Brantford, ON – In partnership with the Downtown Brantford BIA, the Brantford-Brant Business Resource Enterprise Centre (BRC) has received a $15,000 grant from Digital Main Street Ontario for a Digital Service Squad (DSS) to help small downtown businesses use digital technologies to adapt to a rapidly changing environment. Funding for the grant is provided by the federal program FedDev Ontario. The squad members will begin visiting small businesses in communities across the City of Brantford this month.
Established in 2018, Digital Main Street Ontario was recently extended thanks to an investment of $42.5 million from the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and $7.45 million from the Ontario Ministry for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT). The nearly $50-million investment will help small businesses across Ontario to pivot their operations to include online business models, regain lost revenue and become more resilient and competitive as the economy recovers. The Ontario BIA Association administers the DMS grant program to Ontario’s main street small businesses.
Digital Service Squads are fundamental to Digital Main Street’s design and success, with trained specialists who meet with small businesses, at no cost, to help them improve their online presence. The squads assist with a number of activities, including developing a Google My Business profile, enhancing their social media presence and providing support for basic website and e-commerce set-up. Squads will also assist qualified small businesses through the application process for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant, which includes an online assessment, online training modules and the development of a Digital Transformation Plan (DTP).
Individuals who would like to learn more about participating as a Digital Services Square member should contact Mae Legg at email@example.com or 519-756-4269. Interested businesses can contact the Digital Service Squad Coordinator Liz Oden at firstname.lastname@example.org or 519-756-4269. To learn more, visit Brantford.ca/BRC.
“I am so pleased that the Downtown Brantford BIA and the Brantford-Brant Business Resource Enterprise Centre (BRC) were chosen to receive these funds to assist small downtown businesses with their online technologies. This project represents a great partnership between two amazing organizations who will support local businesses in our community as they adapt to today’s digital realities, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This is a welcome investment for our economic recovery.”
– Honourable Phil McColeman, MP Brantford Brant.
“Having strong and active small businesses is an essential ingredient for a vibrant and attractive downtown. Downtown businesses across this country are facing the challenge of responding to and recovering from the pandemic exacerbated by a shift to online shopping. This program is very timely in helping downtown business owners respond effectively to these changes and is consistent with the ongoing work and progress of the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Task Force.”
– City of Brantford Mayor Kevin Davis.
“Ontario’s small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and the keystone of our economic recovery. That is why we have invested in Digital Main Street to help these enterprises adapt to doing business in a digital world, and take advantage of the record number of people shopping online. Congratulations to Brantford-Brant on the launch of your Digital Service Squad. The work you’re doing with small businesses in your community will help keep our main streets vibrant, support good, local jobs and help our economy come back strong.”
– Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.
“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario’s main streets hard, so Digital Main Street is needed more than ever. We know that businesses that participated in Digital Main Street last year were better able to cope when the pandemic hit, and we’re excited that FedDev Ontario and Ontario are providing the funding to extend this important program to help businesses in communities across Brantford-Brant.”
– Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA.
ABOUT Brantford-Brant Business Resource Enterprise Centre (BRC)
The Brantford-Brant Business Resource Enterprise Centre (BRC) is an integral part of the City’s Economic Development and Tourism Department and the Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade’s network of Small Business Enterprise Centres that serve Ontario’s small business community. The BRC’s goal is to assist in the creation and development of small business in the City of Brantford by providing business owners support and resources to start or expand their operations. Learn more at Brantford.ca/BRC.
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, and is the ONE voice on common issues.
ABOUT Digital Main Street
Digital Main Street is an innovative program designed to help main street small businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, grants and Digital Service Squads teams of street-level experts that help main street small businesses manage and grow their operations through technology adoption. The program was originally created in 2016 by the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA) and a group of strategic partners including Google, MasterCard, Microsoft, and Shopify. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca.
ABOUT Digital Main Street Ontario
Digital Main Street was expanded across all of Ontario in 2018 with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs through the $38 million Main Street Revitalization Initiative. It has been further extended through funding from FedDev Ontario and the Ontario Ministry for Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT). The new round of funding includes $42.5 million from the Government of Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, a national recovery initiative delivered by Canada’s regional development agencies. With $7.45 million from Ontario, this combined federal and provincial project will strengthen Ontario’s economic capacity for innovation, entrepreneurship and collaboration, and will promote the development of a strong and diversified Ontario economy. For more information, please visit digitalmainstreet.ca/ontariogrants