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DER3 - Frequently Asked Questions

DER3 Frequently asked questions

What does DER3 stand for?

Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency

What does the “digital economy” actually mean?

Innovate BC defines the digital economy as anything that’s based on using digital computing technologies within the core of your business. We used to call it the “Internet Economy” but increasingly the digital economy is intertwined with the traditional economy, and that’s what this program is all about. Digital technology includes digital tools a business may use throughout its business such as production, operations, finance, HR, training, sales and/or marketing.

Do I need to be a “digital economy” business?

No. This program is open to any kind of business with any level of technology integration.

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.
Is there a cost to participating in this program?

The program is a no cost/no obligation program. The primary services of the program are free, and anyone living in one of the delivery regions can sign up. For small-medium sized businesses (individuals and non-profits) there’s a lot the program can offer at no cost. However, if needed, engagements with digital service providers or consultants (as independent businesses) will have various costs depending on the scope of your requirements. For example, we can tell you what digital tools or platforms may fit for your business, and in many cases we can tell you how to use them (DIY) but we can’t build your website for you. If/when you need to hire someone we can also offer advice to ensure you’re considering the right things in the right order. We can review your needs more specifically when you apply to the program.

Do I need to be already online with a website to apply for the program?

No, any business can apply regardless if you have an existing online presence or not.

My business is struggling, I don't know anything about technology and don't even know where to start. Can you help?

Yes, we can help. After you complete the application form, we will do an initial assessment of what we think you might want to consider and we will then contact you to learn more and see what’s possible. We work with you one step at a time to move you further along the path to digital transformation.

What if I’m just starting my business? Do I still qualify for this program?

Yes! Some of the biggest businesses of our time started in recession; Google and Facebook started during the dotcom crash and Uber and Airbnb started during the 2008 financial crisis. If you have what it takes, with a big vision or just a great small business idea, now might be a great time to start.

What will happen after I submitted my application?

The appropriate DER3 delivery partner will reach out within 3-5 business days. These expert advisors will listen to the needs of your businesses, meet you where you’re at, and seek to understand where you want to go. The program will build meaningful relationships and lay the foundation of successful hybrid (bricks & mortar, and online) business model development.

What kind of business or technical advice can you provide?

This program is delivered by a network of experienced mentors and subject matter experts.  

With the help of our advisory team we’re confident that we can provide solid advice on almost any topic. We also can direct questions to various industry partners or other agencies (subject matter expertsvand digital service providers.

Does this program include any digital tools or computer skills training? My staff has never worked from home before.

We have a wide variety of resources, guides, and best-practices for getting things done in the digital economy, which we can utilize to help you get started. We don’t offer skills training courses, but we can point you in the right direction for that too.

How much time do I need to commit to this program? How much time are you offering to help me?

Your time commitments depend on you, and how much time you invest toward taking action on the solutions that we will provide you with. Our time commitments to your needs will depend on our assessments of your issues or challenges. If we can’t help you with implementing the actions we recommend, then we will make suggestions on who can.

What else is expected from me?

At the end of the program, we require participants to fill out brief survey to report key metrics. Any information you report will be confidential and it will be used in aggregate form to determine regional outcomes and overall efficacy of DER3.

How will meetings take place in light of COVID physical distancing regulations?

All meetings will be over the phone, online video, or via email Q&A. Whatever works for you.

If I’m a digital services professional and/or business owner, or subject matter expert, why should I sign up with this program?

There are many small-medium sized businesses who need help and some of them don’t know where to turn. 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.

Will this program provide any funding to help me buy computers and/or other equipment?

This program will not provide any grants and cannot help with core infrastructure.

How long will this program last?

Like with many COVID-19 crisis response programs we are monitoring things on a weekly basis. However, this program intake ends on Feb 15, 2021.

How did the DER3 Program originate?

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 Program (DER3). 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 funding support of WD through Innovate BC, the DER3 program will be scaled province-wide under the BC Technology Sector Resiliency Program, developed by Innovate BC.