The Small Business Digitization Initiative (SBDI) is a training program that connects youth and small businesses together to solve real employer digital adoption challenges. The initiative provides training for in-demand skills to unemployed and underemployed post-secondary students to prepare them for the digital workplace, while providing businesses with enthusiastic and knowledgeable talent to implement smart technology solutions to support their innovation. The initiative is funded by the Government of Ontario and is offered in partnership with Savoir-faire Linux.
The program features 24 weeks of full-time training, including an experiential work placement – where each participant is uniquely matched with a small business, applying in-class theory to solve a real business challenge, and strategizing and implementing smart digital business solutions with the goal of reducing operating costs, improving day to day operations, and/or providing customers with better experiences. Youth will attain transferable workplace skills in project management; data analytics and intelligence; entrepreneurship; enterprise resource planning (ERP) (including principles of sales and marketing and accounting) and will strategically evaluate business operations to empower companies by implementing technology solutions.
The SBDI initiative will be piloted in Ottawa, Toronto, and North Bay.
Collaboratively, selected youth and participating companies will:
- Solve real employer digital challenges – from basic tech adoption to intelligent retail or advanced manufacturing implementation, adopting technology solutions that make sense to propel growth, access new markets, generate more revenue, and/or effectively respond to emerging markets.
The SBDI program is open to:
- Small or medium sized businesses in Ontario looking for growth in e-commerce or, interested in exploring smarter technology adoption to increase operational efficiency and growth, or seeking to leverage emerging market trends. You must be equipped to take on a student participant(s) for a total of 60 days within the 24-week program and provide reasonable access to business operations. Participating businesses are encouraged to pay a small stipend to students upon completion of the experiential challenge.
- Ontario youth between the ages of 20 – 29, able to commit to a full-time 24-week program, who have completed a minimum of 2 years of post-secondary training or equivalent work experience
(IT Management, Business Commerce, Software Development, Marketing, or other field of study) who have a strong digital skillset and/or have some prior work experience in a business setting or a start-up.
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