Digital Service Squad Program extended to help more small businesses in Milton
The Town of Milton has announced that it has received a $25,000 grant from Digital Main Street’s Ontario Grants Program to continue the Digital Service Squad (DSS), which provides trained digital specialists to local small businesses to help them adopt online technologies and digitally transform their sales, marketing and back-office operations.
“Small businesses are an integral part of our local economy, local identity and the heritage of Milton,” said Milton Mayor Gord Krantz. “Milton’s Digital Service Squad ensures business owners continue to have access to free resources and the technical support they need to not only recover through this pandemic, but to continue modernizing services for years to come.”
Renewed funding of $12.37 million for the Digital Main Street’s Ontario Grants Program (OGP) from Ontario’s Ministry of Economic Development, Job Creation and Trade (MEDJCT) and the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev) includes $3 million for the Digital Service Squad program and $7.5 million to provide 3,000 Digital Transformation Grants to qualified brick-and-mortar small businesses. The OGP is administrated by the Ontario BIA Association, in partnership with the Toronto Association of BIAs (TABIA).
“Ontario small businesses are the heart of our neighbourhoods and the economic foundation of our communities,” said Nina Tangri, Associate Minister of Small Business and Red Tape Reduction. “Our government is committed to being there for them as they reopen. This additional support will give these businesses the digital boost they need to raise their profile and rebuild better than ever.”
The cornerstone of Digital Main Street, these squads consist of trained specialists who meet with brick-and-mortar small businesses at no cost, to help them complete an online assessment and introduce them to online training modules to build their knowledge and skills. These experts can also assist businesses with developing their Digital Transformation Plan (DTP) and applying for a one-time $2,500 grant to implement it. This one-on-one DSS assistance also includes support for basic website set-up, Google My Business profiles, 360º photos, social media presence, and much more. The DSS can also provide information on the ShopHERE program, if applicable, to assist with digital storefront set-up and e-commerce. Where COVID-19 restrictions are in place, DSS experts can provide support through phone and video tools such as Zoom.
“In the past 17 months, as small businesses across the province fought to stay open and keep customers engaged online, Digital Service Squads were there to help,” said Kay Matthews, Executive Director of OBIAA. “Squads jumped online themselves during lockdowns to help virtually, and businesses have consistently told us how important the DSS were to their success through the pandemic. We are thrilled to support the Town of Milton DSS and help them provide assistance to more small businesses than ever.”
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 a program that helps main street businesses achieve digital transformation. The program is built around an online learning platform, structured training programs, and our Digital Service Squad, a team of street-level team members who help main street businesses grow and manage their operations through technology.
Digital Main Street was created by the Toronto Association on Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) with direct support from the City of Toronto. DMS is also supported by a group of strategic business partners, including Google, Mastercard, Shopify, Microsoft, Facebook, Intuit QuickBooks, Square, and Yellow Pages. Ongoing investment from the Government of Ontario and FedDev Ontario has expanded the Digital Main Street Platform in order to support more businesses to go digital as a response to the impacts of COVID-19. www.digitalmainstreet.ca