Canadian Digital Adoption Program
As part of the Canada Digital Adoption Program, the Government of Canada has partnered with Kingston Economic Development Corporation to deliver the Grow Your Business Online grant to small businesses across the country.
Eligible businesses will receive a micro-grant of up to $2,400 to help with the costs related to adopting e-commerce and supported by a network of e-commerce advisors.
Eligible catchment area
Located within the County of L&A, Frontenac County (North, South, Central, Islands), Gananoque, Kingston AND have a postal code that begins with one of the following:
K0H, K7R, K7N, K0K, K7M, K7K, K7L, K7P, K7G
Businesses outside of the catchment area are encouraged to apply for the Canada Digital Adoption Program through Digital Main Street.
Eligible Small Business
Eligible ultimate recipients must be small businesses that meet all the following criteria:
· A for-profit business (including for-profit social enterprises and cooperatives)
· A registered or incorporated business
· A consumer-facing business
· A business that can be accessed by customers or provides in-person services to customers
· A business with a minimum of one employee (cannot be an owner)
· Recipients must commit to maintaining the digital adoption strategy for six months post-intervention
· A business will be required to consent to participate in follow-up surveys, having their information shared with the Government of Canada (ISED and Statistics Canada), and having the name of their business published as a recipient of funding.
Ineligible ultimate recipients (Small business)
Ineligible ultimate recipients include:
· Corporate chains, franchises, or registered charities
· Representatives of multi-level marketing companies; and,
· Real estate brokerages.
Eligible costs include, but are not limited to, the following:
· Costs related to the implementation of their digital e-commerce plan (e.g. website development, electronic payments)
· Costs related to website search optimization
· 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; and,
· Costs related to the creation of customer databases.
Ineligible costs include, but are not limited to the following
· Costs of connectivity; and,
· Costs related to the shipping of goods purchased through the e-commerce platform.
In Budget 2021, the Government of Canada announced the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) to support Canadian small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The Grow Your Business Online Program is one part of CDAP.
CDAP will help SMEs boost their e-commerce presence and digitize how they run their businesses behind the scenes. The program provides funding and expertise to businesses, as well as training and work opportunities for young Canadians as E-Commerce Advisors.
The Grow Your Business Online Program will help up to 90,000 small businesses, that haven’t yet adopted digital technologies, take advantage of e-commerce opportunities across Canada. Kingston Economic Development and the Ministry of (ISED) will support 1,165 SMEs in the surrounding area adopt a new digital strategy.
Eligible businesses will receive micro-grants of up to $2,400 to help with the costs related to adopting digital technologies, as well as support and advice from a network of E-Commerce Advisors.
Grow Your Business Online will support a network of more than 11,000 E-Commerce Advisors across the country. 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.
Applications will be assessed based on the criteria set out in this document.
Small Business Recipients
One of the following:
· A government document that confirms the business (i.e. incorporation or registration documents, CRA business number, operating/business license,); or
· Federal Business Number
And all of the following:
· Business and Owners contact information
· GST/HST number;
· A government document that confirms the payment of Payroll Source Deductions paid (the employee must have been working at the business for at least three (3) months)
· Industry type and NAICS code
· Number of years in business
· Proposal how funds will be used against the eligible cost categories (outlined in the Eligible Costs section below)
Grants will be awarded in the order received.
The application form must be submitted and approved by Kingston Economic Development before the project begins. Meeting the program intake criteria does not guarantee that the application will be approved for funding. Applicants must ensure that the application form and all required information and attachments are completed and submitted. An incomplete application cannot be approved to receive a grant.
Guide for proposal: proposed online solution / desired outcome from the grant funds / does your proposal match the eligibility requirements?
The program application has following steps:
Step 1: Complete the online application, demonstrating that you meet the eligibility criteria, provide required documents and submit your proposal for the implementation or improvement of digital technologies.
Step 2: Kingston Economic Development and its Advisors will review submitted and complete applications against eligibility criteria. Applicants will be contacted within five business days with an update of their application.
Step 3: Applicants that meet the eligibility criteria will be conditionally approved for the program and will receive a grant letter along with their grant agreement.
Step 4: Once the applicant signs the grant agreement, they will be approved into the program.
Step 5: Approved applicants are then matched with E-Commerce Advisors (should they so choose) to facilitate implementing their e-Commerce proposal should they request assistance.
Approval of funding to successful applicants will be conditional upon the terms and conditions set out in the grant letter. Following project start date, the business must submit to Kingston Economic Development the expense summary report along with receipts and/or invoice copies, with proof of payment, for all eligible project related expenses within 90 days.
· Funding agreements will require the applicant to follow program guidelines and requirements, including submitting final reports and financial reporting documents.
· Funds will be reimbursed upon review of receipts and/or invoice copies, with sufficient proof of payment.
· Small Business Recipients must commit to maintaining the digital adoption strategy for six months post intervention.
· A business will be required to consent to participating in follow-up surveys, having their information shared with the Government of Canada (ISED and Statistics Canada), and having the name of their business published as a recipient of funding.
E-Commerce Advisors will be available, at no cost to the business, to review current digital strategy and requirements, provide a recommendation on strategies for digital marketing, social media, SEO, paid advertising, and analytics to help you determine the best options for your business.
A dedicated Kingston Economic Development Liaison will be assigned to manage all aspects of the E-Commerce Advisor assignments to the business, answer questions and resolve concerns should they arise.
While the services of the E-Commerce Advisor are not mandatory, it is recommended that small businesses take advantage of this service to help ensure that they make an informed decision. Support from the from the E-Commerce Advisors will be extended to small businesses regardless of eligibility status.
All eligible costs must show a direct tie to implementing a new e-commerce store in your proposed spending plan. Anything that is not tied to directly selling products or services online, will not be an eligible expense.
· Costs related to the implementation or improvement of a digital e-commerce plan (i.e. online reservation/booking tools, online ordering systems, electronic payments)
· Costs related to website search optimization
· 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 (i.e., an e-commerce solution that allows for full integration between the storefront and back-office processes. like inventory management, order fulfillment and distribution)
· Costs of social media, advertising & marketing
Note: plan cannot be used solely for marketing purposes, it needs to be tied to the overall e-commerce 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 a new e-commerce website
· Upgrading existing e-commerce site for added functionality (i.e. new plugins, or features)
Note: redesign of an existing website is not eligible
· Software required to implement an e-commerce solution
Note: all software must be directly tied to the selling of goods and services online, and you will need to clearly outline this in your submitted plan.
· Hardware or software up to 20% of the total grant amount.
Note: All hardware and software must be directly tied to the selling of goods and services online, and you will need to clearly outline this in your submitted plan. (This covers only 20% of the eligible cost. For example, if eligible hardware costs $1,000, then only $200 can be claimed, not the full $480.)
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
· Office Software (i.e. Microsoft Office, iWork, Google Workspace, etc.)
· Renewal of digital services such as domain name, software subscription etc.
· This includes existing e-commerce 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 as 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 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
At the completion of your project you will provide invoices, along with proof of payment and will be reimbursed for eligible expenses by electronic funds transfer (EFT) or cheque. Kingston Economic Development will assess submitted expenses against eligible criteria for approval to determine final grant amount.
The Government of Canada retains the right to audit.
Recipients must submit a final report accompanied by adequate proof of payment to receive the grant payment. The Recipient must also commit to maintain digital adoption strategy for six months post intervention.
A business will be required to consent to participating in follow-up surveys, having their information shared with the Government of Canada (ISED and Statistics Canada), and having the name of their business published as a recipient of funding.
In the greater Kingston area, the Grow Your Business Online Program administered by Kingston Economic Development and operated by KEYS will support E-Commerce Advisors, and will hire, train, mentor, and deploy students as E-Commerce Advisors to support participating small businesses that require guidance to build their e-commerce and digital capabilities.
E-Commerce Advisors will receive training to understand the Grow Your Business Online Program, learn the capabilities of several e-commerce solutions and related tools, understand the basics of cyber security, develop communication skills and determine individual business needs and values.
The students will act as E-Commerce Advisors to small businesses that require guidance to build their e-commerce and digital capabilities. E-Commerce Advisors will be temporarily employed with KEYS through Kingston Economic Development for the duration of the training and placements to small businesses.
Applicant Eligibility — E-Commerce Advisors:
Applicants who have graduated from high school and are planning on pursuing post-secondary education; or currently pursuing post-secondary education; or have recently graduated from a post-secondary institution, must meet all the following eligibility criteria:
· Be a Canadian Citizen, permanent resident, or person on whom refugee protection has been conferred under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
· Be legally entitled to work according to the relevant provincial/territorial legislation and regulations; and
· Have a valid Social Insurance Number at the start of employment.
· We will ask applicants to provide the following:
· Social Insurance Number
· Current enrolment status (high school graduate, Student or Recent Graduate)
· Supporting documentation for completed education (diploma, GED, certificate, degree, etc.)
Applications will be reviewed in the order they are received.
The application form must be submitted and approved by KEYS before the employment begins. Meeting the program intake criteria does not guarantee that application will be approved. Applicants must ensure that the application form and all required information and supporting documents are completed and submitted. An incomplete application cannot be approved.
Step 1: Apply for the E-Commerce Advisor position through KEYS here.
Step 2: KEYS will review submitted and complete applications against eligibility criteria. Applicants will be contacted within 2 weeks with an update of their application.
Step 3: Students that meet the eligibility criteria will be conditionally approved to the program. They will be contacted with a letter of employment and will also be asked to provide further onboarding documentation demonstrating eligibility requirements, complete a background check, and return necessary tax documentation to proceed with employment by KEYS via Kingston Economic Development
Step 4: At final approval, an employee agreement will be issued to the applicant by KEYS for signatures.
Step 5: Once onboarding has been completed, E-Commerce Advisors will complete a training program through KEYS Kingston to learn the necessary e-commerce and digital marketing skills required to support small businesses through a work placement.
· Be available up to 20 hours a week (student schedule dependant). Special arrangements are made for co-op students. All hours are subject to approval by KEYS and Kingston Economic Development and we will reach out should any hours be in question.
· Complete the training program (20 hours) in the time allotted.
· Work with assigned businesses to review their current digital strategy, gather requirements and provide a written recommendation.
· Assist in the implementation or improvement of digital technologies.
· Complete required reporting weekly and at the end of each assignment.