The Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street program is focused on helping main street businesses develop and implement an integrated and comprehensive digital transformation plan for their business.

If you are a main street business looking to take your business to the next level by leveraging technology, the Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street program can provide the following support:

  • A grant of up to $2,500 towards the implementation of a digital transformation plan
  • Training to develop your digital literacy skills and digital transformation plan
  • One-on-one business advisory services for implementing your digital transformation plan
  • Access to reduced pricing and offering from Digital Main Street Partners

Program Requirements

In order to qualify for the grant portion of the Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street program you must meet the following requirements: 

  • Completed the 8-course Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street training program by regiDigital Transformation for Main Street training program
  • Be a member of one of Toronto’s 82 BIAs – do not register for the training program if you are not a member of one of these BIAs, as you are not eligible for the training and your fee will be refunded
  • 18 years of age or older at the time of application
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident
  • A Toronto resident or operating your business in Toronto

Training Program Overview

To qualify for the Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street grant, applicants must first attend the 8-course training session and complete their Digital Transformation Plan.

The training courses are half-day session and cover the following learning objectives:

Class 1 – Embracing Digital

  • Focus on the importance of thinking digitally
  • Trends and stats about digital adoption
  • Overview of the program and the Digital Transformation Plan
  • Guided activity: a digital audit of where your business is currently

Class 2 – Web Presence, Part 1

  • Domain names and web hosting (when you do and don’t need hosting)
  • Domain names and email (including information on how to setup your own email with Google My Business or Microsoft Office 365)
  • Website platforms and how to choose which is best for you (WordPress, Shopify)
  • DIY or hire a pro? When each is appropriate
  • The mobile web – making sure your website works on all devices

Class 3 – Web Presence, Part 2 and SEO

  • Website content: writing the words that will appeal to your target customer
  • Images and the web: what you can and can’t use
  • Website Accessibility and AODA compliance
  • Best practices for website security
  • SEO (search engine optimization) basics
  • How to enhance your website for search engines (on-page SEO)
  • How to drive more traffic to your website through off-page SEO, using listing and ranking websites (Google My Business, Yellow Pages Profile, BIA listings)

Class 4 – Digital Marketing, Part 1

  • what you can achieve without spending a lot
  • Social media: an overview of the 4 main social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn) and how to use each one to build your business
  • Content Marketing: how to create engaging content, where to share it, and how to leverage original content to increase web presence and visibility

Class 5 – Digital Marketing, Part 2

  • Email Marketing: best practices for building email lists and email marketing campaigns (that are compliant with Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation)
  • Online advertising (paid) through Google AdWords, Facebook and other ad networks
  • Growth hacking / growth marketing tactics
  • Loyalty programs & benefits

Class 6 – Analytics & Metrics

  • Using analytics to make the right business decisions
  • Which metrics and key performance indicators should you be paying attention to? How do you find the signal in the noise?
  • Website, social media, and email marketing analytics
  • Managing results and interpreting the data

Class 7 – Operations Management / Productivity

  • Client Relationship Management software solutions
  • Digital Inventory solutions
  • Microsoft Office 365
  • G Suite by Google
  • IT setup, backups and security

Class 8 – Bringing it all together

  • Hands-on class to finalize the Digital Transformation Plan
  • Have time to interact with instructor(s) and ask questions / get clarification
  • Presentations and info sharing from Digital Main Street partners

Training Dates

The program is delivered on the following dates and times. To be eligible for the $2,500 grant applicants must attend all of eight courses and complete the Digital Transformation Plan.

  • Monday, August 14th – 6 – 9 pm
  • Thursday, August 17th – 6 – 9 pm
  • Monday, August 21st – 6 – 9 pm
  • Thursday, August 24th – 6 – 9 pm
  • Monday, August 28th – 6 – 9 pm
  • Thursday, August 31st – 6 – 9 pm
  • Thursday, September 7th – 6 – 9 pm
  • Monday, September 11th – 6 – 9 pm

The training program for the Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street program has a retail value of $1,800 plus HST, but is provided to members of Toronto’s BIAs as part of the Starter Company Plus program for the reduced rate of $299 plus HST thanks to the contributions of the Province of Ontario and the City of Toronto’s small business programming partners.

The training sessions for Starter Company Plus – Digital Main Street are provided by:

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