Overview of the Distance Business Programme
Remote working or service has become a new trend against the backdrop of the epidemic. Under the “Anti-Epidemic Fund”, the Innovation and Technology Commission has launched the “Distance Business (D-Biz) Programme” to provide funding support for enterprises to adopt IT solutions for developing distance business. In view of the overwhelming response from enterprises, the Government will allocate $1 billion for the Programme, in addition to the original $500 million, to benefit more enterprises.
The Programme will provide an IT Service Providers Reference List to offer relevant market information for enterprises' reference. The Reference List with the first batch of service providers is available on the D-biz Programme website, and will be updated regularly thereafter. The Programme is open to enterprises for funding applications until 31 October 2020. In view of the present situation, the Programme may need to cease accepting applications earlier, taking into account the progress of funding approval and the amount approved. Such an arrangement would be announced about two weeks beforehand. Enterprises wishing to apply for the Programme's funding are advised to submit applications online as soon as possible. Details are available on the Programme's website (u.hkpc.org/dbiz).
Under the Programme, for each IT solution and the relevant training expenses for the employees, the funding ceiling is $100,000. Each enterprise may receive total funding of up to $300,000 to undertake a project to be completed within 12 months. According to the enhancement measures for the Distance Business Programme introduced by the Government, the funding period for subscription-based IT solutions will be extended from six months to 12 months. This arrangement is also applicable to applications approved earlier. The Programme covers IT categories relating to distance business. Please click here for more details on the funding scope.
Funding Application and Eligibility
All private enterprises (excluding publicly listed companies, statutory bodies and non-government organisations funded by the Government) with a valid Business Registration Certificate, ongoing business commenced before 1 January 2020 and with substantive business operation in the industry related to the project in the application at the time of application are eligible.
The Programme is open for funding applications, interested enterprises can submit applications online. From 9am on August 31, enterprises may submit a second application in which the categories of the IT solutions must be different from the approved categories in the first application. They may submit a second application after they have replied to the Secretariat on the result of the first application. The assessment criteria of the Programme remain unchanged. Each enterprise may receive aggregate funding of up to $300,000. The restriction that related entities being regarded as one single entity are not allowed to submit applications will be lifted. Social enterprises with certifications issued by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service for the Distance Business Programme will also be eligible.