Ontario, Canada Help Small Business Go Digital

Ontario is helping the province’s small businesses expand their digital footprint post COVID 19. The province announced $57 million investment in partnership with the federal government to start a program called the Digital Main Street platform.

“As thousands of small businesses across the province closed their doors and halted business during the COVID-19 outbreak, many struggled to shift sales or services online,” Small Business and Red Tape Minister Prabmeet Sarkaria said. The program will help 22,900 businesses and generate jobs for more than 1400 jobs for students.

Applicants will be able to advantage of the following programs:

  • shopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario’s strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have the capacity to do so themselves. The core goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow, in a world that is increasingly online, and help them recover as quickly as possible following COVID-19.
  • Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses be digitally more effective. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support.
  • Future-Proofing Main Street will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services and support that helps existing main-street firms adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content.

“The global marketplace is rapidly changing, and in order to compete and succeed, Ontario must adapt” Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade Minister Vic Fedeli said. It’s estimated that only 60% of the province’s small business have a website, and 7% have a payment solution. Digitally speaking, Canadian businesses are estimated to be 2 years behind their U.S. counterparts.

For more information visit the website