Brought to you by:

Attention:

No new registrations are currently being accepted for either TechUP or PowerUP.

Over 350 applicants have either received payment or are pending payment while more than 500 are in the process of their digital adaptation plan. Once these have been finalized DMI will be able to determine the fund status. Periodic updates will be posted on this site.

Any questions regarding DMI? Please see our FAQ

FAQ

What is the Digital Manitoba Initiative?

The Province of Manitoba has partnered with the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce to distribute a total of $15 Million to registered Manitoba businesses through two funding programs offered through the Digital Manitoba Initiative. The TechUP and PowerUp programs will allocate grants of up to $5,000 or $25,000, respectively, to local business owners seeking to upgrade their digital assets, systems and operations starting October 20, 2021 as part of the government of Manitoba’s $50-million Long-Term Recovery Fund.

The Digital Manitoba Initiative’s goal is to invest in the technological advancement and digital literacy of local businesses in order for business owners to better understand, meet and exceed the changing needs of their customers in our modern economy. The registration and funding process is designed to be simple and accessible, and will consider applications for a broad range of digitally-minded projects on a first come, first served basis. Digital projects completed since April 1, 2021 are also eligible for reimbursement with the submission of dated receipts.

The Digital Manitoba Initiative’s mission is to help your business adapt and evolve. Why? Because we know that supporting local businesses is the best way to ensure the future success of our community as a whole.

What types of projects will the TechUP program fund?

These funds can be used to create new digital assets or develop your understanding of how to make the most of technology. Digital assets can include digital or data-based platforms, upgraded technological products and services that effectively and efficiently add value to the lives of your customers by meeting their needs, solving their problems or filling market gaps. Funds can also be used to invest in tools that boost your team’s productivity, collect and analyze data or optimize current operations and processes.

For example, funds may be put towards…

  • Developing or optimizing your core digital assets
  • Investing in advanced software and licensing fees
  • Professional equipment that aid content creation and product promotion
  • Courses on digital marketing, branding, and social advertising
  • Essential technological upgrades

What types of projects will the PowerUP program fund?

The PowerUP program provides grants of up to $25,000 for digital adaptation projects that can be completed within 90 days following application approval. Projects that are eligible for the PowerUP program should serve to maximize your business’s potential by optimizing operations, processes or strategies with the latest digital technology, tools and systems.

Successful applications to the PowerUP program may include (but are not limited to) projects that involve one or more of the following examples of digital adaptation:

  • Developing branded digital platforms, products and services that meet the needs or adds value to the lives of your customers
  • Expanding your customer base by investing in the creation of an e-commerce compatible website or mobile application
  • Rebuilding services to be digital-first, such as touchless POS systems
  • Investing in licences for advanced data collection and analytical tools such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) software

What types of purchases/projects are not eligible for funding?

The Digital Manitoba Initiative aims to make the necessary process of forward-thinking digital adaptation more manageable for local businesses by investing in their growth and enabling their digital expansion. These grant opportunities are designed to alleviate some of the risk or financial obstacles that prevent you from modernizing your current strategies and systems. These are meant to be net new investments. These incentives are not designed to subsidize your existing expenses. Examples of ineligible expenses include:

  • Cell phone bills
  • Internet bills
  • Standard business/office equipment (E.g.: printers, keyboards, mouse, cables)
  • Consumables (E.g.: Ink Cartridges)
  • Existing software or subscriptions (E.g.: Microsoft 365)
  • Existing hosting or domain fees
  • Staff salary
  • Insurance or warranties
  • Digital accessories (Apple Watch, ergonomic mice, digital keyboards, AirPods, etc.)

What if I need to train or upskill my employees to assist in evolving my business?

Some of the costs around training and professional development to support your digital systems may be covered by TechUP or PowerUP. If you are looking for skills advancement, retraining staff or finding appropriate talent to fill new roles, please consider applying to:

https://www.economicdevelopmentwinnipeg.com/

What is the difference between the TechUP and PowerUP funding programs?

The TechUP program is a short-term boost designed to give businesses the resources they need to invest in their digital assets with a maximum grant of $5,000. Successful applications will require a one-time purchase or series of purchases/investments that can be undertaken and completed within 30 days following registration approval. Alternately, you may request reimbursement for purchases made from April 1st 2021 to the date of application.

The PowerUP program is designed to give businesses the resources they need to upgrade or optimize their business models, processes and strategies. Appropriate projects should be completed within 90 days following application pre-approval.

Why is there a maximum time frame for these programs?

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce recognizes that many businesses have had to evaluate their digital strategies. To ensure that funds are used to move the needle in digital adoption within our province and reach as many businesses as possible, the deadlines ensure that applicants are prepared to act in a timely manner. We recognise that DMI processing takes time, so please know that we will be reasonable with applying both the 30 and 90 day windows.

Who can apply for the Digital Manitoba Initiative?

If you own a business that is registered in the Province of Manitoba and is in good standing with the Manitoba’s Companies’ office, you are eligible to apply. You do not need to be a member of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, currently have a storefront, and there is no maximum or minimum number of employees or business size restrictions. Non-profit organizations who are registered businesses in the Province of Manitoba are also eligible. Please note that priority will be given to small and medium sized businesses where these funds can make the greatest impact towards digital transition.

How can I apply for the Digital Manitoba Initiative?

No new registrations are currently being taken for the Digital Manitoba Initiative. Applications to both TechUP and PowerUP must be fully processed before the DMI team will be able to assess any additional fund capacity.

The online registration and application forms are designed to be straightforward, and you can start and finish each process in 30 minutes or less. The first step is creating an account and registering for the Digital Manitoba Initiative through the intake portal.

Be prepared to provide your…

  1. Manitoba Business Number
  2. Personal and business information
  3. Bank deposit details (business banking)

Once your account has been approved, you will be provided the next steps required to apply for the funding program that is most suitable for your project scope. You will need to supply all relevant documents including paid receipts for TechUP and for PowerUP, quotes, estimates and/or scope of work. If you are requesting a reimbursement of past investments through either program, be prepared to provide your rationale and please include your dated proof of purchase.

Please note: To apply for the PowerUP program, you must also provide a Business Case Brief which will include a description of the technology challenge you wish to address, the proposed project duration, the project objectives, scope of proposed work, budget and expected impact of investment in the project. Official receipts, quotes, estimates must be submitted at each stage of the project within 90 days of your application’s approval.

When does the application period close?

The registration and application portal opens on October 20, 2021 and applications will be considered on a rolling, first come, first served basis. Ultimately, a total of $15 Million in investment will be made into Manitoba’s local businesses.

I have been approved for TechUP. What documents will I need to provide?

TechUP is a reimbursement fund for digital purchases made for up to $5,000 to update your business. The paid receipts are the documents you will need to upload to your portal for grant approval.

TechUP is purposefully broad, allowing you to assess your digital needs.

Please note that these are meant to make digital changes to your capacity, they are not designed to subsidize your existing business expenses (ie. phone bill, internet bill, regularly occurring license or hosting fees, franchise fees, multi-year subscriptions, etc.)

Mobile phones are not necessarily considered digital adaptation and are generally viewed as regular business expenses. Receipts for new mobile phones will be reviewed on a case by case basis to assess “need”.

Any receipts submitted for ineligible expenses will be denied.

I have been approved for PowerUP. What documents will I need to provide?

There are 2 stages for PowerUP:

  • Pre-Approval
  • Final Submission – Approval for Reimbursement

Pre-Approval

To apply for pre-approval to PowerUP, you must provide a Business Case Brief detailing:

  1. Description of the technology challenge you wish to address
  2. Proposed project duration
  3. Proposed objectives
  4. Scope of proposed work
  5. Budget
  6. Expected impact of investment in the project

Think of your Business Case Brief as your opportunity to let us know why and what resources you need to evolve your business models, processes and operations. Provide quotations, statements of work or proposed scope of work documentation from vendors outlining proposed costs and work to be done that back up your Brief.

Upon review, the DMI assessor will let you know if you have been successfully pre-approved. If successful, you will be notified of your pre-approved amount. This is your assurance that the funds have been allocated for your project* and is your notification to proceed with your project.
(*final payment to follow proof of project execution aligned with your pre-approved Business Case Brief and upon submission of proof of payment)

IMPORTANT NOTE: The pre-approved plan defines the scope of your work. There is no ability for you to change the outputs realized in relation to your plan.

You will have 90 days after pre-approval to execute your project and submit your final payment receipts for final verification and funds disbursement.

Final Submission – Approval for Reimbursement

PowerUP will reimburse you for digital purchases made up to your approved grant amount. You will need to upload paid receipts and supplier documentation before the end of your 90-day window to provide alignment with your pre-approved plan.

PLEASE DO NOT SUMBIT INTERIM OR PARTIAL PAYMENTS. Upload all documentation needed to support the proof of your adherence to your proposed plan and press submit when you are ready to move the documents out of your portal and into the hands of our approvals team.

STEPS TO FINAL APPROVAL AND PAYMENT:

  1. Set Amount of grant funds requested* (*cannot exceed amount of pre-approval)
  2. Upload receipts, vendor notes, screen shots, etc. to validate proof of project alignment with pre-approval Business Case Brief
  3. Payment confirmation (paid receipts) MUST be provided
  4. All complete? Press “Submit”

The pre-approved amount is the absolute maximum for your final claim. There is no ability for you to claim extra funds spent.

Additionally, the pre-approved plan defines the scope of your work. There is no ability for you to change the outputs realized in relation to your plan.

What if I need more funds than I originally estimated in my application?

The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce wants your business to succeed throughout the stages of your digital adaptation. So, if you apply for TechUP and find that you require more funding than the maximum grant budget of $5,000, you may apply to PowerUP for a maximum of $25,000 with a new application. Please explain your rationale and provide all relevant documents to validate your new funding needs.

How long do I have to use my grant funds once I’ve been approved?

PowerUP funding must be used for projects that can be completed within 90 days of pre-approval.

Funds can also be used to reimburse you for digital-centric investments made since April 1, 2021, with the submission of dated receipts.

How will the grants be allocated?

Applications will be reviewed by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce on a rolling and first come, first served basis. Ultimately, the project will invest a total of $15 Million in grants to local businesses.

Once my application has been approved, how will I receive the funds?

Once we validate your bank deposit details, funds are deposited weekly to registered bank accounts. This is generally within 5-7 business days of your approval, and you will be notified via email.

What does “digital adaptation” mean for my business?

Digital adaptation is the process of using digital technologies to create, modify or optimize existing processes, culture, and customer experiences to meet shifting market requirements. Digitally literate businesses use data and technology to create value in their business models, processes and strategies that enhance their financial and operational efficiency as well as customer experiences and retention.

Successful applications to the Digital Manitoba Initiative may include projects that contain one or more of the following Elements of Digital Adaptation.

Process Adaptation: Process adaptation involves modifying the elements of a business’s processes in order to achieve new goals. This may involve…

  • Advancing marketing software and data-gathering capabilities to gain more valuable customer insights and greater personalization in digital experiences.
  • Developing branded digital platforms, products and services that meet the needs or adds value to the lives of their customers, known as “digital assets”.

Business Model Adaptation: Established brands should update their business models and offer services that wouldn’t be possible without new technology. Examples of new business models may involve…

  • Expanding your potential customer base through digital services, like by creating an e-commerce compatible website.
  • Rebuilding services to be digital-first, like by creating an e-commerce compatible app or upgrading to touchless POS systems.

Cultural or Organizational Adaptation: Using technology to redesign operational systems can have a massive impact on a business’s capacity to provide better customer experiences. For example…

  • Automating processes that reduce labour, delays, paperwork and redundancies.
  • Making increasingly strategic decisions by investing in data collection and analytical tools, such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems or Search Engine Optimization (SEO) software.

By taking advantage of these opportunities to evolve, businesses can create more meaningful relationships with their customers, strengthen their competitive advantage in the modern economy, and maximize their potential.

I entered my data into the registration form but can’t find a place to upload my receipts.

The registration form is the first step towards your application for the Digital Manitoba Initiative. Once your business and banking information is confirmed by the DMI team, you will be sent a link to set up your online account. It is through your account portal that you will enter receipts and explanation of purchases. If you have not received confirmation of your account creation, you are not yet eligible to submit.

How do I login to my applicant portal?

Follow this link Applicant Portal and login using the same email address and password that you used when you created your account. You may use the forgot password path if you do not remember your password.

I have sorted out the issue with my registration. Can my application be restored?

Once an application has been declined, it is out of the queue for eligible funds. Where possible, you may reapply.

I missed out on applying for this grant. I understand that it is now paused. When is it going to reopen? Is there a waitlist that I can get on?

We are not able to confirm at this time if funds will be available to re-open this grant. No waitlist is available.

Any news around future funding will be posted online on the DMI site. If funds do become available, DMI will advise in advance through the site.