The Regional Municipality of York, and Digital Main Street, an Ontario Government-funded program, are launching a new initiative to help small businesses improve their online capabilities.

As part of the program, York Region received a $100,000 grant from the Ontario Government to establish a Digital Service Squad to help small businesses improve their use of digital tools and online promotions. The Digital Service Squad will consist of a team of digital marketing specialists working with small businesses across the Region.

“In today’s digital world it’s more important than ever for businesses to have an online presence and make full use of digital tools to grow their business and stay competitive,” said York Region Chairman and CEO Wayne Emmerson. “We are committed to supporting local businesses and providing opportunities to increase economic prosperity in the Region”.

A joint program funded by the Ontario Government’s Main Street Enhancement Initiative and delivered by the Ontario BIA Association, Digital Main Street is a collaboration to improve how small businesses use digital tools and techniques to become more successful. In York Region, the program will be administered through the Markham, Richmond Hill, Vaughan and York small business centres.

“York Region has taken a lead on using the power of Digital Main Street to help keep their main street businesses vibrant and strong,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of the Ontario BIA Association. “Our small main street businesses are a critical contributor to Ontario’s economic, social and cultural health, and it’s vital we work together to ensure their success. Digital Main Street will help the main street small businesses of York Region compete in an increasingly digital world.”

The Digital Service Squad will visit and assist businesses at no cost to help them set up a Google Business Profile, conduct a digital-readiness assessment and apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant to help grow their business.

“Our government is committed to helping small businesses improve their competitiveness, create jobs and attract investment,” said Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs. “That’s why I’m so pleased that businesses in York Region will benefit from the expertise of a Digital Service Squad to help small businesses embrace digital technology. Our investment in the Digital Main Street program will help to ensure that Ontario is open for business and open for jobs.”

Businesses within the eligible areas will be introduced to the Digital Service Squad over the coming weeks. For more information, please visit

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