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Why now is the best time for SMEs to go digital in Hong Kong
If you’re a small business, you’ve likely been affected by the Covid19 pandemic. People are more anxious, hesitant, and alert, and fewer people are shopping or going out. In spite of the precarious business environment, here are three reasons why now is the best time to invest in your online presence. On top of that, with two funding programmes provided by the Hong Kong Government for technological projects, it’s truly the right time to act.
You never had so much free time
In the fast-paced, jam-packed Hong Kong lifestyle, has your schedule ever been this free?
- Meetings have been cancelled or pushed back.
- Conferences are moving online.
- The next product launch has been postponed
- Working from home has cut down time spent commuting
- And you still don’t know when you will be able to resume the after hours activities with your colleagues?
With all this time on your hands, it’s time to explore bringing your business online.
Successful and adaptable businesses are online
While most traditional businesses are hit by the lock-down and other preventive measures, businesses that have an online presence tend to be less impacted than others.
Why is that? It’s simple. Being online provides a channel for business transactions to continue without the brick and mortar traffic.
Take this as an example — you run a fashion boutique which used to be so packed that you barely focused on building your online presence.
These days, fewer clients are walking into your store. It’s time to reconsider and prepare for the future.
Think ahead: a digital project takes time
Depending on the project complexity, it may range from a few days to several months to make your project fully operational.
If you look ahead, the current situation may not clear up before the summer. That gives you enough time to kick-off a project and amaze everyone when the world is ready to go back to normal.
Funding for Technology is waiting for your application!
Now you’re convinced it’s time to act, but where do you get the resources? Luckily, there are two funding programs available which can help you move your business to the next level, with very limited costs.
Have you ever heard of ReTAAS and TVP?
You may not be familiar with those two acronyms, so we’re here to help you explore them.
The Retail Technology Adoption Assistance Scheme (ReTAAS) and Technology Voucher Programme (TVP) are especially designed for companies registered in Hong Kong with substantive business and who are willing to adopt digital solutions. While the two can fund similar digital projects, the types of companies that can avail these schemes vary.
What is ReTAAS for?
The ReTAAS is a scheme that exclusively targets existing retail businesses to adopt IT tools to help manage manpower demand. Both online shops and brick-and-mortar shops are eligible, and it covers direct expenses for up to two projects with a funding of maximum HK$50,000. Funding can not exceed 50% of the total project cost.
Projects must be related to technology applications such as e-shops, point-of-Sales systems, and electronic payment systems (non-exhaustive list).
Following the company’s application, you may be asked to provide the Secretariat with supplementary information. Once the Secretariat has received all the necessary information, the Vetting Committee will review it and give an answer within 50-90 days.
Then, to receive the subsidy, you will have 6 months to successfully complete your project and provide a project report.
For more information, visit the official website: https://www.retaas.hkpc.org/en/
Recent ReTAAS approved schemes
And what about the Technology Voucher Programme?
This scheme can help you save up to 75% on your next digital expense.
Launched in 2005 by the Hong Kong Government, the Technology Voucher Programme (aka TVP) can help a business fund up to 600,000 HKD of technological services set-up and pay 25% of the total approved project cost
The goal of this program is to “subsidise local SMEs in using technological services and solutions to improve productivity, or upgrade or transform their business processes.”
This scheme covers a wider range of industries, including retail and professional services. The main requirement is that your business must be registered in Hong Kong and running for a minimum length of 3 months.
Eligible projects include Technology Consultancy, customized hardware, software, technological services. A copy of quotations for all expenditure items is the main required document for this funding.
Moneywise, an initial payment of up to 25% is made at the project start. You have 12 months to perform the project, then submit a final project report. So you can receive the disburse funding.
For more information, visit the official website: https://www.itf.gov.hk/l-eng/TVP.asp#How
This article is brought to you by Wild, your digital marketing agency in partnership with TheCodingMachine, a customized web & mobile application development agency in Hong Kong.