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Distance Business Programme (D-Biz): a step closer to digital transformation

A list of useful D-Biz facts and FAQ as your quick guide.

Latest update: 10 Sep 2020

Four enhancement measures have been introduced by the D-Biz Secretariat on 18 August 2020. Enterprises can now submit a second application after replying to the Secretariat regarding the first application, and the funding period for subscription-based IT solutions will also be extended to 12 months.

The government’s recent report shows that more than 80% of the D-Biz applications have been processed, and over 70% of which have been approved. However, the average approved amount is merely 30% – 40% of the submitted budget, out of the maximum HKD 300,000 funding cap per enterprise.


Rather than running away from the crisis brought by the coronavirus pandemic, enterprises of all sizes seek to turn such disaster and challenges into opportunities by upgrading and transforming to a digital business model. Remote working and services, setting up webshops, and more are fast becoming the newest trends to increase the value of existing businesses.

Grayscale (reference no.: SP-969-192) has been following the news about D-Biz after enrolling in the first batch of the IT Service Providers Reference List. We have compiled a list of useful facts and frequently asked questions as a quick guide:

1. What is D-Biz?
2. Is it too late to submit a D-Biz application?
3. Will the D-Biz application result be ready after 10 days?
4. Will D-Biz provide full funding? Is there a minimum funding amount?
5. What can you do if the D-Biz approved funding amount is less than your applied amount?

1. What is D-Biz?

Under the second round of the Government’s Anti-epidemic Fund, the Innovation and Technology Commission (ITC) has launched the Distance Business Programme (D-Biz), which allocated a total of HKD 1.5 billion to support enterprises’ distance business during the epidemic.

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2. Is it too late to submit a D-Biz application?

D-Biz is not allocated on a first-come, first-served basis; the processing time of funding applications varies by case and depends on, for example, how adequate the submitted documents are, as well as the technical considerations of your IT solutions.

We recommend SMEs who intend to apply to go through the official online application demo and prepare all necessary documents in advance — avoiding slowdown caused by the belated submission of information gives you a higher chance of smooth funding approval.

Once all documents are ready, you can complete the D-Biz online application form. Application is open from 18 May to 31 October 2020. However, 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.

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3. Will the D-Biz application result be ready after 10 days?

The Secretariat will process your application upon receipt. The processing time varies case-by-case, as it depends on factors such as the completeness of your submitted documents.

To be eligible for the funding support, the concerned projects must not have commenced before your submission of the D-Biz application. Adjustment of internal deadlines may help. Also, make sure to allow sufficient time for the application processing, or your daily operations will be affected.

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4. Will D-Biz provide full funding? Is there a minimum funding amount?

All applications and the respective funding amount will be assessed by the Distance Business Programme Vetting Committee and the programme secretariat, with the following five assessment criteria:

  • Relevance of the proposed project to the applicant’s business. In other words, the project should enable applicants to continue / transform their business and services during the pandemic.
  • Reasonableness of the budget. Each expenditure item must be essential and directly related to the implementation of the project.
  • Reasonableness of the implementation details.
  • Capability of the selected service provider.
  • Adverse record of the service provider.

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5. What can you do if the D-Biz approved funding amount is less than your applied amount?

Unlike other funding schemes, there is no appeal mechanism for D-Biz. If the approved funding falls short of the budget requested, you can either accept the funding and pay the difference out of pocket, or adjust the quotation with your service provider. Grayscale can adapt your new scope of work and timeline to fit your approved funding amount.

With the implementation of these new measures, you may also reject the funding and submit a second application for the same solution with additional information. Note that the aggregate funding amount per enterprise is still capped at HKD 300,000.

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It’s time to upgrade your business and go digital — talk to us now and start getting your D-Biz application ready, before it’s too late! ⏱