Building on the success of working with main street businesses in Toronto, Digital Main Street is expanding across Ontario thanks to a partnership with the Province of Ontario and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association.
Realizing Toronto’s main streets were under increasing threat from new shopping behaviours and technology, the City of Toronto and the Toronto Association of Businesses Improvement Areas launched Digital Main Street in the spring of 2016 to help main street businesses to embrace technology to grow their operations.
Helping businesses with everything from their websites and social media, to launching ecommerce platforms and using data to drive new business opportunities, Digital Main Street has worked with over 5,000 main street businesses in Toronto. All of this was funded thanks to the support of Google, Mastercard, Rogers, Shopify and Microsoft.
“Digital Main Street has been an important tool in helping small businesses in Toronto adapt to the new realities of a digital economy,” shared Mayor John Tory.
“This partnership will allow main street businesses across Ontario to leverage the lessons learned and successes we have benefited from in Toronto,” highlighted John Kiru, Executive Director of the Toronto Association Business Improvement Areas.
The expanded program for Ontario main street businesses will feature several tools, including:
- Web Platform: providing access to a range of digital resources, including vetted lists of vendors who can identify technologies and tools businesses need to become digital ready.
- Digital Training (online and in-person): training programs focused on digital technologies or strategies including e-commerce, social media and website development.
- Digital Service Squads: the creation of teams that will provide one-on-one assistance and digital assessments to main street businesses across Ontario.
- Digital Transformation Grants: providing grants of up to $2,500 to help businesses adopt technologies and meet their digital goals.
“We are excited to support small businesses as they seek to enhance their digital capabilities. Digital Main Street will provide access to tools and expertise to capitalise on the new opportunities that can be realised through technology,” recognised Jeff Leal, Minister Responsible for Small Businesses and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.
The full program will be announced in the coming weeks, but main street businesses can begin taking advantage of the program at www.digitalmainstreet.ca.