Alberta is investing $3 million into helping small businesses go digital! The Digital Economy Program (DEP) is a new initiative to help small businesses start an online presence or to grow in the digital economy. The Digital Economy Program aims to help by allowing eligible businesses to undergo digital transformations and adopt eCommerce technologies to use in their business.
The Digital Economy Program hosts a variety of programs and eligible businesses can apply for the one that best fits their needs. Once approved, users will complete a digital assessment with a Digital Service Squad member to help identify technologies for digital adoption. Users and squad members will then work together to get the identified technologies and solutions up and running.
Why is the Government Funding This Program?
According to the Government of Canada, small businesses represent 98% of all businesses in Alberta. However, only about one third of small businesses in Alberta actually have the tools to sell online.
With the recent COVID-19 pandemic increasing online shopping among consumers, many small businesses have suffered as a result. The new Digital Economy program aims to help more small businesses grab the opportunity to adjust to the changing economic environment with ease. With this support from the government, more jobs will be created for Albertans, and businesses can upgrade and adopt best practices to survive in today's commercial landscape.
How Does the Digital Economy Program work?
The Digital Economy program is a partnership between Business Link and Digital Main Street (find our Full Blast Creative profile on Digital Main Street here!) and is funded by the Government of Alberta and Prairies Economic Development Canada. Over the next couple of years, the Digital Economy Program is projected to help support around 4,800 Alberta-based businesses, creating more jobs and economic development in Alberta.
The Digital Economy Program is positioned to help small businesses obtain eCommerce solutions through two means. The first is the ShopHERE initiative, powered by Google and the Digital Service Squad. ShopHERE is a free resource that helps qualifying businesses make and advertise their online stores. The Digital Service Squad provides one-on-one help to business owners by training them to use digital technology best practices, assisting with the setup of Google My Business, social media management, and more. Read more about it here.
Full Blast Creative is a full-service agency with decades of experience in the digital marketing industry. We are partnered with Digital Main Street and have the tools and connections to help you grow your digital business. Let us help you navigate the new Digital Economy Program with ease and help you not only implement these tools, but also to maintain a strong online presence in years to come. We're happy to help your business make the transition to more digital platforms!
Is My Business Eligible?
To be eligible, your business must be located and registered in Alberta. You must have less than 50 employees at the time of application (including if you are self-employed) and must be a home or commercial-based business.
Non-profits, charitable trusts, and franchises are not eligible businesses. Applications are open until March 2023.
Is This Only For Alberta-Based Businesses?
No! At the beginning of March, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau released information about the Canada Digital Adoption Program (CDAP). This initaitive aims to help small to medium-sized businesses upgrade their existing digital practices or adopt new technologies to help grow their business. The Government of Canada will be investing $4 billion over the next four years and aims to support up to 160,000 businesses with the CDAP.
The Government of Canada is also offering micro-grants of $2400 to help businesses to grow online and take advantage of eCommerce opportunities. This is a partnership with Business Link and Digital Main Street to help up to 90,000 small businesses nationwide.
A Final Word
The economy continues to shift into a more digital space and it is so important—now more than ever—that your business stays head of the curve in order to remain agile and competitive. Now is the time to take advantage of government funding and launch or upgrade your business to new heights by adopting digital technologies that will help your business for years to come.
Our team of professionals here at Full Blast Creative can help you grow your company's online presence and leverage the resources from the new Digital Economy Program. With years of experience and proven results, we have the tools to help guide you through these complex and ever-changing digital opportunities. Reach out to us at 403.608.2661 and learn how Full Blast Creative can help you take advantage of this funding!