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DER3 Program Helps Local Businesses Enter or Expand into the Digital Economy

Accelerate Okanagan launches a new provincial program that supports small businesses looking to enter or expand their digital presence.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, local businesses are seeking new ways to adapt to an increasingly online world. To support this transition, Accelerate Okanagan is launching the Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency (DER3) Program which will connect small businesses with digital service providers and subject matter experts to help them enter or expand into the digital economy.

This program is currently open to all individuals or small businesses located in the Okanagan from Salmon Arm to Osoyoos. DER3 offers a guided one-to-one business and technical consultations for businesses that are considering entering or expanding their online presence, or putting technology-based tools in place to better serve their needs. When required, the program will also match businesses with local service providers who can deliver contracted solutions.

“Our goal is to work with local businesses and meet them where they are. Whether they’ve tried to break into the digital space before, or they are stepping into it for the first time, we’re going to help them succeed in expanding their opportunities,” says Richard Takai, DER3 Business Advisor at Accelerate Okanagan. “We’ll be able to identify where we think their next steps should be and with whom. We have an extensive network of digital service providers and tech experts who are ready and waiting to help.”

Part of the program's unique design relates to the collaborative process used to support small businesses. The program weaves together both "tech" and a critical human element, which is especially important for effectively working with business owners who are navigating challenging times and may not have experience with digital technology.

“DER3 isn’t just for companies looking to improve their websites or host a webinar. There is more to going online than just having a website. This program is for any business, solopreneur, or non-profit that needs support in the digital, tech space,” says Aidan Cole, the DER3 Program Advisor at Accelerate Okanagan. “If you’re having a difficult time introducing a digital component to your business, it’s worth seeing exactly what we can offer. There’s no upfront cost, no risk. We just want to help you succeed.”

DER3 is an initiative of Innovate BC funded by Western Economic Diversification (WD). The program is currently being offered through-out the province in regions including Greater Victoria; Central Island, Northern Island, Sunshine Coast & Gulf Islands; Okanagan Valley; Kootenays; Central Interior B.C.; North Central B.C.

Small or medium-sized businesses who are interested in learning how DER3 can support them can apply here.

Digital service providers who are interested in joining the DER3 program to help local businesses can apply here.

Subject matter experts looking to share their knowledge through DER3 can apply here.

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