There is more to being online than just having a website.
Are you a small or medium-sized business in the Okanagan that needs help entering or expanding into the digital economy? Do you help businesses enter the digital economy? Are you an expert in your field and looking to give back to small businesses in the Okanagan?
In response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Accelerate Okanagan, in partnership with Innovate BC and Western Economic Diversification, is pleased to introduce the Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency (DER3) Program. This service is designed to help small to medium-sized businesses adapt to these new circumstances and enter into the digital economy. Best of all—there’s no cost or obligation.
The program will provide:
- Personalized advisory services to assess needs, recommend tools and solutions to help introduce technology appropriate for your needs, and provide guidance on implementation.
- Resource materials, best practices, and tools needed to increase business capacity, expand into new markets or opportunities, and respond to physical restrictions associated with COVID-19 workplace requirements.
- Connections to vetted digital service providers and subject matter experts that may address specific needs, beyond the items listed above.
Who can participate?
This program is open to any kind of business with any level of technology integration. Whether you have an existing online presence or not, lots of time to commit or hardly any, formal training in a tech-related skill or a novice to the digital world, we’ll meet you wherever you are.
The only requirements to participate in the DER3 are:
- Be a small or medium-sized business (less than 500 employees)
- Be located in one of these regions in British Columbia: Greater Victoria; Central Island, Northern Island, Sunshine Coast & Gulf Islands; Okanagan Valley; Kootenays; Central Interior B.C.; North Central B.C.
This program is also a callout to all digital service providers and subject matter experts in the Okanagan Valley. We want to be able to connect you to those businesses to deliver contracted services that are beyond what we are providing directly within this program. Perhaps you’ll build new customer relationships that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
What is involved?
For applying companies, we work with you one step at a time to move you further along the path to digital transformation. Here’s what you can expect:
- Fill out your application form
- We will then do an initial assessment of what service would be most beneficial
- We will connect you with expert advisors relevant to your business
- The advisors will listen to your needs, meet you where you’re at, and seek to understand where you want to go
- At this point, you can decide to start an engagement with a digital service provider or consultant (this stage is subject to the costs of the provider or the consultant)
The program will build meaningful relationships and lay the foundation of a successful hybrid (bricks & mortar, and online).
Why should I participate?
There’s more to going online than just having a website. Through DER3, we want to help your business adapt to the changing economic climate brought on by COVID-19. Whether it’s creating an e-commerce marketplace, improved online marketing strategy, or even updating your website, we’ll be able to create a digital solution unique to your business and its needs.
DER3 is free to participate in and there are no obligations. We’ll be able to tell you what digital tools or platforms may fit for your business, and in many cases, we can tell you how to use them. When you need to hire someone, we can also offer advice to ensure you’re considering the right things in the right order.
When is this happening?
Applications for DER3 are now open. This program intake is currently slated to end on February 15, 2021.
Where is this program available?
The program will be available in six regions: Greater Victoria; Central Island, Northern Island, Sunshine Coast & Gulf Islands; Okanagan Valley; Kootenays; Central Interior B.C.; North Central B.C.
Each region is being managed by its own local accelerator. Accelerate Okanagan will be supporting businesses located in the Okanagan Valley.
How did this program get started?
In April 2020, in partnership with Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), Innovation Island Technology Association (IITA) created and launched the Digital Economy Restart, Recover, Reimagine Program (DER3) Program. The DER3 program was created to tackle the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis in the Vancouver Island region and ICET’s initial funding was the catalyst for the first phase of program delivery. In August 2020, with the funding support of WD through Innovate BC, the DER3 program is being scaled province-wide under the BC Technology Sector Resiliency Program, developed by Innovate BC.
You don’t need to navigate the digital world alone.
Want to learn more about the DER3 and how you can apply? Visit our program page.
Want to connect with our team? Email DER3 Business Advisor, Richard Takai.