Digital Main Street
Digital Main Street Going Live Across Ontario
New program from OBIAA and the Province of Ontario will help “main street” businesses get more digital.
August 17, 2018: Mississauga, Ontario. The Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA) today announced that Digital Main Street is about to launch across Ontario. Started by the City of Toronto and the Toronto BIA Association (TABIA), Digital Main Street will be live and available through OBIAA to Ontario “main street” businesses starting August 24, 2018. The Digital Main Street Initiative is funded by the province of Ontario.
Part of the Province’s Main Street Enhancement Initiative, Digital Main Street will help small businesses improve how they use digital tools and techniques to be more successful. Today’s digital economy is vital to small businesses, and Digital Main Street will help them adopt new digital technologies from e-commerce and social media to back-office systems like payroll and inventory.
“Today’s announcement marks the start of an important program for Ontario’s small businesses and our communities,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA. “Small main street businesses are the heart of our communities, and we are committed to ensuring that they continue to flourish. Being digital is now a vital part of business success and we are passionate about ensuring that small businesses get the support they need.”
Starting August 24, 2018, Ontario’s “main street” businesses can take the first step toward getting access to tools and services designed to support them in today’s digital economy. Small businesses across the Province can register and take the Digital Main Street Assessment at www.digitalmainstreet.ca, a smart and easy tool that will gauge their success so far and provide advice on where to focus in a range of key areas.
Other Digital Main Street services that will become available include digital training, local service squads and grants of up to $2,500 to help business adopt digital technology. All services are supported by a web platform that will include access to vendors across the Province.
“We are excited to see that Digital Main Street will be extended across Ontario,” said John Kiru, Executive Director of the Toronto BIA Association. “Our partnership with OBIAA has a long successful history, and we’re delighted to continue to work with together on this important initiative, thanks to the support of the the Province of Ontario.”
“Digital Main Street will increase economic growth by helping small businesses across Ontario better market themselves through online stores and social media. In today’s increasingly digital environment, this will increase competitiveness, create local jobs and support people in the local community and beyond.”
Ernie Hardeman, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
Helping Main Street Businesses Grow
by Adopting Digital Tools and Technologies.
Vibrant main streets help attract visitors, create jobs and increase the competitiveness of small businesses, which are the backbone of small rural communities. In order to compete well, small businesses must increasingly look at how they can promote, sell and do business in the online world, including running their back office business processes digitally.
To help Ontario’s main street small businesses enhance their digital capabilities and online presence, OBIAA and the Province have partnered on a $40 million initiative over three years that will help strengthen small businesses in downtown and main street areas and enhance the digital presence and capabilities of small businesses through increased access to digital tools like e-commerce.
Part of the province’s Main Street Enhancement Fund, the Main Street Digital Initiative was first launched by the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) and the City of Toronto several years ago. 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. Some of the core services will include:
- Web Platform: provides access to basic digital services, including vetted lists of vendors who can identify technologies and tools businesses need to become digital ready.
- Digital Training (online and in-person): offers specific digital technologies or strategies including e-commerce, social media and website development.
- Service Squad Program: provides one-on-one assistance and digital assessments by highly trained team who can come into stores to offer services and recommendations, including activating free and easy to use tools.
- Digital Transformation Training and Grants Program: provides grants of up to $2,500 to help businesses strategically adopt technology and meet their digital goals.
We anticipate rolling out the first stages of Digital Main Street across Ontario over the next few months. In the meantime, please visit www.digitalmainstreet.ca for more information.
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