Digital Main Street
Welcome to Digital Main Street
Digital Main Street is a program and service that helps main street businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, and our Digital Service Squad, a team of highly trained recent graduates who help main street businesses grow and manage their business through the adoption of digital tools and technology.
Digital Main Street was created by and first launched by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) in 2016 with direct support from the City of Toronto, and is also supported by a group of strategic corporate sponsors, including Google, MasterCard, Rogers, Microsoft and Shopify.
The Ontario Main Street Initiative
To help Ontario’s main street small businesses enhance their digital capabilities and online presence, the Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA) and the Province of Ontario have partnered on a $12 million Digital Main Street initiative over three years. OBIAA is thrilled to be administering this program across the rest of Ontario by building on the Toronto-based program and expanding the services for small business across the province. This initiative will be completed by March 2020, or when all funds have been disbursed.
MAKE SURE YOUR MEMBERS KNOW ABOUT DIGITAL MAIN STREET
We’ve put together a virtual Campaign-in-a-Box – a set of tools to help you raise awareness of Digital Main Street in your BIA. It’s important that your member businesses know about Digital Main Street and how to get access to the grant funding and tools that are available. Access the DMS OBIAA Campaign-in-a-Box
Digital Main Street provides:
- A full interactive web platform: providing access to a free Digital Assessment for business owners, a comprehensive vendor directory that businesses can leverage, as well as a cache of thought leadership content providing businesses with best practices, how-to guides, and real life examples of businesses going through digital transformation.
- Digital Training (online and in-person) through the Digital Main Street Academy: a full suite of educational and instructive workshops done both in-person and online to assist with their mission of helping main street businesses grow by adopting digital tools and technologies.
- The Digital Service Squad: a first of its kind team of highly trained recent graduates to help business owners one-on-one, providing assistance and digital assessments to help their businesses grow. This also includes implementing and activating free and easy-to-use tools.
The Ontario Digital Main Street Initiative expands the previously existing Digital Main Street program by:
- Digital Transformation Training and Grants Program: grants of up to $2,500 to help businesses strategically adopt technology and meet their digital goals.
- Digital Service Squad Grants and Program: grants of up to $10,000 per BIA or municipal group to develop Digital Service Squads to deliver one-on-one assistance and digital assessments by highly-trained teams that can come on-site to offer services and recommendations, including activating free and easy-to-use tools.
- Digital Training (online and in-person): OBIAA has contracted Camp Tech to provide a set of four FREE digital skills workshops to help you promote your business online. Our first four monthly webinars include: Small Business Websites 101, SEO Fundamentals, Social Media for Small Business, and Maximizing Your Online Advertising & Digital Marketing Budget. Download our Digital Skills Training 1-pager for all the details and as a reminder to register early. The courses will also be available in-person through your BIA or municipality. You can review the latest topics at obiaa.com/training. If you have questions, please email email@example.com
Digital Transformation Grants: Simple as 1-2-3
The Digital Transformation grant provides $2,500 to qualifying Ontario main street small businesses to purchase and adopt digital tools and technologies. There are ONLY 2,000 grants available until March 2020, so businesses should start the qualification process EARLY.
Digital Service Squad Grant:
Digital Main Street made available 300 Digital Service Squad Grants of $10,000 each, but they're going quickly. Digital Service Squads are teams of digital technology specialists in an area or region of Ontario that will deliver one-on-one assistance to main street small businesses. Digital Service Squads can be set up by BIAs, Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce or Small Business Enterprise Centres, or these groups can come together to form partnerships and apply for larger aggregated grants.