Digital Main Street

Changes to location rules open up grants to more small businesses

The Orangeville & Area Small Business Enterprise Centre has announced that it has again received a grant from the Digital Main Street Ontario Grants Program (OGP) for a Digital Service Squad (DSS), which will provide trained digital specialists to local small businesses across Dufferin County to help them adopt online technologies and digitally transform their sales, marketing and back-office operations. A Digital Services Co-ordinator will connect with small commercially-zoned business owners at no cost to conduct a digital-readiness assessment of their ventures and help them apply for Digital Transformation Grants of up to $2,500.

“Ontario small businesses are the heart of our neighbourhoods and the economic foundation of our communities,” said Nina Tangri, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction for Ontario. “Our government is committed to being there for them as they reopen. This additional support will give these businesses the digital boost they need to raise their profile and rebuild better than ever.”

This is the third time the Digital Main Street program has been offered in Orangeville and area. A major change to the Digital Transformation Grant from previous years is the new location criteria. Commercial small businesses with fewer than 50 employees no longer need to be part of a main street area to qualify, opening up the grant to hundreds of additional businesses across the County.

“The Digital Main Street Program has been incredibly beneficial to our Dufferin-based businesses, particularly during the pandemic,” said Ruth Phillips, Manager, Economic Development and Culture for the Town of Orangeville. “Many businesses are expanding their ventures and finding new revenue sources through the implementation of online services and expanded digitalization efforts. Collectively to date, the program has provided more than $175,000 in grants along with free expertise and guidance to our commercial ventures.”

Renewed government funding of the OGP -- including investment from the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade -- will provide 3,000 Digital Transformation Grants to qualified brick-and-mortar small businesses as well as Digital Service Squad grants for organizations to provide hands-on assistance to local small businesses. The OGP is administrated by the Ontario BIA Association, in partnership with the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA).

“In the past 17 months, as small businesses across the province fought to stay open and keep customers engaged online, Digital Service Squads were there to help,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA.  "Squads jumped online themselves during lockdowns to help virtually, and businesses have consistently told us how important the DSS were to their success through the pandemic. We are thrilled to support the Town of Orangeville’s Small Business Enterprise Centre and help them provide assistance to even more small businesses than ever. 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.”

The DTG grant portal is now open to receive applications from eligible small businesses and will close on October 31, 2021 or when grant funds have been exhausted. For more information on Digital Main Street’s Ontario Grants Program visit www.digitalmainstreet.ca/ontario.

About The Orangeville & Area Small Business Enterprise Centre
The Orangeville & Area Small Business Enterprise Centre exists to provide free support, guidance, resources and information to new, emerging and existing businesses throughout Dufferin County and area. The office works in partnership with the Province of Ontario and partnering organizations to help local small businesses succeed and grow.

About the Ontario BIA Association
OBIAA is the network that represents unique and vibrant BIAs across Ontario. The Association 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, providing a voice on common issues.

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 the 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. www.digitalmainstreet.ca

Program Media Contact:
Ruth Phillips
Manager, Economic Development and Culture
Town of Orangeville
519-941-0440 Ext. 2291
rphillips@orangeville.ca