Under the Anti-Epidemic Fund, the Hong Kong Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) has launched the D-Biz Distance Business Programme to support enterprises to continue their business and services during the epidemic.

The Programme provides funding support through fast-track processing for Hong Kong enterprises to adopt IT solutions for developing distance business. The Hong Kong Productivity Council is the Secretariat of the Programme.

In this article, we look to answer common questions related to D-Biz.

1. What is D-Biz?

The D-Biz programme is a scheme launched by the Hong Kong government’s Innovation and Technology Commission (“ITC”) to help enterprises continue their business and services during COVID-19 through the adoption of IT solutions. 

Each D-Biz applicant may only submit one application with the intention to adopt no more than three IT solutions. Each applicant may receive a total funding of HKD300,000, with each IT solution and relevant expenses for employees being capped at HKD100,000.

An applicant should complete their project within 6 months, and the project should begin one month upon the signing of the funding agreement.

2. What Are The Eligibility Requirements?

All D-Biz applications must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Registered in Hong Kong under the Business Registration Ordinance; and
  • Not a listed company, statutory body, nor non-government organisation funded by the Hong Kong government; and
  • The applicant has commenced business before 1 January 2020; and
  • Has substantive business operations in Hong Kong

3. What is the D-Biz Funding Scope?

D-Biz will help fund projects related to the adoption of 12 categories of IT solutions. Prior approval must be obtained by ITC before the commencement of any project and the outcome of the project should have a direct impact on the applicant’s business and service operations in Hong Kong. 

To support an application, applicants are required to provide a detailed budget of all costs to be incurred in the implementation of their project. The following expenses can be covered under the budget:

  • Engagement of an IT service provider to help implement the IT solutions
  • Enablement of online / physical stores with multiple digital payment channels, e.g. payment gateway or mobile Point-of-Sales (POS)
  • 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
  • Training expenses related to the adoption of the IT solution for employees (capped at 10% of the project cost)
  • Audit fee for projects with approved funding exceeding HKD30,0000

4. What is the Application Procedure?

D-Biz will begin accepting applications on their dedicated website, starting from 18 May 2020 to 31 October 2020. Upon submission of an application, the Hong Kong government or the Secretariat may request an applicant to provide additional information. To the extent that further information cannot be provided, an application will be deemed as incomplete and will not be processed until the applicant has provided all necessary information.

5. What is the Assessment Criteria?

Applications will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and will be judged along the following criteria:

  • The relevance of the proposed project to the applicant’s business
  • The reasonableness of the budget
  • The reasonableness of the implementation details
  • The capability of the service provider who will provide the IT solutions, and whether they have any adverse records held against them.

6. What do I Need to be Aware of When I Start My Project?

Firstly, all approved applicants are required to enter into a funding agreement with the Secretariat once an application has been approved. In addition, the project must be carried out in strict accordance with the funding agreement and application and it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure there is no non-compliance.

7. What are the Audit / Monitoring Requirements?

To help ensure that a project’s funds are being solely, and properly applied according to the terms of the funding agreement, an audited statement of income and expenditure detailing the whole project period is required for projects that have an approved funding amount that exceeds HKD30,000.

The audit of the statement of income and expenditure must be conducted by an independent auditor who possesses a Hong Kong CPA.

8 . What are the Record Keeping Requirements?

To facilitate these random checks, approved applicants are required to maintain proper and separate books and records for each of their D-Biz programmes for seven years after the completion of these projects. The Hong Kong government or the Secretariat may request an applicant to produce these records upon request.

9. What are the Auditor’s Responsibilities?

In addition to having to provide access to project accounts and supporting statements, auditors are required to produce an auditor’s report, expressing an audit opinion as to whether the applicant has complied with, in all material respects, with the terms and conditions of the D-Biz funding agreement and to make a full disclosure of any material non-compliance.

10. Tell me in Short?

  1. Preliminary Preparation
    Explore the detailed I.T. solution you need with Rue Digital.
  2. Prepare Application Document
    Valid copy of HKBR.
    Documents to prove business operation before 1 January 2020.
    Rue Digital to produce Quotation with Scope of Work & Probity and Non-Collusive Quotation/Tendering Certificate.
  3. Submit Application
    Demo video below.
  1. HKPC Quick Approval
    Expect 10 days for each approval (lasts for 6 months).
  2. Obtain 1st Installment of Funding
    Obtain 30% D-Biz funding.
    (Max. obtain HKD100,000 per project)
    (Max. get approved for 3 projects per company [i.e. HKD300,000])

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