TORONTO, ON–/COMMUNITYWIRE/–Today, Lenovo announced the extension of its Evolve Small campaign, in Canada. Evolve Small is an initiative focused on providing relief to Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour-owned (BIPOC) small businesses navigating the challenges and impact of COVID-19 across cities in North America. Lenovo’s total commitment of $1 million in grant funding includes $100,000 to be issued to small business owners in partnership with the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT). Lenovo will also offer educational programming to all TRBOT members, to help accelerate their digital adoption.
From November 8, 2021, women or BIPOC small businesses owners or leaders who can demonstrate their small business’s equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives and who have completed one or more of TRBOT’s Recovery Activation Program (RAP) streams can apply for the Lenovo Digital Transformation Grant. Ten outstanding small businesses will be awarded a CAD $10,000 grant.
According to Statistics Canada, Canadian small businesses have been less likely than their larger business counterparts to adopt new technologies to help navigate the pandemic. Less than one-third of businesses with one to four employees (28.1%) and five to 19 employees (32.6%) adopted or incorporated collaboration tools into their business, compared with more than half of businesses with 20 to 99 employees (52.3%) and almost two-thirds (65.7%) of businesses with 100 or more employees.
The TRBOT launched its Recovery Activation Program (RAP) to help Canadian small businesses adapt to the increasing need for digital adoption, that was accelerated by COVID-19. By focusing on attracting customers, improving supply-chain efficiencies, managing workforces virtually, and streamlining costs, the Recovery Activation Program (RAP) provides a comprehensive toolkit to support the long-term success of Toronto’s small business community.
“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they continue to face serious challenges as they navigate the pandemic,” said Colin McIsaac, Vice President and General Manager, Canada at Lenovo. “We are excited to partner with the Toronto Region Board of Trade to provide financial aid, mentorship, and educational programming to those affected most severely, to help close the widening digital divide gap and advocate for the businesses that shape and enrich our communities.”
“Small businesses in Ontario have come to understand that they have to digitize in order to survive this pandemic,” said Leigh Smout, President of the World Trade Centre Toronto, “Companies like Lenovo with their Evolve Small initiative are making a real difference for these businesses and the Toronto Region Board of Trade is excited by the opportunity to partner with them. Businesses looking for support can start their digital transformation journey by taking our no-cost Digital Needs Assessment today.”
Women- or BIPOC-owned or led small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) interested in applying for funding for their digital transformation strategy should visit the application portal for full requirements of eligibility. Small businesses new to RAP will be directed to complete the Digital Needs Assessment (DNA). The DNA is the gateway to RAP’s free program streams – Digital Blueprint Program and Digital Certificate Program. After completing at least one program stream, candidates can submit their applications for grant funding by answering three open-ended questions and providing eligibility information. If applicants have previously completed a RAP stream, they can proceed directly to the application process and submit their details. The answers submitted by the prospective grantees will be evaluated by a panel of experts from TRBOT. Visit the Lenovo Digital Transformation Grant application portal https://bot.hostedincanadasurveys.ca/815866?lang=en. The application window will close on January 10, 2022.
Visit Lenovo.com/EvolveSmall to learn how Lenovo has currently been supporting small businesses and keep up to date on the Evolve Small efforts, resources and technology solutions. Visit LenovoFoundation.com to learn more about Lenovo’s global philanthropic efforts to empower underrepresented populations with access to technology and education.
Lenovo (HKSE: 992) (ADR: LNVGY) is a US$60 billion revenue Fortune Global 500 company serving customers in 180 markets around the world. Focused on a bold vision to deliver smarter technology for all, we are developing world-changing technologies that power (through devices and infrastructure) and empower (through solutions, services and software) millions of customers every day and together create a more inclusive, trustworthy and sustainable digital society for everyone, everywhere. To find out more visit https://www.lenovo.com and read about the latest news via our StoryHub.
About Toronto Region Board of Trade
The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential chambers of commerce in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic growth agenda. Backed by more than 13,500 members, we pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region, and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships, and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally. To learn about the Board’s economic recovery efforts and response to COVID-19, visit supportbusiness.bot.com. For more on making Toronto one of the most competitive and sought-after business regions in the world, visit bot.com and follow us at @TorontoRBOT.
Lisa Marie Ferrell, Lenovo
Ph: +1 (919) 805-1919
Andrew Perez, Toronto Region Board of Trade
Ph: +1 416 454 7171