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Distance Business Programme

Eligibility

All private enterprises (excluding publicly listed companies, statutory bodies and non-government organisations funded by the Government) with a valid Business Registration Certificate or a Social Enterprise Certificate issued by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service under the D-Biz Programme, ongoing business commenced before 1 January 2020 and substantive business operation in the industry related to the project in the application at the time of application are eligible.

Application Period

Application is open from 9 am on 18 May 2020 to 6 pm 31 October 2020. (Application closed)

Assessment Criteria

Applications will be assessed based on individual merits and considered on a case-by-case basis in accordance with the following criteria:

  • Relevance of the proposed project to the applicant’s business – the project should enable enterprises to continue their business and services during the epidemic;
  • Reasonableness of the budget – assessment with reference to market prices of the technologies in question as known to the Committee or the Secretariat will be made. Individual items of expenditure must also be essential and directly related to the implementation of the project;
  • Reasonableness of the implementation details – consideration may include whether concrete project deliverables and outcomes have been set. The implementation details should also be realistic taking into account factors such as the complexity of the IT solution and the project duration; and
  • Capability of Service Provider(s) – consideration will be made to the technical capability of the Service Provider(s). Each Service Provider will be considered on a case-by-case basis having regard to the Service Provider’s technical capabilities and experience relating to the IT solution categories as mentioned in the Guidance Notes for IT Service Providers;
  • Adverse record of Service Provider(s) as known to the Committee and the Secretariat if available.

Whether or not the applicants engage Service Providers on the Reference List will not affect the application outcome.

If a project is worthy of support in principle, the level of funding may be adjusted with reference to the project cost approved by the Committee. In general, the funding amount received by an applicant enterprise is within the reasonable market price range and sufficient for implementing a more economical and convenient IT solution with the same effect.

Incomplete application will not be further processed until the applicant has rectified the errors or provided all the necessary information. Once the applicant has provided the outstanding information or documents, the application concerned will then re-join the queue at the end of the queue.

The maximum number of applications to be processed by the Secretariat involving the same system integrator is 100 applications per week. The rest of the applications will be processed in the following week.

Enhancement Measures

To further support enterprises to develop distance business during the epidemic, the following enhancement measures will be introduced for the (D-Biz) Programme:

  • From 9am on 31 August, 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 an aggregate funding of up to HK$300,000;
  • The funding period for subscription-based IT solutions will be extended from 6 months to 12 months. This arrangement is also applicable to applications approved earlier;
  • The restriction that related entities being regarded as one single entity are not allowed to submit applications will be lifted; and
  • Social enterprises with certifications issued by the Hong Kong Council of Social Service for the Distance Business Programme will also be eligible.

Funding Scope

The Programme covers the following 12 IT solution categories:

  • For the company to establish a web portal, mobile app or other online channels, with aims to promote its goods and services, by using either subscription-based or custom-built e-commerce platform, including development and management
  • Enable consumers to place orders over the Internet
  • Promote such online portal through search engine promotion, digital advertisement such as social media promotion, e-coupon, loyalty programme, etc.
  • Excluding production of promotion materials, contents or assets (e.g. image, text and video etc. as part of the marketing and promotion materials)
  • For the company to establish a web portal, mobile app or other online channels, for consumers to place orders of goods or services, by using either subscription-based or custom-built e-commerce platform, including development and management
  • Such adoption of technologies should enable the company to perform end-to-end order placement and delivery to designated locations, by using e.g. smart self-servicing system, smart kiosk, smart vending machine, smart lockers, or with integration to e-logistics provider platform
  • Suitable but not limited to industries that are acquiring or promoting self-services, such as takeaway services in Food & Beverages industries
  • Promote such online portal through search engine promotion, digital advertisement such as social media promotion, e-coupon, loyalty programme, etc.
  • Excluding production of promotion materials, contents or assets (e.g. image, text and video etc. as part of the marketing and promotion materials)
  • For the company to enable order placements of services to take place over the Internet, such as reservations, appointment bookings, including development and management
  • Such adoption of technologies can also include distance learning facilities
  • Promote such online portal through search engine promotion, digital advertisement such as social media promotion, e-coupon, loyalty programme, etc.
  • Excluding production of promotion materials, contents or assets (e.g. image, text and video etc. as part of the marketing and promotion materials)

For the company to improve customer service experience and engagement with use of various technologies, including but not limited to the following:

  • Round-the-clock customer service support via Chatbot
  • Uplift product or service experience with use of Augmented Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR) or Mixed Reality (MR) technologies or Digital Twin technology
  • Apply analytics to improve customer experience such as purchasing data
  • Enable online / physical stores with multiple digital payment channels, e.g. payment gateway or mobile Point-of-Sales (POS)
  • Including one-time setup and associated hardware / equipment
  • Excluding the handling fee or equivalent of each payment transaction

Adopt computerised system to manage the financial related processes of the company, including but not limited to:

  • Invoicing and bill collection, accounting and budget planning, asset and liabilities management, regulatory compliance, reporting
  • System could be cloud-based or accessible remotely by staff with appropriate cybersecurity protections

Adopt computerised system to manage the human resources related processes of the company, including but not limited to:

  • Payroll and expense reimbursement, attendance and leave records, training, reporting
  • System could be cloud-based or accessible remotely by staff with appropriate cybersecurity protections

Digitise hard copy document into electronic format and store on cloud storage

Enable staff to access the company information, data and system remotely with solutions such as remote desktop control, Virtual Private Network (VPN), Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI)

Adopt tools to allow groups of people to collaborate or meet virtually through the Internet with the following functions but not limited to:

  • Support both audio and video communication, content sharing, manage appointments and registrations, meeting recordings, online polling and Q&A

Adopt tools to allow groups of people to collaborate or communicate virtually through the Internet with the following functions but not limited to:

  • Instant messaging, video and voice calls, document sharing and co-authoring / concurrent editing, task assignment, progress monitoring and collaborative product development
  • Improve the cybersecurity of the companies by implementing software, hardware or services to defend against cyber attacks
  • Solution examples include but not limited to data encryption, firewall, anti-virus / malware solutions

Other solutions, either off-the-shelf or custom-built, that support the programme objectives of enabling enterprises to conduct and continue business remotely but do not fit into the above categories

Solution examples include but not limited to Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP), e-application form and approval workflow, Robotic Process Automation (RPA)