Changes to Location Rules Open Up Grants to More Small Businesses
July 20, 2021: Toronto, ON. The Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA) together with the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) today announced that Digital Main Street’s Ontario Grants Program is now accepting applications. Two grant streams will be available: the Digital Transformation Grant provides $2,500 to qualifying brick-and-mortar small businesses to help cover the costs of adopting digital technologies; and, the Digital Service Squad Grant is available to Municipalities, BIAs, Chambers, and Small Business Enterprise Centres (SBEC) to fund digital technology specialists who will provide hands-on assistance to small businesses in their areas.
A major change to the Digital Transformation Grant from previous years is the new location criteria. Small businesses no longer need to be part of a zoned main street area to qualify, opening up the grant to thousands of additional businesses across the province.
“This pandemic has presented significant challenges for our hardworking small businesses, but with it have come new opportunities,” said Nina Tangri, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “Digital Main Street is one of the most innovative support programs available for small businesses, and will undoubtedly continue to have benefits long after this pandemic is behind us. The renewal of the Ontario Grants Program marks the next step in our journey to get small businesses the help they need to emerge from this pandemic stronger than before.”
Renewed investment of $10 million for the Digital Main Street program from Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) will help fund Digital Main Street, including the Ontario Grants Program, assisting small brick-and-mortar small businesses take advantage of the power of online marketing, sales and back-office operations.
Founded by the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) in 2016 and expanded province-wide in 2018, Digital Main Street (DMS) is an important resource for small businesses across Ontario as they continue transform their operations to include online business models, regain lost revenue and become more resilient and competitive as the economy recovers. The Ontario BIA Association in partnership with TABIA, administers the DMS grant program across the province to assist Ontario’s brick-and-mortar small businesses. For more information on Digital Main Street’s Ontario Grants Program visit www.digitalmainstreet.ca/ontario.
The Ontario Grants Program is vital to the success of Digital Main Street,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of the OBIAA. “As DMS has evolved over the past three years, we’ve learned first-hand how important it is to small businesses to have an expert ready to support and advise, as well as the resources to enable transformation. During the pandemic, the ability to boost digital marketing and sales became even more vital, and as our May 2021 Progress Report confirmed, Digital Main Street was at the forefront of helping businesses generate revenue and stay viable.”
Both grant portals are now open to receive applications from eligible organizations/small businesses. The DSS portal will close on September 30th, 2021 and the DTG portal will close on October 31st, 2021 or until grant funds have been exhausted.
OBIAA is the network that represents unique and vibrant BIAs across Ontario. The Association, incorporated in 2001, supports and advocates on behalf of its members through the building and nurturing of strong relationships and partnerships. OBIAA is a leader in the development and sharing of information, tools, resources and best practices, and is the ONE voice on common issues. www.obiaa.com
The Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) is a non-profit umbrella organization working with the 84 Business Improvement Areas within the City of Toronto, who in turn represent more than 70,000 business and property owners. www.toronto-bia.com
ABOUT DIGITAL MAIN STREET
Digital Main Street is a program 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 street-level team members who help main street businesses grow and manage their operations through technology.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association on Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, and Yellow Pages. Ongoing investment from the Government of Ontario and FedDev Ontario has expanded the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses to go digital as a response to the impacts of COVID- 19. www.digitalmainstreet.ca