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South Georgian Bay Launches Digital Main Street Service Squad

Posted On: Tuesday, May 28, 2019

South Georgian Bay Small Business Centre today announced that it has received a grant from the Ontario government to fund a Digital Service Squad to help main street small businesses improve their online capabilities.

South Georgian Bay Launches Digital Main Street Service Squad

As part of Digital Main Street, South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre (SBEC) received a $65,000 grant from the Ontario government to establish a Digital Service Squad to help small businesses in the downtown areas of Collingwood, Meaford, Stayner, The Blue Mountains and Wasaga Beach, to enhance their use of digital tools and techniques to better promote and sell online. The Squad will consist of a trained specialist who will visit and assist BIA-area downtown businesses at no cost to help them set up a Google Business Profile, conduct a digital-readiness assessment and apply for a $2,500 Digital Transformation Grant.  The Squad will start visiting businesses before the end of May 2019

“This is an exciting opportunity to strengthen our local small businesses and increase their reach through online marketing and sales. The internet has changed the retail world and the Digital Main Street service squad will assist local businesses in creating an online presence and expanding their reach to shoppers in and outside our community.” – Mayor of Collingwood Brian Saunderson

A joint program funded by Government of Ontario and delivered by the Ontario BIA Association, Digital Main Street helps improve how small 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 the community of South Georgian Bay 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. “

“It’s extremely important for our government to invest in enhancing the digital capabilities of small businesses in South Georgian Bay,” said Bill Walker MPP for Bruce-Grey-Owen Sound. “We’re providing them with the tools and training to take advantage of new digital opportunities that will help these businesses to expand.”

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.

“South Georgian Bay SBEC clearly understands the power of Digital Main Street to help keep their multiple downtown cores 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 main street small businesses of South Georgian Bay compete in an increasingly digital world.” 

Businesses within the participating municipalities will be introduced to the Digital Service Squad over the coming weeks. The Digital Service Squad will be administered by the South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre and will be supported by the regions BIA’s, Chambers, Business Associations and Economic Development offices.  For further information contact the office of the South Georgian Bay SBEC at sbec@collingwood.ca

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ABOUT South Georgian Bay

South Georgian Bay is a diverse geographical region capturing eight vibrant downtown cores within central Ontario’s four season playground. From the heritage of Downtown Collingwood, to the delightful villages of the Blue Mountains and Meaford, the growing Wasaga Beach, and the charming hamlets of Clearview, there are endless opportunities to work and play in the downtowns of South Georgian Bay. Pop: 74,635 (2016) Downtown Business Pop (total of 8 downtown cores): 873 Business Population (total of 5 Municipalities)

ABOUT Digital Main Street

Vibrant main streets help attract visitors, create jobs, and increase the competitiveness of small businesses, which are the backbone of small rural communities. The world is changing. Small main street businesses across Ontario must think about how to promote online, use e-commerce, and streamline their processes with digital tools to stay competitive and win. To help Ontario’s main street small businesses enhance their digital capabilities and online presence, the government of Ontario has invested $12 million into the Digital Main Street initiative and partnered with the Ontario BIA Association to deliver it across the province over three years.  www.digitalmainstreet.ca 


PROGRAM and MEDIA CONTACT:

Tim Newton – Manager
South Georgian Bay Small Business Enterprise Centre
105 Hurontario Street
Collingwood
705 446 3355
sbec@collingwood.ca

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