How Co-Funding Programs Help Small Business for Digital Advantage

Most small businesses in Atlantic Canada want to grow; revenues and profitability. And as most businesses today now, such growth comes increasingly from leveraging technology, through what is called Digital Transformation. Whether that’s using Big Data and advanced analytics to seek competitive advantage or improving an existing technology with robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain or software applications.

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The challenge for many small businesses however, is the research and development and funding to leverage these powerful new technologies. Sometimes, it is also difficult for a business to understand just how to leverage a technology to expand regionally or into international markets. A great idea may be sparked somehow, but then how to make it happen? How to understand the risks and mitigate them.

Partnering with universities and community colleges can be a great way to both mitigate the risks and get to market more cost effectively. It may also be a way to find the ideal employee who can ensure a new innovation continues to improve.

Speaking of improvement, there are government programs that enable a company to engage with a university or community college to evolve a product or service.
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This can be done in a measured approach that works within the budget of a business and can grow over time. A company may for example, start with a quick “proof-of-concept” type of program where the cost is covered completely, then as it is proven, move towards programs where the company contributes some funds, but they are expanded through government programs. This puts the burden of the research on the academic partner while the company focuses on how to commercialise the product being developed. There are programs through ACOA that can help a company through the commercialisation phase as well.
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Small businesses know that in today’s world, innovation and leveraging technology is not only critical to survival, but to staying relevant in the market. Especially as the trade agreements with the EU and the Pacific countries come into effect.

You can learn more by attending a free event called DAM-IT! (Digital Analytics Mixer – IT)  On April 18th at Dalhousie University from 5PM to 6:45PM in the Rowe Management School building. Just click here for more details.

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