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  • News
  • April 19, 2018

Ontario Helping Main Street Businesses Modernize and Grow

Province Expands Program to Help Small Businesses Adopt Digital Technologies

Ontario is supporting main street businesses in Cambridge and North Dumfries to modernize the way they do business and attract customers by helping them adopt new digital technologies and build online presence.

The Main Street Digital Initiative will help small businesses improve their digital capabilities and tap into the latest trends of today's digital economy, including setting up an online store, making businesses more mobile-friendly and using social media and apps to promote businesses.  Kathryn McGarry, MPP Cambridge, made the annoucement today at Anubis Coffe Importing, 710 King St. E., Cambridge.

The new initiative builds on an existing Toronto-based program and expands the services for small businesses across the province, including:

  • Web platform: provides access to basic digital services, including vetted lists of vendors who can identify technologies and tools businesses need to become digital ready.
  • Digital training (online and in-person): offers specific digital technologies or strategies including e-commerce, social media and website development.
  • Service squad: provides one-on-one assistance and digital assessments by highly trained team who can come into stores to offer services and recommendations, including activating free and easy to use tools.
  • Digital transformation training and grants: provides grants of up to $2,500 to help businesses adopt technology and meet their digital goals.

Ontario’s plan to support care, create opportunity and make life more affordable during this period of rapid economic change includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25, and 65 or over, through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.

QUOTES

“Small businesses are the heart of the local economy in Cambridge and North Dumfries.  When they thrive, we all benefit.  That’s why it’s important to assist them by connecting them with training to improve their digital skills to make the best use of the latest technology to reach customers.”  

— Kathryn McGarry, MPP Cambridge

“We at the Preston Towne Centre BIA are excited to hear of this initiative. We have world-class services within our core and this gives them the opportunity to improve their exposure on the world stage.”

— Tony Schmidt, Chair of the Preston Towne Centre Business Improvement Association

“We are excited to support small businesses as they seek to enhance their digital capabilities. The Main Street Digital Initiative will provide access to tools and expertise in order to capitalize on the new opportunities that can be realized through technology.”

— Jeff Leal, Minister Responsible for Small Business and Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

QUICK FACTS

  • Ontario is investing $12 million in the Digital Initiative, which will be administered by the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA). This initiative is part of a $40 million investment over three years in the Main Street Enhancement Initiative.
  • OBIAA will work with Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas and City of Toronto to expand and complement an existing digital main street program currently available to businesses in Toronto.
  • Main street areas across Ontario are largely comprised of small, independent businesses
  • About one-third of Ontario workers are employed by small businesses, which are businesses that employ less than 100 paid employees.
  • To strengthen Ontario small businesses, the province is investing more than $500 million over three years in new initiatives that include lowering the small business tax rate by 22 per cent from 4.5 per cent  to 3.5 per cent, investing in youth employment, providing support for downtown main street businesses, and cutting red tape.
  • Small Business Access resources for small business owners are available online at ontario.ca/smallbusiness or over the phone at 1-888-999-5970.

LEARN MORE

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