Digital Main Street information graphic

Applications are now open for Digital Main Street’s (DMS) Ontario Grants Program. The Digital Technology Grant (DTG) provides up to $2,500 to qualifying brick-and-mortar small businesses to help cover the costs of adopting digital technologies. The grant includes an online assessment of each business as well as training and resources.  

What are the objectives of the Digital Transformation Grant?

  • Support brick-and-mortar small businesses in Dufferin County with an online assessment to determine the digital needs of the business.
  • Offer online training to teach the basics of digital technology and explain how it can help the business succeed.
  • Equip business owners with the skills needed to develop a Digital Transformation Plan.
  • Provide resources to assist eligible brick-and-mortar small business owners with the execution of their Digital Transformation Plan ($2,500 grant).

Applications will be accepted until September 30, 2023 or until grant funds are exhausted.

To learn more about the Digital Transformation Grant program, business eligibility, and the application process, visit or contact Christine Hann, Digital Services Coordinator at the Town of Orangeville by email [email protected] or phone 519-939-8106. 

 Who is eligible?

The DTG is open to participants who meet the following requirements:

Must be a business that:

  • Has a permanent ‘brick-and-mortar’ establishment in Dufferin County
  • Employs 1-50 employees
  • Pays commercial property tax (commercially assessed), either directly or through commercial rent
  • Is a registered business in Ontario and/or is incorporated
  • Is open for business/operating at the time of application
  • Is NOT a wholesaler or manufacturer i.e., is a consumer-facing business and can be accessed by consumers or provides in-person services and/or product sales to consumers
  • Is NOT a business supplying digital services to other businesses (e.g., website design/development, programming)
  • Is NOT a franchise, including those individually owned and operated
  • Is NOT a not-for-profit or charitable organization
  • Is NOT renting office space on a temporary basis (month-to-month)
  • Is NOT in a shared workspace such as a hot desk or dedicated desk
  • Is NOT a purely online business
  • Is NOT a home-based business

Owned by:

  • An Ontario resident operating a business in Ontario
  • An individual of 18 years of age or older at the time of application
  • A Canadian citizen or permanent resident

Has completed the application process, which includes:

  • the Digital Main Street Assessment
  • passing the pre-qualification quiz
  • the online training
  • developing a Digital Transformation Plan

Additional notes:

  • Previous Digital Main Street Ontario Grant Program recipients who received a DTG before June 21, 2022 may apply provided all DTG final reports have been received and verified by OBIAA.
  • Large corporations are not eligible to apply for a DTG (more than 50 staff).
  • Businesses with multiple locations are only eligible to apply for one Digital Transformation Grant.
  • Owners with multiple businesses may only apply for one grant.

 What costs are eligible (excluding GST/HST)?

Eligible costs include the following:

  • Digital Marketing - Hiring a consultant/agency/person to execute digital marketing initiatives
  • Website - Redesign, update existing website - Development of new website - Photography/videography costs for production of photos and/or videos - Ecommerce enablement - Accessibility compliance
  • Software - Graphic design software - Productivity software (LastPass, Hootsuite, Dropbox, etc.) - Social media software (Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.) - Security software - Other software as evidenced in the Digital Transformation Plan
  • Digital Training - Ongoing digital training courses (in-person & online)
  • Hardware (limited to $1,000) - POS systems - All hardware must be deemed necessary (as determined by OBIAA in its sole discretion)

What are non-eligible expenses?

  • Purchases made prior to grant approval
  • Microsoft Office or equivalent
  • Website hosting
  • Domain name renewal
  • Software subscription renewal
  • Signage and printing including LED/digital signage
  • Logo redesign and rebranding
  • Unnecessary or excessive equipment (or equipment you already have and want to upgrade) (as determined by OBIAA in its sole discretion)
  • iPhones or cell phones of any type - no exceptions
  • Business owner’s salary or current employee salary for executing the project
  • Costs of land, building or vehicle purchase
  • Any costs not listed under “Eligible Costs” are deemed INELIGIBLE

 How do I apply?

The process for businesses applying for a Digital Transformation Grant has two main stages.

STAGE 1 – Application:

1. Create an account on

2. Complete the digital assessment

3. Pass the eligibility and pre-qualification quiz; an email will be sent inviting the business to continue the application process and apply (check your spam filter)

4. Complete an online training program focused on developing digital literacy skills

5. Develop a Digital Transformation Plan (DTP)

6. Submit an application that includes detailed information on the DTP along with a detailed budget (costs net of HST)

7. Submit a copy of the business’ Commercial Tax Bill or a letter/ lease from property owner indicating commercial taxes are paid

8. Submit a copy of the Business Number, Articles of Incorporation (AOI), Master Business License (MBL) or business registration

9. Submit photos of their exterior storefront/business signage AND interior commercial business operations.

**NOTE: Business owners MUST complete their assessment, pass the pre-qualification quiz, take the online training, and develop their Digital Transformation Plan BEFORE applying. Any business that cannot provide the required documentation with their application, or upon request, will be deemed ineligible; their application will be marked incomplete and closed.

STAGE 2 – Review and Award:

• OBIAA will review the application and once approved, the business will receive an agreement to be executed by both the business owner and OBIAA.

• Upon receipt of the signed agreement, OBIAA will release the $2,500 grant to the business to begin implementing the DTP.

 What are my obligations once I sign the grant agreement?

  • The funds must be used for the project as outlined in the DTP and spending must align with the budget
  • All receipts for expenditures must be submitted with the final report and retained for seven (7) years in case the stakeholder requires an audit of these expenses
  • The final report/survey must be completed and submitted on time
  • All applicants must comply with all applicable laws
  • All applicants must acknowledge their business name and location will be disclosed to the Government for the purposes of preparing events/success stories


Q: Once I complete the pre-qualification quiz can I start my project?

A: No, the pre-qualification process does not approve you for the grant, you still must go through the application process to receive final approval.

Q: Is the grant income?

A: No, this grant is a reduction of an expense, see businesses/small-businesses-self-employed-income/business-income-tax-reporting/business-income/sources-income.html#gvrnmnt_grnts

Q: Do I include HST in my budget calculation?

A: No, HST paid on any grant expenses can be claimed on the HST report you submit to the Canada Revenue Agency. If you include it in your grant application, you will be double dipping!

Q: I do not have a Business Number. What do I do?

A: All businesses (Incorporated and Sole Proprietors) that operate in Ontario are required to register for a Business Number. This number allows you to charge HST and if you have staff, to remit source deductions. Check with your accountant or contact your local tax department. A copy of your HST remittance is an allowable document to include with your application. If you are HST exempt professional i.e., chiropractors, physiotherapists, naturopaths, etc., and do not have a business number, you must provide a copy of your current professional certification with your application.

Q: I own several businesses and they are all incorporated separately, but I am the owner. Can all my businesses apply for the grant?

A: No. One owner, one business, one grant, one location is the rule. If one of your businesses has a partner and it is a different corporation, the partner can apply for the grant.

Q: I would like to spend the grant funds on marketing. Would print ads be an eligible expense?

A: No, print advertising in magazines, newspapers or printed menus, table cards, business cards are NOT an eligible expense. Even if you are referencing your website, Facebook page, Instagram or #followme, it is not considered an eligible ‘digital’ expense.

Q: Do I have to be located within a zoned commercial core or main street area?

A: No, however you must be able to prove you have a brick-and-mortar location (i.e., a physical location, not home-based) and pay commercial tax (either directly or indirectly).

Q: I am a sole proprietor and do not have any employees, would I still qualify?

A: Yes, as a sole proprietor we consider you to be the first and possibly only employee of your business.

Q: What do I do if I do not receive an email after I have completed the pre-qualification quiz?

A: Check your spam filter or junk mail folder! This is an automated process, and you should receive an email within a maximum of two (2) hours. If the email address you entered into the system is correct, you will receive an email either inviting you to apply or informing you that your business does not qualify.

Q: I have a professional services business located within a shared workspace i.e., wellness clinic, would I still qualify?

A: Maybe. In order to qualify you must be able to provide a lease agreement for the designated area where you conduct your services i.e., not an independent contractor agreement or a revenue sharing agreement, and a photo of the signage for your business that is independent of the brick-and-mortar-signage, in addition to the other required documents.

Q: I have started my project and realized I need to change my plan. Do I need to ask for approval before I do that?

A: No, not necessarily. We expect, with all projects, that budgets are subject to change. As long as the expense is an ‘eligible’ one, there is no need to request approval. If, however, you want to purchase hardware, then yes, you will need to request prior approval.

Q: What if I cannot spend all of the grant funds by the agreement deadline?

A: You must inform the OBIAA office of any issues with keeping to your Digital Transformation Plan timelines and budget by emailing your Grant Coordinator ASAP.

Q: If I am a small business location in an area that is not zoned commercial, would I still qualify?

 A: Yes, small businesses located within a non-commercially zoned area (i.e., industrial, agricultural, etc.) may qualify, but some restrictions do apply. The business must be clearly open to the general public i.e., is a consumer-facing business and can be accessed by consumers or provides in-person services and/or product sales to consumers. Supporting documentation for eligible businesses would include a tax bill or lease/rental agreement, and pictures of the exterior AND interior of the brick-and-mortar location. The exterior photo must display the business’s signage and the interior photo must clearly show the dedicated space where commercial transactions take place with consumers.

Q: What if I am a wholesaler or a manufacturer but also sell locally to the public?

A: If you are a wholesaler or a manufacturer that sells to the public, you must have a dedicated commercial space where customers can walk in and purchase products or services. An interior photo must include the dedicated space considered to be commercial.