Milton Launches Digital Service Squad to Help Small Businesses Adopt New Technologies

Milton, ON — With support from Digital Main Street Ontario and Milton Economic Development, the Downtown Milton Business Improvement Area (BIA) is launching a Digital Service Squad (DSS) to connect main street small businesses with support, resources and skills to help them build their online presence, adopt new technologies and promote and sell online. The DSS will be funded through an $18,000 grant from Digital Main Street Ontario, provided by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and the Province of Ontario, in partnership with the Toronto Association of Business Improvement Areas (TABIA) and the Ontario Business Improvement Area Association (OBIAA). The squad will be in place until February 2021.

“Main street small businesses are an integral part of our local economy, local identity and heritage of downtown Milton,” said Mayor, Gord Krantz. “These businesses create jobs in our community and provide the products and services we need. Milton’s Digital Service Squad will ensure these business owners have access to free resources and the technical support they need to not only recover, but to continue modernizing services and serving our community for years to come.”

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. Through face-to-face and virtual consultations, the squad assesses a business’s digital marketing activities and connects owners with specific digital marketing tools, learning opportunities and resources. Depending on the need of the business, the squad may also show business owners how to build a basic website and optimize it for search, improve their online presence through tools such as Google My Business and social media, set up a point of sale solution, create a customer database and lots more. The DSS can also help business owners apply for $2,500 Digital Transformation Grants (deadline November 30, 2020).

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 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 Milton on the launch of your Digital Service Squad,” said the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario.  “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.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic hit Ontario’s main streets hard, so Digital Main Street is needed more than ever,” added 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 Milton.”

For more information on the Downtown Milton BIA’s Digital Service Squad, please visit https://downtownmilton.com/news/dss/.

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ABOUT the Downtown Milton Business Improvement Area

The Downtown Milton Business Improvement Area works to enhance and restore Downtown Milton and promote it as a vibrant and growing business community. We support local businesses and the community through beautification efforts, special events, marketing and promotions and strategic partnerships with government and community organizations. For more information, visit www.downtownmilton.com.

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 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 digitalmainstreet.ca/ontariogrants

For more information, contact:

Rachel Shuttleworth

Executive Director

Downtown Milton Business Improvement Area

905-876-2773

r.shuttleworth@downtownmilton.com


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