ShopHERE is a new initiative launched to help Toronto’s independent businesses and artists set-up their online stores with the help of volunteer web developers, business students and corporate partners. The free program provides businesses one-on-one support with building an online store to start selling their goods and services right away. The ShopHERE program is open to any business or artist that meets the eligibility requirements.

ShopHERE is part of the Digital Main Street program, which offers tools, resources,connections to trusted digital vendors, online learning, and a Digital Service Squad that provides one-on-one virtual assistance. Digital Main Street was created by the City and Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas in 2016 and was recently expanded as part of the Mayor’s Economic Support and Recovery Task Force’s short-term economic support and recovery plan for Toronto’s businesses.

“Supporting small businesses is at the heart of what we do and that starts with empowering entrepreneurs with the critical digital tools they need to reach their customers. Helping business owners navigate today’s challenges is our number one priority and we’re excited to continue working with Digital Main Street and the City of Toronto. ShopHERE will open virtual doors for local businesses by setting them up with online stores built on Shopify, and helping future-proof their business by creating an omni-channel experience.”-Satish Kanwar, VP of Product, Shopify

“The small business community has been hit disproportionately by COVID-19. We’repartnering with the City of Toronto and Digital Main Street to help Toronto smallbusinesses build a digital presence and navigate the challenges ahead.”-Sabrina Geremia, VP and Country Manager, Google Canada

ShopHERE will provide Toronto independent businesses and artists the opportunity to develop an online store, which will be built and launched for free in just a matter of days.Hands-on support will be provided throughout the entire process from volunteer website developers and marketing and business students. ShopHERE is supported by a number of community and corporate partners, including Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas, Shopify, Google, Mastercard,Microsoft, Facebook, eBay, Ritual, Trufan, eShipper, Snapchat, Magnet and Schulich School of Business-York University.
The program will provide Toronto’s independent businesses and artists with:

  • A template to develop an online store on Shopify, customized with their information,branding, logo, etc.
  • Hands-on assistance setting up and launching their online store
  • Training and support for digital marketing, shipping and operating an online store
  • Access to free tools and online advertising credits to support the launch of their online store.
An estimated 49,501 Toronto business, 7,371 of them restaurants, bars or cafes, are eligible for the ShopHERE program.The initial program is available now through the end of August and the City’s goal is to develop 3,000 online stores for Toronto independent businesses and artists.

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