Small businesses often face technological hurdles which impede their ability to grow. Two of the most common growth challenges include developing and maintaining a profitable e-commerce presence and developing and testing innovative products or technologies. Small businesses often lack the technical expertise or access to facilities which make projects like these possible. As a result, these businesses do not grow to meet their full potential, and profitability suffers.
To assist small businesses in overcoming these challenges, Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) has developed voucher programs to promote industry-academic collaboration projects. OCE’s Voucher for E-Business and Technology Adoption (VEBTA) provides small and mid-sized businesses (SMEs) with a voucher worth up to $2,500 which can be redeemed for expertise and resources from colleges across Ontario.
OCE Ontario Government Funding Vouchers for E-Business and Technology Adoption
Through OCE’s VEBTA voucher program, businesses may receive access to a variety of Ontario’s top research institutions for technical projects. Ontario government funding vouchers, worth $2,500, can be redeemed at eligible Ontario colleges for services including e-business development and technology adoption.
E-Business Solutions Projects
In a modern era of business where being found online is critical to financial success, businesses must be able to develop and maintain a professional online presence. Creating a dynamic website that converts leads into customers, then engaging in e-commerce is critical to business growth. Maintaining this presence through website maintenance and interaction with customers through social media is equally important, as it can lead to repeat purchases and higher brand loyalty.
OCE VEBTA vouchers remove the financial and technical barriers for small businesses wishing to develop a profitable web presence. Collaboration with Ontario college professors and students ensures your business will develop a valuable web, mobile, and e-commerce strategy that leads to business growth.
Technology Adoption Projects
Innovation is essential to the long-term success of Canadian small businesses and helps to establish competitive advantages amongst competitors in the market. Developing and testing innovations can be difficult for SMEs without access to proper facilities. Research into such technical projects requires a team of committed peers working together towards the project’s development which, for small businesses, is too great of a resource drain.
Industry-academic collaborations can receive VEBTA vouchers for projects such as prototyping, market research, testing, and analysis. Businesses can receive project consultation from faculty and highly-skilled research students to enhance the scope and accelerate the timelines of technical research projects. These research teams provide affordable short-term labour that will contribute to the completion of important projects.
OCE VEBTA Voucher Program Funding Contributions
Ontario small businesses can access VEBTA vouchers by applying directly to eligible Ontario colleges. Vouchers may be valued up to 50% of project costs to a maximum of $2,500. Small businesses must contribute the remaining 50% of project costs to a maximum $2,500 and provide up to $1,000 in in-kind contributions for the project. In-kind contributions such as time and materials are eligible for this requirement.
Interested businesses must apply to an eligible Ontario college by January 31, 2016 to be considered for the Ontario government funding voucher.
Vouchers from Georgian College’s Centre for Applied Research and Innovation (CARI)
One of 13 participating colleges is Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario. Georgian’s Centre for Applied Research and Innovation (CARI) has developed a record of success for both e-business development and technology testing/assessments.
Successful CARI Projects
Businesses that have used CARI research and development assistance in the past include:
RM Products: Manufacturers of modular fiberglass buildings, RM Products Ltd. contacted Georgian College’s Centre for Applied Research and Innovation to test the strength of newly designed panelling. The company needed to understand the effects of snow and wind on their design, and received this critical information at Georgian College. Note that this project was not funded through OCE’s VEBTA voucher program.
Apply for an OCE Voucher for E-Business and Technology Adoption at Georgian College
To get started with the Centre for Applied Research and Innovation at Georgian College, please contact:
Centre for Applied Research and Innovation, Georgian College
Phone: (705) 728-1968 Ext. 1123