After a successful launch of the program in the U.S. last year, Dell Canada and RBC Royal Bank announced last month that they are bringing the technology program directed at Canadian small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

Dell’s Small Business Excellence Award, in partnership with the Toronto-based financial institution, honours small businesses that instill the spirit of innovation and apply information technology to improve the customer experience.

“By making smart investments in technology, even small start-ups can expand their industry presence and reach new customers,” noted Dell Canada president Greg Davis said in a statement.

Selected by a panel of judges, 2005 recipients of the prize will collect $20,000 worth of technology, up to $5,000 in professional services from Dell, a “Day with Dell” program with Dell executives, including company founder and Chairman Michael Dell, to share best business practices, and other prizes, the companies said.

The two runners-up will receive Dell notebooks.

To be considered for the prize, Canadian entrants must be small businesses with no more than 99 employees.

The company must also demonstrate how it has used IT to drive a significant business change or develop a competitive advantage in delivering customer value and experience, including customer case studies.

Entrants are invited to submit an application at www.dell.ca/SBContest. Submissions will be acceptedon-line until Oct. 28. The winners will be announced later this year.

According to IT research firm IDC Canada Ltd., SMBs account for 26 per of “IT opportunity” in Canada.

In a recent report titled Canadian Small and Medium Business Forecast Summary 2005-2009, IDC predicted that SMB will spend $9.18 billion dollars on IT this year alone.

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