How CDAP Can Help Retailers Grow their Business

By Scott Newman

If you are a retailer or service professional in Canada, you may be interested in the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP). The federal government initiative offers grants and loans to help businesses grow online and compete in the digital economy.

As a retail business owner, I’m always on the lookout for growth opportunities. When I stumbled upon CDAP, it was a game-changer. Balancing new ventures, budgets and cash flows can be challenging; CDAP made it easier. The funds afforded the opportunity to enhance my business’ website, introduce marketing automation tools and experiment with new ad projects. While these measures could have been pursued without the program, the government support streamlined the process, making my business’ growth path less strenuous.

CDAP offers two distinct pathways for businesses. Stream 1 is tailored for businesses seeking to establish their e-commerce presence and boost online sales. Importantly, it is an ideal route for those companies that might not meet criteria for Stream 2.

Stream 2 is specifically designed for businesses yearning for expert advice on the technological advancements that could potentially transform their operations.

Each stream provides unique funding and support opportunities based on the specific needs of your business.

Stream 1: Grow Your Business Online
Stream 1 offers a grant of up to $2,400 to develop a new e-commerce website or add functionality to your business’ existing site. You can also use the grant to install an e-commerce platform, hire a consultant to develop digital marketing, use website search optimization and social media advertising, or track and manage inventory and sales using e-commerce software.

The application process for Stream 1 is straightforward. Simply visit Grow your Business Online: Get Started, where you will find eligibility criteria and information about requisite documentation.

For my business, I received the full $2,400 to offset expenses I was already incurring or planned to spend on. This provided the confidence to experiment with new advertising services and website improvements without the risk, knowing a portion of the expenses would be covered.

Stream 2: Boost Your Business Technology
Stream 2 offers up to $15,000 in funding to obtain advice on technologies that can help your business. You can also access a zero-interest loan of up to $100,000 from the Business Development Bank of Canada to implement your digital plan. Additionally, you can receive a wage subsidy of up to $7,300 to hire a young talent who will assist with your digital transformation.

Stream 2 was an extraordinary benefit to my business. I received a $50,000 loan at zero-interest over five-plus years, which has saved thousands in fees while providing capital I would not typically access. What’s more, the $7,300 wage subsidy enabled the hiring of a new employee to manage these initiatives — a huge benefit for a small business. The digital adoption plan offered valuable insights, identifying areas of improvement to enhance efficiencies, increase leads and sales, and deliver superior customer service.

A digital advisor is crucial to apply for Stream 2. They’ll assess your business’ digital maturity and assist in crafting a digital adoption plan. To be eligible, you must be a small or medium-sized business in Canada, operating with fewer than 500 employees, and have generated annual revenue of at least $500,000, but less than $1 million, in one of the last three fiscal reporting years. Your business must also have a digital adoption plan approved under CDAP guidelines.

If your business is eligible for both streams, you have the option to apply for each in separate fiscal years to fully leverage the benefits of CDAP. From personal experience, I’d recommend opting for Stream 2 first, if eligible, since it offers a broader range of opportunities.

Scott Newman is an experienced user of the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP). Having successfully navigated both Stream 1 and 2, he offers a free CDAP consultancy service to other businesses to help them streamline the complex application process. Scott can be reached at 647-774-4084 and scott@zeropercentloan.ca.

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