce strategies.

As an example of the amortization of the cost of equipment or tools used by the youth digital advisor: If a piece of equipment costs $1,000 and is used by 10 youth digital advisors during the fiscal year, then the cost per youth digital advisor for the fiscal year is $100.

Can the funding of $7,300 per youth digital advisor be increased?

The funding amount of $7,300 per youth digital advisor was determined through a Government of Canada program-design process in light of available funding. This process considered various factors such as salaries, benefits, recruitment, training, equipment, tools, and source deductions. Because the program parameters are set and limited, additional funds per youth digital advisor are not available. Note that a youth digital advisor can return as a youth digital advisor in subsequent fiscal years and access a second round of funding.

Can I receive CDAP funding while receiving other government funding for digital adoption?

Total Canadian government assistance for all eligible costs under CDAP – Grow Your Business Online, including federal, provincial/territorial and municipal governments, cannot exceed 100% of total eligible costs funded.

Further, funding recipients under CDAP – Grow Your Business Online are subject to a maximum level of total Canadian government (municipal, provincial/territorial, federal) funding, or "stacking limit," authorized for any one activity, initiative, or project. Recipients are obligated, as set out in the Contribution Agreement, to disclose all Canadian government financial assistance that they have requested and/or received towards eligible activities under the Contribution Agreement.

In the event that the recipient exceeds the stacking limit, the Government of Canada will adjust the Contribution Agreement accordingly to respect the above mentioned limit.

About reporting requirements

How will this initiative be monitored? What are the reporting requirements?

Financial reporting will be required with each request for reimbursement of expenditures, in addition to year-end accounting and other financial information, as required. In addition, progress and performance reports outlined in the Contribution Agreement will also be required.  The Government of Canada will report on this initiative as part of the regular reporting processes established through the Estimates Process.

Other questions

What languages are available for the streams?

Both streams of the CDAP will comply with all applicable official language requirements, as per the Official Languages Act and related regulations.