Contact us on 250.434.0200 or

Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency [DER3]

Is your business thinking about entering or expanding in the digital economy? DER3 is here to help.


In response to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Innovate BC is pleased to offer the Digital Economy: Rapid Response + Resiliency Program (DER3) to support small-medium sized businesses, in any sector, enter or expand in the digital economy.

The program will be available in six regions throughout the province and will provide:

  1. Personalized advisory services to assess needs, recommend tools and solutions toward appropriate technology adoption, and guidance on the implementation.
  2. Resource materials, best practices and tools needed to increase business capacity, expand into new markets or opportunities, and respond to physical restrictions associated with COVID-19 workplace requirements.
  3. Connections to vetted digital service providers and subject matter experts that may address specific needs, beyond the items listed above.

All types of businesses are encouraged to apply, however priority will be given to non-tech companies.

Proudly Supported By:



  • Be a small-medium sized business
  • A company or non-profit with less than 500 employees.
  • Be located in one of these regions in British Columbia:
    • Greater Victoria
    • Central Island, Northern Island, Sunshine Coast & Gulf Islands
    • Okanagan Valley
    • Kootenays
    • Central Interior B.C.
    • North Central B.C.

The program also welcomes applications from small-medium sized digital service providers and subject matter experts located anywhere in British Columbia.

Small-Medium Sized Business
Digital service provider
Subject matter Expert

I’m a small business

Are you wondering if digital tools could help make your business easier and more efficient, but not sure where to start? Do you wonder about how to improve (or even, begin!) your online presence? Are you currently doing business online, or would you like to do more? Is it time to consider a pivot or change to your business model? Let’s get to work!

I’m a digital service provider

Do you provide online services to help people and businesses to enter and/or expand into the digital economy? Or are you and your skills not yet doing as much as you know you could? Let’s help the local businesses that we know and love get back to work, with a little digital help from their friends! This is your time to shine!

I’m a subject matter expert

Have you ever been a mentor, business advisor, consultant or investor? Are you a technician, engineer, scientist, artist, photographer (or guru in any field) currently working or retired? You know what you know, and it’s probably a lot, so maybe now’s the time to give back? More or less, free or fee, this program could use your help!

Frequently Asked Question

Digital Economy Rapid Response + Resiliency


*Digital Economy: The economic activity that results from billions of everyday online connections among people, businesses, devices, data, and processes. An example of expanding into the digital economy is setting up a website and e-commerce platform to sell to customers online.

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.

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

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.


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.

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

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.

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.

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.

This program is delivered by a network of experienced mentors and subject matter experts in both business and the digital economy. 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 experts and digital service providers).

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.