- Entry level support: OBIAA will provide services to an estimated 2,750 main street businesses in the initial stages of developing an online presence. Digital service squads will help businesses implement transformation plans and OBIAA will provide contributions of $2,500 to help businesses create a compelling online presence.
- Intermediate level support to build an online storefront (ShopHere): This model deploys students to build online stores and provides initial support for operating the online store and related digital marketing. This pillar will support an estimated 16,450 businesses across Ontario, and will be delivered by the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA), Communitech and Invest Ottawa.
- Advanced level support through Future-Proofing Main Street: This pillar involves specialized engagement over a longer time with main street firms looking to accelerate their digital growth in three key sectors: retail, restaurant/hospitality, and services/trades. Local experts and students will help businesses develop global marketing strategies and advanced digital marketing, to be complemented by networking, mentoring and specialized training provided by Communitech, Invest Ottawa and other regional innovation centres across Ontario. This pillar will support an estimated 2,700 businesses.
The Digital Main Street Platform will support nearly 22,000 main street businesses and create experiential learning opportunities for over 1,400 students. The Government of Ontario is also investing $7.45 million to extend this Platform to Northern Ontario and support even more businesses. For more information or to apply, visit the Digital Main Street website. To learn more about the Platform, read the pivotal project profile on our website.
“As local economies across Ontario reopen, we’re focused on ensuring that our main streets don’t just survive, but thrive. These businesses are the backbone of our economy, a source of local jobs – and local pride. Thanks to the expanded Digital Main Street platform, they’ll be able to expand their offerings and take advantage of more and more people shopping online. Our message to Ontario’s small businesses, and those whose livelihoods rely on them, is clear: we’re working with you to support good jobs and help our economy come back stronger than ever.”
The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario