We have all seen the commercials, heard the quotes, and read the articles, but who really benefits from Canada’s 2013 Economic Action Plan? While the Action Plan does promote education, apprentice programs and subsidized skill training you might not have known the countless opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SME). These opportunities are designed to increase firms’ efficiency thereby increasing productivity and profit margins.
I am not going to go into the 300 plus initiatives that Canada’s 2013 Economic Action Plan encompasses. However, I have highlighted three technology based advantages your company can utilize:
Industrial Research Assistance Program
For over 60 years the National Research Council of Canada Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC-IRAP) has been stimulating wealth creation for Canada through technological innovation. Annually, 10,000 SMEs build their innovative processes and benefit from customized technology solutions through the NRC-IRAP’s expert technical and business advice, financial assistance, access to business information, contacts, and national and international networks.
Digital Technology Adaptation Pilot Program
An exciting and relatively new part of NRC-IRAP is the Digital Technology Adaption Pilot Program (DTAPP). This program is providing $80 million in new funding over three years to support SMEs in accelerating the adoption of information and communications technologies and building their digital skills.
The primary goals of the DTAPP are:
- Improve the rate of digital technology adoption by SMEs
- Improve understanding of the link between digital technologies and productivity
- Raise awareness of the benefits and importance of adopting these technologies
Since the program’s inception in 2011, more than 800 SMEs have received DTAPP advisory services or financial assistance. At Dynamic Manufacturing Solutions (DMS) we have already worked with DTAPP to fund productivity investments and found that the application process and turnaround time were fairly streamlined, especially given the demand that this program has generated.
Firms interested in adopting digital technology into their operations (i.e., production lines, workflow processes, or supply chain or customer management systems) may be eligible to receive advisory services and/or a financial contribution of up to $99,999 through the pilot program. If your firm is incorporated, has 500 employees or less and is currently seeking opportunities to adopt digital technology, you could be eligible to receive assistance through the DTAPP team.
Business Development Bank of Canada – Smart Tech
Even though The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is not part of the Economic Action Plan, your company can still benefit from their Smart Tech Program. BDC offers flexible easy-access financing to upgrade or purchase information and communications technology (ICT) which consists of hardware, software and consulting services.
Both BDC client and non-client companies, including small businesses such as individual or home offices, may apply for a loan from this ICT initiative. BDC will speed up and simplify the processing of these applications. The loans can be used to purchase hardware, software and consulting services.
Entrepreneurs with ICT projects that do not exceed $50,000 must submit their loan applications online at www.bdc.ca. Companies that need more than $50,000 can contact the BDC business center in their area, apply online or call BDC customer service at 1-877-BDC-BANX (232-2269).
The goal of these loans is to provide short to medium term financing that helps SMEs overcome the initial cost of funding productivity investments. These companies have access to BDC representatives who can recommend vendors, discuss financing options, and guide companies through the implementation process.
For more information, see the BDC website.
DMS has helped a number of companies take advantage of the funding provided under these programs to help fund the implementation of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. We have experience assisting with the application process through to the completion of the project. If your company is considering implementing a new ERP in 2014 and would like more information on how these programs can help save you money please Contact us.