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Digital Service Squad Launched to Help Small Businesses Adopt Online Technologies

September 28, 2020

North Grenville and the Old Town Kemptville BIA Launch Digital Service Squad to Help Small Businesses Adopt Online Technologies

NORTH GRENVILLE, ON -  The Municipality of North Grenville and the Old Town Kemptville BIA have received a $19,095 grant from Digital Main Street Ontario for a Digital Service Squad (DSS) to help small businesses use digital technologies to adapt to a rapidly changing environment.  Funding for the grant is provided by FedDev Ontario. The squad will begin connecting with businesses this week.  

“On behalf of Council, I would like to extend our sincere thanks to the federal and provincial government for supporting the Digital Main Street initiative,” said Mayor Nancy Peckford. “This will allow the Municipality of North Grenville to hire two short-term positions to support local businesses with their online presence and access to funding for Old Town Kemptville BIA and rural main street businesses.” 

"Based on the remarkable success of last year's Digital Service Squad program, which leveraged almost $40,000 in grant funding for Old Town Kemptville BIA businesses, the Old Town Kemptville BIA is thrilled to see this highly impactful program returning for the potential benefit of even more businesses in North Grenville," added Will Pearl, Vice Chair of the Old Town Kemptville BIA Board of Management.

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. 

“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 North Grenville and Kemptville 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,” stated the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.

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).

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario’s main streets hard, so Digital Main Street is needed more than ever,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA. “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 like Kemptville and across North Grenville.”

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ABOUT the Municipality of North Grenville
The Municipality of North Grenville is one of 13 townships in the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville located on the historic Rideau River, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  With its extensive natural landscape, North Grenville is a mix of rural beauty, small town charm with urban convenience. Located 60 kilometres south of Ottawa, it is one of the fastest growing communities in Eastern Ontario.

ABOUT Old Town Kemptville BIA
The Old Town Kemptville BIA supports local businesses in the downtown core of Kemptville, and represents an eclectic blend of storefronts, restaurants and businesses overlooking the South Branch of the Rideau River.

ABOUT OBIAA
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 www.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 www.digitalmainstreet.ca/ontariogrants

Media Contact:

Jill Sturdy, Corporate Media Relations Officer
Municipality of North Grenville

Phone: 613-258-9569 ext.168
www.northgrenville.ca