Digital Main Street program helps small businesses improve online presence

Posted on Monday June 15, 2020

Small businesses in Cambridge are invited to take advantage of the Digital Main Street platform – a series of grant programs offered by the Ontario government in partnership with the federal government.  These programs will help Ontario small businesses create and enhance their online presence as well as generate student jobs, with the ultimate goal of helping businesses reach more customers.

“We’re delighted that these programs are available to small businesses in Cambridge, especially as many businesses have needed to adapt their businesses online during the pandemic,” said Cambridge Mayor Kathryn McGarry. “This is one more support available to local businesses so they can continue to thrive in our modern digital world.”

Through a $57-million contribution to the Digital Main Street platform, businesses can apply to any or all of three new programs to support their digital transformation: 

  • ShopHERE powered by Google will leverage Ontario's strengths by hiring highly skilled and trained students to build and support the launch of online stores for businesses that previously did not have this capacity. The main goal will be to help small businesses compete and grow in a business world that is increasingly web-based, and help them recover as quickly as possible from the effects of COVID-19. 
  • The Digital Main Street Grant will help main street small businesses become more effective in a digital world. Through a $2,500 grant administered by the Ontario BIA Association, small businesses will be able to adopt new technologies and embrace digital marketing. Municipalities, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Improvement Areas (BIAs) can apply for a Digital Service Squad grant, which will allow them to establish teams to provide personalized, one-on-one support. 
  • Future-Proofing Main Street: in Waterloo Region, Communitech will provide specialized and in-depth digital transformation services, as well as support for existing main-street firms to adapt to changes in their sector and thrive in the new economy. By leveraging teams of digital marketing professionals and talented students, these firms will be able to create new online business models, develop and implement digital and e-commerce marketing strategies, and maximize digital tools, platforms and content. Through Digital Main Street, Communitech and its partners will work with 5,200 small businesses across Southwestern Ontario over the next nine months.

“The Digital Main Street grant and the ShopHERE programs provide excellent opportunities for our local Cambridge businesses to access tools to help them transition their businesses to online platforms,” said James Goodram, Director of Economic Development at the City of Cambridge.

For more information on these grants, please visit Digital Main Street – Programs for Ontario Businesses. Businesses who have questions about this program can contact INVEST Cambridge staff by email at invest@cambridge.ca or by phone at 519-740-4685.

For updates from INVEST Cambridge on business supports and programs, visit www.INVESTCambridge.ca/COVID19.