Digital Main Street Service Squad (L to R) Huron East EDO Jan Hawley, Seaforth BIA Director Maureen Agar, DMA Squad Specialist Kaleda Connell & Seaforth BIA Chair Tracey McKee

The Municipality of Huron East has received a $20,000 grant from Digital Main Street to fund a Digital Service Squad to help main street small businesses in the communities of Huron East improve their online capabilities.

The program was launched at a special event, “Wine & Cheese – Toasting Digging Digital,” on the evening of October 18 at the Seaforth Golf Club.

Huron East received the grant from the Government of Ontario as part of the Digital Main Street initiative to help small businesses in Huron East’s community cores to enhance their use of digital tools and techniques to better evolve and grow. The Squad will consist of one trained specialist and several support staff, who will visit and assist businesses at no cost, to help them set up Google Business, conduct a digital-readiness assessment and apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant.

The Squad started visiting businesses on October 4.

“Over the past decade, the Ontario BIA Association (OBIAA) has supported communities throughout the Municipality of Huron East with the delivery of countless innovative and proactive business initiatives,” said economic development officer Jan Hawley. “The Digital Main Street program is no exception, illustrating how provincial partnerships working together can strengthen the business environment through improved communication, and helping build the foundation for a more prosperous economy. For that reason alone, we are extremely grateful.”

A joint program funded by the Government of Ontario and delivered by the Ontario BIA Association, Digital Main Street helps improve how small main street businesses use digital tools and techniques to become more successful. Today’s digital economy is vital to small businesses, and DMS will help them adopt new digital technologies from e-commerce and social media to back-office systems such as payroll and inventory.

“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 Huron East 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.”

Huron-Bruce MPP Lisa Thompson said, “The Digital Service Squad in the Municipality of Huron East will help local businesses gain the expertise necessary to compete in the digital environment. The training they’ll receive will help provide them with the tools and opportunity to expand their customer base using the convenience of digital technology.”

Digital Main Street offers two types of grants:

  1. Digital Transformation Grant: There are 2,000 grants of $2,500 each available to qualifying small “main street” businesses across Ontario to help them adopt new digital technologies.
  2. Digital Service Squad Grant: There are 300 grants of $10,000 each available to qualifying municipal or business groups across Ontario to develop and implement local squads of digital vendors and experts to directly help small businesses.

“We are always excited when municipalities take advantage of Digital Main Street on behalf of the downtown cores of their communities. Huron East clearly understands the importance of digital technology and the power of Digital Main Street to help keep their main streets 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 that we work together to ensure their success. Digital Main Street will help the small downtown businesses in Huron East compete in an increasingly digital world.”

Businesses within the downtown areas will be introduced to the Digital Service Squad in the next several weeks. For further information contact Jan Hawley at 519.527.0160 ext. 5 or [email protected]

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