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After you receive your grant of up to $15,000 from the CDAP program, how and when do you implement the digital upgrades outlined in your plan?

With your $15k CDAP grant, you have purchased a digital adoption plan that will outline the areas in which your company can improve by investing in new tech and software, modernizing customer relations strategies, and improving internal

Are there rules about when and how to roll out these changes? How do you begin — and how do you find an agency who will help you implement these digital upgrades?

We’ll give you those answers and more in this blog. Read on to learn: 

  1. How to use your grant of up to $15,000
  2. How to choose an agency to implement digital upgrades
  3. How is financing decided for businesses applying for the interest-free loan?
  4. Starting the CDAP process 

How to use your grant of up to $15,000

Once you receive your grant, you can begin implementing your digital adoption plan!

With your CDAP-approved digital advisor, these digital changes come with a recommended timeline that you developed with your advisor during the plan development phase.

How is grant money received?

When you register for an account with CDAP to apply for the grant and subsequent loan and subsidy (for eligible SMEs), you will be prompted to provide personal banking information. 

When your CDAP grant comes in, that money will be deposited directly into your specified account. 

What should you do first with the grant money?

Best practice is to pay your digital advisor as soon as possible after receiving that grant money, since the money is intended to be used for the purchase of your company’s digital adoption plan

Failing to pay your digital advisor for the digital adoption plan may appear to be a misuse of the grant money, which could lead to complications for your business at the next stage, which is: accessing an up to $100,000 interest free loan. 

Are there any deadlines I have to meet to implement changes?

It isn’t mandatory to implement any of the changes that have been outlined in your digital adoption plan – however, it’s definitely in your best interests to do so. 

Your digital adoption plan is a road map to success to help your business become more competitive, more efficient, and more modern to stay relevant in today’s digital market. 

In order to appeal to modern buyers – many of whom have specific expectations about their online shopping experience – your digital advisor will guide you on how to mend internal pain points and improve internal and customer-relations processes. 

There is no timeline to complete all of the changes outlined in your digital adoption plan – however, there is a timeline for applying for the interest free loan that will help you afford new tech to make changes.

If you want to activate the interest free loan of up to $100,000, you must do this within 6 months of receiving the grant payment.

You can use your interest free loan in many ways, such as:

  • Purchasing new technology
  • Upgrading software capabilities
  • Improving internal processes
  • Updating manufacturing equipment 
  • And more

Related: Learn how to submit your digital adoption plan to unlock the interest-free loans.

How is financing determined for each business applying to the interest-free loan?

The interest free loan can provide businesses with up to $100,000 to make tech purchases and software investments. But how is the dollar amount decided? 

Actually, it’s pretty straightforward! 

Businesses earning $5M or more gross annual revenue are eligible to apply for up to a $100,000 interest-free CDAP loan.

Those earning less than $5M gross annual revenue are eligible to apply for up to a $50,000 interest free loan. 

SMEs should collaborate with their advisor to determine if they are interested in applying for the interest free loan (which we strongly encourage all SMEs to do, to maximize their financial benefit with this program, and to expedite their upgrades while lowering financial risk).

This also ensures that your plan factors in the loan amount as part of the budget process.

For example, if an SME is applying for a $50,000 interest free loan, we feel it makes sense that the digital adoption budget should be equal to or greater than $50,000. 

If the SME presents less than that on their budget, they might anticipate a lender asking, why do you need $50,000 for a digital upgrade if you only intend to spend $25,000? 

Which is a fair question – and something an experienced CDAP-approved digital advisor will help you to navigate before it comes up. 

Does a company’s credit score impact the amount received?

Yes – another determining factor is credit score. 

This is something CDAP advisors will have no direct control or perspective on. No advisor should guarantee that you will receive a loan if you proceed with this program, as it is not their role to approve loans. 

If your business has any credit score issues, you may have a challenge receiving the CDAP loan. Those businesses in good standing with their credit have a stronger chance of receiving the loan.

How to choose an agency to implement digital upgrades

The CDAP-approved digital advisor that you worked with to prepare your digital adoption plan is ethically not permitted to encourage you to continue working with them after receiving your CDAP $15k grant. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t work with them if you choose to. If you trust your digital advisor and wish to continue to work with their agency to implement your digital adoption, there are no rules prohibiting this. 

But beware: some inexperienced or unscrupulous advisors are offering refunds or kickbacks for this grant program. This is strictly prohibited by CDAP. It can result in CDAP recovering the grant funds that you were awarded – plus interest – and the advisor will get removed from the program. 

To learn more: see sections 3.9 and 3.10 of the CDAP Boost Your Business Technology program guidelines.

How do you browse agencies to work with in the CDAP program?

There are a few ways that SMEs select their digital solutions and service providers following their grant approval. 

  • Advisor-driven selection. Some SMEs activate one of the selection of providers recommended by their digital advisor.
    • (Note: in the interest of neutrality, advisors must provide no less than 3 reputable software solutions or technical support reps as part of their planning process. Your CDAP-approved digital advisor is not allowed to include their own firm as a potential future support, as part of your plan. They need to remain neutral to support your best interest.)
  • Pre-existing connections. Some SMEs already have trusted partnerships with IT companies or software, and their plan indicates ways to enhance and deepen the level of technology supported by their trusted partners. In these cases, they will move forward with an enhanced digital adoption plan leveraging their preferred vendors.
  • Self-driven selection. Some SMEs review all the solution options provided by their advisor in the early stage of their digital adoption implementation phase, and find that there are still some facets of the proposed solutions that don’t quite meet current demand or new concerns that arose prior to their plan completion. In these cases, SMEs will leverage the intel from their planning process, and demo new products or meet with new service providers to find a more optimal fit. 

Some CDAP advisors (such as ours), are pleased to connect with their SMEs following a grant approval, to do additional solution provider vetting and provide technology comparison charts, to ensure their solution selection is an optimal fit.

Related: The 10 questions you should be asking your CDAP-approved digital advisor before entering into an agreement

Starting the CDAP process 

With every grant application we submit with our SME clients, our team always offers a follow-up discussion, at no additional consultation cost, following the receipt of their grant.

During this consultation, we review next steps, and ensure the SME is able to properly apply for their loan and youth wage subsidy (if they choose to do so).

We can also help SMEs confirm which solution providers they’d like to proceed with, maintaining our brand-neutral position, to make sure they are moving forward confidently with the best possible digital technologies and technicians.

Making contact with a CDAP-approved digital advisor

Whether you’re looking for a digital advisor to start working on your digital plan, or you’re looking for more answers to questions that weren’t answered in this blog, reach out to our team today. 

Get in touch in one of these ways: 

  • Start a LiveChat on the website (bottom right corner)
  • Call to book at 289-768-3562
  • Find us on Facebook to see if we’ve answered your questions in a past blog

Learn more about the CDAP process by watching this video – an AI tutorial prepared just for you. 

If you’re looking for a CDAP-approved digital advisor with a 100% approval rate on submitted plans – you’re in the right place. 

BOOK a free assessment today and we’ll help you get started! 

In the meantime, here’s what we think you should read next… 

What to read next:

Find out about the Youth Wage Subsidy available to CDAP clients to implement changes at affordable rates. 

Learn why it’s mandatory to work with a CDAP-approved digital advisor.  

Read about how small businesses expand their digital reach to market to new audiences.