Ontario Boosts Support to Get Small Businesses Online- Renews Digital Main Street Program

The government of Ontario is committed to having more small businesses online. It has proved that by renewing its Digital Main Street program, which includes Digital Service Squads, which has helped thousands of businesses with one-on-one technology support. The province committed to an increased investment of $40 million over two years in the 2021 Fall Economic Statement to help Ontario businesses better compete at home and abroad.

Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction, Nina Tangri said, “Main street small businesses are the economic foundation of communities across Ontario. Our government is supporting them in reaching new customers and new markets through Digital Main Street. To date, we have helped more than 41,000 Ontario businesses and expect this funding will give 36,000 more businesses the boost they need to raise their digital profile.”

The Digital Service Squads are usually comprised of students and recent graduates with strong backgrounds in marketing and technology that communities can access to provide to their business members. The members of these squads offer one-on-one technical help with critical things like website creation, digital assessments, social media advertising, and even e-commerce platforms.

The Digital Main Street program offers three critical resources to small businesses in Ontario.

1.       Digital Service Squads offer one-on-one help, and technical training wherein small business owners get targeted support to get started, grow their digital presence, and even grow their business. Applications for this resource are now at the moment.

2.       ShopHERE helps businesses with the creation of online stores via e-commerce platforms.

3.       Digital Transformation Grants of up as much as $2,500 are provided to fund the implementation of digital strategies for small businesses. Applications for this will open in the next few months.

Vic Fedeli, Minister of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade, stated, “Ontario’s small businesses are key to the strength of our economy. Through Digital Main Street, we’re giving business owners and operators the tools they need to strengthen their online presence and enhance their technical skills, so they can better supply their customers, contribute to our economic stability and create jobs.”

John Kiru, Executive Director, TABIA & Founder, Digital Main Street, said, “As we continue to build back our communities, it is more important now than ever that we continue supporting our small businesses as they adjust to a new normal and changing consumer behaviors. Ensuring they have access to digital adoption support will be imperative to their continued revitalization and success. We look forward to continuing our work with our project partners and increasing our capacity to support small businesses across the province.”

Kay Matthews, Executive Director, OBIAA, said, “Small businesses are innovative and entrepreneurial, but often lack the resources to respond to change, be resilient, yet flexible. The Digital Main Street Ontario Grants Program for Ontario’s small businesses has helped them embrace digital transformation to ensure their future sustainability. OBIAA is delighted to once again work alongside the Digital Main Street team with renewed funding from the province. The Digital Main Street program’s resources, grants, training, and Digital Service Squad assistance provide the means for more small businesses to adopt innovative ways, create new revenue streams, expand their markets and face the future with optimism and confidence.”

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