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What is the Canada Digital Adoption Program? (+ How to Apply)

August 3, 2023 5 min. read
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The Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP) offers grants and guidance to Canadian business owners who want to grow using digital technology.

Getting CDAP funding is a great way to stay on budget while you invest in tools that improve your efficiency, digital marketing, and other growth initiatives.

If you’re wondering how to apply and if you’re eligible, this guide is the place to start. We’ll break down what grants are available, what you can use the funding for, and how to start the application process.

Why should you apply?

The Canada Digital Adoption Program can help you pay for the digital tools you want for your business, while providing strategic guidance to plan for those tools.

CDAP grants are interest-free and help you fund the technology you need to work more efficiently, expand your online marketing, or find other ways to compete in your industry.

Scott Newman, owner of NewRidge Refinishing Group, used his CDAP funding on digital marketing tools that attract and retain more customers.

“The CDAP, and programs like it, are critical for home service business owners because they support the transition to digital—which is now an essential part of doing business.”

The program encourages businesses to bolster their online presence and invest in digital marketing tools such as SEO and pay-per-click ads.

These tools can drive traffic, increase visibility, and ultimately lead to more business opportunities.

Scott Newman of NewRidge Refinishing
Scott Newman NewRidge Refinishing

What types of grants are available?

There are two grants available through the Canada Digital Adoption Program, depending on the size and goals of your business:

  1. Grow Your Business Online (Stream 1): This micro-grant offers up to $2,400 to fund e-commerce initiatives—so you can apply if you plan to sell goods or services online. You’ll need a plan on how you’ll maintain your e-commerce strategy for six months.
  1. Boost Your Business Technology (Stream 2): Apply for this grant if you’re seeking digital tools that increase your productivity and improve your office operations—like a CRM or online payment processing software. The grant offers up to $15,000 to get help from an advisor, and up to $100,000 in interest-free loans.

READ MORE: Create a small business budget fast [+ free template]

How do you apply?

The Canada Digital Adoption Program website offers detailed instructions on how to apply for each grant. Here’s what the overall process looks like:

  1. Read the eligibility requirements for each grant 
  2. Choose between the Grow Your Business Online and Boost Your Business Technology grants

To apply for the Grow Your Business Online grant (Stream 1):

  1. Use the CDAP website’s search tool to find your region’s application portal
  2. Create an account with your regional application portal
  3. Enter your business information
  4. Complete a digital assessment with the help of a digital advisor
  5. Complete the online application

To apply for the Boost Your Business Technology grant (Stream 2):

  1. Create an account on the program website
  2. Fill out a digital needs assessment to identify areas in your business you should support with technology
  3. Confirm your eligibility through the application portal
  4. Complete the online application
  5. Find a digital adoption advisor to help you create a Digital Adoption Plan
  6. Submit your grant claim
  7. Apply for a zero-interest loan from BDC (up to $100,000) as well as a wage subsidy (up to $7,300)

During the application for both grants, you’ll learn where to find a digital advisor that can help you create your Digital Adoption Plan. Every applicant needs to submit this plan—it outlines what areas of your business need digital transformation and which tools you’ll invest in.

The right digital advisor will strengthen your application—so choose wisely. “It was crucial to find someone who understood the unique dynamics of our industry and could create a plan tailored to our specific needs,” says Scott.

“This is a stage where many home service business owners may feel overwhelmed,” he continues.

But Scott also assures the stage is worthwhile. “The value of the time saved, and the benefits gained through a well-structured digital transformation plan, are well worth the effort.”

How to make the most of your funding

Find digital tools that address the biggest areas of opportunity in your business. 

For instance, if you have no trouble attracting new customers but struggle to stay on top of communication, add automated client communication software to your digital transformation plan.

If you’re just starting out with technology, Scott advises to “start small, perhaps with a tool that addresses your most pressing need, and gradually expand as you grow more comfortable with technology.”

Back when Scott started his refinishing business, he struggled to find customers—so he leaned on HomeStars and pay-per-click ads on Google to build his client list.

If you already have a set of digital tools you love, CDAP grants can fund new initiatives that help you do even more with less effort. The grants allowed Scott to invest more in Jobber, the field service management software he uses to manage and organize his operations.

“Jobber has been a pivotal tool in our digital journey. It provides invaluable features tailored for home service businesses, from scheduling to invoicing and client relationship management.”

Before using Jobber, following up with leads was manual work that his team couldn’t keep up with. “Unless we sent a reminder, we’d just let it die. There were potential opportunities with leads that we missed.”

We’ve been able to automate many of our daily operations, freeing up valuable time to focus on growth and customer relationships.

Jobber and the CDAP combined have provided us with a robust platform to better serve our clients and remain competitive in the home service industry.

Scott Newman of NewRidge Refinishing
Scott Newman NewRidge Refinishing

Scott’s digital adoption didn’t stop at Jobber. He also used the CDAP grants to improve aspects of his website and run new ad campaigns on Facebook and Bing.

“This strategic investment has significantly enhanced our online presence and customer engagement.”

Using CDAP funding, Scott was able to purchase new marketing tools that integrate with Jobber. Those tools helped NewRidge Refinishing become more visible online, leading to a surge in new client opportunities.

No matter what you choose to adopt, start now. Digital tools like Jobber can unlock so much potential for home service businesses.

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