Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

The small/medium business market pretty much defines the Canadian economy, with SMBs representing approximately 98 percent of businesses and a $9 billion opportunity. So the launch of an SMB channel program may seem somewhat anticlimactic, but HP intends to up the ante for its partners with a new designation that will separate them from their peers.

SMB Elite is the latest addition to the HP portfolio of Elite designations. It was originally announced two months ago as a U.S.-only initiative launching on May 1, but a Canadian version has been added. Partners who qualify for the designation will receive a number of benefits ranging from qualified leads to market subsidies and promotions like zero percent financing for customers. The company has also expanded its sales coverage to provide partners with additional support, and will be rolling out in June the Total Care Access Card that will provide users up to $500 in special offers and discounts for a list price of $49.

"SMB is a priority investment for HP," said Roseann Genovese, channel program manager, HP Canada. "We rely heavily on channel partners to reach the SMBs& (and that’s) why we went the extra step and evolved the channel program and created the Elite category."

The new category is open to Preferred Partners who generate at least $250,000 a year in HP sales, half of which must be sold into SMB customers. Candidates must complete three Web-based training programs and exams to apply for the designation. Genovese said the three modules will take approximately 44 hours.

>> Click here to read the full report